Deciding to start creating video content can be a daunting task. There is a sea of cameras, microphones, and other equipment to choose from; all of which have a wide range in quality and price. To help you navigate through all this and kick-start start your journey, we've put together our recommendations.
FYI: We aren't affiliated or sponsored by any of the equipment listed below.
We recommend starting off your kit by investing in a high-quality microphone. Audiences will tolerate mediocre video with good quality audio but they'll tune out of good video and bad audio. An added benefit of using a good quality microphone is that you can redistribute your content in audio-only format e.g. as a podcast.
Starter Budget – Logitech Yeti (~$99 USD)
The Yeti sounds great for the cost and is a solid entry microphone that will last you for years. It's "plug and play", and easy to use.
Higher Budget – Shure SM7B (~$350) or Sennheiser MKE 600 (~$350USD)
The SM7B is the go-to microphone for audio professionals and is useful for audio-only and video content. However, you'll want to be in close range to the SM7B. If you don't want the microphone in the shot, you'll want a shotgun mic. A shotgun mic can pick up audio from a greater distance.
The higher budget options require a bit more setup. Both options will likely require an interface such as a Scarlett 2i2 or SSL2+ if you plan on recording into your computer. Or a preamp such as a Cloudlifter. The higher budget mics sound better but also require a more in-depth setup.
Good quality audio is more important than good quality video.
Now that we have our audio figured out, let's take move on to lighting. Being in a well-lit room or using even modest lighting equipment can do wonders for the visual appeal of your video. Unpleasant shadows and unbalanced lighting can be distracting to your audience. Also, lighting can help you achieve a professional look and keep the user's focus where you want it.
For beginners, we recommend shooting next to a big window (but not in direct sunlight). If you're able to buy equipment, here are some recommendations.
Starter Budget - "ring" lights (such as the Neewer 14-inch Outer Dimmable LED Ring Light)
Ring lights are a common and easy option to get started with lighting. Usually, they are plug and play, and don't require other equipment.
Higher Budget - Aputure LS C300D Kit (~$950)
This Aputure kit will surely take up a lot more space in your recording area but will look great. It gives off a large, soft light that will appear natural.
Finally, we have cameras. You may be wondering why we'd leave cameras for last but if you're reading this post, we assume you already have a camera – your phone camera. The cameras in modern smartphones are incredible – from Samsung's Galaxy series to iPhones and Google's Pixel series. They are all plenty good for you to get started.
Cameras are easily the most expensive part of a video setup – especially if you include accessories such as lenses, memory cards, etc. They're great, and of course, you'll want to get a proper camera eventually but a fancy camera is not needed to get started. After all, "the best camera is the one that's with you" Chase Jarvis (photographer, director)
But if you're looking to invest in cameras, we have some recommendations for you.
"the best camera is the one that's with you" Chase Jarvis (photographer, director)
Starter Budget - Sony a6400 (Used ~$900 USD)
Higher Budget - Sony A7S3 ($3500)
Using a teleprompter can be useful and we make the best teleprompter software in the game (shameless plug). Teleprompters also come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and prices. So if you're just getting started we recommend a DIY approach. A teleprompter is basically just reflective glass placed in front of a mirror. Some Youtubers have come up with ingenious ways to build DIY teleprompters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IymMzaEdOOE
If you're not in the mood to build, there's also plenty of other options if you search "teleprompter" on Google.