Cameras, a gimbal, microphones and lights are all things you need to start a quality YouTube channel in 2023.
Below are some of my favourites and others I hope to get my hands on sometime in the future. Let’s get into it.
Regarding microphones, there are two major types creators tend to use — shotgun microphones and lavalier microphones. Shotgun microphones typically sit on the camera and capture all the audio in the scene. A lavalier (lav) mic usually attaches to the subject to capture dialogue.
In my kit, I have the beefy Senhiessier MKE 400 and its smaller sibling, the MKE 200. The larger mic is arguably better, but the small one requires no batteries, sounds almost as good and is easier to pack up due to its small size, so I tend to use it more. When working with other creators, I often see shotgun microphones out in the wild, but I prefer lav mics.
You might be asking yourself why a gimbal is important, and the answer is that it allows you to get stable shots anywhere. If you don’t like movement in your films, this might not be for you, but if you’re walking and talking or just want to do cool pans, a Gimbal is an extremely versatile tool.
I went through two gimbals this year. My aging DJI Ronin-SC was starting to struggle with the weight of my Fujifilm 16-55mm lens when fully zoomed out. This happens when you run gimbals hard without balancing every time, but it’s the cost of working quickly, I guess.
From there, I tried out the Ziyhun Weebil 3, a brand-new gimbal from 2022, and it worked out great. The ergonomics of the device are leagues above the Ronin-SC. The simple addition of a wrist wrest brings the gimbal up a league and makes holding it all day ten times easier.
While I like it and find it can accomplish all my work, I think the precision in the DJI motors was slightly better. Perhaps I can dial in the Ziyhun in the settings over more time, but next time I upgrade, I may switch back to team DJI.
In the action camera space, I still stick with a trusty GoPro. The batteries, accessories, and camera all cost reasonable amounts and deliver excellent camera performance in a small body. I even broke one and got it replaced for free under the GoPro membership warranty. The Action 2 is a great camera, but for the amount I use an action camera (mostly in car videos), the GoPro is the economical choice.
In the mirrorless camera space, it’s hard to get something better than Fujifilm’s latest beast, the X-H2S. This camera has great colours, stabilization and autofocus making it the most complete Fujifilm package to come out in years. On a budget, I wholeheartedly recommend the Fujifilm X-S10, which I use in conjunction with an X-T3 for all my work. If you’re not a Fujifilm fan, I’ve heard great things about the Sony Fx30 and the A7IV.
That said, like the GoPro, the Fuji ecosystem of lenses can be a little more cost-effective than Sony, offering better value in the long run for very comparable visual quality.
Surprising no one, the most beneficial camera accessory is my iPhone 14 Pro. As a second camera, it’s fantastic, and the microphone quality makes it a tremendous all-in-one video tool. I even shot a few videos across the year, mainly on phones, and the iPhone 13/14 Pro are by far my favourites.
For the actual videography, I used the Aperture MC pocket light, the larger Aperture P60C and the 200d. This combo offers a lot of versatile options. I especially enjoy the portability of the MC and the P60C. Being able to run the P60C off two small-ish batteries opens up remote shooting options.
Other awesome tools that I use almost every day include three of these Small-Rig magic arms and the Small Rig camera tool. I also use a trusty Peak Design travel tripod. I have the aluminum version, but after carrying it around for a year I think next time I’ll go with carbon fibre.
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