Tools for Videography & YouTube Videos

A common question that we receive is “what equipment do you use to create your content?” We’ve put together a list of our tools, services, and equipment for creating YouTube videos. While we develop content primarily for YouTube, we use the same equipment and skills to develop training and communication videos for our clients.

We’ve organized the list into the following categories:

NOTE: Some of the links below are affiliate links, but all the products and tools listed are ones that we use to create our videos and can recommend them from personal experience. Using our link doesn’t cost you anything extra, but it helps to support our channel.


Video & Audio:

Panasonic LUMIX GH5: Our current primary camera for capturing 4K video. This camera is a video camera first, so most of the features and capabilities are focused toward video recording rather than photography. The stabilization on the camera is outstanding as well. In addition to studio and travel recordings, we use this camera for live streams on YouTube using an Elgato Systems Cam Link.

Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II ASPH Power OIS Lens: This is our primary lens for the Panasonic GH5. It is extremely versatile for both studio work and on-the-go recordings. The lens features Power OIS, which means that it works in conjunction with the in-body stabilization found on the GH5.

Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II: This was our first camera and is still a great one for quick photos and videos. Though it lacks 4K video, the 1080p HD video quality from this camera is much higher than our phones due to the larger sensor.

GoPro Hero 4: Our action camera for adventure travel. We generally capture action footage in 1080p at 60fps. The GoPro makes it easy to record action sequences in all types of conditions (e.g., underwater). Also, the variety of mounts and accessories makes the camera extremely versatile.

DJI Mavic Air: Our primary drone for capturing 4K footage. The drone is easy to transport with its folding arms, and has an advanced avoidance system and sensors.

Zoom H1: We’ve used this microphone since we started, and have found it be extremely versatile for our videos. The Zoom H1 can be used as a standalone microphone or a portable recorder (e.g., with a lavalier mic). We also use this microphone during livestreams via a direct USB connection to our computer.


Lighting:

ESDDI 20″x28″ Soft Box Set: We’ve used this inexpensive light set since we started and it continues to provide value and portability. It uses CFL bulbs and can be folded and transported via an included bag.


Computer:

Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″ with Touchbar: Our primary video editing laptop. This quad-core computer was an upgrade from a 2014 MacBook Pro (11 inch) as we needed the additional processing power, memory, and storage to process 4K video files.

Drobo 5D3 5-Bay Thunderbolt 3 Enclosure: We dealt with storage constraints and data loss using random external hard drives. The Drobo 5D3 offers a fast data connection via Thunderbolt 3 and allows us to edit videos directly off the system. The directly-attached storage (DAS) has 5 hard drive bays, which automatically sets up redundancy in case of drive failure. The Drobo system makes it easy to drop in new drives without having to do any additional configurations. We are using Seagate Barracuda Pro hard drives with 7200 RPM in order to maximize the performance of the DAS.

Synology DS916+ Network Attached Storage (NAS)

Synology DiskStation 916+ Network Attached Storage (NAS): While we use our Drobo 5D3 to edit our videos, we use a Synology NAS to archive our output files. The Synology is much slower than the Drobo, but it also has a lot more capabilities. It’s a full-featured server that can do more than just store your files. The system can be accessed via the internet. We also use Synology’s Moments application to store and manage our stock library of videos and photos on our NAS. We are using Seagate IronWolf NAS hard drives in the NAS for reliability.

LG 29” Ultrawide IPS 21:9 Monitor: This inexpensive ultrawide monitor has greatly improved our ability to edit videos as more of the linear timeline is visible.


Accessories:

Glide Gear TMP100 Adjustable iPad/ Tablet/ Smartphone Teleprompter: Most of our videos are tutorial based and filmed in our studio. Using a teleprompter allows us to record videos faster and more professionally. This unit comes with a padded carrying case and can be used with any tablet or phone. We use the inexpensive PromptSmart Pro app on our iPhone to display our scripts and notes.

SLIK 504QF II Tripod: This tripod is heavy, but extremely high quality. It’s perfect for controlled or stationary shoots. We use it to secure both our teleprompter and camera while recording.

K&M 210/9 Tripod Microphone Stand with Telescoping Boom: Another heavy and high-quality tripod for our microphone.

Roland OP-MSA1 Microphone Stand Adapter: Used with the K&M microphone stand to allow us to attach the Zoom H1. The Zoom H1 uses a traditional camera mounting hole, so this flexible adapter allows us to properly secure and position the microphone.

AmazonBasics 50-inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag: This lightweight tripod is perfect for travel or quick shoots. Since it’s so lightweight, I wouldn’t trust it to hold a teleprompter and camera, but for quick b-roll shots around the house or while traveling, it works great.

Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Flexible Mini Tripod: Our travel and selfie tripod. This portable tripod is extremely useful for time-lapses and self-timers.

Elgato Systems Cam Link: Allows you to connect most DSLRs as a webcam. This allows us to broadcast higher quality video during livestreams.

Lowepro BP 250 AW Backpack: Our go-to backpack for carrying our camera, laptop, and drone while traveling. The internal case is perfect for camera gear and/or a smaller drone (e.g., DJI Mavic Air or Spark).


Software:

Final Cut Pro X: Our primary video editing software. We started with iMovie, but Final Cut Pro gives us more creative capabilities and has reduced our overall editing time, particularly with the use of custom filters and plug-ins.

Snagit: Great tool for capturing screen videos and images. We also use Snagit to highlight and blur objects within an image. This helps us to produce and share screen visuals in our tutorial videos.

PromptSmart App: We use this app on our iPhone in conjunction with the Glide Gear TMP100 Teleprompter. We used several teleprompter apps but found the voice recognition on PromptSmart to be the most robust and responsive.


Web Services & Tools:

SiteGround: We use this service to host this website. We started on WordPress.com, then quickly found that we wanted our own hosting with WordPress.org (NOTE: If you don’t know the difference, check out this article). We first used an inexpensive Bluehost plan, but are now on SiteGround due to their increased performance and strong customer service. In fact, my only regret is not starting with SiteGround in the first place!

Canva: We use this service to help design YouTube thumbnails, social media posts, marketing postcards, etc. It’s our go-to design tool for everything. While the free version works well, we opted for the paid version which provides some additional features (e.g., the ability to save PNG files with transparent backgrounds) and templates.

Backblaze: While we use (and love) our Drobo 5D3 for archiving our files, we also perform a daily back-up of both the drive and our laptop to the cloud. Most disaster recovery specialists recommend a 3-1-1 strategy for your data, so we use Backblaze to provide an affordable off-site back-up solution.

TubeBuddy: This is a must-have tool for any YouTube creator. TubeBuddy works as a Chrome plug-in and gives you a whole host of additional features. Using the tool, we can make bulk changes to videos, A/B test thumbnails, and pull quick analytics on videos (to name a few of our favorite features).

Pixabay: We rely on Pixabay’s free database for a lot of B-roll footage in our videos. They have a massive database of user-generated photos and videos that can be used for commercial purposes without copyright concerns or issues.

Pexels: Similar to Pixabay, Pexels is also a free database of user-generated photos that you can use for commercial purposes without copyright issues.

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