You know that thing people jokingly said a few years ago, about how “everyone is a podcaster now”? Well now it seems like more and more people are turning to the vlogging side of things.
Most of them start out simply turning on their phone camera and hitting record, which is perfectly fine in a lot of cases. Phones these days are more than capable. But if you’re ready to take things to the next level, you’re going to want some nicer equipment. You’ll be happier with the quality of your videos, and your viewers will appreciate the viewing experience all the more.
With that said, we’ve collected a kit of items to make your videos look and sound their best.
Sony Alpha a6600 mirrorless camera with the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 lens. ($1,398 + $391 = $1,789 total)
This particular camera + lens combo is one you’ll often see recommended by vloggers who’ve already had great luck with it. It’s not hard to see why, either — the camera itself offers conveniences like real-time eye autofocus (so it doesn’t focus on random objects around you or other parts of your body) and 5-axis in-body image stabilization.
The lens, on the other hand, features ultra-quiet autofocus and can achieve extremely shallow depth of field.
Our one quibble with the camera is that we wish the reversible display flipped around sideways instead of upward, where shoe-mounted accessories might block it. As for the lens, having image stabilization in it would be nice but it’s not a deal-breaker
Altura Photo “Mini Pistol Grip” tripod. ($20)
With the camera weighing 1lb 1.8oz and the lens adding only 9.8oz, the total weight of this combo is 1.725lb, falling well into the 2.5lb range this tripod can support, whether you’re going handheld or setting it on a solid surface. However, adding the other items below (well, one in particular) will require a sturdier tripod, which we’ll get to in a bit.
RØDE VideoMic Pro+ on-camera shotgun condenser mic. ($299)
This beast of a camera mic will make your vlogs, films, and interviews sound exceptionally clean and crisp. One of the best things about it though is that it automatically shuts on and off with the camera, which is hugely helpful for battery life, in turn giving you peace of mind that your recording likely won’t cut off mid-session.
Despite its size, the VideoMic Pro+ weighs only 0.27lb, so it’s no great burden while using the handheld tripod above.
Glide Gear TMP100 smartphone/tablet teleprompter. ($199)
Speaking into a camera can be somewhat awkward, especially if you’re sitting there struggling to remember what to say while recording, and maybe coming across as robotic in the process.
Not to worry, with a smartphone-fitted teleprompter running your favorite teleprompter app, you can free up mental space for simply speaking, making your video script readings feel much more natural for viewers.
This 6lb add-on is where a tripod upgrade becomes necessary, which leads us to…
Magnus VT-300 video tripod with fluid head. ($80)
Not only is the VT-300 much taller than the Mini Pistol Grip tripod, it supports up to 15lb and opens up the ability to create smooth tilting/panning shots.
Just keep in mind that this is on the “budget” side of tripods of this type, so you might get some recoil at the ends of camera movements, but that’s easy enough to consider while filming and cut in post (assuming you’re not doing these things during live streams).