The Exact Gear I Recommend
You want it, you got it.
I’ve had lots of people ask what gear I use to make my videos.
Here’s the quick low down of what I use from start to finish, plus my honest review at each stage (so you know what to expect).
Keep in mind, that this is for my tutorial videos (not for my super techie videos when I have a cast and crew).
This is strictly DIY stuff here!
First up, it’s important to recognize where your passions lie and where your strengths lay.
For example, I’m a big picture video visionary, and on-camera person who also loves to nerd out with shooting and editing. Bam!
However, I recognize that other video peeps know which batteries go with what microphones, who know the ins and outs of all the cameras on the market, and that’s a big part of their career and their passion.
So, understand how tech-savvy you want to be and aim for that goal.
Remember, all of this video stuff is simply a marketing tool so that you can do more of what you love, build your expert status, expand your reach and connect with your ideal customers in a fun, inspiring and helpful way.
Fyi, if a major, headachy, techie issue trips me up, I hop on the Google or the Youtube and get my research on too.
Take the tech stuff one step at a time and do what feels manageable to you, and of course, outsource when you can.
(To see what my main DIY videos look like, quickly visit this LINK.)
For my DIY stuff, I use this CowboyStudio Lighting Kit.
I point two lights at my white hanging back drop…
and then place one light beside the camera to light up my face.
Lately, I’ve been using a Diva Ring Light to light my face. LOVING IT! Comes with a diffuser that you use to cover the light to create a softer effect AND a mount so that you can attach your camera to the centre of the light (for the best effect).
The Diva Ring Light (with diffuser) has a beautiful quality to it, that is GREAT for faces:
COWBOY STUDIO PROS:
- I like the quality of light they cast.
- The price is a good bang for your buck.
- All-in-one kit.
COWBOY STUDIO CONS:
- Super awkward to assemble at first.
- With all the economic DIY lighting kits, durability and physical quality will be always an issue. They are simply not constructed as sturdily as the $1000 (per light) lights.
- Because of this, I leave my lights assembled. I don’t trust that they’ll last if I continually take them apart and put them together again. I take the units off the stands and store them as is.
I’m kickin’ it old school at the moment. I bought a Canon XHA1 about 7 years ago to make my little documentaries and short films.
It uses tape!
I’ve been soooo tempted to get a digital camera, but for now, the Canon still does the job.
But for you, getting started, my way of thinking is to use what you already have (like I do) and make it work for you. If shopping for a camera and learning how to use it sounds like a headache to you, then go with the camera you feel comfortable using.
The 5 key things to look for:
- Has a jack for an external microphone to plug into.
- If you’re doing your own filming, a flip screen comes in handy, so you can see what the shot looks like while standing in your position.
- Fits your budget.
- Isn’t too big a leap, technically. The most important thing is that you’re pressing record.
- Is High Definition (HD) quality.
(Oh and fab-preneurs are using smartphones and webcams left, right and centre these days.)
Don’t let this tech stuff hold you back. Keep your tech goals achievable and as easy to do as possible!
I use a Sennheiser Lavalier Wireless mic.
Definitions that make sense:
Lavalier – A small mic that you can pin to your shirt.
Wireless – there is no wire physically connecting you to your camera, so you can move around with ease. No more accidentally knocking the camera over when you go answer the door (hehe).
FYI, there are wayyyy cheaper ones out there by Audio-Technica.
I bought my Sennheiser because I was shooting and directing documentaries and short films and needed something reliable for guerilla-style shooting.
Tripods and Smartphone mounts
A tripod is a fantastic tool that will keep your camera steady, in a pinch.
Forget trying to steady your camera on a stack of books. I highly recommend that you pick up a simple tripod to give your videos that professional touch.
I personally use a pro tripod because it is extra sturdy and gives me peace of mind that my camera won’t get easily knocked over. If you want to go this route, I suggest this Manfrotto 2-Way Kit.
A mid-range tripod that I highly recommend is this bad boy by Magnus.
If you’re looking for a beginner tripod that’s under $100, I suggest picking up this tripod by Dolica.
If you’re using an smartphone, you’ll need an additional attachment to add to your tripod, so that the phone will fit on top.
I recommend the Joby GripTight Smartphone Tripod Mount (XL) with Cleaning Kit.
If you’re using a tablet and need something a bit bigger, you’ll need a heftier attachment to fit on top of your tripod.
I recommend this one by Mudder.
If you’re looking for a Selfie Stick for smartphones OR tablets then grab this simple one.
I mostly use Final Cut Pro (only for the SUPER ambitious folk who want to become editors). It’s a very complex (and versatile) program, not for the (techie) faint of heart.
I also use the more user-friendly software Screenflow for some of my videos.
Screenflow is what I’d recommend for the DIYers who don’t want a super duper ginormous learning curve in the editing suite. I do find with my computer that it can get kinda glitchy, which makes editing harder than it should be. Nevertheless, it’s got lots of bells and whistles, and it’s great for a start up DIYer.
Check it out HERE. (Scroll down the page to find “Screenflow”) 🙂
For the PC peeps? I’ve never used it, as I’m a Mac gal, but word on the street is that Camtasia is the way to go (also makes a Mac version).
You may be asking: What the heck is a bumper?
It’s the graphics/photo thingee with music underneath it that goes at the beginning and ending of videos (mine has my company name and shining sundogs in it). SEE:
I created mine in Adobe After Effects. I soooooo don’t recommend you try to use this software. It’s a super pro special effects program, and your learning curve will take a lot of time.
I did some digging for you and found Spasheo. They make fun, bright bumpers that are full of personality.
Check em out HERE.
Keep in mind that your Bumper should:
- Include your and/or your company’s name.
- The name of the video series/channel, if it has a name. (Like if I wanted my video blogs to be called say, Shine-TV, or something.)
- Set the tone and vibe of you and your biz (playful, uplifting, empowering, etc).
Okay, I hope that you found all this info helpful! Remember to pace yourself.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by tech stuff, consider if there are any parts of this that you are willing to either outsource or simplify.
Leave a comment to let me know what’s on your (techie?) mind.
Be kind to yourself on your video adventure!
And as always…
Sarah Michelle Brown
Your Virtual Video Director
Note: Some links listed here are affiliate links. 🙂