DIY documentary is about simple inexpensive filmmaking. Believe me, creating great stories and interesting films have little to do with the equipment. If your phone or video camera records HD video you are on your way to your first documentary. Purchasing better equipment may be a good idea at some point but for now you may want to work with the equipment you own before spending any money. If you’re attending one of my DIY workshops and are considering purchasing equipment, you should probably wait until the first class before you purchase anything. We will be talking about different low cost options for filming high quality video for your project. With that being said, if you do need to purchase inexpensive equipment to get started you may want to consider some of the suggestions below.
Canon has an audio input jack for external microphones on their low end video cameras. This would be a great starting camera that would allow you to use an external mic instead of the lower quality built in mic. If you go with the Canon camera and the Sennheiser Shotgun Mic you will also need to purchase the bracket listed below as well. The camera does not have a shoe on on it for an external microphone. The bracket will allow you to connect the external mic and it will also serve as a handle for the rig. Don’t forget to purchase a high quality memory card for your video camera.
If you plan to film with your iPhone, you may want to purchase the Rode external mic for smart phones. The audio is good on most iPhones but wind and distance can be a problem sometimes making this mic a good investment for iPhone filmmakers.
As far as editing goes, if you have a Mac then you have iMovie and that’s a pretty good editing program. If you are working on Windows you will either have Movie Maker or the new version of it that will be released soon on Windows 10. If you don’t have a free video editing program on your laptop then you may want to purchase Adobe Premiere Elements 15. You can purchase it at B&H ($89.00) here: B&H Video