Equipment List for Documentary Video Production

Documentary Video Production is a very powerful way to leave a lasting impression on your targeted audience. If properly done, a documentary which is business focussed can help build employee camaraderie and confidence, increase credibility towards your customers and allows for self-reflection and the opportunity to improve your inner workings.

One of the most exciting aspects of any video production is putting together your video production equipment package. Do bear in mind that the equipment package can vary depending upon many variables like budget, location, project type, and many more. So there is no exact equipment package that will fit all your documentary projects.

Here’s a list of basic filmmaking gear you’ll need to get started with for your documentary video production. 

Video Camera

A video camera is the centerpiece of your video production gear package. The choice of Camera depends on the variables like your budget, the type of shooting and where you plan to display your documentary(web-only, theater, broadcast, etc). A documentary video can be shot on anything from an iPhone to a top of line digital cinema camera such as the RED. Whatever camera you choose, make sure to capture excellent audio too. 

Camera Lighting

Good lighting for the camera helps fill in ugly shadows. Basic camera lighting is important especially in documentary/news style video shoots where you might not have time for a full lighting set-up.


A tripod is a necessary piece of equipment to keep your footage looking stable, steady and professional.

Good Microphone

Amazing audio footage often separates the professionals from the amateurs. Having a shotgun microphone helps you in almost every situation. It’s perfect setting is on top of a camera or on a boom pole.

Wireless Microphone

Obviously, you can use a microphone with wires which is a bit less expensive, but it is not recommended to go on a documentary shoot without my wireless microphone. This is the next best thing providing you with tons of flexibility for walk-and-talk interviews with your subjects unless you have an audio person who can hold a boom mic. 

Shock Mount

Shock mount is a simple gadget that keeps the mic steady on top of the pole and prevents it from picking up “bumping” sounds when the pole is moving around.

Audio (XLR) Cables

You’ll need XLR cables to go from your camera to the mic, if you are planning to use a professional audio set-up with your camcorder for your documentary.

Portable Digital Audio Recorder

If your budget is more than average and you decide to shoot your documentary video with a DSLR such as the Canon 5D Mark IV, it’s highly recommended that you either get an external mic or portable audio recorder which can help you capture quality audio minimizing the sound disturbance.

Light Reflector

This is a must-have item that you would want in your documentary video production kit. A light reflector can turn an ugly and amateur shot into a golden lit scene.


To get high-quality, amazing audio means you will have to monitor the sound all time while you are shooting. Find good, comfortable and quality headphones to avoid any nasty audio during your shoot.


Make sure that you have all the lenses you need for your documentary video shots. Every shot needs a different lens, and therefore having a set of lenses like Polarized or macro-lenses can help you capture perfect shots for your project.

3-4 Extra Batteries

Not carrying enough battery backups is the most common mistake that many amateurs make. 3-4 extra batteries should be enough for your documentary project unless your project and its corresponding budget is really high.

Flash Memory Card/Video Tapes

This is an inevitable part of your video production kit because without flash memory cards/ video tapes, you will not be able to record the footage that you will be shooting.

External Hard Drive

A portable hard drive can come in handy when you are in a plan to shoot a lot in the field and you need to offload all your footage from the memory cards of your camera.

Please note that above mentioned gears are just a starter equipment package that you will need for your Documentary Video Production with low budget and you can always upgrade your equipment as per your choice and budget.

Realist Films knows how to craft enthralling stories around eye-catching visuals and great sound design in a catchy video that has the power to deliver the audience right to your landing page. Contact us to know more!

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