As Content Creators on all forms of Social Media (Not just here), we need equipment. We have our phones and a DSLR for photos, but for making YouTube videos there is so much you need and the more videos we make the more kit we seem to acquire. This is a little round up of the ‘stuff’ we have and what we (mostly Ash) thinks of it.
When I/Ash was a photographer I used the minimal amount of equipment, it was my thing, I never needed a big studio or tons of lights, just a camera, a lens and a flash did the job. When I stopped and sold what kit I had thinking I wouldn’t need it anymore. Then I started making Youtube videos with a iPhone wedged on a tin can and the blinds open. But I soon picked up a Gimbal and a Joby Tripod because everyone said you needed these things and to be fair they certainly helped.
Over the last few years the kit drawer has got more and more filled and I’ve been through various connotations of some things and now have certain items that are clearly better than what I had first.
When I started as I said it was on an iPhone 7 – that however died in the sea in Corsica! These days my iPhone camera records most of the footage.
The iPhone 13 Mini with 24fps and 4k footage has the best I have tried so far in terms of picture quality, but the sound is at times a little bit sketchy. It’s audio quality isn’t the best and it seems to prefer to record wind over voices, in calls as well as video.
For action shots or swimming, climbing, bike rides, etc, I have a GoPro 7 Black, which has 24fps and 4k, but the image stabiliser is lacking to say the least. So I bought a GoPro 8 with the Hyper Smooth and Hyper Lapse, these functions make for incredibly smooth time lapse and real time action, but the battery life is terrible, the 8 lasts for about 40mins, compared to the 7 which lasts up to 2hours. Thats a big difference. Bob has the GoPro 8 too and finds the same issue although hasn’t used it all that much. The GoPro11 is out now, maybe that is better but so far we haven’t found out.
The GoPro official stands and handheld sticks are fine, but I found a Gooseneck, flexible holder with a clamp on one end which is brilliant and so much more practical, you snap the GoPro on the top and clamp the grip to a handlebar, a tree or whatever and it is neutrally buoyant, so drop it in the sea and it just sits there.
So I’ve been through a number of microphones I had the Rode Shotgun mic for iPhones, which worked really well on the old phone, but the new version is too expensive and a shotgun mic isn’t as practical as a wireless/bluetooth Lapel Mic.
I also had Lavaliere Mics, which do the job, but with lightning plugs the jack plugs have to go through another plug and this interferes with the sound and with the long cord from me to the phone was impractical, so wireless mics have been bought.
I bought the Balila Wireless Mic but it just didn’t connect to the phone so I sent it back and then got months of messages from the company questioning why I returned it. They refused to believe it didn’t work until I sent a video of me recording using their mic and they realised I was right and finally left me alone. After a couple of other attempts both of which were instantly returned.
I bought a GVaxis pair of mics from TikTok and found a compromise. This Bundle comes with a charging case, two mics and a receiver, the sound is picked up on the phone even if you stand up to 50m from it. Indoors the sound is clear enough, but the first mode has a loud buzzing noise at all times and on the ambient reduction noise setting the sound becomes muffled and since there is no background noise it makes your voice sounds dead and flat. But it’s the best to date but I am still better of using the built in mic on the phone.
Stands are an essential piece of kit, for lights and cameras – there have been some that fold up to tiny, but the compromise is that they are so light and put putting a light on it, it can’t take the weight and collapses. So I have two old camera stands from Interfit and one with an extendable Boom Arm for overhead shooting – for painting and craft projects – this is a great help as it can get the camera up high enough so as not be in the way. On the top of each stand is a universal ball joint hot shoe adapter, so that I have more control over angles and phone holders, which are hit or miss themselves.
I had the Joby mini Gorilla-pods which are great for wrapping around trees and posts and the like so for outdoor shooting it’s needed. However they brake every six months and you have to buy new ones. The only positive with this is you end up with the end joints as fridge magnets! (Yeah only positive!) So after about 5 Joby’s I tried the Naohori and have had it for nearly 3 years.
(The version I bought is now owned and sold by Ulanzi) It is both tough and flexible, with a better fluid head as well as a better length at nearly 30cm, compared to the Joby at around 20cm.
I have tried Ring Lights but unless you pay over £200 they tend to be a piece of crap, they fade, they cycle and flicker or just stop working – the worst was the one Lipety that lasted 30minutes before exploding.
But the latest addition to my growing kit is one that changes all that. The Neewer Ring Light with phone holder and table mount, this has made an impact on crafting projects, it means the phone is in the cradle, overhead and able to see what I’m working on, but with the light all around the lens and with settings from low light to full brightness and cool, golden light to high white light the range of moods and colours is perfect for any situation and for talk to camera pieces too. The only downside is it isn’t chartable so has to be plugged in via a USB plug.
I also have a Neewer Panel Light, which once again is great, a flat panel with an LCD screen on the back and full variable controls like the ring light, giving range of cool to warm tones and minimal power to high, full light, it is rechargeable so doesn’t need to plugged in and charges in around 45mins.
Another light I’ve had for a few years are the Ulanzi RGB handheld lights with a hotshoe mount, these can fit on top of a DSLR or a stand or connect together to make a light bank and they have the same cool to earm colour setting and different colour modes or a full spectrum of colour to choose from. These little lights are available via Amazon for about £29.
However they have a cycle rate, which means that – especially – in the coloured modes they pulse and on video you can see the light fade and grow.
So another newish addition is the Neewer version of the same RGB Handheld light and are currently available direct from Neewer (Link) at only £20 in their Spring Sale and the advantage of these over the Ulanzi is they have a better power cell and so don’t pulse and they also have more colour ranges and effects like Lightning, strobe and Party Colour modes – should you ever want to make it seem like your caught in a lightning storm or being arrested by the cops!
So that’s enough kit, but I’m sure there will be more in time! But if any of this has you thinking of gonig to buy some new equipment then just a little reminder, that all Neewer products are currently (May 23) on sale at 20% off. The products are delivered via Amazon and have that quality you don’t get at these prices usually. This is not sponsored (I wish!) it’s just worth noting. I think all the products I have ended up using are the better option and hopefully you will too.