Vlogging can be a fulfilling hobby, and when done right, can even be a lucrative source of income. Vlogs are great because you get to add your personality and style to a topic you know and love, and then share it for others to enjoy. This makes it worth doing, even if you aren’t generating income. But, if you are wanting to up your vlogging game and turn it into a money-making opportunity, then you’ll need to begin investing not only into your niche, but in vlog production as well. Like the saying goes: it takes money to make money.
You could have great content, a smart script, and an enjoyable personality, but if viewers are struggling to engage because of poor audio and visuals, then it could all be a waste. When it comes to choosing what to watch, a lot of people pick based on quality, and it’s no wonder why: a person who has spent the time and money to invest in good A/V is serious about what they do, and thus is going to make sure they have quality content to match. Obviously, there are some exceptions to this, but if you are wanting to convert viewers to subscribers, then you can’t afford to slack in production.
Cameras and Lenses
Yes, it’s true. You can record with just your phone. However, it’s also true that most phones can’t compete with most digital cameras (if you want to read more about this, check out this article on KevinLJ about the difference or this article by Camera House comparing smartphones and cameras.) So what exactly will you need? There may be certain cameras or lenses which could benefit your niche, like if you want impressive slow-motion clips for a sports training vlog or a macro lens that allows you to capture the fine details of nature for your travel vlog, however, specifics aside, there are some excellent multi-purpose cameras and lenses which are great for a variety of uses and are sure to make whatever you do look fantastic.
For a camera, we would recommend the Sony ZV-E10, a 4k Vlogger camera which you could get for around $700. The compact size of this mirrorless camera allows you to easily take it with you on the go, making it great for a wide range of vlog genres. The 4k capabilities allow you to make jump cuts by zooming in and give an appearance of a second angle. However, you’ll want to get two of these to make sure you are able to capture video from multiple angles during one take. This will give you more dynamic footage in your videos. Of course, you’ll also want two tripods for those two cameras.
To accompany these cameras, go for the Sony 35mm and 50mm OSS lenses, which can be bought for around $475 and $350 respectively. These will give you wide and tight shots. If you’re going to start with just one, the 35mm may be what you want to begin with. The two cameras, two lenses, and two tripods will be the big bulk of your expenses, so you’ll need around $2,500. If it sounds like a lot to you, just remember that it’s an investment (if it doesn’t sound like a lot, then what are you waiting for? Add it to your cart!). Also, Don’t forget to throw in your cart some quality charging equipment as well, like a pair of USBC charging blocks and cables.
Now cameras may seem like the most important items, but it takes more than just a good camera and lens to create a sharp-looking video. There’s a list of other off-screen equipment to ensure the final product is up to par with the quality you’re shooting for. Items like mics and lighting will make a world of difference when it comes to enhancing quality and even your production efficiency.
Lighting can make or break your video. You may have a great camera, but if your lighting is bad, your viewers won’t be able to tell. Bad lighting can make the most expensive cameras look cheap, but good lights can make even mediocre cameras look great. So, if you are really going for quality, you may end up investing even more into lighting than the camera itself, as it is arguably the most important component of video work.
For lighting, you’ll want stands, the lights themselves, and a soft box. A pair of Aputure Light Storm 60x Bi-Color Lights are a good go-to. Put them on a set of sturdy light stands and then add the soft boxes. You’ll likely spend around $1,040 for this, but when you see how this upgrades your production quality, you’ll know it’s worth it.
Now that you know they can see you, you have to make sure they can hear you. Nothing will turn your viewers off faster than a bad audio recording. The Rode Video Micro is a camera-mount shotgun microphone which is ultra compact. Don't let its small size fool you, this can be a game changer when it comes to picking up on the right sounds for your vlog, ensuring that your subscribers can clearly hear what you’re saying. A properly placed boom mic is much easier to work with than a lapel and the audio is often better because it records directionally. This means that ambient room sounds are not picked up on nearly as much as a lapel. So if you are sharing your vlog studio with kids or a spouse you will have a much easier time capturing clean audio. Along with this you’ll also want a studio boom stand, a stand adapter for the shotgun mic, and an extension cable as well. This will let you use that shotgun mic as a boom mic when you are seated or standing still. These will all add up to around $375.
So, all in all, you’re looking at a little under $4,000. If you look at it from a business start-up point of view, it’s pretty cheap. Even if you don’t plan to make money off of it, investing a little at a time is still worth it if you are making videos about something you love. If you are wanting more production tips or recommendations based on your budget or niche, then schedule a consultation with us. If you’re in the Nashville area (or even if you’re not), hit us up and let us see how we can assist you.