• Ryan Tate

A Gear Guide For Beginner Vloggers


You’ve been thinking about capturing moments and sharing your experiences or skills with an audience but don’t know where to begin? Look no further! This guide below will help you cut against the pesky articles spread across the web on how you need a Hollywood budget to show your friends your wicked trip to Queenstown.


These products listed are within a price range I would consider for a beginners pathway to creating a vlog. With production quality that would protrude your talent and ideas amongst the rest. We aren’t going to cover lenses on this guide as the cameras I have suggested have them in place from the get-go. If you want to start swapping lenses for a certain shot you’re looking for, we’ll have an Intermediates guide for that.


Let’s get this guide underway!



Cameras


Your Smartphone

Ever heard the term, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it? Well here’s where your mobile phone comes in. Phones these days aren’t what they used to be, perhaps picking up a call and stretching out the antennae was a power move, but now we have the whole world in our hands as well as fantastic camera quality to go with it.


A flagship phone from the last four years can shoot 1080p video with excellent quality and all it takes is an app to control your desires. Shooting a vlog off your phone is extremely handy (get it) and is useful with the front-facing camera, but it isn’t all complete without accessories. Below in this guide, we talk about useful products that can elevate your smartphone vlogs to the next level.


Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80

A magnificent hunk of Japanese machinery. Don’t let its bulky exterior fool you, this budget-friendly DSLR packs a punch for videography. It has a built-in 60x superzoom lens for incredible long-distance shots whilst keeping quality and class.


A ton of features include a touch screen monitor, 20-1200mm equivalent focal length, Wi-Fi capability and many others. Containing an 18.1MP High-Sensitivity MOS sensor, the FZ80 has a top ISO of 6400 for fantastic low-light conditions as well as a UHD 4K/30p video recording at 100 Mbps for all those little details. This is definitely a DSLR you’d want if it’s not only for front-facing vlogging but also B-Roll footage and nature enthusiasts.


Canon EOS M200

The king of budget vlogging. This little point and shoot contain some out of this world specifications for its price point. We’re talking about a 24.1MP C-MOS sensor, 3.0” flip-out screen so you can see yourself whilst filming, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and of course 4K/23.976p video recording at 120Mbps.


Now all those numbers may not mean much to someone starting out in the video recording world, but for its sleek and stylish design and its competitive price, it’s hard to argue that these are the standards for creating incredible footage. There is no audio jack available in this camera to mount a shotgun microphone or a lavalier, but the audio quality and clarity from its built-in stereo microphone is stellar and won’t disturb your footage. We’ll call it a win-win situation.


Microphones


Rode SmartLav + & Rode VideoMic Me

I’ve decided to bundle these two together for a couple of reasons. These are simply perfect if you’re getting into videography with your smartphone. You are able to use the SmartLav to mic yourself up for close quarters filming with incredible clarity, as well as being able to swap out and use the VideoMic Me for more open and roaming recordings such as the sounds around you and the friends you’re recording along the way.


The SmartLav and VideoMic Me come in different output conditions depending on the type of connector your phone has, so it doesn’t matter if you’re team Apple or Android, you’re going to get the best bang for your buck in terms of audio quality. These two microphones can also be bundled with a dead cat microphone shield to prevent wind noise when outdoors.


The greatest part about these two microphones is that you don’t need to be recording video off your phone to utilize its capabilities. Simply use a voice recording application and sync up the video from any device you seem to feel comfortable with.


Accessories


Tripods

When you picture the idea of vlogging, you imagine walking around with your camera and narrating your adventures. But is it always comfortable to hold your camera from the base, or perhaps propping your camera against a book for a stable shot? I’d say no. Here’s where a trusty tripod comes in handy more than you’d think. Whether you’re indoors in front of your camera or outdoors on a trip to Armageddon, you want something to not only position your camera but also hold and stabilize your footage.


A great beginners pick if you're simply sitting in front of your DSLR camera is the Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod, a max height of 155cm so if you’re sitting down it has a great height to tower over or stand snug at your eye level. Has an ergonomic grip for steady pans down and across as well as a minimum height of roughly 44cm, allowing you to essentially carry this tripod to act as a monopod.


If you’re looking to carry around your camera and are after a more comfortable and stable choice while walking, I would suggest the Joby GorillaPod 3K. This flexible and sturdy tripod is small enough to handle with your camera on top and flexes to any position you feel comfortable with. It features spherical shaped balls acting as your tripod legs that are adjustable in unison allowing you to wrap around a tree branch or your car's dashboard, the mounting positions are endless. Joby also provides GorillaPods with mounts specifically for smartphones to be attached.


Camera Bag

You don’t think you could carry all of this yourself? Well when it’s all set up perhaps, but while you’re travelling you want to make sure your equipment is neatly tucked away and ready to pull out at any moment. There are tons of cheap and beginner-friendly options for a camera bag, thousands upon thousands.


I recommend the Manfrotto Advanced II Shoulder Bag as it's compact for a small vlogging kit containing a DSLR and accessories to boot. Rainproof with a shoulder strap and secure enough to keep your possessions at the ready.




Final Notes

In this section, we’ll gloss over the other essentials that may be of use to you in the realm of vlogging.


When it comes to storage you’d be surprised how easy it is to fill up on footage and have no space left to make more, opting for a reliable and larger solution is better than going towards multiple smaller storage solutions, especially when vlogging when you need your camera on rather than swapping out memory cards. You can pick up SD Cards from the reputable brand SanDisk to appeal to your storage needs. If you factor in the math of recording 4K footage at 120Mbps, you’re going to need a lot of storage. For a day of shooting hi-res footage, I would recommend nothing lower than a 128gb Memory Card that has a high read speed from around 90-200Mbps.


There are also lighting solutions to your vlogging kit. If you’re staying indoors there are many options such as a ring light, softbox kit and or LED kits. If you’re shooting on the go there are hot-shoe mounted lights that can go directly on top of your camera! Small LED panels to smartphone ring lights as well.


Well folks, that about wraps up a beginners guide to vlogging. If this got you excited to venture into the world and record cats on the street then I’m happy for you. Go out there and shoot, edit, repeat!