Do you or someone you know have a goal to start a YouTube channel? With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts, Black Friday sales, and how we can find the best presents for aspiring content creators. I started my YouTube channel around the holidays because all the Vlogmas videos and equipment sales made me so eager to start filming! Plus, with the New Year right around the corner, it’s tempting to jump into new goals and aspirations – like becoming a YouTuber! If you’re lost on where to start, I have the perfect YouTuber gift guide to help you create an awesome YouTube starter kit for any aspiring content creator.
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First off, let’s go over cameras. While a new YouTuber could TOTALLY start by filming on their iPhone, an actual camera just levels up the production quality. I personally started off with a small vlogging camera that I absolutely LOVED. I’ll go over some budget options, some higher-end options, and the best options for a beginner.
First off, the Canon G7x is one of the most popular vlogging cameras. Most YouTubers have one of these for on-the-go shoots because it’s so compact. The quality is 10/10 and it’s really manageable for absolute beginners. It has that awesome flip-up screen that you absolutely need as a vlogger, the photo and video quality is great, it has pretty great stabilization for video, and it’s overall a trusted camera for many YouTubers.
While the latest version is the Mark III which comes in around $700, there’s not a huge difference from the Mark II, which is now about $150 cheaper. So I would compare the different models and see what works best for you! There’s no shame in going for a more budget-friendly model, especially if you’re just starting out! The G7X is a great addition to the YouTuber starter kit.
Also a trusted companion, the Sony vlogging cameras are right up there with their Canon contenders. I personally opted for the Sony a5100 because it has an interchangeable lens, while the G7X does not. I figured that as someone with a photography background, I might want to eventually experiment with different lenses, so I wanted the option to switch out lenses. If this isn’t important to you, the G7X is fantastic! The Sonys also have flip-up screens, which is necessary for vlogging.
While I bought the a5100 a few years ago, I know many stores have actually discontinued it. There are so many new Sony models, like the a6000, 6300, and 6500, which have been nice upgrades. The a6000 is also a slightly cheaper alternative to the Canon G7X, which is another reason why I chose Sony to start my channel.
The ONLY downside with these Sony cameras is that they overheat. I never had an issue while I was vlogging in Italy because I would take a lot of shorter clips. However, when I got home and started filming longer sit-down videos, this Sony camera started giving me the overheating warning light at around 13 minutes of shooting. So, if you’re planning on doing makeup videos or something, I would recommend the Canon G7x or one of the options below.
Moving on to higher budget cameras for more experienced users, we have the Canon 70D, 80D, and 90D. I personally just bought the Canon 90D this past Black Friday and I’m SO excited to use it. I’ve heard fantastic things about this series of cameras. Casey Neistat, who’s basically the OG vlogger, uses the Canon 70D, so that should tell you something. These cameras are fantastic because of their high quality, flip-out screen, and their ability to shoot 4K!
Another reason I decided to upgrade from my Sony was that these cameras have an audio output. I began working on creating better audio for my videos and decided that I needed a camera that could have a microphone attached. Most cameras don’t have the best audio quality built into the actual camera. However, we’ll get into audio recommendations later!
Finally, the Canon M50 is also a widely known camera for vloggers. While I personally don’t have any experience with it, there are plenty of reviews online to check out to learn more. I know that it’s basically the big upgrade from the Canon G7X. So if you’re looking to upgrade from that, the Canon M50 has an audio jack, interchangeable lenses, and can shoot in 4K. It’s also not as expensive as the new Canon 90D and is still an amazing quality for vloggers.
Audio & Microphones
A nice-looking video is only as good as it’s audio. Picture this, you’re watching a beautiful, high-definition YouTube video and suddenly when the YouTuber starts talking… it sounds awful. They might look nice, but the crunchy or squealing audio might make you immediately want to click away from the video. So, even though you think YouTube is all about the visuals, you also have to remember just how important sound quality is!
If you end up buying one of the Sony cameras or Canon G7X that doesn’t have an audio jack, you can work around that! My first microphone was a lavalier mic, which drastically increased my sound quality. If you really want the extra level of professionalism, this is the perfect addition to your YouTube starter kit.
I cannot say enough good things about this lav mic. It was recommended by one of my favorite YouTubers, Nathaniel Drew, and I was hooked. It plugs right into your phone or laptop and then you can just clip it onto your shirt. I usually like to connect it to my phone and then sync up the audio in post-production editing. While I make some extra audio edits during editing, the raw, unedited sound quality is fantastic. It’s really great at picking up your voice while minimizing any other ambient noise. I can’t say enough good things about this powerful little microphone, and it’s decently priced too!
If you’re looking for a budget option for a microphone that plugs directly into your camera, the Takstar Shotgun microphone is highly recommended among content creators. While the Rode video mics are more popular, they’re also a lot more expensive. Plenty of YouTubers actually compare the Takstar with the Rode and say the sound quality isn’t even that different! I personally ordered the Takstar mic to pair with my new Canon 90D, so be sure to check out my new YouTube videos to hear the sound quality!
Now that you’ve covered the basics, these lighting recommendations are pretty much optional. I personally love to shoot in front of a big open window to take advantage of natural light. However, if your house is darker or you just aren’t getting clear, natural light, buying a softbox can help you.
Softboxes are great to create a smooth, natural-looking light for your videos. They’re especially helpful for beauty YouTubers. You can find some pretty cheap options on Amazon and most come in a pack of 2. I personally think having just one is totally fine. The only downside is that they can be kind of difficult to store because they’re so big.
So overall these aren’t necessary for new YouTubers, but if you have lighting issues in your videos, these will definitely help solve your problem.
Ring lights are another popular choice among beauty YouTubers especially, but I’ve recently purchased one and found it to be extremely helpful. On cloudy days or darker days, a ring light really helps illuminate my face so my camera doesn’t have to do all the work. The one I bought is also really cool because it has different color temperature options. You can set it to a warm light, a natural light, or a cooler toned light to help correct your white balance.
If you’re looking for a budget option for lighting, starting out with a ring light is an awesome solution!
Finally, you’re going to need to edit your videos somehow! Most content creators are totally fine editing on iMovie or whatever program is provided for free on their computers. I follow plenty of YouTubers with over 200,000 subscribers who still edit on iMovie, so that’s a completely fine option.
Adobe Premiere Pro
If you’re looking for a more intermediate or expert option, I would recommend Adobe Premiere Pro. I personally have always used Adobe Products and I’ve learned so many awesome editing techniques on Premiere Pro. It’s a subscription-based program, so you’ll pay around $20 per month to use it. However, they have different packages and options for students so you can end up paying around $15 or sometimes your school will even provide it to you for free! Right now I’m lucky because I get it through work, so that’s pretty awesome.
The other editing software people swear by is FinalCut Pro. I know it’s pretty similar to Premiere Pro, but it’s just a one-time payment of $300. So if you’d rather invest all at once, then maybe FinalCut is better for you. I personally have never used it, so I can’t speak on pros or cons. I do know that it’s used in the film industry as well, so it must be pretty dang good!
Starting a YouTube channel is an incredibly rewarding experience. I’ve learned so much about the production process after a few years of YouTube. I’ve also connected with a lot of awesome content creators and it even helped me get a job! There are so many ways to develop important personal and business skills with YouTube.
If you want to learn how to actually grow your YouTube channel, check out my extensive online course about how I monetized my YouTube channel by using Pinterest! The course is available here.
Best of luck on your YouTube journey and I hope my recommendations for the ultimate YouTube starter kit helped! Check out my YouTube channel here for more tips on starting and growing your own channel!
Here are some other resources of mine to help you get started on your YouTube journey: