vlogging equipment essentials

What Do You Need to Start Vlogging

Is it possible to do something you like, make money and become a celebrity at the same time? Yes! Yes, it is possible for anyone in the nowadays world. And, as you are reading this article you know bout this and consider a vlogging career seriously. This is a good decision. Do you know that today 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV? If you provide interesting content, all these people can be your viewers. Just… when you are ready to start, ask yourself if you have the vlogging equipment essentials to shoot a decent clip? Don’t forget that 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. This means you have a lot of rivals. To overpass them, just an interesting script or a good idea is not enough. The image should be good as well. Don’t give your potential viewers a pretext to give you dislikes or a chance to ignore you. Read this guide for vlogging beginners to know what basic vlogging equipment to get when you start.

Essential Vlogging Equipment

Camera

The first thing you need is a camera, but don’t panic. For starters, you don’t need a high-priced professional camera to become an official YouTuber and produce cool content. You can start with a smartphone suitable for vlogging or a webcam, then evolve. What kind of camera you can use for vlogging?

    • Smartphone camera. This is the ultimate choice for a beginner as it is affordable and super-efficient.
    • Camcorder. It is a compact and affordable option for different kinds of videos. Though, you need some experience to make good videos with it.
    • Action camera. It is a pretty expensive option for experienced video bloggers to shoot extreme and adventurous outdoor videos without compromising the quality.
    • Web camera. This is a cheap option that works well for gamers or other vloggers who record videos while working on a computer.
    • Mirrorless Camera. It is lighter and smaller than a DSLR though able to rival the latter. Such a camera fits for experienced vloggers whose YouTube channel already brings money as it costs much.
    • DSLR. It is a choice for fast-growing channels. The price is hefty.

Many vloggers use just a built-in webcam achieving excellent results these days. For a “talking head” kind of videos, in which a vlogger is just sitting in front of a cam, that might be all you need. Furthermore, you can use the built-in camera of your laptop. Though, for better video quality, you might want to invest in a full HD or 4K webcam. You can get such a cam for cheap and plug it into any desktop or laptop computer. As it shoots high-quality video, it is ideal for “talking” or “gaming” video blogs.

In case you are going to be a travel vlogger, consider buying an action camera later. They are also known as GoPros. Despite their small size, many of them help obtain top-quality videos. That is why many YouTubers use action cameras for their vlogs about sports, travels, etc.

When you see that your channel is growing and starts bringing you some money, think about investing in DSLR or a mirrorless camera. These devices can shoot in multiple resolutions at different frame rates. Though, of course, you should understand how and for which purpose to use it. Without basic knowledge, you won’t be efficient enough.

The #1 choice for any vlogger is a decent smartphone. It is perfect both for beginners and for experienced video bloggers. Modern phones normally have a decent camera (or even three or four cameras) that is ideal for vlogging. If you have an essential vlogging gear for smartphones, you can shoot YouTube videos anywhere without compromising the quality of the image. A decent smartphone is also a good helper for the experienced vloggers. It is always with you, unlike your GoPro, for example. It also allows you to edit videos, upload them on the go, plan your vlogging routine, write down your ideas, and so on. Sounds like a brilliant investment, eh?

Lighting

When it comes to video blogging, is a professional light a must? Well, you don’t need to be fancy right from the start. You can use the ambient lighting in your room or natural light outdoors, but… Are you sure all of your videos will always be of decent quality with this light? Are you sure that you will always catch that right light being outdoors? And if it is cloudy? To ease your life, consider investing in special equipment. Here is how you can control lighting in low light conditions:

      • Ring light. It excludes shadows from the face, makes colors brighter, improves the quality of the image. In general, it makes the personality of a vlogger more visually appealing. Also, the ring light devices are normally lightweight, portable and adapted for any type of smartphone and many cameras. This makes it a piece of perfect vlog equipment for a phone.
      • Umbrella light. This option is perfect for those who shoot indoors. It is relatively cheap equipment that provides a soft light that covers a large area and makes the background look brighter.
      • On-camera lighting (the one you mount on a camera) works best for videos involving people in poorly lit locations. Though, it is not always a good idea if you record your vlogs with a smartphone.
      • Whatever you choose, remember that any of these additional sources of light will give a consistent and professional look to your videos, especially if you primarily shoot indoors and in obscure areas. Do not hesitate to add lighting to your vlogger’s kit from the very beginning.

External microphone

Nothing ruins videos like bad audio. The biggest part of viewers will forgive poor lighting and video quality, but if the sound is bad they switch off the clips right away. So, consider purchasing an external microphone if you want to succeed in your vlogging career. Such a device is the quickest and easiest way to improve the quality of your audio. Your options are the following:

      • USB microphone. It fits you if you record at your computer. Such a device costs not much but deals with the exterior noise pretty well.
      • Shotgun microphone. There are mini shotgun microphones compatible with smartphones. This is the best choice for most bloggers as they are easy-to-use, portable, lightweight and not expensive.
      • Lavalier mic. This is a professional microphone that can invisibly record top-notch audio from 300 feet away giving you freedom of movement. As any professional equipment costs a lot and requires some knowledge to be efficient.

Tripod or Gimbal Stabilizer

You definitely need something to support your camera while you are shooting a video. According to your needs, you can choose one or a couple of the following devices:

        • Tripod. Choose it according to your needs. If you use a DSLR, you better buy a robust tripod that can hold such a weight. If you are going to use a smartphone, pay attention to light, portable and adjustable tripods with a reliable clamp.
        • Tabletop tripod. This is a small version of a tripod which is great if you record video at the table, countertop, etc. Some models are flexible so you can fix them securely even on a tree branch.
        • Gimbal Stabilizer. This device is to resolve the problem of shaky videos as it balances your camera with built-in motors/weights. If you shoot your content while walking, a gimbal is a must-have to create a perfectly smooth video.
        • Vlogging stick. It can be considered as an alternative to gimbals. It is cheaper and works well for those who record videos with their smartphones. Though, remember that such a device is not able to give you the same smooth result as a gimbal, so your videos will be a bit shaky anyway. Take a look at our guide to the best smartphone filmmaking equipment to produce good-quality videos with a smartphone.

Video Editing Software

Good editing software is a crucial part of vlog equipment for phone. It helps improving picture, light, and sound, adds nice filters and AR elements, trims and merges videos, etc. For starters, you can use basic video editing software that most computers have. However, if you want to push the limits out and get creative, there are pro video editing software programs out there, like Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro X. Also, in case you want to edit your content on the go, in your smartphone, there are nice apps for any budget. So, here is a shortlist of apps and programs that will be in handy:

      • Magisto. It is a free app that doesn’t help much with editing, but it adds some nice filters to the videos. In addition, it gives a possibility to save your clips on the cloud, so, you can access and edit them anywhere using a web browser.
      • Wondershare FilmoraGo. It is a free app available for Android and iOS. Moreover, it is also available for is available for Windows and Mac computers, so you can do basic editing using any of your devices. This app is famous for its “Easy Mode”. With it, you can drag and drop videos, add some music, and produce a cool clip in a couple of minutes.
      • InShot. It is a free easy-to-use app for iPhone and Android. It allows doing basic editing, adding music and filters to it easily and quickly.
      • Adobe Premiere Clip. This is a free cut version of professional Adobe software products. And it is cool. This app works both for iPhone and for Android, and allows you trim, drag, and drop multiple video and image clips, add necessary lighting, adjust the speed of the video, set the music of your choice.
      • HitFilm. It is a video editing and visual effects software for Mac, Windows, Linux. It comes in two versions one of which is free, the other is for professionals. Both give you a possibility to improve your videos with than 180 special effects, including 3D editing.
      • Shotcut. This is free video software that works on Windows, Linux or Mac. It helps produce high-quality smooth videos for YouTube, but it is tricky to use. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth trying.
      • VSDC Free Video Editor. It is serious software for Windows that helps create amazing videos with advanced audio effects, color correction, object transformation, etc.

What You Don’t Need as a Beginner

If you just start your vlog, you don’t need all the pro stuff many websites suggest you buy. Vlogging equipment for beginners shouldn’t include a camera that costs a fortune or a microphone that is used in TV shows. First of all, it is not smart to invest so much money in an unsure thing. Second, all the pro vlogging equipment needs special knowledge and experience to be used properly. So, relax, read our guidelines and start with an essential vlogging gear. After all, you always can upgrade when money starts to come in. Until then, your smartphone, a tripod, basic light, and some other essentials are good enough for vlogging.