Tools I Use
Some of the most common questions I get revolve around what gear and tools I use for my YouTube channel and my business. “What camera do you use? What microphone are you wearing? What lights are those in your shot?”
So, I compiled pretty much all the tools I regularly use both on the Video Creators channel as well as on my family’s vlogging channel, as well as some other tools I use for my YouTube business overall so you can see it all in one spot.
DISCLAIMER: Some of the links below are affiliate links, some or not, but all of them are tools I personally use fairly regularly in my YouTube business.
Why Buy from B&H?
Most of my links direct you to buy from B&H’s website because that’s who I buy my equipment from. Their prices are often the best and their customer service is great. Any time I have a question about a piece of gear I’m considering, I give them a call and their staff is always very knowledgable and helpful. You can’t get that kind of customer service from actual videographers anywhere else.
Schmovies Vlogging Gear
I’ve used several different camera and gear setups for my family’s vlogging channel, but this is what I’m currently using. It works very well for us. You can check out the quality on our channel and see what you think.
Camera: Canon G7x Mark II – This is easily my favorite vlogging camera. I use it for b-roll on Video Creators, as well. It has a fast f/1.8 lens, which makes it great for getting some shallow depth of field as well as shooting in low light settings indoors. It also has built-in image stabilization, which is a must if you’re shooting hand-held vlog shots. Plus, there’s a flip-up screen so you can see a preview of yourself and frame up your shot. It’s also small enough to fit in your pocket and it turns on quickly so you can get that spur-of-the-moment shot. Great little camera!
Camera: GoPro Hero 4 Black – The GoPro is my back-up vlogging camera. I use this to get additional footage for the vlog for a time lapse or to mount in the corner of the room and get a good, wide shot of all the action. This used to be my main vlogging camera, but the audio it captures is kind of weak, there’s no image stabilization, and low light video clips indoors is pretty grainy.
Memory Card: SanDisk Extreme 64GB UHS-I/U3 Micro SDXC – While a 64GB card may be overkill for some cameras, the GoPro shoots in 4K, which means it creates file sizes that are much larger than standard 1080p definition. I also use this card because it writes the video files to the card fast enough to keep up with what I’m shooting so errors don’t occur.
Protective Stuff: GoPro Protective Lens and Mount – Since I don’t shoot the GoPro inside the waterproof case in order to capture better audio, I want to be able to quick toss the camera into my pocket, a backpack, or the diaper bag without worrying about scratching the exposed lens. So I just slip the lens protector on and wrap the camera in the frame mount. I even looped a wrist strap through the holes in the bottom of the frame mount to help eliminate accidental camera drops.
Camera Mount: GoPro Jaws Flex Clamp – I bought this because it’s the most versatile way to mount the GoPro to pretty much anything you want. I use this when mounting the GoPro to the car dashboard for car vlogs, I attach it to a desk to capture a time lapse video, or to clamp the camera in a discrete part of the room as a hidden camera.
Batteries: Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Dual Charger – The GoPro comes with a single battery, which lasts for about one full day of vlogging (about 30-40 minutes of recording time), but when you’re out having fun vlogging with your family, you don’t want to accidentally find that the camera was turned on inside the backpack and drained the battery. That’s why I always carry and extra battery or two with me.
Tripod Mount: GoPro Tripod Mount – Sometimes I want to lock the GoPro down on a traditional tripod instead of the Jaws Flex Clamp. This is what I use to do that.
Portable Tripod: Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Flexible Mini Tripod w/ BH1-01EN Ball Head – I love this tripod so much! It’s small and super portable, making it great for our family outings and trips. I can wrap the legs around almost anything and get a good solid mount for not only the GoPro, but for my big, heavy DSLR, too! This tripod travels almost everywhere with us.
Miscellaneous Camera Gear
I have equipment that’s a bit more specialized in its usage. I don’t use this gear too often, but when I do there’s usually no substitute for it.
Boompole: Rode Micro Boompole – As soon as I have multiple people in a shot my wireless lavaliere microphone will no longer suffice to record audio from everyone. That’s when I mount my Rode NTG-2 shotgun microphone (linked below) to this pole and either mount the pole just out of frame of the shot or have someone hold it for us.
Shotgun Microphone: Rode NTG-3 – I love this mic! It picks up great audio, better than the wireless lavaliere. It has a much fuller and more natural tone than it’s cheaper counterparts. Since sound makes or breaks an otherwise mediocre video, it’s important that I capture audio that feels like a natural conversation rather than something that sounds forced, hollow, tinty, or whatnot. Don’t skimp out on audio!
Microphone Wind Muff: Rode NTG-3 Dead Cat – Having this is a must if you ever shoot outdoors. It breaks down the wind and stills the air around the microphone so you get clean and clear audio even on windy days.
Shoutmount: Pearstone Shockmount – You need a way of attaching the shotgun microphone to the boompole. This is what I use because it isolates the mic from any external vibrations, like hand rubs on the pole or accidentally bumping the pole against something.
Audio Recorder: Zoom H4N – Of course, you need a way to record the audio from the shotgun microphone. Since it doesn’t connect directly to the DSLR camera I record audio directly into the Zoom H4N and then sync the audio with the video clip in Adobe Premiere Pro (and easy process that takes about 5 seconds). This recorder has a lot of other great features, too, including two solid on-board microphones if you want to use it as a handheld recorder.
DSLR Compatible Shotgun Microphone: Rode VideoMic Pro – Since the Rode NTG-2 doesn’t connect directly into my camera, if I’m out filming on my own I’ll use this microphone. It mounts directly on top of my DSLR and connects directly into the audio-in jack in the camera. It does great as long as the audio sources are close to the camera. That’s usually when I set my camera lens to 17mm to get a good wide angle so I can get my camera as close to the audio source as possible.
Interview Microphone: Shure SM58-LC – This handheld mic is amazing for interviews, even in extremely loud environments, like convention floors. It picks up only audio sources that are directly in front of it and blocks out everything else, giving me very clean sound even if explosions are going off all around us (not that I’ve tested it in that environment, but you get the point).
Camera Handheld Mount: Vello ActionPan Grip – Sometimes I want to get a running shot that’s close to the ground or just need to get a firm grip on the camera in a way that doesn’t cause it to shake. This helps me get those moving shots while providing more stability for the camera.
Camera Stabilization: Zhiyun Crane v2 Gimbal – This is a great tool for those silky smooth, cinematic shots. It takes a bit of practice to really use effectively, but the shots you get from this are just beautiful.
Camera Bag: Lowepro Flipside 300 AW II Camera Backpack – I’ve used a lot of camera bags and, while they all have pros and cons, I do love this bag. The front pocket is a bit snug for anything more than a few extra batteries and an iPad, but the main compartment fits pretty much everything else. I especially love that I can strap a tripod and light stand onto this thing with no problem.
Portable Light: VILTROX Super Slim LED Light Panel – Lighting tends to be big and bulky, but not this light. It’s very slim, fits perfectly into the back flap of the backpack, is bright, adjustable, and runs for a long time on one battery charge.
Portable Light Stand: Manfrotto 156BLB Black Mini Kit Stand – There’s not many portable light stands out there that you can pack onto a travel backpack, are study, and still extend to be pretty much standing height. This is one of the few.
No one makes it in business alone. If I could list my wife here, I totally would because without her none of this would happen, but here’s a few other people who have partnered with me.
Accountant: MidAtlantic CPAs – As a guy who just likes to be creative and build stuff that helps people, the accounting and tax side of the business quickly became overwhelming for me. These guys took all that off my hands and let me focus on what I’m good at. I highly recommend them!