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?

B&H Photo VideoMost 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.

Video Creators Gear

This is the gear I use for the standard Video Creators videos. Interviews and different shooting environments may call for gear other than what’s listed here, but these are my go-to staples for the majority of my videos.

Canon 60DCamera: Canon 60D – While this camera is a bit old now, I still love it because it is reliable, has a flip-out LCD screen so you can see yourself when vlogging, and is one of the best DSLRs for using Magic Lantern. Plus, it uses the same sensor as the more expensive cameras, so you still get the same image quality.

Tameron 17-50mm LensCamera Lens: Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 – When people ask me, “What camera do you use? Your videos look so good!” what they really should be asking is what lens and lighting I’m using because that’s really what contributes the most to a clear and professional image. I love this lens because it’s cheaper than Canon’s official equivalent and it does an outstanding job for both photography and videography. It’s my go-to lens for pretty much everything.

Sandisk SD CardMemory Card: SanDisk Extreme 32GB Class 10 – Whenever you’re shooting in 1080p HD resolution you want to make sure you’re using a card that can write the video files to the disk as fast as the camera is shooting it. Otherwise, if the card can’t keep up with the camera your camera will constantly stop recording at the most inopportune times. This card keeps up with my Canon 60D with no issues at all. I’ve found that it writes video files at about 40% of it’s maximum write speed, meaning it writes data more than twice as fast as my camera can deliver it.

Sennheiser Wireless MicWireless Mic: Sennheiser EW 100 ENG G3-A – Sound quality is more important than video quality because people will be forgiving of a shaky camera and poor lighting, but if the audio quality sounds bad, people will quickly abandon your video and deem it as unprofessional. So having a decent microphone for your videos is definitely important and this is one of the best. I’ve wasted my money on cheaper wireless mics before that introduce static and pops into the audio. You get what you pay for and this mic is great.

Wired Canon RemoteWired Remote: Canon Wired Remote – Because I stand pretty far back from my camera when I shoot my videos, it’s impossible for me to reach it and set the focus on myself. So, I use this wired remote to set the focus on myself instead.

Lighting KitLighting: Impact Soft n’ Natural Kit – While these are not the actual lights I use, these are the ones I recommend for most in-home use and would buy if I could do it over again. They’ll give you a lot of flexibility and will really help you get vibrant colors from your shot.

Grey CardGrey Card: Lastolite EzyBalance Grey Card – If you have a camera that lets you set custom white balance so it accurately records all the colors it’s capturing (instead of using the default modes of sunny, florescent, cloudy, shade, etc.), you’ll need a grey card to properly tell your camera what colors look like in your lighting environment. I use this one because it’s small, compact, and is easy for me to pack when I travel.

Manfrotto TripodTripod: Manfrotto 055XPROB – For years I used a cheap plastic tripod, which worked fine when I was using lightweight equipment, but it became increasingly wobbly and difficult to adjust. Plus, I didn’t feel safe trusting a tiny insecure plastic clamp to keep my camera from falling, so I switched to this tripod and love it! It’s very sturdy, safe, and allows for some pretty creative shooting angles.

Manfrotto Tripod HeadTripod Head: Manfrotto 128RC Fluid Head – Since the Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod does not come with a head, this is the one I purchased. It makes very small adjustments very easy and smooth, and it is a great substitute for a slider to get those slow, cinematic motion shots.

Black BackgroundBlack Background: Savage Seamless Background Paper – If you’ve seen any of my recent videos you know that I have a black background behind me. This is what it is. Just a big simple role of black paper. There’s other black materials you could use, like a black wall or cloth, but I like paper the best because it reflects the least amount of light giving it the best look.

Background Support SystemBackground Support System: Impact 12′ Support System – Of course, having a big role of black paper for your background is worthless if you can’t hang it behind you. I use this support system for the role of black paper because it allows me to role up the paper role when I’m not using it. That way I can protect the paper from my kids who often kick balls around in the room.

Magic Lantern FirmwareCamera Firmware: Magic Lantern – This a free third-party firmware for many Canon DSLRs that adds a lot of video features to the camera, like audio meters, pull focus, zebras, and more. I love it and don’t shoot video without it anymore. However, it’s not really for beginners. It’s important that you feel comfortable shooting on your Canon with it’s stock firmware before upgrading to Magic Lantern.

Behind The ScenesBehind-The-Scenes: A video of my setup using all this gear together – Here’s a little video I did for creators who are supporting Video Creators. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at my setup and how I use all of this equipment together.

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.

GoPro Hero 4 BlackCamera: GoPro Hero 4 Black – I love vlogging with the GoPro because it’s small and easy to drop into my pocket while running around and shooting videos with my children and wife. It’s also quite versatile since it takes photos, time lapse videos, and can shoot incredibly smooth slow-motion videos. And the fact that it shoots in 4K resolution means I’m future-proofing the memories I’m creating with my family. The main downside is that the microphones on this camera are susceptible to wind since I don’t use it inside the waterproof case, which can create for some poor audio if you’re not careful.

Sandisk Micro SD CardMemory 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.

GoPro Protective LensProtective 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.

GoPro Jaws MountCamera 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.

GoPro BatteriesBatteries: 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.

GoPro Tripod MountTripod 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.

Joby GorillapodPortable 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.

Video Editing Gear

Here’s the hardware and software I use to edit all my videos, both for Video Creators and our family’s vlogging channel.

Macbook ProComputer: 15.4″ Macbook Pro Retina – As a guy who creates 6+ videos every week, I’ve found that it’s definitely worth buying a computer with some upgraded specs to make that process go a bit more smoother. Since it’s all in full 1080p HD or even 4K resolution, having 16 GB of memory, and SSD hard drive, a good graphics card, and a fast processor all contribute to a system that let’s me work efficiently with video.

Adobe Premiere ProEditing Software: Adobe Premiere Pro – I edit pretty much everything Premiere Pro, with the exception of occasionally hopping over to Adobe After Effects for some special tasks. It has a bit of a learning curve to it if you’re coming from something like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, but learning it is definitely worth it. Your videos will be more professional and you’ll edit your videos much faster than before. When I first started with Premiere Pro I went through the Premiere Pro Essentials Training on Lynda.com, which takes about 8 hours to complete, but will save you much more time in trying to figure it all out yourself. If you want to edit with something that’s more basic and cheaper, I recommend using Adobe Premiere Elements.

LevelatorAudio Normalizing: Levelator – I use this almost all the time to normalize the audio from my GoPro. Audio sources close to the microphone are loud and strong while audio sources further away are quiet. I run the audio from my video clips through this free (and discontinued) software to make the volume even throughout the entire clip.

Behind The ScenesBehind-The-Scenes of me editing and publishing a video – Here’s a pretty complete look at my editing process with Adobe Premiere Pro, as well as my YouTube uploading process if you want to see how I use a lot of this equipment and software in action.

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.

Rode BoompoleBoompole: 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.

Rode NTG-2 Shotgun MicShotgun Microphone: Rode NTG-2 – I love this mic! It’s quite versatile and, as long as your audio source is close by, it picks up great audio, probably better than the wireless lavaliere.

Rode NTG-2 Dead Cat Wind MuffMicrophone Wind Muff: Rode NTG-2 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.

ShockmountShoutmount: 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.

Zoom H4NAudio 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.

Rode VideoMic ProDSLR 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.

Shure MicrophoneInterview 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).

Vello ActionPan GripCamera 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.

Glidecam HD-2000Camera Stabilization: Glidecam HD-2000 – This is the granddaddy of camera stabilization. It takes a bit of practice to really use effectively and will quickly tire your wrist from the weight, but the shots you get from this are just beautiful. I love chasing my kids around with this. The motion is so smooth it feels like you’re gliding next to them.

Canon Camera BagCamera Bag: Canon Deluxe Backpack – My wife got this bag for me for Christmas one year and, wow, every time I use it I’m impressed at how much gear this thing can hold and organize. It’s deceptively small and packs everything I need plus more. It’s perfect for walking around at conventions and traveling through the airport.

Website Tools

While much of my business relies on video equipment, a lot of it is also based on my website here at videocreators.com. These are the tools that keep this place running smoothly and securely.

Web Hosting: Pagely.com – My website is built on WordPress and no one hosts WordPress better than Pagely. Their service is optimized to keep WordPress running as fast and smoothly as possibly. I used to pay a lot of money to patch together a system of multiple services to keep my site quick and responsive until I switched to these guys. Now they do it all for me for about half the cost.

Alternate Web Hosting: Stablehost – Since Pagely only supports WordPress, I have other sites and scripts hosted with Stablehost, which supports pretty much everything. So far my experience with them has been great. Super affordable, fast sites, and quick customer support.

Domains and SSLs: Namecheap.com – There’s a lot of places to register domains online, but I prefer these guys because they’re one of the cheapest and fastest places online to buy them. Plus, I already get my SSL certificates from them to secure my sites.

Namecheap

Email Campaigns: ConvertKit – I use ConvertKit for all my email campaigns. It manages my email newsletter lists well and integrates with my ecommerce system here. Plus, it gives me a lot of stats about my list and subscribers helping me know what kind of emails people find valuable and what they don’t.

eCommerce and Course Delivery: WooCommerce/Sensei – Since a lot of people have requested that I share the details of what I use on this site to deliver my ebooks, downloads, and video courses, I put it all together in a PDF, which you can download from this link.

Business Partners

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!

Business Coach: BrandU – I don’t have any business background, so I read a lot of business books and meet with these guys twice a month for advice, help, and guidance with my branding and overall business plan.