Vlogging For Musicians Part 1: Equipment You’ll Need For Video Marketing



When musicians (and artists) think of creating videos, they think of vlogging. When they think of vlogging, they picture videos outlining their day-to-day. What I had for breakfast, and look at the new *blank* I just purchased.

Vlogging is powerful when used correctly. In this post series, I’m going to show you how to leverage video to gain more fans, followers, business connections, and client

I’ll walk you through creating talking head videos, video songs/cover songs, screen captures as well as the editing process. This is one fun way I find new connections and projects. Let’s get into it.

In this post, I’m going to go over the equipment you’ll need to start vlogging (video marketing).

Warning: These are affiliate links, and I will be paid if you purchase anything through them.

Your Vlogging Equipment!

In order to create good video, you’ll need the following: Camera, stabilization, editing software, good light, good audio, and a little patience. Creating video can be a little frustrating, but we’ll get through that.

Here’s A List Of Good Video Cameras For YouTube Vlogging

I broke this down into 3 types; webcams, handheld cams (pocket), and DSLR. I left out camcorders because I have no experience with them.

Webcams: I don’t think it gets any cheaper than this. Most laptops and computer monitors come with a webcam built-in. The quality is usable, but often limiting especially if you plan on doing a lot of moving.

If you don’t have a webcam, keep your eye on the Logitech C920. It records in 1080p and is generally under $70, sometimes $50

Pocket Cameras: Sometimes called “fixed focus cameras” which are small enough to fit on your person -> your pocket. Cameras that fall into this category are flip styled, like the Flip HD and VadoHD (2nd/3rd gen).

They are called “flip styled” because they have a USB connector that “flips” out for transferring video to your computer for editing.

These used to be the “go-to” vlogging cameras a few years ago. They still work great, but if you have a smartphone, you’re in business. The quality is better, and you have DSLR-like feature control over the smartphone’s camera.

For example Iso, aperture, focus/exposure lock, tap focus, etc.

Not to mention, smartphones are convenient, we carry them everywhere!

Although pocket cams are capable of good video quality, they perform poorly in low light, and the onboard audio sucks. So good lighting and an external audio source are a must.

One more thing. Most pocket cams have onboard memory. Some allow you to expand this memory via SD cards and Micro SD cards.

Vlogging Video CameraDSLR Cameras: Huge step up from the pocket cameras as they offer better quality and more control over your cameras features; Iso, aperture, light metering, fps and you can add on different lenses..

Models I suggest getting

Canon Rebel T3i
Canon Rebel T4i
Canon Rebel T5i

Sorry for not mentioning any Nikon models. I don’t suggest equipment/software I’ve never used. I’m sure they are just as good if not better.

Maybe someone can come in and mention some alternative models from other brands.

The downside of using a DSLR is dealing with huge file sizes, they aren’t as convenient and they’re a bit complicated. Especially for someone who just wants to record quickly and edit quickly.

If you go with a DSLR, make sure you have a good SD Card. Size and model matter. If your SD card isn’t fast enough, it will freeze when you record video. Stick with class 10 SD cards like a SanDisk Extreme 32 gig.

Side Note: 99% of the time your DSLR will come with a stock lens. If you want to upgrade to a better quality lens that won’t break the bank, I suggest using this one.

The Nifty 50: This is a 1.8 50mm lens, it’s cheap, and its clarity is ridiculous. This should have been the stock lens. It goes for $80-$115, WORTH IT!

Budget Lighting Kit

Light is the food for your camera. If you have poor lighting, your video will look bad, it doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have. Proper lighting cannot be ignored!

A good lighting kit will consist of: Bright light, stands, and diffusion. The more light you have, the better. Go with one of these kits, they come with everything you need.

Lighting Kit 1: 2400 Watt Solution. Basic 3 point lighting for $110. No better lighting in this price range

Lighting kit 2: 3000 Watt Solution. Another 3 point lighting setup. $40 more than the kit above, but you get 600 more watts.

If those options are too expensive for you, you can always head to Home Depot or Lowes and build a cheap DIY Lighting Kit. Here’s what you’ll need

Light Bulbs: You want CLF 5000-5500k ← the higher the K, the more true to “daylight” the bulb is. Make sure the bulb is 100-watt equivalent. This is what I have 4 Pack EcoSmart 100 Watt Equivalent Daylight

Clamp Lights: Get the 8 -10 inch dish, it comes with the clamp and socket. 6 inches is cheaper, but 8 gives you a wider spread on the light. This is what I use 150 Watt 8 Inch Clamp Light

Diffusion Paper: You can use the following: Printer paper (blank/white), tracing paper, or paper towels, yes… Bounty! Use close pins or binder clips to hold in place, as I have here.

If you have no budget for lighting, then use natural light, but be warned, most of our good natural light comes from the sun. This means you’ll have to be outside or in a room with windows that allow a lot of sun into the room.

If you have big windows in your home studio, you’re golden, but if not…Well, you need light!

Keep in mind, during the day, there is lots of outside noise that’ll interfere with recording, this is why the lighting kit is important as it allows you to record at any time.

ScreenRecording And Video Editing Software

Screen recording is another way to create videos. I recommend screen recording applications because they serve two purposes:

1.They record your screen… duh

2.They are good enough for video editing.

This solution is ideal for “how to” based videos and lyric videos, not ideal for video song covers. Sorry, but it’s best to be in front of the camera for those.

The applications I recommend

Screenflow: If you are a MAC user, this is hands down the best screen recording/video editing app combination you can get. It’s easy to use and is perfect for what we’re trying to accomplish only $99

Camtasia: This is the best screen recorder on the window’s side. It would be lovely if ScreenFlow were for windows. Camtasia works just as good, but it’s more than double the price and also goes for $260

One More Thing: Pick up a dedicated audio editor as well. Go with a free one like Audacity as it will come in handy.

Additional Vlog Editing Software

If you don’t want to use ScreenFlow or Camtasia, you could always use a dedicated application such as Windows Moviemaker or iMovie. These are stock apps that come with your OS.

If you want something more robust, go with Adobe Premiere or Final Cut. Personally, even though those are great applications, they’re overkill for what we’re trying to do.

Microphones: Recording Good Audio For Your Video

Most cameras have a built in mic → they suck. The audio quality will contain a lot of hiss and feedback. You want an external microphone to pick up your vocals/instruments and reduce background noise.

The microphone “types” I recommend are -> studio (dynamic/condenser), lav, portable recorders, and shotgun mics. All of these have different purposes.

Most of you will have studio microphones which will work fine for video songs/video cover songs and screen recorder based videos.

But if you want to record videos without a mic dangling in your face, you’ll need a lav or shotgun mic. A portable recorder will do the job, add a dedicated mic for versatility.

Here are the audio solutions I recommend, pick one or two.

H1 Zoom: Cost $99.00, this a portable recorder (with built in mics) that has the capability of housing a lapel/lav mic (optional) and it mounts right on top of your DSLR.

Dr40: Another portable recorder with built in mics that also has the capability of housing external mics (has phantom power). Also mounts on top of your DSRL. Very versatile, very cheap for what it does $179.00

Rode Ntg1: Great mic for dialog. It’s a super-cardioid mic, meaning it has a more narrow field of capture than that of a “cardioid mic”. The mic cost $249.00 → phantom power needed

ETM – 008: This is a lapel mic made by Edutige. It will plug into any recorder as well as a DSLR camera. No lapel sounds as good in its price range, and it’s very inexpensive → $67.00

Tip: Use with an external recorder for portability

AT2020 USB: This is the USB version of the AT2020. I use this for VO work. Great quality, portability and it only runs 129.00.

AT2100 USB: Another great USB mic, I like this better because it’s dynamic and cancels out a lot of background noise, and it’s cheaper than the 2020. You can buy it for $59.99

The USB mics are optional, I like to take them along with me when I travel and they’re good for everyday use.

Use A Tripod To Avoid Shaky Videos

Tripods are vital for good video footage. I hate watching videos where the camera is uneven, your audience will too. When looking for a tripod, get one that’ll support the weight of your camera.

Rule of thumb, if it looks flimsy, it probably is. I almost broke my T3i using a cheap Targus. I figured, “eh, it’s a tripod, it’ll do”. WRONG, the whole thing tipped over. Luckily for me, the couch broke its fall.

If you don’t have a good tripod, here are 3 that won’t break the bank.

Manfrotto MKC3-H01: This is the best tripod I have in my arsenal because it’s lightweight, easy to use, and under $50.00. There are much better tripods out there, but for under $50? Nah. What I like most is the swiveling head.

Ravelli AVTP: What this tripod will offer is a smoother head allowing you to pull off those nice gliding pans. Ideal for those who will have a cameraman or for creating good B-Roll.

If you’re using a smartphone, you’ll need a tripod mounting adapter. For iPhones go with the i-stabilizer. For androids like a galaxy S3 or bigger, go with the i-stabilizer XL.

Video Recording Accessories

These are not “must-haves”, but they do make life a lot easier, especially if you plan on making video a part of your marketing strategy

Bundle Accessories For DSLR Camera

Opteka Kit: Can’t go wrong with Opteka. You get a pistol grip battery pack (holds 2 batteries), a lens cleaning kit, and a wireless remote. The remote allows you to control your focus and toggle recording.

The remote alone is a lifesaver

Smartphone Video Accessories

I don’t know where to begin, there are so many. What I do suggest is getting additional stabilizers as they become beneficial for when you have an extra hand and most come with free tripod mounts.

Pistol Grip Handle: Good for both DSLRs and smartphones as it comes with a free mounting clip.

Gorilla Pod: No other tripod is as versatile as this and it comes with a free smartphone mount.

BeastGrip: + smartphone = DSLR (sort of). It fits every smartphone, mounts to a tripod, and has mounts for lights, mics, lenses, etc. If you don’t have a DSLR and want more options for the phone, then you need this. It’s crazy.

Wrapping It Up

Sorry for the long post, but this is what’s needed to prep for the rest of the material to come.

If you wind up purchasing any video equipment above; lights, cameras, software, etc. Let me know by showing me your purchase order and I’ll help you create personalized templates to help speed up your workflow.

More Music Biz Education