My YouTube Video Creation Tools

A lot of people have asked me what I use to create my YouTube videos. If you are interested in creating video content for YouTube, social media like Facebook or Instagram, or for digital courses, keep reading!

I struggled for years to figure out how to make my videos look and sound better. I wasted a ton of money on lights that just didn’t do anything to improve the situation, and mediocre microphones that really were a waste of time. Although it’s not always perfect, my setup has come a long way since I started YouTubing in 2005 and started Go Natural English in 2011. My first Go Natural English videos in early 2011 were made with a Kodak Zi8 pocket camera, which I wouldn’t recommend now!

After that camera, I bought a Canon Rebel T3i. I still have it as a backup and have used it for several years to create a lot of videos. At the same time, I have also been using my iPhone 6 to make some videos, especially for Facebook live or when I was traveling. The iPhone and a lot of smart phones have great cameras, so if you’re just starting and don’t want to invest in a “real” camera, just use your smart phone! Other things: You absolutely must have a tripod. It’s a good idea to add a microphone as a low-cost, high-impact upgrade. Lighting is important too, but if you can manage to get enough daylight in a quiet recording area, you could probably just use the sun! If you need to record in the evening or in a room that doesn’t get enough natural light, it’s really important to have enough professional lighting to avoid the dark, scary haunted house look.

I highly recommend that if you’re going to put your time and effort into creating video content, use good quality tools! This way you can use and re-use your video content for years and be proud of it! Your content quality is a reflection of your brand.

Recording Setup

Cameras

Canon Rebel T3i camera: I used this budget semi-pro camera for several years and it’s a good entry-level option.

iPhone 6: I use this mostly for live video on social media or when I’m traveling.

Canon 70D camera:  My latest and greatest upgrade. My favorite thing about this camera is the automatic focus, so I’ll never have an out-of-focus video again, even when I’m working on my own! It’s an investment but well worth it if you’re ready to make better, professional looking video. Also, I really like how easy this is to use straight out of the box without reading any manuals!

Lenses

Canon 50mm lens: I love this for making talking head or interview-style videos. It gives a nice close-up look. Excellent for smaller rooms!

Canon 18-135mm lens: This is super versatile for a variety of recording situations. Great for big and small rooms because of the zoom.

Tripod

Neewer 62” tripod: I have used other cheaper tripods, but they were horrible. They either weren’t tall enough for shots where I was standing, or they were not even sturdy enough to hold up my cameras (above). I love this Neewer tripod because it’s tall enough to be good for standing situations, and of course adjustable for sitting situations too. It’s lightweight so if I really wanted to travel with my whole setup I wouldn’t mind carrying it.

Lights

Neewer Ring Lights: I use two of these with tripods. They are awesome. Seriously. These are a game-changer. Two is usually enough for basic lighting, but I also use the Limo Studio ones if it’s especially dark or I’m recording a larger space.

LimoStudio Lights: More recently I got two of these lights as a backup. My first choice is is the Neewer Ring Lights. 

Microphones

Rode Lapel mic: I used to use this in my YouTube videos, and it works great, but I do prefer the freedom of the shotgun mic below for YouTube videos made with my Canon 70D. I currently use a lapel mic for anything I record on my smartphone (iPhone 6) and when I record or do a live video from my laptop. The lapel mic works great in all situations. It really isolates your voice, so if you have a bit of background noise it’s not a big problem. If you want to record an interview, use this splitter and buy a second Rode Lapel Mic.

Rode Shotgun mic: I love using this mic on my Canon 70D because it picks up sound really well and I am not limited to the length of the lapel mic wire. It’s a good option for having more than one person on camera like an interview or conversational situation. Also it performs well if you want people to be able to hear the environment. If you are just wanting to record your voice, then make sure you are in a quiet place.