What equipment do you need?
You don’t have to have specialist equipment to get started in poetry film – we’ll show you how to get started with the minimum of equipment.
You do need something to film with, something to record sound with, and something to edit on.
You can do all three on a phone or a tablet. Or you may want to use a phone or camera to film and record sound, and a laptop or desktop computer to edit on.
The other essentials are something to keep the camera steady and an external microphone (actually, you don’t need an external microphone immediately, but you will need one eventually).
Using a tripod will give you stable video footage and sharper photos. An inexpensive lightweight tripod, large or small, will give great results. To attach your smartphone to a tripod you’ll need a tripod mount with a screw mount at the base which can be used to attach your mount to any standard tripod.
A Joby Gorillapod and mount.
A ‘grip’ gives you a stable, one handed grip on your phone and allows you to move around as you film. The Shoulderpod S1 or the SevenOak Smart Grip are popular.
The capability of on-camera/phone recording devices is improving, but not at the same rate as the videoing capabilities. Using an external microphone via a microphone jack gives much better results. The Rode VideoMicro Compact On Camera Microphone is a popular choice.
Even better is using a handheld digital recorder such as Zoom portable digital recorder or Tascam portable/handheld recorder.
Zoom H1n Handy Recorder
Tascam DR-05 Audio Recorder
Furry windscreens are important for recording outdoors in order to minimise wind noise. A foam cover improves recording quality indoors by reducing ambient noise and blocks out plosives and pops.
Videoing, and viewing what you’ve just taken, uses up a lot of battery. You don’t want to run out, especially if you out all day, so it’s useful to have a portable power bank charger.
There is a wide range of telephoto, wide and macro external lenses for smartphones available from manufacturers like Techo, Olloclip and Moondog. The lens typically screws onto a clip that you just clip onto your smartphone, like a bulldog clip, over the camera lens on your phone.
Avoid clip-on telephoto lenses, as they can be hard to hold steady and keep in place, unless you are using a tripod.
The only other thing you need is software – this is discussed next.