Here is the complete guide to the vlogging equipment you need to get started and what gear to get when you upgrade.
There is a lot of gear you can get, but that doesn’t mean you need it all right from the start. And also, keep in mind, equipment should never be in the way of creating content. Always start with what you have and find smart solutions if you are on a lower budget.
Essential Production Kit
Below is a list of the core vlogging equipment essentials and everything you need to get started.
When choosing a camera for vlogging, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Video Quality – Ideally, you want a minimum of 1080p resolution. Although 4k is increasingly common, many vloggers don’t actually upload in 4k. The reason is that 4k takes up twice the size than 1080p on an SD card. 4k also requires a more powerful computer for editing. Also, most people’s phones or tablets will not show videos in 4k on youtube, so you need to think about who your audience is and if they really need 4k.
- Low light conditions – Since you are vlogging, you won’t always have access to great lighting for your video. Lighting is essential for good video quality. Your footage might end up looking grainy when you shoot outside at night or in other low light conditions. Therefore you want a camera that can handle adverse lighting conditions. Look for cameras with bigger sensors like DSLRs or full-frame cameras.
- Flip Screen – A flip screen that can face forward will allow you to see yourself while recording and is very helpful when vlogging. I don’t think this needs more explanation.
- Microphone port – A camera with a mic port allows you to bump up the audio quality significantly with a microphone. Even if you don’t plan to get a mic right off the start, you will always have that option later.
- Wifi (not essential) – Wifi can be a useful feature if you want to upload a video directly to social media.
- Stabilization (not essential) – Some cameras do offer optical image stabilization. It allows you to record better videos while moving around. No one likes to watch shaky videos.
- Higher Frame Rate (not essential) – If you want to include slow-motion clips in your videos, you will need to consider cameras that allow for higher frame rates.
What type of vlog you want to create will also determine what kind of camera you want to get.
- Travel/Adventure Vlogs – For this type of vlogs, you would want something more durable like a GoPro. But there are also more affordable alternatives.
- Every Day Vlogs – Here, you would want something that can easily fit in your pocket.
- Reviews/makeup tutorials – For videos where the camera sits still on a tripod or a desk, you can go more old school with a DSLR or even a good smartphone. A bigger camera does limit what you can do, though.
Smartphone vs. Camera
Shooting a video with a smartphone is also a good option when starting. Some smartphones can shoot 4k and even have stabilization features. But there are limitations, though. A smartphone will not be suitable if you are shooting videos with a lot of motion. A camera will do a better job of that.
Another thing is the quality in low light conditions. Smartphones usually don’t have big sensors making the video appear grainy when dark. In conclusion, a smartphone would be more suitable if you are filming something while it sits still and with good lighting (indoor videos like reviews or makeup tutorials).
People will forgive bad video quality but never lousy audio. I would go as far as to say that good sound is more important than good video.
The best microphones for vlogging are cardioid mics. These types of microphones will only record sounds coming from one direction. This feature makes them ideal for recording speech without hearing a truck passing by.
There are three kinds of microphones to consider for vlogging.
A microphone that connects directly to a USB port. Great for stationary vlogs, podcasts or streams. They give you high quality as long as you stay close to the microphone.
A lavalier is a small unobtrusive microphone you can clip onto clothing. Because of their size, you can easily clip them onto a shirt, collar, or tie. They come with wired and wireless options. Great for youtube videos, interviews, and podcasts.
Shotgun microphones are best for recording from longer distances. Shotgun mics are also used in filmmaking, where the mic needs to be out of the frame. They capture sound from a very narrow area at the front, canceling sound waves coming from the side. What makes them suitable for vlogging is that they can be attached to your DSLR.
Unless you are filming with a smartphone, your camera itself has a minimal storage capacity. This is why you will need an SD card. Keep in mind that if you are shooting in higher resolutions, you will need more space.
For outdoor videos, the simplest option would be a LED light that attaches to your camera. They are portable and straightforward to use. For indoor video, you would use something like a Ring Light or a softbox more a softer, more natural light.
For more information on how to use lighting, we have written an in-depth article for just that, check it out here.
A GorillaPod is a flexible tripod with legs that bend. They are durable, versatile, and work with both small smartphones and bigger cameras like DLSR’s. A Gorillapod can allow you to set up your camera in places where a traditional tripod cant. The legs can wrap around a pole, table legs, or anything similar. You can also use it as a vlogging stick if you want a handheld angle. They are an essential staple in your vlogging gear kit.
Intermediate Production Kit
As you start making better videos and add to your vlogging arsenal, there is gear to improve production quality and make your life easier.
Above, we mentioned the Gorillapod tripod, but ideally, you also want a bigger tripod. A tripod is necessary if you don’t have a cameraman or if you want the camera to sit still. This is a must-have for outdoor videos and many indoor vlogs too. They come in many different sizes.
A Card Reader
The fastest way to transfer video from your SD card to your computer is through a card reader. SomePC’ss come with built-in SD card readers, but most don’t. Otherwise, there are always external card readers you can get for cheap.
Video eats up a lot of power quickly from your camera. If you are on the go, you should always have some spare batteries with you. This is even more important for travel or adventure vloggers.
Vlogging Camera Stick
A selfie video stick can allow you to hold the camera turned towards yourself while giving you a better angle.
There is nothing worse for a viewer than a shacky video. A gimbal allows you to hold the camera without shooting shaky footage.
As you are building up your vlogging kit, with fragile and expensive equipment, you want a way to transport it without damaging it. A standard backpack from home can work for beginners. But as you get more equipment, you want to look into professional bags with compartments.
A Camera Remote
With a remote, you can start or stop recording from a distance. They are an inexpensive way to make your video shoots more efficient.
If you ever have recorded outside when it is windy, you probably have gotten that horrible noise. This noise is due to the wind hitting the microphone. An easy fix is a microphone muffler. A simple, cheap, and small piece of equipment that ramps up production quality significantly. A must-have if you are shooting outdoors often.
A Matte Box
A matte box is a screen attached to the end of the lens that blocks sunlight to prevent lens flare. Another excellent piece of equipment to own if you shoot a lot outside.
Advanced Production Kit
In the advanced category, you will find vlogging gear that is more expensive but also require you to be knowledgeable about how to use it.
With a green screen, you can change the backdrop of your video digitally in post-production. Green screens are very popular with YouTubers and other content creators. Although green screens themselves are not that expensive or hard to use, there is a lot you will need to make them work correctly. A green screen only works with the correct lighting setup. You will also need to consider software to use in post to remove and replace the background.
A drone is a more advanced tool for videographers. It allows you to capture unique birds-eye shots that ramp up the production quality.
Drones are expensive equipment, but also keep in mind that you need some practice and research to use them properly.