Vlogging 101: An Essential Guide To Basic Equipment


The basic tools and equipment YouTubers use include cameras (e.g., camcorder, DSLR, and action camera), stabilizers (e.g., tripods, GorillaPods, and gimbals), microphones (on-camera mics, lavalier/clip-on mics, and studio microphones), lighting (e.g. ring lights, on-camera lights, LED-panels plus softboxes and umbrellas), a computer (desktop or laptop), headphones, a soundcard, room treatment (acoustic treatment), backdrops (e.g. green screens).

Now, that is a lot to learn about. But fear not. We’ll walk you through all of these pieces of equipment.

If you don’t need to read our guide to all the different gear, you can use any of the links above to jump directly to the vlogging kits.

Vlogger Or Video Blogger Studio Equipment

When you finish this article, you’ll know how to set up your own home vlogging production studio on any budget.


vlogging beauty and fashion camera

If you plan on becoming a YouTube superstar, you must invest in a good camera for shooting videos.


The reason is simple – most people want video footage in Full HD or 4K. Seeing every detail in videos goes a long way these days, so use that to your advantage.

A camera is the most important piece of your filming arsenal. There are numerous options at your disposal as well. For example:

  • Cell phone camera
  • Webcam
  • Camcorder
  • Action camera
  • DSLR or mirrorless cameras

But not all of them are created equal. So let’s talk about them one by one.

Cell Phone Camera

If you’re a complete beginner, yet you’re eager to become an official YouTuber without spending too much money at first, you can totally use your cell phone camera to shoot videos.

Most people go for the selfie camera, but you can also use the main camera, which is usually more powerful.

Using the cell phone camera helps you spread your message on a budget. You can also play with camera settings such as contrast, brightness, etc, and learn the ropes.

When ready, you can upgrade your gear and buy a more sophisticated camera for making YouTube videos.


Usb Webcam Web Camera vlogging streaming vlog gamer twitch vlogger

It’s true that you can use your laptop’s built-in camera, but for better video quality, you might want to spend a little on a decent webcam.

You can get a great FullHD webcam cheaply, and it can be plugged into any desktop or laptop computer. This camera shoots high-quality video, is ideal for gamers, and it can be placed on top of your computer monitor.


Video camcorder vlogging

A camcorder is specially designed to shoot videos and is a great choice for YouTube video-making, whether you’re a vlogger, gamer, or fashion artist.

Even budget camcorders can shoot Full HD videos at 30fps or 60fps. High-quality videos like these will make you look like a professional, and your audience will definitely appreciate the effort you put into making video content.

On top of that, camcorders come with numerous settings and options you can play with. It’s possible to adjust contrast ratios and brightness, add filters, shoot in slow motion, etc.

Action Cameras

What if you want to post videos on YouTube but capture video footage outdoors, eventually while riding a 10-foot wave or a 150hp motorcycle?

In this case, using a camcorder is virtually impossible. However, you have one ace up your sleeve – an action camera!

Action cameras are designed for active people who want to film various events and activities indoors and outdoors.

They are usually compact and can be mounted on helmets or gimbals for ease of use. A great example of an action camera is the famous GoPro camera.

The small size of an action camera shouldn’t fool you. These devices can capture high-quality video footage and film in Full HD or even 4K resolution.

Action cameras also have integrated voice controls, so you don’t need to press a button to start or stop recording.

DSLR or Mirrorless Cameras

DSLR camera

If you’re serious about your YouTube channel and you want to upload video footage of the best quality possible, I would recommend you invest in a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

These devices are some of the best types of cameras for YouTubers. They can shoot in multiple resolutions at different frame rates. So if you want that cool gliding slow-motion shot on a gimbal a DSLR or mirrorless camera is the way to go.

Some DSLR and mirrorless cameras, such as the Panasonic GH5S or Sony A7S ii, excel at shooting in low-light conditions, among other things.

Cameras such as the Sony Alpha a6400 have impressive autofocus systems essential for vloggers and YouTubers.

Although some DSLR or mirrorless cameras can get pricey, remember that you don’t need to buy a brand-new device right from the start. Second-hand DSLR or mirrorless cameras are ideal for novice YouTubers and can be bought from online retailers.


Led lighting vlogging

Lighting is equally important when shooting and uploading videos on YouTube, especially if you prefer to film indoors.

Believe it or not, just turning on the lights in your bedroom and filming yourself is insufficient, even for beginners. You need more control over your lighting if you expect your videos to be viewed and shared by thousands of people.

Without further ado, here are several lighting accessories you’ll need.

Ring Light

A ring light is essential for vloggers. It shouldn’t be left out of your vlog lighting kit.

As the name implies, a ring light is a circular lighting source that illuminates your face completely, eliminating shadows.

It’s a favorite among YouTubers and influencers who do beauty and makeup videos because of the nice circular light reflection in the eyes.

For the same reason, it is also a favorite among fashion photographers.

Ring lights are affordable and usually include a mount and a tripod. You can position the ring light before you while talking or singing to the camera.

Softbox and Umbrella

softbox umbrella vlog vlogging studio

A softbox is a light modifier placed on top of your lights and helps convert a hard light into a softer one. Soft light is an excellent choice for vlogging because it bathes you in a beautiful, flattering light, eliminating imperfections and hard shadows.

Softboxes are also affordable and completely adjustable.

A shoot-through umbrella also casts a soft light. Umbrellas are cheap, easy to use, and great for beginners.

However, it is harder to control the direction of light from an umbrella than from a softbox. So, if this is important to you, you should go with a softbox with a honeycomb grid instead.

Audio Gear

vlogger music musician

On top of good lighting and a great camera, you also need excellent audio equipment to record your voice and the surrounding sounds while filming.

There are a few accessories you need to take into account, such as:

  • Microphones
  • Preamp
  • Monitors and stands
  • Headphones
  • Soundcards
  • Acoustic treatment

Now, you don’t need everything right from the start, so don’t worry if this seems too much at first.

Heck, some YouTubers who mostly record the screen and do voice-overs have a good ol’ microphone headset, and they do just fine with that.

However, once you become better at recording videos for your YouTube channel, you’ll want to upgrade to better audio equipment.

Let’s talk about each of them in greater detail.


Vlogging microphone

If you want to record good audio, you need a good microphone, period! Bad audio is one of the main reasons people quickly skip to the next video.

It’s easy to get carried away and only focus on a good camera and some cool transitions in the edit. But if your audio sucks, nobody will watch your videos.

There are three types of microphones you should know about:

  • On-camera microphones
  • Lavalier (clip-on) microphones
  • Studio microphones

Of course, there are many other types of microphones, but for clarification, let’s start with these three. They’ll get you 95 percent of the way.

On-camera microphones

On camera microphone for vlogging

On-camera microphones are placed on top of your camera and are pointed toward you. They are fairly directional but also record some of the room’s reverb. So if there’s a lot of noise where you’re recording, they might not be the best choice.

You can go with a shotgun microphone if you want an even more directional on-camera microphone. They are a bit more expensive but have one big advantage – they only pick up sound from a source directly in front of them, eliminating ambient noise.

However, if you use a shotgun microphone, you better ensure you don’t move around too much.

Inexpensive on-camera microphones usually come with a 3.5mm jack, which you can plug directly into your camera’s microphone input or recording device.

Some microphones need a battery to work, and some don’t.

More expensive options – like shotgun microphones – come with XLR connections and require 48+ Volt phantom power.

In general, on-camera microphones work well with small cameras.

For example, you can film yourself while walking and talking on the streets and the microphone will pick up mostly your voice and less ambient sound. Remember, the closer you are to the microphone, the less ambient sound the microphone will pick up.

Lapel a.k.a. Lavalier a.k.a. Clip-On Microphone for vlogging

Lapel Microphone lavalier clip-on

Lavalier microphones are microphones you clip-on to your clothes.

Clip-on microphones can be either wired or wireless.

Wired Lavalier microphones clip onto your shirt or top. You then plug the 3.5mm minijack into your camera or recording device and are ready to go.

Wireless Lavalier microphones come with a receiver and a transmitter. You plug the microphone into the transmitter (also known as bodypack), which you carry on your body. The receiver is placed on or near your camera or recording device and can be connected through 3.5mm jacks or XLR.

Some wireless lapel microphones, such as the Rode Wireless GO, have the microphone built directly into the transmitter.

Wired clip-on microphones are the cheaper option, but you have to deal with a cable and are limited in your movement.

Wireless clip-on microphones offer more freedom and versatility. Traditionally, wireless Lavalier microphones can be a bit technical to set up. New developments in digital wireless lavalier microphones have made this process as easy as pressing a single button.

Lavaliers are great to work with in a noisy environment because they’re close to the sound source (your mouth). But they’re not great if you’re planning to wear a lot of jewelry because they are prone to pick-up noises from your clothes and accessories.

Studio microphones

Favorite artist short film

Studio microphones are the go-to choice for a warm, full voice recording. There’s a reason they are used for radio hosts, podcasts, voice-overs, singers, and more.

There are two main types of studio microphones: dynamic and condenser.

Dynamic microphones are the least sensitive of the two options and are often the best choice if you don’t have an acoustically treated room. They don’t offer the same warmth and full-spectrum recording of the voice as condenser microphones, though.

Condenser microphones can offer great results in terms of audio quality, but they need a good-sounding room because they’re very sensitive. They also require 48+ Volts of phantom power to work.

Professional studio microphones usually come with XLR cables and plugs. So, if you don’t have a preamp or soundcard with an XLR connection, you can’t use them.

Instead, a good option for beginners is a USB studio microphone since it doesn’t require a soundcard with XLR and good preamps for amplification. It’s ready to go right out of the box.

USB microphones have come a long way in recent years and can record high-quality audio.


Preamp vlogging podcast

Microphone preamplifiers (preamps) are recommended when you become more experienced, but you can get one right from the start if you want to.

Preamps give you more control over your audio recording, and good preamps give you a nice, crisp sound with low noise.

Luckily, good soundcards today come with good preamps and 48+ Volts phantom power, and XLR and jack inputs. So you can get everything you need in one box without investing in a dedicated preamp.

Studio Monitors (speakers) and Stands

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You need some good speakers to listen to when you’re editing your videos and want to hear how your voice mixes with the soundtrack and sound effects. These are called studio monitors.

Sure, you can use your headphones as a start, but headphones tend to fall short when recreating bass and stereo. This may result in your audio sounding bad for your viewers.

You’ll get the best result from your studio monitors if you acoustically treat your room.


If you’re a gamer or streamer, a pair of good headphones is exactly what you need for rocking gaming sessions!

Again, there are endless options here. Good brands include Logitech, Sennheiser, Bose, AKG, and more.

Sound Cards

Sound card vlogging vlog home studio

If you’re serious about vlogging and producing high-quality videos for YouTube, you should consider upgrading your sound card.

The onboard soundcard that comes with your computer doesn’t have any professional connections (like XLR), has no phantom power, has horrible latency when working with many audio tracks, and is prone to interference from the rest of your computer.

Good brands in this category include RME, Apollo, UAD, Focusrite, and more.

Acoustic Treatment

Acoustic foam treatment vlog vlogging studio

Acoustic treatment is necessary for delivering the best sound experience.

This involves covering one or more walls of your room with foam boards or acoustic panels to reduce background noise, echo, and reverberations.

Acoustic boards and panels are made from sound-absorbing materials and keep the sound from bouncing back from walls into the microphone. This greatly reduces the reverb and noise in your room.

PC Choice

Whether you choose a laptop or a desktop computer, you can be a successful YouTuber.

If you want portability, you’ll probably be better off with a laptop since you can carry it everywhere. For example, if you travel around the world posting videos on your touristic-themed vlog, a laptop is ideal.

On the other hand, desktop computers allow you to build your machine according to your preferences. You can easily add more RAM, HDDs, or SSDs, a good graphics card for exporting your videos, a large cooling unit to cool down the computer, etc.

You can customize a laptop as well, but it’s much easier with a desktop computer. Additionally, a desktop computer provides versatility when it comes to display size. You can go for a 25-inch or 30-inch monitor in a heartbeat and enjoy a better viewing experience while editing your videos.

Editing Software

You cannot upload the raw video file directly on YouTube and expect to be famous overnight. There are editing apps for YouTubers that allow them to polish their videos before releasing them.

Editing software lets you cut, copy, paste, crop, and alter your video file. You can change the soundtrack, add video effects, text, background music, you name it. This is a time-consuming process but a fun and entertaining one, nevertheless!

High-quality video editing software includes Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, and others. Some programs are free to use, others require an investment on your behalf.


Vlogging backdrops green screen vlog studio

This is where you can get creative and develop something that will make your YouTube channel unique.

The backdrop is what your audience sees behind you. It can be a wall, a picture, a window, a curtain, or cat mindlessly scratching a pole toy.

It’s important to remember that the backdrop should somehow reflect the theme of your channel. If you’re into gaming, put a poster with your favorite game or a toy figurine bought at your latest gaming convention.

If you’re into yoga and meditation, your backdrop can include stones arranged one on top of the other, candles, a poster with yoga poses or chakras, etc.

Sometimes, the backdrop can also be neutral, allowing you to get the most attention. Some people opt for plain white walls, wallpaper with a wood or brick texture, etc.

Backdrops can be easily created, and you should have one as soon as possible to set yourself apart from amateur YouTubers.

Green Screen

A green screen is not mandatory initially, but it would be good.

With a green screen, you can “cut” yourself out from the background and place yourself in front of anything you like. For example, if you film a scene before a green screen, you can later edit the movie and place yourself on the Moon, talking with aliens.

How is this possible? The answer is simple – the human skin doesn’t contain green tones and this makes it easier for video editing software to separate the subject from the background digitally.

The process is also known as chroma keying.

The same effect can be achieved by using a blue screen.

Both Green and blue screens are useful in complex video productions where you need to isolate the subject from the background, but they are also used a lot by famous influencers on YouTube.

Begin Vlogging Today!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article. We’ve spent a lot of time to put together these video kits for you. Now it’s the perfect time to go ahead and purchase your videography gear based on the recommendations above.

Don’t worry, you cannot make mistakes here, it’s all about getting the right devices and having fun with them, shooting video after video both indoors and outdoors!

Got any of the gear and shot a cool vlog? Please share in the comments.


  • Jan Sørup

    Jan Sørup is a indie filmmaker, videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

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