YouTube Starter Kit: An Equipment Guide for Content Creators





FYI: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click them and decide to make a purchase, I earn a commission.


If you're reading this blog post, chances are that you're either thinking about starting a YouTube channel, or have already started one and are looking for some equipment to help improve the quality of your videos. If you haven't started yet, my first tip would be to just start by using what you already have and be creative. Don't feel like you need to have a fancy expensive camera, studio lights, etc. in order to make your first few videos. I filmed my very first video on my iPad, in front of a window.





Do those things greatly improve the quality of your video content? Yes. But if you're not ready to make the investment, wait until you can. Check out my most recent video, to see how I've leveled up over the years.






The most expensive thing I'll be sharing in starter kit guide is my camera of course, and for the most part a lot of the equipment is pretty affordable (it just all adds up). I've shared a lot of these tips over the years on Twitter, and in my Instagram story highlights, but I thought it would be a good idea to put it all together in a blog post so that y'all could easily refer to it.





Grab a pen and a notebook so you can jot down what you want to add to your wishlist, and also so you can write down your video ideas.


Here we go!


Camera:





I film 99% of my videos with my refurbished Canon T6i (with the standard kit lens), which I purchased from the online Canon Store a few years ago. Refurbished means that it's not brand new, but it's like new and still in excellent condition (Tip: When I purchased my camera, I used eBates so that I could get a little cash back. I think with the percentage they did at the time I may have gotten $50? But you know what that means: more money to buy more equipment. Or makeup. Or clothes. You get the gist. I always try to use eBates when I shop online). 




What I love about this Camera:

  • The photo and video quality is amazing
  • It has a flip-out screen so I can see myself while I film (very important)
  • It has autofocus (also very important, and it autofocuses silently)
  • It has WiFi / NFC so I can access my photos and videos on my phone / iPad / etc by directly from my camera via wi-fi (through the Cannon Connect app). 
  • Using the Cannon Connect app (which is how I can connect to the camera from my phone, to access my photos), I can also take pictures using my phone as a remote. I can also see myself on my phone, so I know what everything looks like. 

Big Tip: Learning how to customize your white balance and shoot in manual mode is a GAME CHANGER


Important Camera Related Equipment:

Backup Battery




It's a good idea to have a backup battery so that when one dies while you're filming you can just pop the next one in and keep going. You don't have to do this immediately, but if you can you should (so that you can keep filming or taking pics when the first battery dies).


Grey Card




Why: To customize your white balance on your camera, before you start filming. Customizing your white balance ensures that your colors are true and consistent while you're filming, and it's well worth the $7 to not have to color correct each clip individually. That was the biggest pain in my behind, and the fix for it was the $7 grey card. It's super easy to use, I can customize my white balance in like 30 seconds with this.


Memory Card




You basically want to get one with a decent amount of space, so that you don't run out of space while you're filming (then you have to stop and transfer footage/images, or worse delete things if you're out on location). I use a 32GB SD card (which is the smallest amount of space that I would recommend) but I wouldn't mind upgrading to something with more space.


Timer Shutter Release Remote





If you've been trying to figure out how to take your pictures by yourself, the Neewer LCD Timer Shutter Release Remote is the answer to your problems. Yes, the Canon T6i has a built-in timer, and yes I can also connect it to the app on my phone to take my own pics. You could also get a mini remote, and try to shoot that way. However, with this remote, I can set it to take however many pictures I want (and set how much time I need in between each shot to move and pose), and be able to take them all hands-free. I've been using this a lot to take my own pictures, especially since I don't always have somebody around to help me out. This remote runs on two AAA batteries. 

Tripod





I juuuuuuust recently invested in a tripod (before I went the Free.99 route and just sat my camera on a wooden box on my table while I filmed),  and it definitely leveled up my set up. I really like this one by K&F Concept, because it allows me to flip the camera underneath the tripod and film with the camera facing down (so if I wanted to film a nail tutorial on a table, I could very easily do that). It's super lightweight and easy to use. This was a game changer for filming my lookbooks.


Microphone




So to be honest, I also just recently invested in a microphone for my camera. I wasn't using one in my talk through videos, and for voiceovers, I was recording those on my iPhone and then adding them to the video when I edited. I did order the Takstar SGC-598 Interview Mic for Canon and & Nikon on Amazon, and I will let y'all know how I like it. 


Lighting:


Now starting out, you could try filming in front of a window during daylight hours. I used to do this for a long time, however, this isn't always the most reliable option. If it's not a nice bright day, or if you have an issue and need to start over...there goes your lighting. Good lighting is definitely an important investment, and it doesn't have to be super expensive. Don't let them swindle you, you don't have to spend $$$ on a ring light.

Ringlight





The ringlight that I use is by Neewer, when I started investing in lighting, the very first thing that I bought was my ringlight (I also gave one away a long time ago on Instagram. See what y'all be missing out on?). I purchased a non-dimmable one, however, they make a dimmable one as well.



 I immediately discovered a few things.


The first being that my ringlight didn't come with a stand, so I needed to purchase one (I purchased this one in the style 803).





 The second being that I still needed softboxes to place on either side of my ringlight, so that my lighting would be on point. When I tried just filming with the ringlight, things didn't look well lit.




 Lastly, I discovered that I needed to use a diffuser with it so that the lighting didn't look harsh (and so that I could see when I was filming).




Work Light 





I use a work light that I purchased from Home Depot, to light my backdrop. I have the Husky 3500 Lumen LED Worklight (Retail $54.99). I prop it up behind me, and it faces it towards whatever backdrop I'm using. It gives me that nice illuminated halo effect, and it also adds a nice touch to my overall lighting set up. I can definitely see a  difference now that I've added it to my set up. It's cool to the touch, so I don't have to worry about the heat. I was kind of tight about the price, but it does make a difference.


Reflectors





Using a reflector also gives my lighting set up a nice touch, and make me look like I'm glowing. I purchased this set off of Amazon, but I seriously underestimated how large it was (as a budding scientist, I should have taken a better look at the dimensions LOL). I place mine on my table underneath me when I'm filming, and I also use it when I'm taking pictures.


Backdrops:

Savage Seamless Background Paper





Honestly, I only used the background paper a couple of times. It's not really that useful to me for my set up, and the limited amount of space that I have to work with (or at least, it's currently not my preferance). It does come in a lot of different colors and sizes though, so I wanted to list it for y'all as an option.

To be very honest, 2 yards of fabric and a cheap clothing rack from Target never fail me. I drape the fabric over the clothing rack, and clip it so that it doesn't fall or move while I'm filming. If you plan to do mostly lookbooks or fashion videos (anything that's not shot with close-ups), this probably isn't the way to go for you. This works best for like sit down videos (makeup and hair tutorials, etc). 


Editing:


Software:

I use Final Cut Pro X (they have 30 day trials if you have a Mac) to edit my videos, retailing for $300 it is kind of expensive but it is what a lot of the pros use. Adobe Premiere is also a popular editing option, but I've never used it before and can't speak much about it.

On the Free.99 - Inexpensive route, you can also use iMovie or whatever free editing software you already have on your laptop. I do know of some people who edit on their phone, this could work depending on how long the video is and how large the file is). When I edit mini clips on my iPhone, my go to app is InShot (which is free to download, but you do have to pay to use some features).


Effects:

There are a lot of YouTube channels that you can watch to teach you how to edit (like Shameless Maya), or do certain effects without plugins (heyyyy King Tuts Pro). A lot of creators (myself included) use plug-ins for special effects, or to get certain templates for things. My go-to shop for this is Pixel Film Studios, just bear in mind that they're plug-ins only work with the most current version of FCPX.


Thumbnails:





I get a lot of questions on how to make thumbnails and stuff for YouTube, and Canva is going to be your best friend if you're a creator. It's completely FREE (however you can upgrade to a paid version for access to more features, but you can do TONS without it), and it has templates for everything from thumbnails to resumes. I use both the site and the app for everything (all my thumbnails, my resume because the post-graduate job hunt is REAL, blog graphics, snapchat filters, invitations, my media kit, etc.)



So there we have it guys, this is my guide to everything that you need to start a YouTube channel. This is all based on my experiences, and I tried to keep things budget friendly. If you have any questions holla at me in the comments.


Should I create a video on my filming set up? Let me know!



Stylishly Yours, 

Theresa Seyi

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