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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. In 2020, that means great-looking 4K at a minimum.
We’re starting to see higher resolution displays hit the market, and more cameras will start to offer 6K and 8K recording sooner than later, but 4K is the standard. If you’re recording in 1080p, you’re a bit behind the times.
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 important 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 that you can see when recording—one that flips forward—is also important.
If you’re going pro, think about an external recorder. You can output higher quality video from HDMI than a camera can record internally, so using an external device will improve quality, and give you more flexibility when editing.
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.
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