Best Gear for YouTube
by Jayed Miah
Want to become the next big thing on YouTube, but have no idea where to start? This comprehensive guide for the best gear to start your YouTube channel will help ensure you are putting out quality content that people want to engage with. There is much to consider as you begin your YouTube journey, but luckily, we have everything you need to get started!
While YouTube has earned its reputation in recent years as a hub for beauty moguls, influencers, and gamers, the platform is not limited to these sectors. In fact, more companies have been investing in video content due to the enormous potential growth it can offer their business/es. Companies and their brands can benefit tremendously from joining over 1.9 billion users on YouTube. In fact, approximately 87 percent of people say they want to see more video content from brands in 2019. Whatever your goal might be for starting a YouTube channel, there is an audience waiting for your content.
There are some simple points to consider when embarking on your YouTube journey. Once you determine the following, it all becomes a matter of choosing the gear/equipment and software that best fits your unique needs. There is no one-size-fits-all, which is why we wrote this guide; to save you the trouble of sifting through the endless information available online. Start by asking yourself the following: What kind of content are you making? Where will you be shooting? These questions will help answer your “best gear for YouTube channel” Google search.
Studio vs on the go
Different settings mean different considerations when thinking about gear for your YouTube videos. Are you shooting daily vlogs, so you will need to take your gear with you, or will you be in a more controlled setting, such as a studio?
The answer to this question is really whatever you want it to be. There is a wide margin in how much you can spend, depending on the types of videos you will be making and the budget you have. Quantity does not always equal quality, and as we will explain, the gear needed is quite contextual.
We have done the research for you, so you can quickly identify what equipment best serves your needs. Keep in mind, the budget doesn’t have to be, and isn’t, fixed. Should you start with more basic equipment and choose later to upgrade to more professional or expensive gear, that is a viable option!
No matter what sort of device you decide to shoot on, follow this rule-of-thumb: make sure it records at least 1080p video. Why? If you are using your YouTube channel as a way to increase your brand awareness and engagement (for example) poor quality content is going to lead potential consumers to assume your products/services are of the same poor quality. Using a camera that has 1080p ensures a minimum quality standard.
If you want to invest in a camera that offers high quality and adaptability, consider getting a DSLR, or digital single-lens reflex camera. Although there is more of a learning curve when using these cameras, it is well worth the work. Because they can shoot in multiple resolutions at different frame rates, you will have more control over what you are shooting. Soon, you’ll become an expert in utilizing the array of settings on your camera, and interchanging your lenses in record time. Once you become familiar with the inner-workings of the world of DSLR cameras, you will quickly discover why these cameras are a trusted choice of many successful YouTubers.
Webcams are not just for Zoom/Skype meetings! It is entirely reasonable to shoot your YouTube videos on a webcam. However, it is recommended that you don’t use the built-in camera on your computer, as this is not top quality. You can get a great FullHD webcam for cheap and it can be plugged into any desktop or laptop computer. This camera shoots high-quality video, is ideal for gamers, and it can be placed on top of your computer monitor.
Ten years ago, we would not have recommended you rely on your phone to produce quality videos you could upload to a service like YouTube. However, vast technological advancements and constant improvements on our favorite handheld devices have made it entirely reasonable to shoot videos for your YouTube channel on your phone. Your smartphone is also the most cost-effective way to get started on YouTube, as it is likely you already own the device you’ll be shooting videos on.
There is a reason the saying goes, “Lights! Camera! Action!” Every piece of equipment is important in the big picture for video production, but it goes without saying that without proper lighting, there is no video! Although natural light is beautiful, that quality is not dependent on anything other than Mother Nature. Having consistently appropriate lighting for your videos will allow for the overall production of quality content that will keep viewers coming back to your channel.
For consistent, controlled lighting, consider getting an LED lighting kit. LED lights, by design, give off a soft light, but most also come with additional diffusion; either a blurred plastic panel or a fabric to place in front of the light. Both energy and cost-efficient, the investment is worth it. Look for lights that have adjustable dimming options, so you can control how bright the light is.
You might be most familiar with ring lights being used by photographers. If you have had a headshot taken for a job, or graduation photos done in a studio, you know that this piece of equipment works wonders in controlling lighting. Ring lights are popular amongst vloggers, as the circular light works to illuminate the subject’s face completely, eliminating shadows.
While many would think it is the camera that makes or breaks the quality of your YouTube video, the camera works in a truly symbiotic relationship with the audio. Even if your camera quality is phenomenal, without the audio to match it, you risk the message of your video not getting across. We all know poor audio quality when we hear it, and science is really on our side here when we stress that you must have top-notch, quality sound; hearing is our fastest sense!! The first impression your audience will get, quite literally, depends on audio quality.
External mic vs internal mic
External microphones are going to give you a clearer, more professional sound, period. You can either get a microphone that will mount to your camera (which requires consideration in the compatibility of the camera you purchase/have) or use a wireless option. Either way, you will have to ensure that your camera has some sort of input jack that the microphone or its receiver can be plugged into to provide the best audio signal. Internal microphones are obviously a less expensive option, but much more limiting. As long as you are sitting within three to four feet of the camera, and are in a very controlled setting, you can use the internal microphone on your camera. Even so, if there is anywhere you are going to invest your money in this entire spiel, invest in the right microphone. Trust us.
Shotgun mic vs lavalier mic
Choose the microphone that fits your needs. When searching for the best option, it might be a good idea to go back to the questions we started with: What kind of content will you be shooting and where? There are two categories you can explore here; a shotgun mic, and a lavalier mic. A shotgun microphone has directional recording, meaning it picks up the sound of whatever it is pointing to. These are a great option if you are doing a close-range recording. A lavalier microphone, on the other hand, while the more expensive option, allows for more distance between you and the camera. This is especially helpful if you are in an outdoor setting or a location that has a lot of background noise. Through a transmitter, the lav mic sends the audio wirelessly to a receiver you will plug into your camera’s microphone input jack. A lav might also be a more attractive option for some because it is more compact and concealable.
Accessories offer structural support that your camera needs in order to perform its job to the fullest. Again, the equipment you choose depends entirely on preference, budget, and purpose.
It is very important that when you are shooting videos to have a stabilizer. It is an essential, and cost-effective investment. Although your mind might have the word “tripod” as being synonymous with bulky, it is easy to find incredibly portable and adjustable options, such as the Joby GorillaPod Tripod. As with all the gear we’ve been talking about here, you can find a tripod that is compatible with whatever form of camera you decide to use.
For added stability, especially if you are shooting videos on-the-go, look into purchasing a gimbal. Compact in size and easily mountable, gimbals are a great addition to your YouTube equipment arsenal.
So you have the video...now what? Likely, your video will not be upload-ready when you finish recording. This is where the post-production comes in as the bow that ties everything together neatly. This is an area where your options really open up.
The first thing in post you’ll need to complete your video project is a good video editing software. While there’s a wide range available to consider and a lot to explore within each one, in this article we’ll offer up CyberLink’s own PowerDirector.
PowerDirector is a great editing solution for beginners and pros alike because of it’s intuitive tools and advanced effects. No matter where you are on this scale, we encourage you to try out our free editor, PowerDirector Essential. It has everything you need to get started editing, all free!
If you’re looking for more options like more advanced tools and effects, unlimited access to stock footage, photos, graphics, and music, we recommend upgrading to PowerDirector 365. This powerful suite has all of the essential tools of our Essential version but with so much more. It’s a great tool for the creator looking for an all-in-one editing platform because of the sheer amount of effects, transitions, keyframing tools, masking, greenscreen maker, and additional content added each month. Never short of capabilities and inspiration!
So there you have it! While it might seem like there is a daunting road ahead, YOU GOT THIS. Remember, people all over the world watch nearly 150 million hours of YouTube videos every day. Take this as an encouraging statistic. The demand is there, so now all you have to do is supply some quality content! Before long, you’ll be writing your own blog called “Starting on YouTube.” We wish you the best of luck but know you won’t need it because you’ll have all the tools in your arsenal you need to create success.