What's in this session?

  • 1. Pick your camera and lens
  • 2. Stabilize your camera
  • 3. Purchase quality audio equipment
  • The $1,000 studio versus the $20,000 studio
  • The key for every great video is the lighting

Show notes and resources

Free Bonus: Click here to download The Church Announcements Script Bundle – this free download includes 8 pre-written announcement scripts that you can swipe and start using in your church

The Transcript

You don’t need expensive gear to shoot a great looking video, and to prove it, we’re gonna shoot a video in our $20,000 studio and a video using just a $1,000 set-up and show you the differences. All that in this video. Well, hey there. I’m Brady from prochurchtools.com helping you seize the 167 hours beyond your Sunday service. We publish new video every single week, so make sure you hit the subscribe button below and if you like this video, make sure you hit the like button. Also, in a recent video, we gave you a behind the scenes look into our $20,000 video studio. We showed you every piece of gear and how all of it works together. Of course, in the process of doing this, it was obvious that most churches and ministries cannot affords a $20,000 video set-up, so with that being said, we wanted to show you how to configure a complete starter video set-up for just a 1000 bucks. And to make things a bit more fun, we are gonna compare the $1000 set-up to the $20,000 set-up and show you the difference. Now let’s start first with the $1000 gear guide break-down. The camera that we’re gonna be shooting with is the Canon SL2 and now let me say, the camera industry is releasing cameras at a crazy fast pace as they all try to keep up with one another. The Canon SLL2 was recently released, and we don’t even have it yet. We actually have the Canon SL1, so if you wanted to save even more money on this kit, you could buy an SL1 used or find a place that still selling it new on a discount because it has now been discontinued. Of course, the Canon SL1 or two are not your only options. Neither the SL1 or two shoot 4K video, but if you wanted something like the Panasonic G7, which is similar in price, you could get 4K video with that. We don’t have the G7 camera with us in the office, so we’re not gonna shoot with it for our test, but I would say the G7 is probably a better option than the SL1 or two, if you can budget for the right lens. And speaking of the lens, one of the reasons I love shooting with these tiny Canon cameras is because you can pair them with what the camera world calls the “Nifty Fifty.” The Nifty Fifty is the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. Costs just about a hundred bucks and comes with an F stop of 1.8 and this number is important for getting that shallow depth of field look in your videos. That blurred out background. There are, of course, other factors that play into this shallow depth of field, such as sensor size of the camera, proximity between subject and background, lens and subject, but your aperture does play a massive role in depth of field as well. With that being said, if you are going with the Panasonic G7 to get that 4K resolution…right? Make sure that you pair it with a lens that gonna give you similar depth of field. Something like the Olympus 25mm f/1.8 would be a good option, but it’s also about three times as expensive as the Nifty Fifty, so consider that. Okay, so that’s the Camera and the lens. Let’s quickly work through the rest of the gear guide. We are gonna be shooting with the Manfrotto BeFree tripod for stabilization purposes and for audio, we’re gonna be shooting with the Audio‑Technica AT8035 condenser and that’s plugged into the TasCam DR60D Audio Recorder. Now, let me just say this also. You’re gonna probably feel compelled to skimp on audio to save money when buying video gear, but that is one of the worst decisions that you can make. Audio quality is actually more important than video quality when it comes to your final video, so don’t skimp on audio. If you do want to save a bit of money here, you could opt for a cheaper mic, for instance, the Vidpro XM‑55, but don’t skimp beyond that. Now, the great thing about churches is that you’ve probably got a mic stand laying around somewhere so throw your mic on that stand and you are good to go. And, add up all that gear, you’re right around the $1000 range when it comes to cost. So, with that being said, let’s set up this gear guide and show you what it looks like. Okay, so here we are with our $1000 video set-up. We’ve got the Canon SL1 and the 50mm lens, the microphone, the TASCAM DR-60D, the Manfrotto Tripod, all that good stuff and as you can see, it looks pretty good. Compared to the $20,000 video studio that we normally shoot in, is this 20 times less as good as that. Well, no of course not. And we’ve got some key things that we need to point out in this. And the first is the blurred out background. We call this a shallow depth of field. There’s a reason that we’re shooting with the 50mm lens f/1.8 on this. F/1.8 refers to the aperture of this lens and that’s what allows us to give us this blurred out background. Of course, there are other features and things that contribute to shallow depth of field, including the proximity between me, the subject, and the background, the proximity between me, the subject, and the camera, but depth of field primarily comes from the aperture of your lens and the f/1.8 is great for something like that. Now, the most important part of the visual though, beyond aperture, behind the camera, beyond resolution…all that stuff, is the lighting. And we’ve got tremendous lighting in our office. We’ve got a full wall of window to my right, your left right here. And that’s what’s creating this really nice natural light. And that’s why, lighting is the most important part of the visual of your video. When it comes to making your visuals look great, more important than anything is the lighting. And there are a couple of things that you can do with this. I highly encourage that you shoot during Magic Hour outdoors if you don’t have natural light in a room like this. Magic Hour can be found. It’s basically dawn and dusk. Right when the Sun’s coming up and right when it’s coming down. The shadows are very soft because the sun isn’t high in the sky. It creates this really nice golden look and it’s a great time to shoot video. You don’t need any lights to get great looking stuff. But, with that being said, let’s check out the $20,000 video studio and compare. Alright, so now we are in the $20,000 studio. The acoustics in this studio are a bit better, but the difference…is this 20 times better? Not really. We’ve got the wood background behind us. We’re using a 4K camera that’s shooting in 10 bit pro res compared to 8 bit H264 in the Canon SL1 and those codecs make a big difference, but you can see that when you’ve got good lighting, good framing, and everything’s set up the way that it can be, you can create a great looking image with just a $1,000 set-up. You don’t need this full $20,000 suite. Okay so, there you have it. The $1,000 church video gear guide compared to the $20,000 gear guide. The differences are real, but the $1,000 set-up isn’t 20 times worse. Not even close. And at the end of the day, it’s not the camera that matters. It’s the man or woman behind the camera. Most importantly, find good lighting and you’ll be good to go. If you liked this video, make sure that you hit the like button below and definitely subscribe to the Pro Church Tools Channel. We post new videos like this every single week, helping your church seize the 167 hours beyond your Sunday service. In fact, hit the little church bell just below this video and that way, you’ll never miss a thing. If you’ve got questions or comments, please leave them below. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you next time.



See what other people have said, and leave your own thoughts!

Up Next
10 Unusual Ideas For Church Social Media Posts with Seth Muse
Watch Video