How to Shoot Great Video

Get the right gear

Stabilize your video

If you're holding your camera in your hand while shooting, you run the risk of your video looking like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise during an attack. Adding a stabilizing device of some kind — ranging from $20 to $200 and up — can help you keep your video steady.  Some cameras have image-stabilizing lenses, or software algorithms to help minimize shake, but those help only so much. 

A tripod or monopod (a single pole that's easier to carry) works nicely with a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR), a point-and-shoot camera or camcorder. If you have a cellphone, you might look for a case such as the $35 Manfrotto KLYP iPhone 4/4S Case that provides a threaded connector to attach a tripod or monopod.

Or perhaps you'll want the flexibility of a gadget like Joby's GorillaPod, which has arms that wrap around an object — such as a railing — and lets you mount your camera or cellphone on it. (Prices start around $20.) DSLR users, meanwhile, should consider a shoulder mount for longer shooting gigs. such as a kid's soccer match or baseball game. But it's an investment. Redrock Micro's Stealth nano lists for a very precise $387.50.

Add a microphone

Most built-in microphones don't capture audio well. An external mic may be an investment of as little as $40 for a smartphone add-on like IK Multimedia's iRig Mic Cast, and could climb to $200 or more for more powerful rigs for use with DSLRs and camcorders (like the $229 VideoMic Pro from Rode). Whichever path you choose, you're bound to get superior audio compared with what you'll get from your built-in microphone.

Email Melissa J. Perenson or follow her @mperensonFollow us Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.