To create content, one needs tools, and there are plenty to choose from, regardless of whether they’re just starting out or looking to improve. You can almost define the concept of creating content in a number of ways now, but the general idea is to put something out there for an audience, big or small.
Don’t fret too much if you’re not sure how to find the right gift for the creative type in your life. The key thing to know is what kind of content they create. Maybe they’ve mentioned something they need, or perhaps you’ve got an idea to help them bring it to another level. No matter how you want to pursue this, here are some product ideas to get you started.
A new camera
This is a broad category because it encompasses different sub-categories, so let’s break them down. If the person you have in mind already has a camera, they may not need a replacement, but perhaps a complement could help. This is where a GoPro or action camera comes to mind as a great way to capture video in versatile ways. Action cameras are generally smaller, durable and built with an array of capable features. Mounting options, of which GoPro’s is extensive, let you deploy the camera in so many ways.
Mirrorless cameras come in different sizes, some of which cater to vloggers. The Sony ZV-1 or ZV-1F are good options, as is the Nikon Z30. These cameras can do more, simply because they have larger image sensors and lenses you can swap out. While the Sony models are probably better choices for beginners than Nikon would be, the whole mirrorless lineup from all brands will provide food for thought.
A gimbal to stabilize video
Gimbals play such a big role in making video content look smooth, and it comes down to their mechanics. The motors inside control pitch, yaw and roll, so when you move, the gimbal moves smoothly to maintain focus. Most are fairly lightweight and easy to learn or manage. Another plus is you can use a gimbal handheld or mount it on a tripod, which really opens up possibilities on what kind of content one can produce. For movement or time-lapse shots, a gimbal can prove indispensable.
The best part is there’s a gimbal for just about any camera, from mirrorless to smartphones and action cams. You will need to ensure compatibility, either in terms of size or platform to get the right fit. Gimbals often run on their own apps to let you control them and apply the settings you want, but they are generally designed to be agnostic to the camera itself. For example, a DJI gimbal doesn’t stipulate by platform, only by size. That’s why certain mirrorless cameras may not fit properly due to weight or heft, for example. Keep an eye on that to make the right choice.
Mic them up
Good video may look great, but if it comes with bad audio, there’s a problem. That’s where an effective microphone can plug the gap. Microphones come in different forms, so again, it does matter what a content creator actually uses to create content. Take, for instance, a smartphone, which has very limited capabilities in isolating audio from a subject. If you use a lavalier mic to connect with it, suddenly studio-quality sound is within reach. Lavalier mics are the type you clip onto clothing, as you often see on news and other TV shows.
Boom mics don’t require wearing anything, as they sit on top of the camera. They’re not compatible with smartphones unless you have the right adapters to accommodate it, so you might consider one for a mirrorless camera instead.
But assuming the content creator you have in mind is more about speaking to an audience, a condenser mic might be the best route, or even a computer mic if the content is about live streaming. Excellent choices exist for both, increasing the odds you will find a good one to ramp things up on the audio side.
Seeing the light
Lighting can make or break a scene. Filmmakers and cinematographers are known to say that, and it’s equally true of what content creators do online. This is a pretty broad category, especially because the best lighting for one creator may not be for another. So, how do you know which way to go? Simply ask and inquire about what’s missing from their lighting workflow. It may be something as small as a portable LED or flash, or the prospect of studio lighting exciting them. A green screen may even be enough to make a huge difference.
Some lights mount directly onto the camera, whereas others are entirely portable, and still others stationary. Much of this also depends on what the subject is, how big or small they are, and how creators plan to use the light. You may not know the answers to all those things, but they will, and asking questions doesn’t hurt to make the right call.
If the person in mind is a true beginner, a vlogging kit might be the best place to start. The simple reason for that is because they get a bundle of products meant to work together to deliver a more cohesive toolset. One example of that is the Joby GorillaPod Mobile Vlogging Kit. It’s built with smartphones in mind, but little will stop anyone from mounting other cameras on it, provided they’re not too heavy.
Vlogging kits will usually consist of a small tripod, light, mount or clamp for a phone, and a microphone. These components aren’t always the best available but are ideal for starting small and learning the ropes to create content. After some time, creators get a much better sense of what they may need to take their work to the next level.
Finding the best tools
There are no hard and fast rules for this sort of thing. Content creators don’t all follow one path, and that’s why it’s best to first get a sense of what the person you know does. Video and audio often come together in some form or another, so it depends on how they actually do. Is it in front of a computer? Out in the field somewhere? While travelling?
It may seem like a lot of questions to consider, but watch or listen to their content and you may gain a better understanding of what the content creator in your life may need to get the job done. There are plenty of camera and camcorder accessories to think about, including drones if that fits with content needs. When it comes to gifts to improve smartphone photos and video, there are great devices to bring that up a notch as well.