By Rachel Kiley
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First-person videos are undoubtedly the most popular type of videos recorded for the internet, and that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon. They don’t require a lot of set-up, filmmaking knowledge, or even other people, making them a great option for anyone looking to get into content creation. But vlogging does require certain equipment to keep your videos looking sharp.
Fortunately, vlogging and any other content that just involves talking directly to the camera doesn’t require the fanciest gear. If this is where your passion lies, you can pretty much just get started with a smartphone and access to the social media platform of your choice—but so can everyone else.
If you want to set your videos apart and make sure they get noticed, stepping it up even just a little bit will help you build and retain an audience that’s already become accustomed to free quality content on the internet—then all you have to worry about is making sure the actual content of your videos is up to snuff.
So what equipment do you need to get started vlogging?
If you’re on a budget and you’ve already got a smartphone on hand with a solid camera, there’s no shame in using that; ultimately, the other equipment is more important for making your work look and sound good. But if you’re ready to up your camera game, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II is a proven camera choice for YouTube videos. Don’t forget the memory card!
If you want a full-height tripod, go with the Magnus VT-300 Video Tripod for your setup, or consider the Oben CTT-1000 Carbon Fiber Tabletop Tripod if you just need something to keep your camera steady while on a desk or table. If you plan on shooting video with your smartphone, you can grab an adapter like the Oben ASPTA-20 (just make sure the size of the mounting holes match your tripod), or knock out your stabilization and lighting needs at the same time with this Sensyne 10” Ring Light with an extendable tripod.
Ring lights may be popular thanks to their ease of use, but if you want really good lighting—and you should—it’s worth taking the time to learn how to use softbox lights, such as this Interfit F5 Two-Head Fluorescent Lighting Kit, to achieve a more natural look. The exception here is that if you’re doing makeup tutorials, something like the Angler 45W Bi-Color LED Ring Light Kit makes more sense.
Sound is where a lot of content creators drop the ball, so having a dedicated microphone to capture quality audio will immediately set you apart. If you’re using a DSLR camera, attaching a shotgun microphone like Rode’s VideoMic Pro makes the most sense, but you could also opt for the well-loved Blue Yeti X USB microphone, or the Movo UM700 if you’re trying to cut some financial corners.
5) Everything Else
Presumably, you’ve already got a computer on hand to do your work. While none of this equipment is necessary to jump right into vlogging, you’ll still probably also want an external hard drive to safely store your footage, an ergonomic mouse for all the hours you’re going to spend editing, and a decent set of headphones to make sure you’re not missing anything in the audio.
And before you spend all your money, don’t forget to figure out where you plan to stage your videos and make sure your background is both aesthetically pleasing and matches the genre of content creation you’re diving into.
Now, go make some videos!