Since I’ve started vlogging weekly over on my Love and London Youtube channel, I’ve been asked by plenty of bloggers and biz owners what kind of equipment I use to create my videos— and also how much it all cost. Before I started creating video I thought I needed some fancy camera and serious equipment to get started, but after taking a class with Nigel Camp and getting involved in the Youtube community here in London , I was able to start creating videos with just a couple of smalls investments.
You can do the same— use what you have, and you’ll be creating regular, high-quality videos for your blog or business in no time. Here’s what you’ll need to get started.
So this is obviously the one piece of equipment that you 100% cannot start creating videos without. But you don’t need to invest in a super-expensive DSLR to start shooting video— use what you have, like your smartphone! Most of us have those and they can take some GREAT video clips. In fact, if you’re vlogging on the go, your smartphone will be much easier to use for filming than a big and heavy DSLR. If you have a point-and-shoot, that will do fine too.
What I use:
90% of my vlogs where I’m not sitting in front of the camera and speaking to it were filmed on my iPhone, and as long as you have half-decent lighting, it works brilliantly— the microphone is even have decent on it if you’re close enough to it.
A few of my “speaking to the camera” videos were filmed with my Nikon D3200, the camera that I used to use for my blog photography. It didn’t have a flip-out screen, so I would put a mirror behind it so I could make sure I was in focus and in the right position. I’m telling you— just use what you have!
I now film my videos on an Olympus PEN E-PL7. It’s my new go-to camera for everything, but to be honest, I didn’t invest in it myself— I won it at a blogging event. But it IS a great camera and worth considering purchasing— there are some things that the Nikon does better, but I like that the Olympus has a flip-out screen (which unfortunately is blocked when used with a tripod but I make it work) and it has auto-focus. Also, you can’t beat its compact size– that’s my favourite part!
Again— if you’re not in the market for a new camera, use what you have and make it work.
Up until a couple of days ago, I did not own any pieces of lighting equipment. Natural light is the best for shooting videos, and the great thing about it is that it’s free! So head outside or pop yourself in front of a window and get filming. If your neighbors pass by your window, just duck— that’s what I do! I HAVE just purchased a small light due to the dark London winter approaching and because my ground-floor flat doesn’t get much light as it is. It’s sat next to me as I write this— once I give it a go I’ll let you know how it is and if it’s worth buying (it was only £15 on Ebay, a bargain really)
Even with this new light, I’ll still be filming with natural light as often as I can, and so should you.
if you’re only planning to vlog on the go, you may not need a tripod. If you’ll be filming lots of “talk to the camera” videos like I do, a tripod will make your life much easier and will mean you can easily position yourself in a spot with good lighting or with an interesting background (but we’ll get into that.)
What I use:
I have a few different tripods, all for different purposes.
For my iPhone, I use the flexible Joby GorillaPod with a smartphone clip. I don’t often need this, but it’s good to have for filming timelapses or if I need to do a quick “talk to the camera” video on the go.
I also have a DSLR-sized GorillaPod, which I use with both my Nikon and Olympus PEN. I like that it can wrap around anything so it gives me more options for where I can position my camera when I’m out and about.
Finally, my husband got me this travel tripod, which gets taller than the GorillaPod and works great for filming at home or on the go when I know I’ll have a flat surface to position it on. This is a cheaper alternative, I’ve never used it before but it has decent reviews on Amazon, and for the price, it would’t hurt to give it a shot.
One option will be just fine for you, depending on what kind of videos you’re creating.
Audio is REALLY important when it comes to creating videos— you can get away with poor picture quality but you CANNOT get away with poor audio quality.
As an example— listen to the audio in a video I filmed over a year ago, and then listen to the difference in my latest video. Which sounds better? More professional? The first video was filmed with no microphone, and the more recent one was. IT REALLY MATTERS! Luckily, poor audio is a relatively easy thing to fix.
If you’re vlogging on the go and find yourself very close to the camera while you or your subject is speaking, you may find that all you’ll need to do to your audio is turn the volume up when you’re editing your video (here’s an example of when I did that with my Olympus PEN ) If that’s not the case, you’ll probably want to get an inexpensive lapel mic to attach to your clothes to properly record your audio.
Some cameras will let you plug a mic into your camera, which makes everything super-simple. If not, you can get an attachment to plug it into your phone, record your audio on your phone, and line them up when you edit. A trick for this— clap before you start talking, and it will help you line up your audio and video easier.
What I use:
When recording on my Nikon and iPhone, I use this lapel mic that works just fine— I won’t be recording any feature-length films with it anytime soon but it definitely does the job. To plug it into my iPhone I use this adapter.
My Olympus PEN is a bit different— I had to get an adapter to be able to plug my mic into it (and it also came with a lapel mic) but now that I’ve got it, the recording process is super simple.
There are other types of microphones you can get, like boom mics, but those are usually a bit more expensive and not suited to what I film for. I think you can get away with a lapel mic for plenty of types of videos.
5. Uncluttered background
Yay— another free one! If you’re sitting in front of the camera, there’s no need for a special backdrop cloth or anything of the sort— just find a background that is uncluttered and somewhat pleasant to look at. I don’t recommend filming in front of a blank wall, as that’s quite boring and doesn’t give your video’s background any dimension. You’ll see in my past few videos I’m just sat in my room, but I always give it a bit of a tidy and arrange some candles and such behind me. It’s a great excuse to keep my room clean!
6. Editing Software
If you think you need Final Cut Pro or some other expensive and complicated editing software to be able to start vlogging, you’re VERY wrong. Some of the biggest Youtubers in the world just use iMovie to create their videos, and that’s what I use— it comes free with Mac computers and does pretty much everything I need it to. If you’re a Windows user, Windows Movie Maker will do just fine as well, just keep in mind that you won’t be able to use iPhone footage in WMM (although I think the new iOS comes with the iMovie app for free that you can try out) But still—yay for free stuff!
7. Memory Card
One thing you will definitely want to invest in, in case you don’t have one already, is a decent-sized memory card. I have a 32G Sandisk card that holds SO MUCH, but just remember that video takes up tons of space so you may need to upgrade from the card you’re using at the moment. There’s nothing worse than getting half-way through filming a video and getting that “memory card full” message! Memory cards are so cheap these days that you might as well just grab one to prevent that from happening.
That’s it! You CAN get started filming videos today, so don’t let the excuse “I’m waiting until I can buy this and this” hold you back from getting ahead of your competitors and fellow bloggers.
One final note– speaking in front of the camera, as well as just filming and editing movies in general, can be tough. You’ll get better with practice, so wouldn’t you rather practice with what you have, and then when you’re a video pro, consider investing in some more equipment? That’s how I have approached it from the beginning.
Have any questions about what we just talked about? Let me know in the comments below, I’ll answer them. Just don’t get too technical
*Some of the links above are affiliate links, but I’ve only recommended products I use myself (frequently), unless otherwise noted.