February 11, 2021 4 min read
The appeal of vlogging to new content creators is the belief that anyone can make a vlog. The style and subject of your vlog can be whatever you want, allowing a degree of creative flexibility few other formats can match. However, actually filming a vlog is more of an exact science, and all successful vloggers share several key similarities, namely the gear they shoot with.
When picking out vlogging equipment, try to keep in mind the kind of footage you plan on shooting. Will you be presenting from a static position? Are you going to be holding the camera, or in front of it? Do you plan on going outside at any time? These are all important questions that you should answer before deciding how you’ll shoot your vlog.
Depending on the kind of content you want to make, you may not need a ton of gear. While higher production value lifestyle vlogs tend to use DSLR cameras, many personal vlogs, streams, and commentators are able to look good simply using webcams or smartphone cameras. Never feel compelled to splurge on gear that isn’t required for the scope of your video.
After you settle on a topic and secure a location for your video, it’s time to grab some gear. A well-lit set is key for crisp, clear footage. If you’re shooting outside in the daytime, the sun will have you covered, but for those filming in an indoor studio, you’ll need proper illumination (beyond the lights in your room.)
Keeping your face lit is especially important since your appearance is a big part of any vlog’s brand. If you’ll spend most of your vlog at a desk or otherwise seated, ring lights are a great way of maintaining facial definition and keeping grain away.
The Movo VGC-3 features 3 color modes for a variety of skin tones and room moods, each of which can be adjusted between 10 brightness levels. The VGC-3 attaches to surfaces easily thanks to it’s clamp grip, and as an added bonus, it has flex arms for mounting your smartphone camera, as well as other vlogging equipment like microphones (more on those later.)
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Even if you are shooting outdoors, there are still some circumstances where additional lighting is required. As the sun sets, or if you’re in an area with a lot of shadows, having an LED attachment on your camera rig will keep your subject lit.
Movo’s LED-XS panel light is a small but powerful attachment with adjustable brightness levels and a rechargeable battery, perfect for a day of shooting outside of the house. A cold shoe mount means it interfaces easily with Movo stabilizers and shooting rigs.
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Keeping your frame stable is another essential factor towards shooting a great-looking vlog. Whether you’re talking into a camera in your bedroom or capturing run-and-gun footage across town, shaky footage can ruin your video. It’s for this reason that stabilizers are one of the most crucial pieces of vlogging equipment you’ll need.
The Movo SPR-20 smartphone rig is the perfect companion for any mobile photographer, providing a stable shooting platform for phones of any make, Apple or Android. The flexible cage can either be held two-handed or folded as a stationary stand. In either configuration, multiple cold shoe mounts and threaded sockets provide space for a plethora of attachments.
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For those using DSLR cameras, the Movo MV-T1 mini tripod is a great alternative. Featuring a rotating ball head with ¼” thread, the MV-T1 is a solid but sturdy base for any camera. The three padded legs can be collapsed for use as a hand grip, and an extension shaft grants an additional 16 inches of shooting height.
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Odds are that your vlog will involve a lot of talking, so it’s vital that your voice comes through loud and clear. The built-in microphone of your recording device - if it even has one - isn’t going to give the results you want, which is why an external microphone is the final must-have piece of vlogging equipment you’ll want before you start filming.
The Movo VXR10 shotgun microphone is perfect for both indoor and outdoor applications. It’s small, compact profile makes it an easy fit on any camera rig, and the directional pickup cancels out background noise when shooting outside. With TRS and TRRS connectors, the VXR10 is compatible with both DSLR cameras and smartphones with a 3.5mm audio jack.
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Shotgun mics are great for shooting on the go, but if mobility isn’t a concern, you won’t do better than the Movo UM800. This adjustable, universal desktop mic is compatible with USB, USB Type-C, and Lightning inputs, meaning you can use it with any computer. The UM800 also supports headphone monitoring, so you can keep an ear on your sound while recording.
Best of all, the UM800 can be set between cardioid, stereo, bidirectional, and omnidirectional polar patterns, giving you an optimized pickup mode for any scenario. Set it to bidirectional if you’ll be interviewing a guest, switch it to omni if there are several speakers, or leave it on cardioid if it’s just you talking.
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Your Vlog and Beyond
Once you have all the vlogging equipment you need, you’ll be ready to start shooting your video. It’s a long road to YouTube stardom, but you’re already setting yourself up for success if you make sure you’re prepared before you start.
Keep in mind that you may choose to change formats down the line, and it’s important to maintain the same standard of quality even after the content of your vlog goes through a complete transformation. Make sure that you always have the right tools for the job, and try to pick up products that can cover as many of the tasks you need handled to shoot your vlog.