Vlogging is a great hobby that you can turn into a side concert. But if you want to start creating high quality videos, you need to invest in your own equipment.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a professional room. Instead, you can get or update other accessories that will help you make professional videos directly from your smartphone.
So what equipment, software, and services should you prioritize for smartphone vlogging? Here are some things to consider.
1. Portable lights
Whether you’re recording videos indoors, outdoors, or in a studio, it’s a good idea to have at least one or two portable lights on you. That’s because you can use them to make sure your audience sees you clearly, especially in difficult to illuminate.
There are several affordable options, such as portable LED video lights and LED ring lights. And if you plan to shoot indoors or in a home studio in the first place, you can even get softbox lights or an umbrella for softer lights and shadows.
Of course, once you have your equipment, you should know how to use it. Depending on the effect you want to achieve, you can use several lighting techniques during the vlog, such as three-point lighting, butterfly lighting, or discreet lighting.
2. External microphone
While smartphones have improved the quality of their built-in microphones, there is still no substitute for a suitable stand-alone microphone. After all, while your audience may support poor quality video recording, it’s very difficult to listen to degraded quality sound. If your viewers can’t hear you or can’t understand what you’re saying, they won’t follow you.
If your smartphone still has a 3.5mm audio jack, you can use any microphone equipped with it. You can even use 2.5 to 3.5 mm adapters to convert traditional microphones used by professionals into something you can attach to your phone.
However, if you use a flagship device without a plug, several USB-C microphones are available on the market today. And if you’re using a Lightning-equipped iPhone, you can use a Lightning USB-C adapter to use professional microphones for your vlog.
Wherever you plan to record, you must have a tripod to hold your smartphone when you record. Videos shaking hands are not great to watch. They exude an amateurish atmosphere and, if you move, may even cause dizziness and nausea in your eyes.
A tripod will allow you to have a completely stable video, and you can use it even for simple movements, such as panning and tracking, as long as you have a camera operator. Some smartphone tripods also serve as selfie sticks, perfect for walking and travel vlogs.
4. Gimbal for smartphone
You should consider getting a smartphone cardan if you plan to shoot B-roll footage. The stability and smooth movements of this device allow you to have professional quality recordings of the scenes and objects you capture.
In addition, some models even allow you to automatically track the subject, giving you the freedom to walk around a scene without the need for a camera operator to keep you in the frame.
The teleprompter is a crucial tool to keep you engaged with your audience. After all, eye contact is vital in public speaking. Although you don’t talk directly to people when you create a vlog, you still need to make eye contact with the camera so that the audience feels as if you are talking to them directly.
In addition, it is not unreasonable to have a copy of your script, especially when recording a video with a talking head. If you hadn’t memorized what you meant in the vlog and looked at a copy of your script, you would have looked out of the room, thus breaking eye contact.
Teleprompters are affordable, but if you don’t want to spend money on one, you can simply use a smartphone or tablet. While a smartphone or a secondary screen positioned near the camera lens might do the trick, observers will still notice that you are not looking directly at them.
6. Video editing applications
If you’re not just making live videos, it’s imperative that you have a video editing app on your smartphone. You need these applications to eliminate errors, improve color quality, and combine clips to create a consistent, fluid video.
You can also use these apps to create an introductory and final clip, which you can use to remind viewers who you are, or to add effects and other elements to your screen to make your videos more appealing.
If you’re new to video editing or not, you can check out our video editing tips to get started. Alternatively, you can hire a professional video editor to do the work for you.
7. External storage
Video recording takes up a lot of space. This is especially true if you record in 4K HDR quality. Even Full HD videos can quickly use your smartphone’s storage space.
If you think that 512 GB is enough space to store your videos, you’re wrong. 512 GB can usually store only about four hours of 4K video recording or 24 hours of 1080p Full HD. This doesn’t even take into account your phone’s operating system, the apps you’ve installed, and other data you have on your phone.
In addition, the 512 GB storage space is usually only found in the top versions of the latest flagship models. If you’re using a lower model, you’ll probably only have 64 GB to 256 GB of storage.
So if your phone is capable, you should install the largest possible microSD card that it supports. Otherwise, it’s wise to invest in either a Lightning flash drive or a USB-C flash drive, where you can save your videos after you’ve recorded and edited them.
8. A decent smartphone
While most mid-range smartphones offer decent video quality nowadays, they usually struggle in difficult lighting conditions, such as high-contrast or low-light scenes. If you want to get a new smartphone and plan to start vlogging, consider getting a flagship model.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max have both received lovely reviews for video recording, so these are the models you should consider. Although you can get a vlogging camera instead of a smartphone, they are more voluminous and intrusive than smartphones.
Plus, you can’t use them for anything other than taking pictures or recording videos. You can’t even make an extended edit on them. That’s why a smartphone might be a better option.
Start browsing on your smartphone
You don’t have to invest in an expensive room to start vlogging. But once you have your channel and you want to improve the quality of your content, these are the things you should prioritize. Not only will they allow you to have more visually appealing content, but they will also make you a better and more effective storyteller.
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