Let's talk gear - What do you need to record videos?
5 min read

Let's talk gear - What do you need to record videos?

After 2 years of making youtube videos, it's time to talk about the gear used in the process and how you can get started with recording quality videos.

There are three elements to creating a quality video: Audio, Lighting & Video - in order of importance. 

Audio is key to a great video experience. Mediocre video quality with great audio is better than excellent video quality and mediocre/terrible audio quality.  

Lighting is key because great lighting enhances camera video quality significantly. With great lighting, a mid range camera or phone works well.

Video is key for obvious reasons. It's dictated by the camera you have. These days - there are hardly any limitations as most phones have 1080p video quality.


When I was starting off, I used my S10 plus microphone for my video audio. Its quality was passable, but not excellent. I then invested in a Rode VideoMic Pro with the goal of using it with my DSLR. As it has a 3.5mm jack, it works equally as well attached to your phone. Mounting the mic is a challenge when using it with your phone. If your phone is going to be the primary recording device, I would recommend the Rode VideoMic Me.

Being a shogun mic, the Rode VideoMic Pro is great for vlog style filming. As I matured in the creative field, I learnt that the quality of the sound depended on the distance of the microphone from your mouth The shogun mic was usually positioned 30-50cm from me when recording in my studio. This was enough to reduce the audio clarity – maybe I grew unnecessarily fixated on producing crisp audio.

My next audio investment was in the RodeLink Filmmaker kit which is a wireless lavalier mic kit. This is my existing setup and I couldn't be happier with it. It was a recommendation from a filmmaker.

Shogun Mic

Budget Friendly

RØDE VideoMic Pro | On-camera Microphone | RØDE Microphones
The RØDE VideoMic Pro is ideal for filmmakers looking for a flexible and feature-packed on-camera microphone. Find out more.

Premium Version

RØDE VideoMic Pro+ | Premium On-camera Microphone | RØDE Microphones
The RØDE VideoMic Pro+ is ideal for filmmakers looking for a flexible and feature-packed on-camera microphone. Find out more.

I have the budget version but I would now recommend the Pro+ as it has a rechargeable battery and automatic power switching as opposed to the 9V battery for the Pro. It's also easy to forget to switch off the mic.

Lavalier Mic Setup

Compact Wireless Setup

RØDE Lavalier GO | Professional Lavalier Microphone | RØDE Microphones
The RØDE Lavalier GO is a professional-grade lavalier that delivers incredible audio for any content. Learn more.
Wireless GO Compact Wireless Microphone System | RØDE Microphones
The Wireless GO is the world’s smallest, most versatile wireless microphone system. Small and compact - it’s perfect for content creators on the go. Learn more!

The one I have

RØDELink Filmmaker Kit
The Filmmaker Kit provides everything you need to start shooting video without the cables!

Podcasting Mic

Blue - Yeti
Blue offers premium USB and XLR microphones, and audiophile headphones for recording, podcasting, gaming, streaming, YouTube, and more.

I've used this mic for voiceovers of my shorts. No complaints when it comes to sound quality. I hope to use it for future video interview episodes.


Lighting has to be the simplest aspect of my filming yet the most effective way to level up your filming. With the absence of a lighting system, your best friend is a daylighting. You can get pretty great results by facing the window. Avoid recording near sunset or during patchy cloudy days as the exposure adjustment can be an issue if using manual mode on your camera. Even if you were to use the auto mode, the temperature of the shot is still bound to change.

To achieve more consistent recording results, a softbox setup is well worth an investment. It's a lighting setup with a translucent fabric over the light to diffuse the light to achieve a softer look.


Starting off my Youtube channel, I used my S10 plus camera to record video. This phone like most others these days, is more than capable of recording high quality video. The audio quality has a bit to catch up on. I then moved on to recording with my DSLR camera which is a Canon DSLR 650D bought in 2013. With DSLR cameras, the magic is all in the lens. Getting a decent DSLR body is of course useful but I'd advise spending a pretty penny on the lenses. They last long and supposedly hold their value over time.  For my talking head style videos, I started using a 14mm Samyang lens. This might seem wide but the 650D has a 1.6x crop sensor which meant the effective focal length was 22mm.

This was my setup for the first year of my youtube journey. Then I decided to invest and upgrade my camera gear. I upgraded to the Sony A7 III DSLR along with the Sony Carl Zeiss 55mm F1.8 Lens and Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G Lens.

If you're after a camera and you're just starting off with video recording, this setup is an overkill. DSLRs are heavy to carry around, and annoying if you hate carrying around lenses.

Amazing gear does not equal amazing content right off the bat.

If I was a beginner YouTuber starting out, then these are the cameras I would look into: