Want to vlog? Here's the basic equipment you will need

Want to vlog? Here is the basic equipment you will need

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Whether it is a social issue you want to talk about or a memorable motorcycle trip that you want to share, a vlog (short for video blog) is the way to go. Of course, one could just publish a post on a website, but the impact is limited. With a video, the appeal is far greater. For example, if you're talking about a road trip, a video is far better and will obviously get more viewers.

YouTube is the obvious place for posting vlogs. Over time and with some experience, one could also consider going live on other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

Depending on the subject, there is every chance that the vlogger could monetise the content.

What is the kind of equipment one will need to get started with vlogging?

The very first and most obvious is a camera for vlogging. These days, even inexpensive smartphones are capable of recording video in high definition. Midrange handsets can even record in Ultra HD or 4K. So, one of these will do just fine when you are making a start.

If there is a budget for equipment, it would make sense to buy the best you can afford. If it is a smartphone, it should be one that has image stabilisation. If a video is being shot mounted on a tripod and set on the table, stabilisation may not be required. However, if a vlog is being made while walking, for example, stabilisation will help in eliminating shaky or jerky clips.

If one already has Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) or mirrorless camera (also referred to as a vlogging camera) with a good lens (preferably with image stabilisation), that's half the equipment that's needed. Even a compact camera can be used at the beginning, but the ideal situation will be if it records video at 1080p (full HD quality).

DSLRs can be bulky and lugging them around can be quite a task. Mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter than DSLRs and are therefore becoming popular with vloggers.

Action cameras are becoming popular. These are very compact and can shoot great video. Something like a GoPro can be mounted on a helmet or a shoulder harness if one is recording a bike ride for a vlog.

The second most important piece of equipment to have is a tripod. Shooting video on smartphones is becoming increasingly popular and a tripod is a must. If you already own a smartphone with image stabilisation, a small tripod will do. Cheap tripods are easily available but one from a reputed brand like Manfrotto or Vanguard will last longer. Depending on the load-carrying capacity, the cheapest is about Rs 2,000 and it can go up to several thousand rupees.

Investing in a flexible tripod is also a good idea. With something like a Joby Gorillapod, the vlogger can bend the flexible legs of the tripod and wrap it around a tree for ambitious video shots.

A tripod is a basic accessory but spend a little more and one can get a gimbal (for a smartphone, DSLR or mirrorless camera). Once the recording device is mounted, motors on the gimbal ensure that the device is always level and pointing towards the subject. Moreover, video start-stop can also be controlled from the gimbal. DJI, Zhiyun and Osaka make good quality gimbals and cost upwards of Rs 5,000.

The next is a good microphone. The inbuilt mic in the smartphone or camera will do a decent job with the audio recording but an external one is better. For a few thousand rupees, a good mic (from Rode or Audio Technica for example) will do wonders in recording audio.

With an external mic, it is better to get a wind muff. It is a furry cover for the mic and helps in blocking wind noise, which can otherwise ruin the audio recording.

If the lighting situation indoors is not that great, lighting equipment might also be needed. But otherwise, the basic equipment listed above should suffice in your quest to become the next YouTube star.

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