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As I’m nearing my 300 video milestone on LinkedIn (and cross-posting to YouTube) I get asked regularly what equipment I use for recording and editing…Here is the no-frills vlogging kit for beginners that will be the right balance of affordability and quality!

IThe best vlogging kit for beginners really is just to use the stuff you already have! I recommend the SONY FDR-X3000 action cam with lens protector and 3 legged thing mini tripod. This is by far the best set up for any beginner vlogger that I have tried (although do your own research) and, the best thing?… It didn’t cost me an absolute fortune! You don’t need a really expensive set up to get started. Although, investing in some equipment will help you out a lot!

My vlogging kit for beginners kit list

KitLink
Camera – Sony Action CamURL
Tripod – Three Legged ThingURL
Lens protector
Drone (optional but really cool) – Dji Mavic AirURL
Lighting (only if you do it in one place regularly) – Fovitec – 3-Light 2500W Fluorescent Lighting Kit  URL

When deciding what to buy and use, there are also a number of things to take into consideration. you can learn from my experience below…

The camera – what to avoid

This is the single most important decision you will make when it comes to vlogging. You need to have a camera that not only records high definition videos but also, you are going to have to make sure the microphones are good enough that you don’t need to buy external microphones.

A number of high profile vloggers use DSLR cameras, think Casey Neistat. But the issue is that these cameras require extra things like lenses and external microphones.

Avoid having to use external microphones

Having to use external microphones is a massive pain in the arse.

You need to make sure the microphone is compatible with your camera (don’t always trust the manufacturers – make sure you do your own research!).

You also need to carry an extra bit of kit around with you – which is just another thing to forget. They can be super expensive too.

If you really have to use a camera that requires an external microphone or if you already have a DSLR that you want to use. Here are my top 10 external microphones for your consideration:

ProductNumber of start ratingsNumber of reviewsLINK
Rode VideoMic NTG On-Camera Shotgun Microphone53URL
Canon Directional Microphone DM-E1 (Black)4.47URL
Rode VideoMic Pro+ Compact Directional On-Camera Shotgun Condenser Microphone4.480URL
Comica CVM-V30 PRO Camera Microphone4.389URL
Rode VideoMicPro Compact Directional On-Camera Microphone with Rycote Lyre Shockmount4.1218URL
Tascam TM-2X Stereo X-Y Microphone for DSLR Cameras3.9121URL
Azden SMX-30 Stereo/Mono Switchable Video Microphone3.617URL
Audio-Technica ATR3350 Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone3.61,352URL
Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro Rycote Condenser On-Camera Microphone3.68URL
Rode VideoMic GO Light Weight On-Camera Microphone3.6815URL
Azden High-performance (SMX-10) Stereo Condenser Microphone3.5152URL

Avoid the “hottest” camera on the market…

It can be easy just to follow the pack and buy a GoPro. Their advertising is sleek and their product is sexy as hell…but don’t just buy one because everyone is buying one!

I’ve had countless conversations with people who struggle with their latest GoPro purchase. The issue I see is that their front-facing microphones are not very good. People I have worked with struggle to export the data on to their phones and, for some reason, the GoPro they were using got really hot!

Weird!

Do your own research based on your own requirements before parting with cash!

The camera I use…

When working out the perfect camera for my daily LinkedIn vlog and style that I wanted to achieve, these were the features that I wanted in a camera for my vlogging kit for beginners:

  • Portable – so I could take it everywhere with me.
  • Optically stabilized – so I could walk and talk and get a better image than a mobile phone recording.
  • Standard connectors – So I could use any tripod I wanted and could change easily.
  • Fantastic front facing microphones – So I didn’t have to use an external microphone.

The winner was…The SONY FDR-X3000:

Vlogging kit for beginners - the sony action cam

This camera had everything I wanted in the above list and came with a waterproof housing which means I could take it swimming! It wasn’t something I thought I needed but has resulted in some fun shots for my vlog.

A quick review of the SONY FDR-X3000

I had watched a load of YouTube videos that contained video and audio comparisons before I made my choice. I thought about it for about two weeks before making my decision and I’m pleased to say that I have not been disappointed!

The video and audio quality is excellent here is the first video of mine that I put out on LinkedIn. Getting this quality was effortless and just required the push of a single button!

I’ve since done on to record about 100 more videos I’ve learned a few things about the best way to use the camera.

Firstly, do not record with a backlit scene or in low light situations – the camera just cannot handle it!

Secondly, the microphones are REALLY affected by the wind…even small amounts of wind cause a huge rumbling effect in the audio. People have got around this in a variety of ways online – from sponges to microphone hair stuff (called dead cats).

Thirdly, the WiFi and Bluetooth settings can dramatically decrease the battery life of the camera. The fix? Simple, turn on airplane mode and the battery will last for hours more!

These issues, once you know about them are not a hassle to work around and I really like the camera, interface, and ease of use…push the big button on top and you are recording in an instant!

Accessories

After having the camera for a month or so I decided that I needed a few more things to protect the camera and make it more user-friendly.

These are the things I bought that I also carry around every day…

A lens protector…a cheap lens protector from Aliexpress means that I don’t have to worry about pulling it in and out of my bag and know that the lens will not become scratched – which would ruin anything I filmed on the camera, forever. BUY ONE!

Vlogging kit for beginners - lens protector

A tripod…please buy a tripod! I opted for a mini-tripod that acts as a selfie stick but also as s standard tripod. It’s the perfect size for taking around with me everyday and folds up small with the camera attached.

I chose the 3 legged thing mini tripod but have a look for one that you like!

Vlogging kit for beginners - tripod small and useful

So, that the kit that I recommend for your “Vlogging kit for beginners, 2019”. It doesn’t cost much to get started and investing in the right equipment will make you stand out above people that are using their phones!

But I want to use my phone!

Yeah, I get it you want to use your phone to practice filming your content and see if you can get interested in your product, service or grow your professional brand.

My warning to you: If your brand is a high end, financial, deluxe or exclusive you’ll be better off grabbing a dedicated camera. It’ll really help your audience get a feel for your brand and avoid you looking like a cheap service.

Happy vlogging my beautiful friends!

Advanced vlogging materials that even beginners could use!

Drone

Using a drone can really lift the quality of your vlogs! It enables you to get a whole new perspective on the area that you are filming in and is a really cool perspective to use in your video. I have been using the DJi Mavic Air and, I have to say, I love it.

The shots are incredible and I have been able to massively improve the shots in my vlogs! All of my favorite YouTubers are using drone footage for a reason!

Lighting

If your vlog takes place often in your office etc you need to make sure that it is well lit. There’s only one way to really do that – that is to get more lighting. After you use external lighting you’ll be amazed that you ever survived without it.

Three-point lighting

Three-point lighting is the standard method used to light scenes in theatre, film and still photography. It is a really simple way to light a scene but is extremely versatile. If you are going to use only one type of lighting for your vlogs, let it be this one!

This technique uses three lights (as the name would suggest), a key light, a fill light, and a backlight. You’ll be required to use all of these lights to fully utilize the technique but if you have only one light it becomes the key light. If you only have two lights one will be the key light and the other can be the fill or backlight.

The key light

The key light is the main light used to light your scene. It is usually the strongest and it dictates how the image looks on the screen. It is usually placed at about a 45-degree angle to the subject. This provides a well-lit side while the other has some shadow to give the scene some atmosphere.

The fill light

The fill light is placed on the opposite side of the scene and reduces the amount of shadow cast by the key light. It is usually softer and less intense than the key light. If you cannot dim the light you can move the fill light further away or use backing paper over the top of the light to make it cast a softer light.

The backlight

A backlight is one of the most underutilized and overlooked lights when lighting a vlog. The backlight lights the subject from behind. This is to give some subtle highlights to the edges of the subject and separate them from the background. In my videos, I often just use a desk lamp or other decorative light to light the background. It doesn’t have to be a super expensive setup.

For the full rundown on using lighting for vlogging – check out this other post – click here.

The final word

The best vlogging kit for beginners is to work with the stuff you already have! But if you want some dedicated equipment you can buy some really cool tech relatively inexpensively.

Only buy stuff as you need it and work on the content of your vlog and worry about the technical aspects much later!

If you want to know what the pro’s use check out my other post – Vlogging tools – from beginner to advanced! – click here to read it!

Good luck vlogging and remember to enjoy the process!