Vlogging for a Living
It seems like everyone has a vlog these days. It’s enticing to join the fray, chasing YouTube views and hoping for likes, subscribers, and the all-important revenue that comes from the ads your viewers will sit through in order to share in your adventures virtually.
But how do you get started? Well, you need an idea, an angle, and some content—I can’t help you with that. If I had a million dollar vlogging idea, I’d be out there doing it myself. Where I can be of help is in highlighting some tools you can use to start recording. It’s not all about the camera—although a camera is essential, so I’ve included a few good ones with different price points and capabilities.
There are a few things we prioritize when recommending a camera for vlogging, as opposed to one for more general use. For starters, it must have excellent video quality. That doesn’t mean 4K necessarily—good 1080p at the lower end of the price spectrum is fine, as long as you are happy posting 1080p videos.
The ability to connect an external microphone is key. (We also recommend a couple of different mics, for studio and field use.) Viewers tend to forgive video that’s slightly off in quality, but bad audio will have them switching to a different channel in seconds.
Autofocus during video is another key factor—it’s why we don’t recommend most SLRs for vlogging, as, with the exception of some models from Canon, autofocus when recording video is slow and choppy. A display screen that you can see when recording—one that flips forward—is also important. We do recommend a couple of cameras without a fully articulating screen, but on their other merits. Cameras with HDMI output ports support external monitors, so you can add one that’s larger and positioned off-camera to ensure your framing and focus are on point.
You’ll also want to think about support. A good gimbal to keep things steady when recording handheld and a tripod for more stationary setups are both important. Lighting can come into play when working both indoors and out; not just in dim conditions, but also on bright days when you want to fill in some shadows on you or your subject’s face.
Read on for some of our recommendations.