The Sennheiser MKE 400 is a popular shotgun mic, thanks to its affordable price and compact size. Sensitivities can be set for working at closer or longer distances, and a foam windshield and shockmount are included to reduce background noise. The mic is capable of running for more than 300 hours on a single AAA battery. Estimated Street Price: $199.
With a windscreen and shockmount, Que Audio’s DSLR-Video Pro Microphone Kit includes everything you’ll need to mount the Q Mini Shotgun PRO to a DSLR. With three gain sensitivity settings, the Q Mini Shotgun PRO includes a 3.5mm jack, as well as balanced XLR and wireless transmitter adapters for working with other audio systems. (A Sniper PRO Microphone Kit also comes with a miniature boom pole for working with the Q Mini off-camera.) Estimated Street Price: $249 (Q Mini Shotgun PRO Microphone with Windscreen); $329 (DSLR-Video Pro Microphone Kit); $499 (Sniper PRO Microphone Kit).
CONTINUOUS LIGHTING FOR BOTH STILLS AND VIDEO
Video requires unwavering, flicker-free lighting, the kind you get from always-"on" light sources like tungsten and fluorescent bulbs or LED panels. LED lights, in particular, are ideal for video work because they produce minimal amounts of heat while also drawing far less power than other lighting systems.
Flashpoint offers a number of entry-level LED solutions, including the extremely inexpensive Flashpoint 144 LED Video Light & Dimmer, capable of "dialing in" the color temperature between tungsten and daylight at roughly 2800K to 5800K. For larger lighting needs, the Flashpoint 500C LED panel offers a bi-color array of 500 LED bulbs in 3200K and 5900K, with two switches for control over the tungsten array and the daylight array, as well as brightness. Estimated Street Price: $69 (Flashpoint 144 LED Video Light & Dimmer (FPVL144); $199 (Flashpoint 500C LED Light).
Croma lights from Litepanels feature a dimmable bi-color array of LEDs that allow you to mix color temperatures between 3200K tungsten to 5600K daylight with a dimmable power range of 0 to 100%. For a complete outfit, the Croma Flight Kit includes three 6.5×4.25×1.5-inch Croma LED panels with diffusion gels, three compact light stands, Manfrotto Justin spring clamps and deluxe ballhead shoe mounts that allow the Croma lights to be aimed toward any angle, even when placed on-camera. List Price: $649 (Litepanels Croma); $2,250 (Croma Flight Kit).
F.J. Westcott’s new 5500K SkyLux 1000W LED light is daylight-balanced with a high color rendering index score of 94 CRI. The SkyLux is built for durability with all-metal construction and a recessed, spring-mounted LED panel that has been rated at a life span of more than 50,000 hours. The light is dimmable from 30% to 100%, and it’s compatible with commonly available Bowens S-Type light-modification tools. Estimated Street Price: $999.
The Lowel SlimLight Interview Series of lighting kits provides multiple lighting possibilities in ready-to-go packages with light stands and case. The four kits are based on a quick-exchange 200W Rifa eX 44 tungsten-halogen light with dedicated softbox panel. Each kit offers either a companion Lowel Blender LED light or an additional tungsten-halogen 200W Pro-light for putting together multiple-light setups. The SlimLight Rifa Blender 1 and Blender 2 Kits include the Lowel Blender light with two sets of 5000K daylight and 3000K tungsten LED modules for a "blend" of color temperatures. If you prefer Fresnel-like spotlight fixtures, the SlimLight Rifa Pro 1 and Pro 2 kits include two high-intensity, focusable Pro-light models with reflectors and prismatic glass. The spot light can also be shaped through included barndoors. List Price: $900 (SlimLight Rifa Pro 1 Kit); $1,240 (SlimLight Rifa Pro 2 Kit); $1,260 (SlimLight Rifa Blender 1 Kit); $1,960 (SlimLight Rifa Blender 2 Kit).