There’s no denying that today’s digital cameras and smartphones have come a long, long way since their early predecessors. They can take some pretty phenomenal videos all by themselves without the need for any extra equipment. However, many vloggers and filmmakers find that there are several benefits associated with adding some extra equipment to their rigs, and you can learn more about the five most important below.

#1 – Reducing Shakiness in the Footage

Shaky footage is a problem, and that’s especially true for filmmakers who like to take shots on the go. Though digital and optical solutions exist, these were designed mostly for slight movements or still photos – not for significant shaking in a video. If you want to make top-notch films, video stabilization equipment should be at the top of your list. There are numerous options from which to choose based on your camera and your unique needs.

#2 – Improving the Lighting

Lighting issues are common among YouTubers and vloggers who simply do not have the right equipment to give their viewers the best possible footage. Shadows are difficult to deal with, particularly when doing face-to-face or overhead videos. Fortunately, the solution is as simple as adding a ring light to your rig. This light is designed to fit all the way around your camera or smartphone and do away with any shadows that it might otherwise cause. It’s the best way to negate shadows from ambient or overhead lights, too.

#3 – Improving the Audio Quality

Some of today’s smartphones, including not only the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy line, but also the Google Pixel series, can take excellent videos without much equipment required. However, if you want to include audio in your film, you’ll likely want to consider some sort of external microphone. Again, this is one of the major ways in which the right camera equipment can completely transform your videos. With a good microphone, your voice will be crisp and clear no matter the device you use to record it.

#4 – Making the Experience More Comfortable

Though it may be possible for you to film with a DSLR camera, a microphone, a light, and a zoom lens without any rig or cage whatsoever, it isn’t the most convenient or comfortable way to do it. In fact, many amateur filmmakers say they originally bought their cages to make hours-long filming sessions more comfortable. Make sure you consider the attachments that the rig allows as well as the overall weight and grip included. These things will make a big difference.

#5 – Keeping Your Camera Safe

Whether you’ve invested in a high-quality DSLR or you’re using your $1200 smartphone, protecting your camera during filming should be a top consideration. Unfortunately, many of the products you’ll find don’t do a particularly good job of protecting them, leaving you with scratches and scuffs – or worse, a dropped and broken camera. Buy a rig that is designed to protect your device and the equipment attached to it, too. It’s one of the best investments you can make.

Though the camera equipment you need will depend primarily on the limitations of your recording device and your own personal preferences, everyone can benefit from the accessories and equipment listed above. In fact, you might just be shocked at the quality improvements you notice as you slowly add them to your rig over time – or even all at once.

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