We live in the age of digital content. From special occasions to our day-to-day routines, there is nothing that we do not document.
Whether you’re aiming to become the next big thing on Youtube or want a personal record of your life, you need to make every vlog count.
So, if you are planning on giving the vlogging world a shot, then you are going to need to suit up accordingly.
With such a huge array of gear and tech available, it can be challenging to decide what you need. Here are some equipment essentials that you will need to kickstart your vlogging career.
A high quality camera
An obvious piece of equipment for any up and coming internet star is a camera. A quality camera can make all the difference in the world. Having the most expensive DSLR isn’t a prerequisite for getting your content out into the world.
So, before you get swept away with the tide of high-tech equipment, let’s break down some of the cameras you could opt for.
Compact or Compact Pro cameras
These could include your standard small point and shoot style cameras or even your smartphone camera.
If you are a total newbie to the world of vlogging, a cell phone camera is great. Also, it is a relatively inexpensive way to test the waters before taking the plunge. A top-tier phone with a good-quality camera and long-lasting battery will work perfectly for this.
A step up from the phone camera is the point and shoots. They offer more control and clarity but are still less complicated and expensive than a DSLR. For vlogging, the Canon Powershot G7 (X Mark II) is a great option.
The Sony RX100 VII is another compact point-and-shoot camera with some outstanding features.
Small cameras are the perfect choice to shoot quick clips while on the move as they are light and easy to set up. They are also great for B-rolls and can work as great backup cameras, especially when filming offsite.
Mirrorless or DSLR cameras
As your Youtube career heats up, it might be time to upgrade to a DSLR or mirrorless camera. These cameras are a more professional choice. They can shoot in a variety of resolutions at different frame rates and will deliver footage of excellent quality.
DSLRs like the Canon 90D and mirrorless cameras like the Sony a7C or Canon M50 are a popular choice among content creators. In addition to the high-quality images, these cameras have an external mic jack by default which is important for good audio quality.
Your choice of camera should depend on the kind of content you want to create. For ‘Talking head’ videos where you sit in front of a camera, a good quality webcam or even your built-in laptop camera might be enough to get the job done.
On the other hand, for adventures in the great outdoors like riding a motorbike, an action camera may be more suitable.
Whether you’re filming from your home studio or creating travel vlogs across the globe, the camera of your choice should have features to match your needs.
A wide angle lens
When it comes to vlogging, a wide-angle lens is what you need to look for. This entails smaller numbers like 15-18mm lenses. These lenses are great as they require very little space and can still capture a lot of the background.
The focal length is important as it can impact how you appear on camera as well as the distance at which you need to place it.
The wider the focal length, the closer you will need to be to the camera.
A 16mm lens, for instance, is a popular choice for vloggers. A good distance for the camera would be around 12-16 inches away from your face.
As the camera is fairly close up, it can also improve audio pickup. In contrast, you would have to place a 50 mm lens much further away.
A Shotgun microphone
Integral to any good vlog is an audio quality that complements the video. Audio that is fuzzy muffled, or difficult to understand is a huge turn-off for viewers. So, to ensure that crisp and sharp audio, a quality mic becomes another essential to any vlogging starter-kit.
There are a ton of options available – shotgun microphones, USB microphones, lavalier microphones, and so on. For vlogging, it might be a good idea to look for easily portable mics.
These mics need to be able to capture your voice clearly with as little background disturbance as possible.
USB microphones are a great option for voice-over work or for those recording close to a computer. A wireless lavalier, on the other hand, offers the ultimate mobility to vloggers on the go.
When shooting outdoors, using a windshield is a huge help, especially on windy days. However, use it sparingly as it can lower the volume of your recorded audio.
Use a flexible tripod for support
Even the best camera in the world can give you shaky footage without a tripod to keep it steady. And unless you plan on giving your audience a case of vertigo, a tripod is a pretty good investment.
Tripods give you the liberty to film yourself without relying on another person to operate the camera. Depending on the shoot location, you can opt for a small or big tripod.
From the sturdy Manfrotto to the more flexible GorillaPod, there are a ton of great options to choose from. So long as it keeps your camera from moving, you don’t need a super high-end tripod at all.
For smaller cameras and mobile phones, you can use a selfie stick to get that extra support. Some tripods also double up as camera sticks. A gimbal stabilizer is another great tool for delivering steady images and videos.
These Gimbals are built with motors or weights. They balance your camera and smoothen out videos, even when you make big or sudden movements. Giving your camera this kind of stable position improves the image quality.
A portable LED light
A good vlog needs equally good lighting. At first, it may seem enough to turn on your bedroom lights and click record. To set your videos apart, however, the proper lighting equipment can do wonders for your vlogs.
This equipment becomes especially necessary in indoor spaces and dimly lit areas. However, even when there is plenty of ambient lighting, this lighting equipment can help to modify the mood.
It also helps to maintain a consistent and professional look in your videos. The Neewer Ring Light is an inexpensive yet good light kit for vloggers in more formal studio settings. This circular light illuminates the entire face, eliminating shadows.
It is great for cropped shots of people speaking directly into the camera and is popular among beauty and makeup influencers.
Another great option for vloggers is a softbox which helps create softer and more flattering lighting. Shoot-through umbrellas also cast a soft light. Like softboxes, these are cheap, easy to use, and are great for beginners.
Use a drone for different perspectives
Drones are a complex piece of equipment and are a more optional gadget for vloggers. They are a niche buy and might not serve a purpose to all content creators. Vloggers in niches like travel and lifestyle have a lot to gain from investing in a drone.
The Active Track setting, for instance, gives you the ability to get some super creative angles of your subject interacting with their environment. The hyper lapse setting can also produce some incredible cinematic time-lapses.
If you are looking to purchase a drone, The Mavic series of drones is a pretty great option to consider. The Mavic Mini is budget-friendly and super easy to fly.
Keep in mind that different states have different rules regarding the usage of drones. Some require licensing while and others may need you to notify the governing transportation authority.
A good general rule to follow is to be respectful of your drone usage. Don’t fly it too high or too close to other people. And always keep it within your line of sight.
House all your gear in a backpack
Like any piece of tech, vlogging gear is both delicate and expensive, and you need to handle it with care. Having a sturdy, easy-to-access, and reliable gear backpack to stash all of your gear in is extremely important to keep your gadget safe.
Even if you only film from a set location, keeping all of your equipment in one place is always a good idea,
Though you can use a standard backpack to keep your equipment together, it is less efficient and can easily end up a tangled mess at the bottom of your bag.
Specialized backpacks designed to hold video gear are a much better alternative. They come equipped with various compartments tailored to fit all of your gear.
This is great for vloggers on the go as it prevents the gear from moving around as you travel. Waterproof backpacks are another good idea, especially for travel vloggers to keep your gear safe from unexpected rain.
Have a creative background to keep your viewers engaged
A part of the visual aesthetic of vlogs lies in the backdrops and props. The backdrop comprises what the audience will see behind you and can be customised to give your videos a unique edge.
From an assortment to knick-knacks to a bunch of themed posters, your backdrop can be anything that you want it to be.
Keep in mind, however, that your backdrop and props should represent the overarching theme of your videos. A cooking vlog, for instance, could have some cookbooks and spice jars in the background.
If your videos are pop-culture or fandom-related, your backdrop can include a bookshelf, some posters, and other merch.
Neutral backdrops like a plain white wall, brick, etc. are also a popular choice as they are less distracting and allow you to attract the most attention. Green or blue screens can be a handy tool to have when vlogging.
These allow you to cut yourself out of your background and place yourself elsewhere. With a green screen, you can do some cool things like transport yourself to the top of the Eiffel Tower or have a meeting with the President.
Use a powerful computer and video editing software
You can add in sound and video effects, background music, titles, and so much more to create a fun and engaging vlog.
There are a ton of free editing software available for beginners. However, if you are planning on making videos on a more regular basis, you might want to consider investing in professional software such as Adobe Premiere Pro.
When it comes to computers, the choice is essentially between Mac and PC. But, within this choice lies a world of nuance that could tip the scales in your favour.
For vloggers who are constantly on the move, finding the smallest device possible might be a priority. On the other hand, having a powerful machine with a large screen is a must, especially if it is to double up as a workstation for a home studio.
Other essentials for your vlogging kit
With the majority covered, here are few other essentials that you might need to complete your vlogging kit:
Power bank and extra batteries to keep you recording
There is nothing worse than running out of battery just when you are in the middle of a project. It is always a good idea to carry a couple of spare batteries and a fully charged power bank to keep you going when you are running out of juice.
Plenty of SD cards
Always keep a few empty spare SD cards on hand. This allows you to continue shooting in case you run out of space suddenly. It also gives you the freedom to shoot as much excess footage as you’d like without worrying about storage.
Vlogging isn’t as complex as it may seem. Even with a basic set of tools, you can create some incredible content with great production value. All you need is good quality equipment and an idea to bring to life.
So, there you have it! A complete kit for all of you aspiring vloggers out there.
Adam Georges is an active member of the photographic industry through his Sydney based store, Georges Cameras. Check out Georges Cameras TV or Georges Cameras Blog for more educational content about photography.