Self-tape videos. Instagram-ready photos. High-quality voiceovers.
The right gear for the job doesn’t have to be expensive.
Here are my top recommendations to help you create your own content.
If you’re recording self-tapes and don’t have any other need for an expensive camera setup, your phone will cover you perfectly. How’s that for an inexpensive solution! But rather than using your iPhone’s audio directly, pick up a VideoMicro microphone for impeccable audio.
Important: To connect the VideoMicro to your iPhone, you also need to purchase the TRS to TRRS Patch Cable.
Also, since this mic doesn’t have a built-in way to mount onto your phone, you’ll need some sort of tripod mount with a cold shoe. The mount will go on any standard tripod.
When you’re ready to get real with your footage, the Sony a7iii is bar-none the top notch mirrorless camera. It’s my main go-to, and produces beautiful 4K full-frame footage.
With the right lenses, you can cover all your shots: masters, mediums, and close-ups. Pop on the VideoMicro and you have a vlogging camera, too. This is a versatile camera with wildly long battery life.
When it comes to lenses, you don’t want to go cheap here. Avoid buying the 28-70mm kit lens - the zooming feature is nice, but the shallow depth of field (f/3.5 - f/5.6) makes it unusable for many filmmaking scenarios.
For master shots and vlogging, I use the Sony FE 28mm F/2 prime lens.
For mediums and close-ups, I use the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 prime lens.
Both lenses work with the a7iii’s autofocus system and are incredibly lightweight.
If you are a traveling vlogger or want to back up your content on-location, the WD Elements Portable is my go-to portable hard drive. With USB 3 for fast transfers and a slim design that doesn’t require external power, this is a must-have.
If you use a Mac, format this drive as APFS for maximum speed and encrypt the drive to keep your source files secure.
For trips where your camera bag is going to endure rough motorcycle rides or wild jumps in the back of an ATV, SSD storage is a more reliable offering. To top it off, you’ll get crazy fast speeds with SSD + USB3.
This is the most expensive way to store your data so you wouldn’t want to store your entire video archive this way, but it’s great for your most-recent project for on-the-go editing. Check out the WD My Passport SSD.
While it’s tempting to just use portable hard drives exclusively, high-capacity desktop hard drives are much cheaper and tend to fail less since they don’t get bounced around in your camera bag. You can get about double the capacity per dollar with a desktop hard drive.
The WD My Book is a trusty, USB3-compatible, slim design hard drive. Archive your entire video database onto drives like this and you’ll have easy access to everything you’ve ever shot in just a couple of clicks. Format this with APFS for the fastest speeds.
Getting the shot is one thing. Keeping the shot is another.
The worst thing that can happen to you is losing that photo or video. That shot you took hours or days to capture. That once-in-a-lifetime moment you’ll never get back.
Locally storing backups with external hard drives is just one part of a complete backup plan. Offsite storage is just as vital.
For just $5/month, every single one of your files can be stored safely and encrypted securely in the cloud. This one is a no-brainer.
Ask an editor which video editing software they use, and they’ll swear by one - and deem all other programs unusable.
In reality, every program has its pros and cons. A lot of people swear by DaVinci Resolve and that’s completely free.
For my videos, I use Final Cut Pro X. The editing flow is familiar and feels native to macOS. Exporting is rapid, and it feels like a lightweight app to get in and out of. Before you plunk down $299, check out the 30-day trial to see if it’s right for you.
Music can make or break your footage. Whether you’re creating a vlog, short film, sketch, or other kind of shoot, sourcing music can be wildly complicated.
Epidemic Sound makes all those problems disappear with a monthly subscription.
With easy filtering to find the right song and a built-in audio player to preview tracks, you’ll have the right song to match the footage and timing of your film in no time.
Check out their site for a free trial.