So, you’ve decided you want to be a video creator. Great choice. It’s never been easier to create awesome videos and build an audience. YouTube, Instagram and TikTok are all free and easy platforms just waiting for your content. With a high-definition camera built into every smartphone, there’s no excuse not to tell your stories. But if you want to step up your video quality from mobile videos, you’ll need a set of fundamental video equipment for YouTube or other types of videos. The exact brands depend on your budget because you can spend a few hundred dollars for something or easily a few thousand, but to make a video, you’ll need:
- Editing Software
Let’s break them down.
The bread and butter of getting your video equipment for YouTube. The type of camera you use will vary wildly depending on the kind of videos you want to create and your budget. For the most part, a small handheld camera that shoots HD – preferably 4K – will be a huge step up from a mobile camera. Perhaps more important than the camera is the lens you pair it with. For shooting YouTube vlogs, choose something with a wide angle, like 35mm, with a low aperture to get a nice shallow depth of field.
A beginner’s DSLR won’t set you back very much, and you can pick up a used Canon Rebel T8i pretty cheaply. But if you want to futureproof your gear, it’s worth investing in something more modern, like a mirrorless camera like the Canon EOS R or Sony A7Siii. They’re more expensive, but manufacturers are gradually shifting towards mirrorless systems and winding down their DSLRs. The high resolution of modern mirrorless cameras will make your video content really stand out and remain high quality for a long time to come.
Video is only one-half of the challenge. Even films with the sharpest footage in the world won’t impress your audiences if your audio quality is poor. A high-quality microphone that records crystal clear audio without any echo or feedback doesn’t need to cost the world, either. There are a few types of microphones to consider, and the one you choose is really down to personal preference.
A shotgun microphone is the traditional kind of mic you see on the end of booms. It sits out of shot and can be mounted nearby or on top of the camera. It’s directional, picking up the sound from the source it’s pointing at, making it great for pieces to camera.
A lapel microphone is a mic that is clipped to the subject or presenter’s clothes. It can either be wired or wireless and is great for picking up a warmer, richer sound much closer to the speaker’s throat.
Finally, you could opt for the desktop microphone that podcasters and streamers have embraced in the last few years. If you’re making YouTube videos and don’t mind seeing a microphone obviously in shot, these can capture incredible quality audio.
What use is a great setup if nobody can see you? Lights are the kind of kit you can easily spend a small fortune on if you want something incredibly cinematic, but really you just need a splash of light to make your subject stand out. You can do this with a softbox, creating a gentle but pleasant light source, or a ring light or LED panel, which create much harsher but more vivid lighting effects.
It seems simple, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who rush out to buy a camera without thinking about how they will support it and frame their shots. For example, are you filming at a desk and require grips and flexible stands? Or do you just need a regular static tripod? Or maybe you’re filming out and about and need a gimbal to get some nice smooth-moving shots. Whatever you decide to create, there will be a tripod out there that works for your needs and budget.
Once you’ve lit and recorded your shots, you’ll need somewhere to put the footage. Storage is getting cheaper by the day, but video resolution is getting higher, and files are getting bigger. So you’ll need a large hard drive – at least 250GB if you want to keep multiple projects on there – and a cable to connect it to your computer.
If you can afford it, consider investing in an SSD. They’re fast, sturdy and reliable and will make the editing process much easier.
The computer you choose to work on will need to be able to handle high-quality video footage. Whether you choose a desktop or laptop for video editing, the most critical elements are a fast video card and lots of RAM to speed up rendering speeds. There’s nothing worse than spending all day shooting only for your computer to struggle to even play back the footage.
The larger your footage, the more processing speed your computer will require, so consider shooting in 1080HD rather than 4K if this is an issue for you. The smaller your video files, the less storage you will need, too.
7. Editing Software
And last, but not least on our list of video equipment for YouTube is the actual software you will be editing on. Editing software ranges from simple, free programs that let you stitch a few clips together to professional post-production programs that allow you to mix audio and create complex motion graphics and other effects. You’ll find that media professionals and Hollywood editors work with Avid, Adobe Creative Suite and Final Cut Pro.
HitFilm is a great video editing software designed with online content creators in mind. Also, check out CapCut, a free online video editing service that will let you crank out videos for your social media in no time.
Filmmaking is a broad spectrum, and you can spend a couple of hundred dollars on a beginner’s DSLR, or you could spend a hundred grand on a Hollywood production. But remember that when choosing video equipment for YouTube, a high-resolution camera alone won’t make good videos. Instead, good videos come from the story, editing and creative craft that are put into it, so work on your technique before investing in expensive gear.