If I can do it, you can too. I didn’t start with the fanciest gear, nor did I start out knowing exactly what I was doing. I knew it was a risk worth taking and that if I practiced and studied hard enough, I would be able to make my dreams of being a videographer work. I am a big believer that with persistence and dedication anyone can do anything. ‘Win or learn” (Conor McGregor, 2016, MMA superstar and my personal superhero). Boy have I won. Today Bad Rabbit Studio is a vibrant and very much alive media company all thanks to a lot of “hard work and dedication” (Floyd Mayweather Jr, twelve-time world champion and undefeated boxing genius).
These were my first 6 tools –
1. My fist camera and lens was the Cannon EOS 70D Digital SLR Camera which came with the 18-135mm STM Lens. This will set you back $1099. The 70D proved to be a great camera to start on. It paddled the Lugenda in Northern Mozambique, the Lower Zambezi in Zimbabwe and went on countless adventures and outings. It is lightweight and fairly durable. The Cannon 18-135mm STM lens comes with the camera (although you can opt to buy the body alone). The lens is a neat, light and reasonably priced. It has decent image stabilisation and gives a good broad focal length range. However, if you intend to shoot in low light situations (think nighttime wedding receptions) then I suggest adding the Canon EF 50mm Fixed Lens to your shopping list. You can look at spending about $150 on this lens.
= $1 249.
You can read about how my first camera met its end here –
2. Sound is one of the tricker aspects of videography to get right. You can get away with average shots if push comes to shove, but you cannot get away with bad sound. Invest in sound as much as you can. My first sound recording device, the Rode Videomic Shotgun Microphone is an acceptable means for recording clean, clear sound from a nearby source. The Rode Shotgun will set you back $120. If you can spend more on sound, do. It will make the world of a difference to your viewers experience. I have since upgraded to a more complex and expensive system of Lavalier microphones and audio mixers in addition to new more professional audio recorders, but the shotgun mic is sufficient to initially start with.
= $1 369
3. I may be rather biased here, but if you have the option, choose Apple. Apple’s ability to sync across your personal devices makes it the perfect system to run a videography business from. Plus the lack of debilitating viruses is a huge win over for me. It is of course possible to use other laptop manufacturers to edit on, in my opinion it is just not preferable. I feel Apple just has way more potential creatively. I began my editing career on the 11 inch Apple Mac Book Air ($899 new, but a brother can hustle for a cheaper, second hand option 😉 ). Editing on a small screen is doable to begin with, but once you begin to pull in some regular clients, a wise investment into your videography business is the iMac. It is a much faster machine, allowing you to work more efficiently. The screen size and specs allow you to pick up and refine the smaller, finer detail in a video or photography shot that would otherwise be lost on a smaller screen. Besides, the bigness of it makes you look like a boss.
= $2 268
4. Final Cut Pro ($300) is my go-to editing program. I like the user friendly layout of the program. That said, I am very conscious to keep abreast with developments and improvements. If a better software system comes along, I will switch it up and keep relevant! A super important tip I was given when I was starting out was ‘don’t get left behind’. Stay up-to-date with the latest technology and techniques in videography and you will have a long and successful business.
= $2 568
5. Social media. This is the most powerful marketing tool and it won’t cost you a cent. Sign up and create a business page on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Allow the personality of your business to shine though by regular, quality and original content updates. Don’t be a copycat and never doubt the strength of an original look and feel. My personal preference is not to promote my pages but to rather let the audience grow organically. It takes patience but in doing so, I’ve found I have built an audience that is actually interested in Bad Rabbit Studio and will actively engage with the work that I put out.
= $2 568
6. Guts and hunger. Don’t worry if you don’t have the $2 600 budget to start. After all, Tangerine, one of the biggest films at the 2015 Sundance Festival was shot on an iPhone 5. All you really need is “Win or learn” attitude and “hard work and dedication”. If you are hungry enough, you can make anything happen.
= $2 560
There we are fokes, a start-up business budget of under $2 600. Now, how to come up with the cash?