Founded in 2006, the Google-owned video-sharing platform YouTube has long been the number one place for video content creators to share their work and gain a following. In the beginning, the early YouTubers skyrocketed in fame recording themselves on their parents’ camcorders or webcams and virtually anyone with the personality to entertain could ‘make it’ on YouTube.
Nowadays, the video-sharing platform is a lot more saturated, and with over 300 hours of video uploaded every minute, it is very difficult to get noticed. Whilst a lot of it is luck in getting a video viral, the key to getting people sharing your content and most importantly coming back to your channel to pump out high-quality videos. For that, you’re going to need the right kit!
Using the right equipment
Whether you’re looking to be a vlogger, a tech YouTuber, a gamer or more, one of the key requirements to getting views on YouTube is to make sure your gear is up to scratch. Nobody is going to want to watch potato-cam vlogs recorded with the audio from an old laptop microphone. If you want viewers to engage with your content and keep coming back, you’ll need to invest in a decent kit to make your videos stand out.
The first piece of equipment to watch out for is the camera. Whilst cameras you already own like an old camcorder or your smartphone might be good enough when starting out, if you’re serious about becoming a YouTuber, you should invest in a good quality camera.
When choosing what camera to buy, its best to keep in mind the different types of cameras on the market. Each body type has its strengths and drawbacks, and depending on the type of videos you’re making, your pick of a camera might vary. GadgetGang has a detailed list of ten of the best cameras for YouTube. Here are a few of their recommendations for each category.
DSLR: Canon EOS 90D
DLSR (Digital Single Reflex) cameras are the long-standing bread and butter of YouTube cameras. Delivering fantastic image quality in a robust and sturdy body, their popularity means DLSR cameras like the Canon EOS 90D are the top choices for many of the most successful YouTubers. If you’re planning to use a tripod for your videos, DLSRs are your best bet for great quality videos. The wide selection of lenses using Canon’s EF mount means you can purchase the right lens to match your style and the brand new 90D even supports 4K video recording.
DLSRs have large sensors and so paired with a quality portrait or video lens, they are hands down the best for achieving that cinematic bokeh effect to bring your videos up a notch. Though, DLSRs tend to be on the heavy and bulky side of YouTube cameras, and so if you’re out and about daily vlogging or making sports videos, mirrorless or action cameras may suit better.
Compact: Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III
Compact cameras are lighter and more portable cameras than DLSRs and are much more suited to vlogging on-the-go. GadgetGang’s top pick is the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III and with its fantastic 4K video capabilities and lightweight design, we think it is a great choice too. Compact cameras have their lenses fixed to the camera and therefore it’s important to pick the camera with a great lens to ensure the best video quality. The G7 X MkIII is incredibly simple to use and so you can just whip it out, point it at your subject or yourself and hit record. Compact cameras have smaller sensors, so I don’t recommend these for bedroom or studio setups where you’d like that depth of field effect. These cameras are certainly more suited to the ‘run and gun’ content creator.
Action Cam: GoPro Hero 8
The Action Cam market has become synonymous with the brand GoPro and for good reason. Their line of action cams is consistently the best around and the latest premium option the Hero 8 is a great choice if you’re looking to record stunts and upload them to YouTube. The GoPro Hero 8 is built to withstand the extreme force of whatever you throw at it. Want to attach it to a drone? Go for it. Hurl it down a mountain? It’ll be fine. Use it to see what’s under the sea? No problem. Whatever action you want to record, the Hero 8 and comparable action cams are perfect fits to bring your daredevil videos to the next level.
Another option to consider is interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras like the Panasonic GX85. These cameras combine the video quality of a DLSR with the portability of a compact camera and they might be a great option if you’re looking for a middle ground camera to do it all.
Now you’ve got a great camera, its time to light and frame your shot to look spectacular. Here are some basic rules:
- Never shoot towards a bright light source like a window. Even with the most expensive cameras, you’ll appear as a dark blob blown out by the window. Turn your setup around and shoot in the opposite direction. Use your window as your light source, not your backdrop.
- If you don’t want to use sunlight from your window, use a lamp or even better video lights to light up your face. Place a light source off to the side and use a diffuser or bounce the light to soften your light source to achieve a cinematic look.
- If you want soft shadows and warm light outdoors, consider shooting in the hour or two before sunset (the golden hour) and see how pretty your videos will turn out!
Once you’ve got your video sorted and your lights set up, next you’ll need to invest in some audio gear. A good quality microphone is a must as if you’ve got terrible sound, viewers might find it unbearable to watch your videos no matter how entertaining you are.
A firm favorite shotgun microphone among YouTubers is the Rode VideoMic Pro. Simply fix this to your cold-shoe mount on the top of your camera, plug it into the microphone port and you’ll have great audio. If you’re shooting outside, don’t forget to pick up a wind shield (known commonly as a dead cat) to block out the harsh sounds of wind hitting the microphone.
If you’re at a desk, doing voice-over work or gaming, a USB condenser microphone is essential to get smooth and crisp audio for your videos. A popular choice among gaming YouTubers is the Blue Yeti making your voice sound clean and warm in videos.
Depending on your channel category, there may be other pieces of kit you might need to buy. A decent computer for any workload is recommended, a dedicated GPU is a nice to have. This is because once you shoot your masterpiece, you’ll need to edit it. Therefore, you’ll need to invest in a good video editing program. If you have the money, Adobe Premiere Pro is the industry standard. Though DaVinci Resolve is a great alternative, and it’s free too! If you’re making gaming videos, a gaming graphics card is a must as laggy gaming footage isn’t too nice to watch.
Once you’re all geared up, find a topic or niche that interests you and go ahead and make. The equipment you have is only your stepping stone. It’s now time to let your creativity run wild. Have fun and be original, and you’ll be a successful YouTuber in no time.