Having the right vlogging tools can certainly make your vlogs look professional (whatever that means!) and can make the process of capturing the footage a pleasant experience. But don’t think that you need ann amazing set up to start producing vlogging content. For my first 300 vlogs on LinkedIn, I used one camera – a sony action cam – and a desktop computer. I’ve since added a drone but really that is all you need to get started.
Below I’ve highlighted all of the vlogging tools that you need whether you are just starting out, want to up your vlogging game, or want to emulate my favorite vlogger of all time – Casey Neistat – you’ll find all of the information you need below!
Let’s start with the absolute basics! This would be suitable for someone who has never used a camera before and is looking to delve into vlogging to grow their personal brand.
The basic tools
Here are the basic tools that I think you need. The first thing you should do is take a moment to think about what your audience wants from you and how you can best help them!
Cheatsheets to create your story
The most important part of any video is in the planning stage. This is where you can work out your strategy that will be the most helpful to your audience.
Your video structure
Then you need to think about the structure. For your first video consider the structure below. It is easy and simple – you can get more complex from here but this is a nice place to start!
- Hook – in the first 3-5 seconds grab the attention of someone scrolling through their feed.
- Explain what your audience will learn today by watching your video
- Describe the problem that you will help people solve in this video
- Your personal experience in solving the problem for yourself or your customers.
- Call to action and ask people to comment on your video or like it. You can also have another call to action such as “do to this link and download…”. Anything off the platform is far more challenging to get people to do. Stick to on-platform calls to action for the first videos.
What works for my audience will not work well for your audience. Testing ideas and monitoring how well your video’s metrics change will be the only way to discover if something is working for your audience. Sometimes it’s not what you think would work for your audience. Don’t be afraid to play around in the early days. There are no failures – just leanings.
There are many ways to film and edit a vlog and you are only really limited by your imagination. I chose to do a fully edited vlog with loads of b-roll footage and now drone shots. Check out an example of one of my vlogs here:
One thing I want to say is that this style has been in the making for 1 year. I started really simple – with one camera and talking to it. It has evolved to include music, transitions, lots of b-roll footage and now drone shots. Don’t let this put you off pushing that record button.
Once you have your video structure and something valuable to say to your audience – it’s time to create the video content.
When you are starting up you probably don’t need a camera. Recording on your phone is a really simple way to get started. These days most people have a smartphone capable of vlogging. The audio can suck but if you want to add a microphone to your android phone set up check out this blog post, click here.
My set up
I did a lot of research into the different types of cameras you can buy and use. I wanted something simple and something that would work with the click of a single button. It was important to me that it was portable and cheap.
This is what I chose:
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:
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.
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!
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!
A tripod…please buy a simple tripod! I opted for a mini-tripod that acts as a selfie stick but also as a standard tripod. It’s the perfect size for taking around with me every day and folds up small with the camera attached. I use it to take selfies and I use it to prop up the camera on surfaces to capture b-roll footage or lock off the camera to talk to.
I chose the 3 legged thing mini tripod but have a look for one that you like and fits your needs.
For your early days or vlogging, you want to keep things as simple as possible! Consider doing longer shots that you don’t have to edit too much. Focus on delivering helpful content that people can’t ignore – before launching into the fancy editing side of things.
There are services like SplashEO that can turn your single piece to the camera into an engaging social media video.
There are also dedicated vlogging apps that can edit videos on your smartphone. Check out my other detailed post on all of your options for vlogging apps – click here.
When I first started out I used Sony Vegas Pro to edit my videos. It was more intuitive for me than Premiere Pro which, is the video editor that I use now.
Here are the things that are nice to have but are not necessary for producing and an awesome vlog. Some of my most popular vlogs are from just using the tools above – no fancy stuff needed!
Audio is the number one thing that can boost the quality of your vlog dramatically. People think that video quality and HD video is the number one thing to make your vlog awesome. These people are wrong. An audience immediately knows when there is bad audio but is much more forgiving when it comes to image quality. Most cameras and recorders have built-in front-facing microphones but they are generally very bad. If you want to use a DSLR or other camera you definitely need to consider buying a microphone for vlogging.
Here are my top 10 for your consideration:
|Product||Number of start ratings||Number of reviews||LINK|
|Rode VideoMic NTG On-Camera Shotgun Microphone||5||3||URL|
|Canon Directional Microphone DM-E1 (Black)||4.4||7||URL|
|Rode VideoMic Pro+ Compact Directional On-Camera Shotgun Condenser Microphone||4.4||80||URL|
|Comica CVM-V30 PRO Camera Microphone||4.3||89||URL|
|Rode VideoMicPro Compact Directional On-Camera Microphone with Rycote Lyre Shockmount||4.1||218||URL|
|Tascam TM-2X Stereo X-Y Microphone for DSLR Cameras||3.9||121||URL|
|Azden SMX-30 Stereo/Mono Switchable Video Microphone||3.6||17||URL|
|Audio-Technica ATR3350 Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone||3.6||1,352||URL|
|Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro Rycote Condenser On-Camera Microphone||3.6||8||URL|
|Rode VideoMic GO Light Weight On-Camera Microphone||3.6||815||URL|
|Azden High-performance (SMX-10) Stereo Condenser Microphone||3.5||152||URL|
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!
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.
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.
Pro-tools used by the best vlogger in the world – Casey Neistat
IF you want to know all of the gear that a pro-vlogger like Casey Neistat uses – Here is all of his gear compiled into a single table for you…to buy all of it would be really expensive!
|Product name||Short Description||Link to vlogging tool|
|MIRRORLESS AND DSLR CAMERAS|
|Panasonic Lumix GH5||This vlogging camera is known for its high-quality video recording as well as wide-view angle views at the same time.||URL|
|SONY A7S II||The camera is known for making ultra HD 4K video shots with full frame option. That being said, it also offers steady image stabilization with its 5-axis feature.||URL|
|CANON EOS 6D MARK II||This camera has got a 4K video making quality. You will be able to capture full HD video footages without any worries. In addition, you can also make 4K time-lapse videos with this camera in your hands.||URL|
|CANON EOS 70D||Canon EOS 70D is a best-budget vlogging camera with many features. One of the features that make this camera a perfect choice for vlogging is its ability to make full HD videos and images at a steady fps rate.||URL|
|POINT AND SHOOT CAMERAS|
|SONY RX 100-V||This vlogging camera has a slim and sleek design with a very small shape. It is not bulky and has an ability to make 4K video shots with a steady fps rate as well. The electronic viewfinder has been made available within the best Sony camera so that one can easily see and adjust the camera settings even in sunny environment conditions.||URL|
|SONY ALPHA A6500||One of the best features in this camera is that it allows 5-axis body stabilization for steady and reliable video clips.||URL|
|CANON POWERSHOT G7 X MARK II||This versatile vlogging camera comes with a flip screen that allows perfect selfie videos with ideal adjustments. On the other hand, it also provides full HD video quality at a steady fps rate.||URL|
|SONY 10-18MM WIDE ANGLE LENS||The best camera lens comes with a minimum focal length of only 10mm. Not only that, but the lens also has a magnification ratio of 0.1x.||URL|
|CANON EF-S 10-18MM CAMERA LENS||This camera lens is a perfect choice for vloggers who are using Canon cameras for vlogging purposes. This ultra-wide zoom lens is perfect for making distant videos and images with better focus and stabilization at the same time.||URL|
|CANON EF-S 10-22MM CAMERA LENS||This camera lens is specially designed for EOS and DSLR cameras. It comes with a maximum aperture of f/3.5-4.5 at the same time. Furthermore, the auto settings of focus system allow you to track down smaller objects with ease.||URL|
|PANASONIC LUMIX G VARIO LENS||This lens has got a compact shape and comes with a focal length of 7-14mm or from 14-28mm. Not only that, but this camera lens also comes with proper image stabilization via the camera body. You will be able to keep your footage as stable as possible.||URL|
|SHURE VP83||This microphone is actually a condenser microphone with a relatively small size and low weight. It can easily be mounted on video cameras to capture better audio along with the video. It provides a directional audio capturing feature. Relatively reducing the background noise, you will not face any issues regarding the distortions in the audio with this mic.|
Finally, the battery life of almost 125 hours in this mic allows you to keep recording the footage without any power shortage issues.
|RODE VIDEOMIC PRO||Rode VideoMic Pro is an undisputed winner of being the best shotgun microphone available. It can easily be mounted on DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.||URL|
|JOBY GORILLAPOD||This tripod is used more often to make videos more beautiful with wide angle shots. As far as the tripod is concerned, it is a perfect choice for holding bulky cameras like DSLRs. The weight limit, on the other hand, is also ideal as it can hold gear of up to 11 lbs. Joby GorillaPod comes with wrappable legs that allow it to get mounted on different places easily.||URL|
|JOBY GORILLAPOD BALLHEAD X||Without a proper Ballhead, it becomes difficult to pan and tilt the camera. In addition, it also provides clearer shots with smooth maneuverability. Along with other features, Joby Ballhead X also comes with a locking knob that can be used to lock the camera on a specific position. Finally, the last thing that you should consider in this Ballhead is its portability. It can be used with any tripod for better video shots.||URL|
|DJI PHANTOM 4||The quadcopter drone has got auto takeoff and auto return feature that can be controlled with GPS technology. Secondly, it has got an updated camera at the same time. One can easily capture ultra HD 4K videos at a steady 30 fps rate from the skies to add more beauty in their vlogs. You can use the DJI director software to edit the video footages you have taken with this drone.||URL|
|DJI MAVIC PRO||DJI Mavic Pro is a drone with relatively high portability. One of the amazing features of the DJI drone is that it can be folded to a size of water bottle only. Not only that, but it also has got a speed of 40mph which is perfect for making quick videos. Last but not least, DJI Mavic Pro comes with long battery life as it can remain in air for as long as 27 minutes.||URL|
|GOPRO KARMA||GoPro Karma is frequently used in order to make quick aerial shots of the places you visit. The drone has got a durable construction. Furthermore, it has got a foldable design as well allowing you to take the drone anywhere you want. One amazing feature that this drone holds is, it allows you to mount GoPro Hero 5 on it. In this way, you will be able to capture breathtaking video footages from your GoPro camera.||URL|
|DJI MAVIC 2 ZOOM||DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is the real deal here as it is equipped with some breathtaking features. First of all, the drone has got a speed of almost 44mph and it goes in the sky within a matter of minutes.|
Not only that, but this drone also has got an HD camera which is already stabilized to reduce the shakiness in videos.
|GOPRO HERO 7||The reason why so many vloggers love GoPro Hero 7 is that it comes with 4K video mode that allows you to make ultra HD videos at a steady 30 fps rate. On the other hand, the GoPro vlogging camera also comes with waterproofing feature and is resistant to almost 50m under the water.||URL|
|GOPRO HERO 6||This
new model is far better than Hero 5 and comes with many features to offer in
an affordable budget. Along with a 33ft. waterproofing ability, the camera
also provides 4K UHD video quality at 30 fps. You will be able to capture
wide-angle shots in this way easily.|
Last but not least, wireless connectivity is also there to make sure that you can transfer all your video footages and images to other portable devices with ease.
|GOPOLE SCENELAPSE||GoPole Scenelapse is used for 360-degree timelapse videos. This device can be attached to every model of GoPro camera and it provides 360-degree rotation at the same time. The Scenelapse is able to spin for up to 360° in 60 minutes allowing you to make the perfect timelapse video.||URL|
|SAMSUNG GEAR 360||Samsung Gear 360 was the first camera of its kind used to cover a whole Samsung event. The low-budget 360 camera comes with 4K video mode at full 360-degree rotation to make sure that everything is covered and is able to be enjoyed in an amazing manner.||URL|
|RICOH THETA V||The best 360 vlog camera offers full rotation and is able to make ultra HD 4K videos at a steady fps rate at the same time. The addition of the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor has improved the user interface of this camera and now it is the best choice of many popular YouTubers.||URL|
|APPLE MACBOOK PRO||Apple
MacBook Pro can be used for editing purposes. This laptop has got some
serious features to offer with blazing fast speed.|
The rendering speed is high and is perfect for different vlog projects as well. Not only that, but this laptop also has got a huge display with True Color technology. Last but not least, Radeon Pro 555x or 560x are the graphics card available in it for a pitch-perfect graphical display.
|BOOSTED BOARD||To tackle with daily transportation problems, best solution in the form of Boosted Board. This electric skateboard has got a slim design and is able to top up as high as 22mph at the same times. It weighs only 13.5 pounds and has a range of 7 miles on one complete charge as well.||URL|
The final word
Here I have presented you with all of the vlogging tools that you will need. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned vlogging professional. Rember though, that these are all TOOLS they allow you to tell a story and the quality of your vlog content is not proportional to the amount that you spend on the newest gadgets.
Focus on content and then look for tools to support that!