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The truth is you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to start a YouTube channel. All you really need is a smartphone.
“It’s the fear and the gear”
I’ve talked about the fear in a previous post. In this post, I thought we’d look at what equipment you need to set up a YouTube channel. Or at least what you should put in your shopping basket once you know online video is something you want to do more of.
And to be honest, you can do almost everything you need to with one bit of kit. A decent smartphone. It doesn’t matter if it’s an iPhone or Android as long as you have a decent enough camera on it and you’ve cleared off enough storage to store the video you shoot.
It’s simple really, pull out your phone and shoot.
After you’ve made a few videos you’ll start craving equipment. I have a low-key, low-cost video kit and I’m sharing that with you here.
Here’s what’s in my online video production equipment list
1. Selfie Stick
I’m a big fan of the selfie stick. It has so many uses it’s one piece of kit I carry with me all the time.
I shoot all my video solo so the selfie stick has become my best friend. I can use it for stability, to shoot high and low angle shots and to create distance between me and the camera. You can read more about the benefits of the selfie stick here.
2. Post-It notes
I know, this isn’t’ really a gadget but I always carry a pack. My memory is poor and I can never remember what I’m supposed to say. I don’t have anyone to hold cue cards up so I rely on a couple of Post-It notes stuck to my computer screen or phone next to the camera.
My office is tiny. I’d love a big professional lighting kit but realistically it won’t fit in this small space. Instead, I use a selfie ring light (Amazon associate link). It clips onto my laptop over the webcam or over the top of my phone lighting everything directly in front of it.
Lighting yourself from the front isn’t always the most flattering light. Clip your selfie light to something else slightly to one side for a better effect. This can be low-tech too. I find my makeup mirror makes the perfect selfie light stand.
I use my Blue Yeti microphone (Amazon Associate Link) when I’m shooting on my computer in my office. It makes me sound really good!
If you are out and about the Yeti is cumbersome so you’ll need an alternative. I use the Boya lavalier microphone (Amazon Associate Link). It plugs straight into your phone and it’s got a really long cable so you should get good quality sound even if your subject is a long way from your phone or camera.
If you want good quality sound on the go you can’t beat the Zoom H4N (Amazon associate link). I mostly use this for podcasting but it can act as a good external mic if you need one. The directional microphones make it ideal for recording in a noisy environment.
If you use the H4N you’ll be recording the sound independently from your phone so make sure you make a visual clap on camera. This will help you sync the sound and video in editing later on.
I got a low-cost tripod from discount supermarket chain Lidl many years ago. You don’t have to spend big bucks on a tripod you just need something to hold your camera still that reaches eye level.
The Gorilla Pod (Amazon associate link) is a handy second tripod, it has legs that wrap around objects meaning you can set up almost anywhere. When the legs are straight it makes a good desktop tripod.
Smartphone holder for tripod
To fix your camera to your tripod you’ll need one extra gadget. A holder that attaches to your tripod head and clips onto your phone.
I use the Mudder Universal Smartphone Holder (Amazon associate link). It has two mount points which is handy if your tripod head is fixed.
Video production will drain your phone battery. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a video shoot and realising there’s no juice left. Having at least one powerpack to hand is a must.
What’s in your online video production equipment bag?
That’s my basic kit, I’m always looking for new gadgets to add to my bag. What do you carry with you?