Being a shreditor (aka shooter/producer/editor) can be a costly profession, and it’s hard to break into the market if you’re not sure what gear you should be investing in. To help you out, I put together three different Shreditor Filmmaking kits: Starter, Intermediate, and Advanced.
I designed these kits on my Kit.com profile with the intention of making it easy for you to gradually add to them overtime, but you can also buy each item independently to begin production at any level. Remember, one kit does not fit all. My goal here is not to tell you what to buy, but to give you list of recommended kits based on my own years of shrediting experience.
Starter Shreditor Filmmaking Kit
If you’re just starting out as a shreditor, but don’t want to completely break the bank, this kit is for you. The price might seem like a lot up front (see cost breakdown below), but remember that this includes your camera, audio, tripod systems, lighting, a video-editing computer system, storage, optional rigs, and camera bags.
Camera: The most common and popular starter video camera is a DSLR camera. There are several DSLR video kits on the market for less than $1,000. If you’re new, I’d recommend the Canon T7i Video Creator Kit ($899) which comes with a RODE Shotgun Mic, 32 GB SD card, and 18-55mm lens to get you started. It has an interchangeable EF lens system, so you can always invest in a higher-end lens with a lower aperture capability later on.
An alternative is a mirrorless camera by Canon, either the Canon M5 or M6. These are much smaller in size and more suitable for shreditors who travel often and like to vlog. If you go this route, I’d recommend purchasing the Canon M to EF lens adaptor so you can attach any EF mount lens to the mirrorless camera.
Audio: The Canon T7i Video Creator kit comes with a RODE Video Mic Go shotgun mic, which will connect to your camera in the cold-shoe mount and plug in via the 3.5mm jack. If you buy this separately, it runs $99. The best thing about this mic is that no batteries are required.
Tripod System: Tripods should last a lifetime if you handle them with care, so investing in the proper tripod system is well worth it. The Manfrotto Mk2290XTA-3 comes with a fluid video head and light, adjustable aluminum legs. A shoulder bag for carrying is included.
Lighting: Start with a basic dimmable on-camera LED light by Neewer for low-lighting interview situations. Simply attach this 280 LED bead light to the top of the camera shoe mount. It’s bi-color, meaning you can adjust it between 3200 Kelvins (tungsten, orange color) and 5600 Kelvins (blue light, day light). Also, be sure to purchase a Shoe Mount Extension Bar, an 8-inch extension that can attach up to three external items to your camera.
Video Editing Computer: As an Apple computer owner for the past ten years (and a former employee), I’m biased toward using Apple products for video editing. I’d recommend purchasing a 15″ Macbook Pro with 16GM RAM. Later on, you can purchase an external monitor to connect the laptop via HDMI for more screen space, but if you like to travel, the Macbook Pro is reliable and has top-notch speed for HD video editing.
Video Editing Software: Start with Adobe Premiere Pro CC, and if you want access to After Effects and other software provided by Adobe, you can always upgrade to the full Adobe Creative Cloud suite later on.
Storage: It’s not the most exciting part of being a shreditor, but storage is one of the most important. To start, I’d recommend purchasing a 2TB RAID G-Drive desktop system and a portable 1TB LaCie Rugged for on-the-go. You’ll also want to buy several Compact Flash (CF) cards, the required memory cards for Canon 5Ds, and a card wallet to safely store them.
Optional Gimbal Stablizer: If you want to get some fluid walking and tracking shots, try out this Ikan Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer. It’s currently priced at $799, but it’s one of the best gimbals in the market. You’ll find cheaper ones around the $300 range, but they often break or don’t charge well.
Starter Shreditor Kit Costs:
Camera and Audio: Canon T7i Video Creator Kit, $899; 2 Extra LP-E17 Batteries, $23.49
Lighting: Neewer Dimmable Bi-Color LED, $59.99; Light Batteries, $21.98; Movo Extension Shoe Mount, $19.99
Tripod System: Manfrotto MK290XTA3 Fluid Video Head, $155
Video Editing Computer: 15″ Macbook Pro, $1,889
Video Editing Software: Adobe Premiere Pro CC, $239.88 (Annual)
Storage: G-Drive Thunderbolt 2TB, $259; Lacie Rugged 1TB, $89.90
Extra SD Cards: 5-Pack of 16GB SD Cards, $42.42; SD Card Wallet, $8.59
Bags: Case Logic DSLR Backpack, $68.88
Gimbal Stabilizer (Optional): Ikan DSLR Gimbal Stabilizer, $799
Headphones (Optional): Audio-Technica ATH-M30x, $69
Total Kit Price: $4,785-$5,650
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Intermediate Shreditor Filmmaking Kit
Have you been doing video for a few years and feel ready to upgrade your gear? This kit is designed for someone who needs to shoot professional videos for freelance clients and edit high-quality products at industry standard.
Camera: The Canon XC10 4k Professional Camcorder is a compact, yet professional Ultra HD 4k camera that comes with a fixed DSLR-style lens designed for easy set-ups for on-location shoots, such as documentary films or events. The camera’s SLR-style fixed 10x zoom lens has a f/2.8 to 5.6 aperture with both auto and manual focus capability. It records 4k to CFast cards at 305mbps and can record 1080HD to SD cards at 50Mbps. So, if you love the feel and look of a DSLR and you need a camcorder to record shots longer than 12 minutes at a time, this is for you.
Audio: It’s always smart to record from two audio mics separately, in case one of the sources peaks or gets corrupted. For this kit, I recommend a Rode VideoMic Pro with boompole, which you can use easily for shooting b-roll, interviews, and more. I also recommend getting a Sennheiser ew 112-p lav mic system with a Zoom h4n. You can connect the lav receiver to the H4N and record audio directly to the h4n to SD cards.
Tripod System: The Manfrotto MVKBFR is a lightweight and travel-friendly video fluid tripod at an affordable price, with durable aluminum adjustable legs and panoramic rotation. To get side-to-side movement, I’d also recommend (totally optional) this Ikan Carbon Fiber Camera Slider that you can attach to the top of your tripod.
Lighting System: This is an upgrade from just an on-camera LED light in the starter kit. This two-pack of Neewer Dimmable Bi-Color lights includes two light stands, wall AC adaptors, and carrying cases. You can use these to imitate daylight in a low-light environment, like a conference room at a hotel.
Video Editing System: To add to your Starter Video Editing set-up, this BenQ 27″ Designer Monitor will give you a large and eye-sensitive screen to edit with. Simply hook this monitor up to an Apple 15″ MacBook Pro for more screen space, or go dual-monitor with the laptop open. I’d also suggest getting a laptop stand cooler to make sure your laptop does not overheat while editing, and a USB extension hub for extra ports.
Video Editing Software: Since you’re in the intermediate stage of shrediting, it’s important to have access to more than just Premiere Pro. As a shreditor myself, I use After Effects, Premiere Pro, Audition, Illustrator, and most of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite to complete my video productions. It’s worth the investment.
Storage: In the intermediate stage of shrediting, you need to start thinking about larger storage systems for your video footage, as well as a smaller system you can take with you on shoots and when you travel. I recommend the G-Drive 16TB RAID system to keep in your home or office and a 2TB LaCie Rugged drive to have as a backup and for on-the-go shoots.
Bags: There are so many bags out there — sometimes it comes down to personal taste, comfort, and practicality. This Manfrotto bag will fit up to a 17″ laptop, which is perfect for your 15″ MacBook Pro. Inside, it has slots designed to hold lenses, cameras, and audio equipment, and in addition to its sleek green design, it comes with a clean side strap for your compact tripod.
Intermediate ShrEditor Kit Costs
Camera: Canon XC10 4k Camcorder, $1,999; CFAST 256GB Card (2-4), $289; 5 pack SD Cards, $44; 2 extra Batteries and Charger, $30
Audio: RODE VideoMic Pro + Boompole, $300; Sennheiser Lav + Zoom H4N Kit, $690; Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones $149
Tripod System: Manfrotto MVKBFR Fluid Video Kit, $238; iKan Camera 26″ Slider, $179
Lighting: Neewer 2 LED Light Kit, $230
Video Editing System: 15″ Macbook Pro 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 2.9Ghz Intel i7 Quad Core, $2,648; Adobe Creative Cloud, $599; BenQ 32″, $329; Apple Magic Keyboard, $59; Mouse, $17.99; Laptop Cooler, $11.99; USB Hub, $9.99
Storage: G-Drive 16TB RAID, $949.85; LaCie Rugged 2TB, $199.94
Bags: Manfrotto Backbpack for Video Equipment & Laptop, $128.49
Total Price: $8,800-$9,100
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Advanced ShrEditor Filmmaking Kit
If you’re a pro, you probably don’t need advice on your next kit. But let’s say you’re an intermediate shreditor ready to make the leap into advanced videography and editing. If you’re a freelance shooter/producer/editor or you have your own small business, this is the advanced filmmaking kit that will enable you to cover a variety of shoots, from video interviews and scripted live-action narratives to weddings and events, b-roll, aerials, and green-screen work.
Camera:The Canon C300 Mark II Cinema EOS Camera is Canon’s most advanced super dual pixel 35mm CMOS censor video camera, starting at $9,999. It’s super lightweight — only three pounds — and portable. It comes with a removable 4″ monitor and handgrip, and the sensor supports ISO settings up to 102400, letting you shoot at night if need be. Plus, it has interchangeable EF mount lens capability, so if you have some lenses from a Canon DSLR, you’re in luck — you can use the same lenses on the C300 without any adaptors. For audio, you have lots of options: there are two XLR inputs with +48 phantom power and a 3.5 mm microphone input which you can use with a RODE mic. As for a lens, I recommend getting a 24-105mm f/4 EF Zoom lens. It’s my go-to lens for general b-roll, interviews, and events. You really can’t go wrong with this lens.
Aerial System: If you’re running your own video business, purchasing a drone to create aerial video shots is a good investment, because they can be used to enhance and set the scene in a variety of ways. The DJI Mavic Pro is much smaller compared to the DJI Phantom Pro, meaning that it could be great for a traveling shreditor. It has a 4k camera and various flight-tracking modes, and the care plan is also cheaper at $99.
Once you start using your drone, you should also be sure to sell your aerial video shots on Pond5.
4K Aerial Drone Shot of San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge by nellyso
Audio: Once you’re at a more advanced stage, you might be in situations where you need to simultaneously mic more than one person on camera. I recommend the Sennheiser EW 112p G3 Dual Wireless kit for recording two people at once and as a second audio source go with the Sennhesier MKE-600 Shotgun Mic and boompole stand. The MKE-600’s directional design allows it to focus on the sounds in front of the camera, while attenuating unwanted sound coming from the sides and rear, which is a huge plus.
Lighting: This is a must-have three-point professional lighting setup for almost any video situation. At the advanced stage of lighting, you can start to play around with how you shape your light for creative or artistic looks. This Dracast LED 3-Light Bi-color kit with barn-doors is a great way to begin shaping your light. Another perk is that LED lights don’t overheat, and you don’t have to worry about purchasing new bulbs. They are perfect lights for on-location (they have a battery option when there’s no outlet). You also can’t go wrong with having a Wescott reflector disc — they’re super useful for outside shoots, where you can use the sun to reflect a key light on your subject.
Tripod System: The Manfrotto MVH500AH is a light-weight video tripod designed to hold up to 5kg (11lbs) of equipment. The best feature is the built-in ball-leveling system for quick level set up. There’s also a 3/8″ connector thread that allows you to attach other accessories, like an external monitor or on-camera light. This particular model also includes a padded carrying back.
Video Editing System: When you have quick turnarounds, it’s so important to have a computer that can process and render your 4k footage fast. The Mac Pro 8-Core, 32GB, D700 was a game-changer for me. No more laptop editing — well, except for when I travel, but it’s so important to have a home-base studio that has a reliable computer you can depend on. As an editor who spends many hours in front of a computer, you eyes are crucial. This is why I encourage you to invest in a BenQ 4k monitor system to protect your eyes and make sure you’re editing with accurate color. I also recommend getting the full Adobe Creative Cloud suite ($599 per year) to access all the power of Adobe software to create content, and a Backlit Logic Keyboard to help you edit faster. (It also looks pretty sweet!) And, last but certainly not least, get a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Monitor Headphones to edit your audio.
Storage: Shrediting takes up a lot of digital space, especially with 4k and 8k on the rise. Sometimes it’s hard to know what you should keep and what you can let go of. This is why having a large storage unit, at least 20TB, is essential. I recommend getting the LaCie 6Big RAID system and, if you have the funds, another backup system such as the 20TB G-Technology RAID system I suggested in the Intermediate kit or a shared storage unit like the EVO Prodigy Desktop. While on-the-go and working on set, always have a 2 or 4TB LaCie rugged on hand.
Bags: When you have a lighting kit and a camera system, you need to have an easy way to transport your equipment and keep it secure. The Porta Brace WRB-3OR Wheeled Run Bag is an advanced shreditor standard for moving tripods, lighting systems, and other gear.
Optional Rigs and Extras: If you’re covering an event or following an interview, you may need a shoulder mount or Glidecam to create fluid tracking shots. You may also be asked to shoot someone in front of a green screen, so I recommend getting a smaller green screen with a built in easy-set-up stand, such as the Wescott X-Drop 5’x7′ Green Screen Kit.
Advanced Shreditor Filmmaking Kit Costs:
Camera: Canon Cinema EOS C300 Mark II Camcorder, $9,999; Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens, $1,099.00; SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO CFast, $199l Spare Canon BP-A30 Battery Pack, $270
Aerial System: DJI Mavic Pro Bundle, $1,187.00; MicroSD Card 200GB, $78
Audio: Samson MK10 Lightweight Boom Mic Stand, $19.99; Sennheiser MKE-600 Shotgun Mic with Boompole, $670; Sennheiser EW112P G3 A-Band Dual Wireless Lav Mic Bundle, $1,259
Tripod System: Manfrotto MVH500AH Lightweight Fluid Video System with Bag, $450
Lighting: Dracast LED500 S-Series Bi-Color LED 3-Light Kit, $700; Westcott Photo Basics 304 5-in-1 Reflector Kit, $99
Video Editing System: BenQ BL3201PH 32″ Widescreen LED Backlit Monitor, $799; Apple Mac Pro Desktop Computer (8-Core, Late 2013) $4,599; LogicKeyboard Backlit Keyboard, $134.21; Adobe Creative Cloud CC, $599
Storage: LaCie 4TB Rugged Thunderbolt, $279.94; LaCie 6big 24TB 6-Bay Thunderbolt 3 RAID Array (6 x 4TB) $2,699; Optional: EVO Prodigy Desktop Shared Storage, $5,999
Bags: Porta Brace WRB-3OR Wheeled Run Bag, $425; Case Logic SLRC-206 SLR Camera/Laptop Backpack, $69
Optional Rigs & Green Screen: SHAPE Canon C300 Shoulder Mount, $593; Glidecam Devin Graham Signature Series Handheld Stabilizer $799; Westcott X-Drop Kit (5 x 7′, Green Screen), $120
Total Costs: $23,000-$28,000
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As I mentioned in the beginning, not one kit fits all, but I hope that these kits give you a better understanding of what equipment you need to live the shreditor life. If you like the setups, I bundled them all up on my Kit page to make them easy for you to bookmark and save.
If you have questions about any of the items above that I didn’t cover in this post — or you just want to share your own kit choices — please leave a comment below! Also be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, where I publish weekly video editing and production tutorials to help make you a better shreditor.
Top image: Video Camera Stabilization System, Video And Film Production DSLR Equipment by duallogic