Creating the Perfect Documentary Interview: Equipment Checklist

Interviews may seem simple when you watch them on-screen, but they require a lot of effort and set-up. To get the scenes just right, you need to capture your footage using the best tools and products out there.
That’s what our team at EssentialPhoto is here to help you accomplish. Here’s a look at our comprehensive checklist for documentary equipment:

Lighting Kits & Equipment

If you want to capture stellar shots with the perfect lighting, you need to have the right lighting kits for your documentary! Here are a few of our favourite lighting products for videographers.

Godox UL-60 Super Silent Fanless LED Video Light

The Godox UL60 comes with a lightweight, continuous studio light that uses COB LED technology to produce a bright but silent LED light. The high-intensity light head has a fanless heat dissipation mechanism which makes it ideal for capturing audio without interruption or noise. The light itself offers impeccable colour accuracy and is highly recommended by filmmakers and videographers shooting in natural lighting.

The light head also features eight built-in lighting effects, making it a versatile item for shoots. The wireless control allows for easy accessibility and adds to its user-friendly nature.

Godox UL-60 Super Silent Fanless LED Video Light

Godox VL300 Powerful COB LED 

To take things up a notch, we recommend you try the GODOX VL300. This light allows you to shoot at a high framerate and replicate the colours accurately. This makes the lighting kit perfect for shooting videos. The Godox lighting kit is also ideal for slow-motion footage.

Softboxes & Modifiers

You’ll also need light modifiers to diffuse the lighting during your shoots. For this purpose, softboxes are the perfect options. Our top picks include:

PiXAPRO 35x160cm Strip Softbox with 5cm Grid

The Recessed Strip Softbox by PiXAPRO is a versatile and affordable tool used by filmmakers and videographers. It produces directional lighting and maximizes light efficiency via its reflective interior. The result is a natural-looking effect that makes the subject look more realistic.

35x160cm (13.7"X62.9") Strip Softbox With 5cm Grid

This particular softbox has a long, slender design that sets it apart from other softboxes. The thin and slim exterior allows it to produce a narrow and precise beam of light that’s great for softening images and videos. The high degree of controllability offered by this strip softbox makes it perfect for shooting documentaries. Add to this the resistant fabric, the four durable rods in the frame, and the metal alloy ring included in the exterior, and you have a portable and lightweight softbox ready to be used.

Additionally, it comes with a 5cm honeycomb grid that allows you to spread the light more evenly. The grid also gives you greater control over the light direction and prevents it from spilling onto the background.

PiXAPRO Recessed Rectangular Softbox (No Honeycomb Grid)

The Standard Recessed Softbox by PiXAPRO is similar to the Strip Softbox, except for the grid. This 80x120cm light modifier has also been designed to generate soft directional lighting for natural-looking effects. The rectangular shape gives it straight edges that allow you to alter the direction of the light more easily. You can use the softbox either horizontally or vertically as per your needs and create the right lighting effect.

The Standard Recessed Softbox is durable and easy on the pocket. The resilient fabric will last for a long time and resist wear and tear during shoots. The model also includes an interchangeable speedring that can be paired with various studio light brands. This makes it ideal for documentary makers who wish to use multiple lighting brands for their projects. Moreover, the flat design means that you can pack it quite easily and carry it with you without worrying about storage space.

This 80x120cm softbox is a cost-effective solution for filmmakers who want to elevate their cinematography. It’s also a great option for shooting video interviews or snippets for your project.

PiXAPRO 95cm Octagonal Softbox with 5cm Grid

Then there’s the Recessed Octagonal Softbox with Grid. The unique shape is the most distinctive feature of this light modifier and helps the softbox produce soft wrapping light. Also referred to as an octabox, this softbox emulates an even more natural-looking fall-off than what you’d achieve from rectangular softboxes. The light fall-off is gradual and helps produce a more appealing lighting effect.

95cm (37.4") Octagonal Softbox With 5cm Grid

This octagonal softbox can be used as the main light as well as a filling light. It comes with a honeycomb grid for narrowing the spread of light. It also includes an interchangeable speedring and features dual-layer diffusion.

Special Effects Equipment

Finally, you should include some special effects tools and equipment when filming documentaries. There are plenty of options for this, such as:

PiXAPRO Helios 14.5x14.5cm Dual-Colour Special Effects Gel Set

Gel sheets are excellent for creating dark and moody visuals for your documentary. These can be placed in front of the primary lighting source to enhance the overall effect. The PIXAPRO Helios 14.5x14.5cm Dual-Colour Special Effects Gel does exactly this. Comprising five Dual-coloured gel sheets, it gives you plenty of creative opportunities to enhance your shots and add a dramatic element to your footage.

Helios 14.5x14.5cm Dual-Colour Special Effects Gel Set

PIXAPRO 30x30 cm Colour Correction Gel Pack

The Colour Correction pack is another great option for adding special effects. This set comes with six sheets and is light on the pocket, making it a great investment for filmmakers on a budget. You can adjust the colour temperature while shooting and create special effects by matching the sheets with ambient lighting and cool tones.

Ready to upgrade your filming supplies? Buy the best lighting products, tools, and equipment at EssentialPhoto and create stunning interview for your documentaries. We have a few tailored kits available for you to start right a way without any fuss:


LED200 MKIII Talk Show, Multi-Person Interview Lighting Kit

LED200D MKIII Two-Person Interview Lighting and Audio Kit