Table of Contents
Starting a YouTube channel can be quite intimidating, we usually get lost thinking about all the gear we need, or most likely just want. However, if we break it down to the essentials, then there are only 3 categories that we need to pay attention to:
1. Sound Quality.
3. Video Quality
I'll talk about the gear that I use, and suggestions for alternative gear as well. Links to all my equipment are listed on the "My Gear" page, right here.
Sound & Audio Quality
To me, this is one of the most important categories, especially when you are focusing on narrative films, documentaries, short films, feature films etc. Please can sit and endure bad visuals or video quality, but they can't do the same with audio, and trust me, they won't.
There's nothing worse than showcasing your work to an audience, and having issues with audio levels, the emptiness, mixing dialogue, etc. So I can tell you, from experience, that audio is one of the most important things. Invest in good audio, even if it's a bit more expensive than you initially thought.
You can start with a simple on-camera mic, like a Rode VideoMicro for example, just plug it in and go. It's a lot better than nothing, but not ideal if you're not too close to the camera.
The distance between the subject and the microphone matters, so you should try to boom the microphone as close as possible just out of the frame, to get the best possible results. I personally use & suggest you get something like a Rode VideoMic NTG or a Deity D3 Pro, those are the best sort of entry-level mics for content creation.
Lighting & Modifiers
This is the second most important and also the least expensive category. Making sure your videos are exposed properly is key, pun intended. There's nothing more amateur than underexposed videos that you later try to fix in post, and the end result is just a grainy and noisy mess. Don't do it.
There are lots of affordable options out there, but I personally use a Godox SL150WII light with a light dome modifier. It's good quality, really easy to use, And even comes with a remote controller so I can change the brightness while checking the frame. That is awesome
However, I recommend something less expensive like a Godox SL-60W, Those are great options, that cost a lot less money, while still maintaining the overall quality, and also come with the remote, which to me, is key.
There are tons of videos and articles out there about saving money using Ikea house lights, or home depot lights, however, the intensity of the light is not everything.
The quality of the light is important as well. Get a light with a CRI 95+, and a TLCI of 90+, Since having a well-lit video with disgusting white balance is also the mark of amateur filmmakers.
The easiest and least expensive thing you can do is to just shoot during the day, right next to a window. You won't be able to control the clouds or the weather, but at least you get a great source of light, for free, and a great white balance as well.
It's a great option, provided you are willing to deal with the hassle of what it entails.
Video Quality - Camera & Lenses
Finally, we arrive at the category that I consider to be the least important, however, this is the category that most people spend all of their time and money in. So I'll keep this one brief. To start all you need is a smartphone.
In fact, the first 10 videos on this channel were shot with an iPhone 8 Plus and Rode VideoMicro. You can watch my video about this right here:
For most people, that is good enough, however, there are some over-sharpening issues, a lack of wide colour gamuts, eye-tracking autofocus, video formats, etc.
So if you're looking for a higher-quality camera that won't break the bank, then I recommend the Sony ZV1 instead. I've made a full review of this camera, and you can watch it right here:
The Sony ZV-1 is not perfect, it has lots of downsides and negative aspects that most videos did not mention when it was released. However, for the purpose of my videos, this camera is great, the eye-tracking autofocus is just perfect. I don't vlog, I don't handhold it and I don't shoot for extended periods of time.
Sony has recently announced the replacement for the ZV1, the Sony ZV-E10, however, I personally don't find it to be an actual improvement. So I can't recommend you buy it.
Check Amazon and other sources of used gear, The ZV1 will drop in price after the new camera is released, which makes it even more appealing for people on a budget. Other cameras like the Sony A7SIII or other brand equivalents are beyond the scope of this video, which is to start making or creating content.
So unless you are actually doing freelancing work and need better more capable gear, I wouldn’t recommend investing that much in camera equipment if you don't have experience or haven’t worked professionally in that field before.
This is a summary of my YouTube Video, you can watch the whole piece here: