Let’s be honest, nowadays everybody wants to become relevant online. And with the last year’s global pandemic our average time consumed outside drastically dropped. And we end up staying at home watching either TV or online videos. And perhaps dreaming about those youtube creators going around making cool stuff and why not even travelling. If you like me want to be more sucessful on your online channel, this begineer’s guide is right for you.
You only need few essential pieces of gear to get your vlog running, and a bit of basic filmaking and video editing knowledge. For that I reccomend that you look for a course either on Udemy, EdX or YouTube.
The first thing that you’ll need is a camera; but don’t worry, you don’t need a crazy-expensive camera to create good content. A lot of vloggers out there use nothing more than the built-in webcam on their computer or even their smartphone – If you start vlogging using your smartphone I suggest you having a smartphone that can record minium at 1080p (4K is better). More you invest time in your vlog, the more your audience will definitely notice and appreciate higher-quality video, as it will give an idea of professionalism, which will hopefully keep viewers interested and watching.
So, what camera should you purchase? There are many great options out there; even for shooters on a budget. You could choose a compact camera, an entry-level DSLR, mirrorless camera or even a GoPro. The camera you choose will depend on your experience level and the type of video you’re recording. With such a wide range of cameras available, selecting the right one can be tough. Luckily, I have a background in vlogging and underneath is my top 5 cameras to start with.
To support your camera you’re going to need a tripod or a gimbal. Selfie sticks are so 2015 – don’t buy selfie sticks (although there’s a motorized one that I will link it underneath). Stabilization is very important, even if your camera is mounted on a desk. If you are filming with an action camera, a stabilization stick is a must because action cameras don’t have stabilization options and it will ruin your shooting. You can actually “stabilize” your video on post production but to an extent. Post production video editors are not a miracle maker for shaky shootings.
- Manfrotto Joystick head Travel Tripod
- DJI OM 4 Smartphone Gimbal
- Moza NANO SE selfie Stick
- Manfrotto Mini Pixie
- DJI RONIN SC Camera Gimbal
With vlogging, your lighting doesn’t need to be expensive; it just needs to be effective. Your main goal is to make yourself (or whatever your shooting at) the focus of the viewers’ attention, while avoiding any unsightly shadows on the face (sometimes having shadows makes you more teatrical but it depends on the story that you want to tell). While you could simply use just the ambient lighting in your room or natural light through well-placed windows, for a consistent and professional look throughout your videos, I’d highly recommend picking up a basic soft-light kit, plus a ring light and perhaps some ambient rgb lights for the background.
Basic Vlogging Lighting Kit
- StudioFX H9004SB2
- Neewer Ring Light Kit:18″
- RGB LED Video Light(for background effect)
- HPUSN LED Softbox Lighting Kit
- LAIFUNI Dimmable Under Cabinet Lighting
If you’re using a green screen of some kind, then you’ll need to make sure that you have separate lighting specifically for the green screen to pull a clean chroma key. The more even the lighting on the green screen, the better the results will be. It’s also important to put as much distance between yourself and the green screen as possible to minimize spill (green light reflecting back onto you).
Nothing ruins more videos than bad audio. Most viewers can forgive mediocre lighting and sub-par video quality, but if the audio is bad, then they likely won’t stick around long. The quickest and easiest way to improve the quality of your audio is to not use the built-in microphones on your camera (or computer if you’re using a webcam) and to use an external microphone. A better way still is to record audio from an external microphone to a portable recorder, bypassing the often terrible audio pre-amps found inside compact cameras.
Here’s a list of external microphones used widely in vlogging:
- Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone
- Rode Wireless Go Premium Pack
- RODE VideoMic Studio Boom Kit
- Shure MV7 USB Podcast Microphone
- Blue Yeti USB Mic
With camera, lighting, and microphone in place, all you really need that’s left is a non-linear editing (NLE) program to cut together your freshly recorded content, and a computer (lapotop) to run it on. These days, most computers have the specs to run at least basic editing software, so unless you’re using a tiny netbook or tablet, then it’s likely that your current machine is more than capable. Pay attention to the recommended specs listed with the software you choose to make sure your computer can handle it.
If you don’t have NLE software on your computer already, there are many options available for you to choose from. These programs will have a bit of a learning curve if you’ve never used an NLE before, so if you’re hesitant to dive right into them, you can always opt for more simple-to-use options, such as the ones listed underneath.
Here’s my top 5 video editors list for beginners:
- Pinnacle Studio 24 Ultimate
- Magix Movie Edit Pro 2021
- Movavi Video Editor
- Techsmith Camtasia 2021
- Vegas Pro 18
As far as video work goes, vlogging isn’t all that complicated, and with only a basic collection of video gear you can really boost the production value of your content. A quality camera, a basic lighting setup, and an external microphone will go a long way to helping you create professional-looking (and sounding) content. And since vlogs are dialogue-centric, I can’t stress enough the importance of capturing good audio, which should be a considered a top priority.
There are, of course, other considerations than just gear. For example, the scene you’re recording can play a major role in the production value of your videos. A well-chosen and decorated set/background shouldn’t be overlooked, as it can give viewers an immediate sense of the subject matter of the blog and help.
Finally, it doesn’t matter how good your videos look and sound if no one knows they exist, so diligent online promoting and a well thought-out marketing plan is a priority to your vlog’s success. My Youtube Channel grows from 1 subscriber to 500+ in about a year. And I’m not doing it professionally, just to amplify my main business to make it discoverable. So what are you waiting for? Start shooting, start sharing, and who knows, vlogging stardom could be just around the corner. If not all thsese skills could be implemented for a very cool hobby or if you want to becaome a part-time videographer or digital content creator.
If you have any questions please comment below or if you have a vlog and have better solutions that I have please let me know because I’m very passionate about vlogging.