With more people spending time indoors than ever as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, there’s no better time to get on board with vlogging if you’ve been meaning to give it a go — whether that’s to become a YouTube influencer, or just to enhance your business’ other content creation efforts.
To stand out from the crowd and build a following of dedicated subscribers, you’ll need two things: Great content and the right YouTube gear and equipment. To help you sort out your vlogging kit, we’ve teamed up with the photography experts at Ted’s Cameras for this article. Read on to learn the 6 items they consider essential for everyone interested in starting a vlog.
A CAMERA WITH VLOGGING-FRIENDLY FEATURES
While it’s common for beginner vloggers to kick off their channel using a camcorder or webcam, as you develop your online presence, you’ll need a high-quality vlogging camera. Depending on your budget and skill level, your options include a compact, DSLR, or mirrorless camera. Whichever you choose, look out for the following key features:
- 4K or Full HD video capability: Video streaming quality is only getting better, so future-proof yourself by choosing a camera with the highest possible video quality.
- Optical image stabilization (OIS): The best vlogging cameras have in-built, reliable OIS. This will ensure your footage is smooth and blur-free, which is particularly handy if you plan to vlog on the go.
- A tilting LCD screen: If you speak directly to the camera in your vlogs, a tilting LCD screen can help you to see yourself from your audience’s perspective and adjust your angles as needed.
- A microphone port: Your camera might have a built-in microphone that is good enough for everyday use but doesn’t quite cut it for vlogging. Since vlogs rely on good audio, you’ll want to be able to attach an external mic.
- A headphone jack: Once you’ve gotten the hang of vlogging, you can use a headphone jack to monitor your audio in real-time.
- A hot-shoe or accessory shoe: This handy feature is designed to hold camera-mounted microphones and lighting accessories.
- A remote control: A wireless or physical remote can speed up the filming process.
- Manual mode.
A GOOD QUALITY MICROPHONE
The best video or Vlog has two key components: Video and Audio. It is really important for your audience to hear you clearly and you’re your camera build in mike can only take you so far. If you want to grab more attention, get an external mike so it can muffle any background sound of household chores, traffic, nature sound, etc.
Not sure which type of microphone to pick? Here are some options:
- A shotgun mic: They’re great for recording vlogs at home, but probably not the best if portability is your priority. Just keep in mind that they’re quite large.
- A lavalier mic: Perfect for interview-style vlogs, these small vlogging microphones can produce clear, powerful audio. Also known as lapel mics, you can clip one onto your (and your subject’s) collar or packet. They’re a favorite among professional YouTubers, and their compact size makes them ideal for travel and location filming.
- USB microphone: This is best for voice-over videos/vlog. Used on the editing stage this can be used in plug and play microphone to add voice overs to your videos.
- Top Tip: If you’re shooting on location, consider a wind blocker. This nifty little product protects your mic from wind and can make the difference between crisp and unusable audio.
A TRUSTY TRIPOD
This may probably be the last thing you want to stop shaky and unsteady footage after all the planning and content with creativity. Otherwise it may distract your viewers and might even cause them to stop watching the video.
A good tripod can help give you clear and blur-free footages. It’ll also free up your hands so you can use them to animate your videos and nail your framing and composition.
The best vlogging tripod for you comes down to the weight of your camera, and where you film the most. In general, one of the three following types will suit you best.
- A travel tripod. If you vlog on the go, choose a travel tripod. They’re portable but sturdy enough to support a mirrorless or DSLR camera. They can usually be folded down to a small size, which is a bonus if you have to carry your tripod along with your other camera equipment.
- A mini tripod. These small, lightweight tripods are perfect for propping onto a desk or bench and can handle the weight of a digital compact camera and small lens. If you use a larger lens, you’ll probably need a larger tripod to match.
- A Gorillapod.Similar in size to mini tripods, Gorillapod is a go-to among content creators. Thanks to their flexible legs, you’ll be able to find a sturdy spot to film almost anywhere. They can also double as a grip if you’re shooting handheld.
A RELIABLE LIGHTING SYSTEM
A dark and shadowy vlog can be a big NO-NO. Good lighting is the key to keep your audience engaged and will make your vlog more professional.
Although you can shoot your Vlog in available light source or moving closer to natural light you can have a lighting system to have full control over lights at all the times and shouldn’t rely on natural lights all the time.
For the best vlogging light set up, we recommend:
- A Reflector: this helps to redirect natural light towards your face and prevent harsh shadows from darkening your face.
- LED Lights: The best portable vlogging light, it will illuminate your vlog and diffuse light for a soft finish.
A gimbal is a tool that allows your camera to rotate smoothly on an axis. It stabilizes your camera while you tilt, pan and roll, and eliminates jerking and jarring – even if you’re on the move. With a gimbal, you can confidently shoot handheld knowing that you’ll end up with smooth, fluid footage.
If you vlog as a hobby or produce low-key vlogs, a gimbal isn’t necessary. But if you want to take your videos to the next level, a gimbal will really add to your production value.
SPARE MEMORY CARDS & BATTERIES
Last but not least, it’s important to have spare memory cards and batteries in your kit. Like all creative pursuits, half the battle of vlogging is getting into the zone – and once you’ve got there, the last thing you want is to run out of power or storage space!
To avoid that situation, pack a few extra memory cards and a spare battery or two. And don’t forget to fully charge your batteries before your shoot!
Successful vlogging starts with the right equipment