How to Vlog: Build a Vlogging Setup at Your Budget

How to Vlog: Build a Vlogging Setup at Your Budget

Are you ready to learn how to vlog, but not sure where to start? This guide will walk you through how to create your own video blog from scratch. You’ll learn what equipment you need, how to create compelling content, and best practices to record and edit your vlog. Combine your passion with the advice in this article and you’ll be a vlogger in no time at all.

How to Vlog

A vlog is a blog in video form. Vlogging is not as simple as posting a video, though. With the right equipment, tricks of the trade, and a compelling story, you have the opportunity to build an audience and potentially a career.

Vlogging Equipment You’ll Need

If you’re just starting out or have a very small budget, you can use any device that records video and audio. Over time, you’ll want to consider getting dedicated gear for vlogging.

Vlogging Camera

Look for a camera that records in at least 1080p High Definition. If budget is no concern, spring for a camera that can record in 4K. Other features to look for in a camera:

• Microphone and Headphones Ports (or highly-reviewed in-camera capabilities)

• Fully-Articulating LCD Screen (or the ability to easily connect to a monitor)

• Decent Video Clip Lengths (most cameras have 30 minute clip lengths – long enough for the average vlogging scene)

• Offers a Large Lens Selection (easier to find the lens you want in your budget)

Popular Vlogging Cameras:

• Panasonic GH5 ($87* for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

• Canon 6D Mark II ($83 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

• Sony a6500 ($61 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

• DJI Osmo+ ($40 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

Discover more in The 15 Best Cameras for YouTube Videos in 2018.

Microphones for Vlogging

A microphone is essential to avoid distracting background noise. You can find a camera-mounted shotgun mic in a variety of prices to fit your budget. If you don’t want to invest in a microphone, consider renting one on an as-needed basis.

Microphones built into cameras are not typically powerful enough to pick up clean sound from a distance. They are ok for small spaces but if you’re doing an exercise vlog or a travel vlog, it will be hard to pick up clean sound.

For most vloggers, a supercardiod shotgun mic is a good choice because it picks up audio patterns from one direction, which helps eliminate distracting sounds around you. Just point it in the direction of your subject.

Popular Vlogging Microphones:

• Rode VideoMic GO ($12 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

• Rode VideoMic Pro+ ($24 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

• Rode RodeLink Wireless Filmmaker Kit ($31 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

• Sennheiser AVX MKE2 Lavalier Pro ($60 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

Vlogging Tripods

Video tripods are a little different from photography tripods because they need a head that can create very even movements. A high degree of control, smoothness, and reliability when tilting and panning is essential for vloggers who aren’t just parking their camera in one position. For more advanced visual effects, a slider might be required. For more of an action-based vlog, you may need a gimbal or Steadicam.

Popular Vlogging Tripods:

• Manfrotto Befree Live Video Tripod Kit ($15 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

• Sachtler Ace M Fluid Head Tripod System ($38 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

• Benro S8 Dual Stage Video Tripod Kit ($60 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

• Sachtler 0750 FSB-8T Tripod System ($67 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

Vlog Lighting

Lighting can make all the difference in how professional your vlog looks, so ensure you’re well lit before you hit record. If you’re shooting your vlog indoors, natural light is a great resource but it can be inconsistent.

Put your camera in manual mode so that it doesn’t try to change exposure automatically mid-scene. Illuminate yourself or your subject with daylight-balanced continuous lighting, like that found in many LED systems. Ring lights are particularly popular for their even coverage and easy-to-setup design.

Popular Vlogging Lighting Systems:

• FotodioX C-318RLS Flapjack Bi-Color LED Ring Light Kit ($25 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

• Manfrotto CROMA2 LED Light ($30 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

• Westcott Flex 1-Light Daylight Kit ($49 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

• Litepanels Astra 1×1 Bi-Color LED Panel ($116 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)

To see more equipment and accessories to rent, visit this Popular Vlogging Gear page.

How to Become a Vlogger

Now it’s time to plan what you’re going to vlog about. Will your vlog relate to health and wellness, travel or tech? Whatever the topic, it should be something you’re passionate about.

You aren’t limited to one subject or theme, but know that vlogs in a particular niche are going to attract more loyal and dedicated followers. The most successful vloggers are genuine, passionate, and often funny or thought-provoking. A vlog is a great platform to let your true personality shine. Don’t try to be something you’re not in your vlog – it will show.

Being yourself is key but it can be helpful to write a script for your blog. This helps save you a lot of editing later. Sketch out your shots for your B-roll instead of trying to make whatever footage you have work at the last minute.

When you rehearse, time yourself to make sure your vlog isn’t too short or too long. It will depend on your topic, but videos up to 2 minutes get the most engagement. Keep that in mind when you’re timing yourself and making cuts. You should also consider the length of your intro.

How to Record Your Vlog

You’ve memorized your script and you’re ready to record your vlog. First, you’ll need to prepare your set. Be aware of what’s in the background (or what’s not in the background). Watch out for clutter and boring blank walls. Instead, style your set with items that are unique to you or relevant to your theme and topic without looking too busy. Play around with your camera’s zoom or change the angle of your camera to see what looks best. Really pay attention to the details here.

how-to-vlog-record

If you’re shooting B-roll, record it from a different angle than your main setup or use movement to elevate your video – even if that’s simply panning the camera from side to side. But don’t overdo it. Too much movement can be distracting!

How to Edit Your Vlog

In theory, a vlog should be a fairly simple, short video. Fortunately, that means video editing doesn’t have to be so complicated, either.

Video editing software includes many tempting-to-use transitions and special effects that are actually quite distracting for the viewer. Simple cuts between scenes look much more professional than animated transitions. Simple is not the same thing as boring, though. Don’t forget to insert your B-roll shots to increase visual interest.

You’re going to need video editing software to finalize your vlog. You can find excellent editing software that won’t cost you a dime. Check out some free video editing software options in How to Edit Video for Beginners: A Step by Step Guide.

Ways to Promote Your Vlog

Your first vlog is ready! Now where should you post it? YouTube is the most popular video-sharing website. You can easily create a personal YouTube channel and share your vlogs there.

how-to-vlog-laptop-editing

Once your vlog is available on the video-sharing platform of your choice, be proactive and promote it so viewers can see it. Share your vlog on social media. Reach out to others who might find your vlog interesting. You may not get thousands of views with your very first vlog – but don’t get discouraged.

Consistency is key! Shoot and upload new vlogs on a regular basis. Interact with your viewers and subscribers by replying to their comments. Build great relationships with your audience in order to build a community around your videos. Collaborate with other vloggers and leverage different networks to grow your channel.

When you’ve grown a fan base and begin getting more views, you can start to monetize your vlog. Consider AdSense ads as a simple and free way to start making money from your videos. Use affiliate links for any products you might use or talk about in your vlog and get a percentage of anything your viewers buy from your links. And, when you have a substantial following, you’ll be able to work directly with companies and brands and potentially command an impressive salary from them.

The earning potential of a popular vlog is huge. Garner a following and you could turn your passion into a lucrative income.

Now that you know how to become a vlogger, what will you vlog about? Choose a topic and industry you’re passionate about and combine it with good visuals, audio, lighting, and persistence, and you may become the next big-name vlogger!

*Pricing is as of this writing and subject to change.

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