YouTube Equipment Checklist: Essential Gear for Beginners in 2022

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Highlights

With the creator economy booming, the tech and gear industries are also pumping out all kinds of products. This can be a little overwhelming
If you’re just starting out, it’s important to not blow your budget on things you don’t actually need at this early stage
We’re breaking down the basics – the things you need to get started. Take a look at cameras, microphones, tripods, lighting, creative assets and editing software with us below.

Table of Contents

Whether you’re starting a YouTube channel, weighing up the pros and cons of TikTok vs. YouTube or watching the MrBeast YouTube Channel for new ideas, there’s no doubt about it. We all want a slice of the creator economy in 2022. Now more than ever, it feels like everyone wants to and can be a creator. The question is, what YouTube equipment do you need to get started?

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Naturally, with the creator economy booming, there has also been massive growth and competition in the available equipment for YouTube videos – you may well have seen that on various videos from places such as the Peter McKinnon YouTube Channel. When you’re just starting out, figuring out exactly which YouTuber accessories you need and which you don’t can be quite an overwhelming process. But fear not – we’re here today to help distill things and make it all a bit clearer. Below, we’re providing you with the ultimate essential YouTube equipment checklist. With this list of YouTube channel equipment, you’re ready to get started on your journey in the creator economy:

  • A camera
  • A microphone
  • A tripod
  • A lighting kit
  • Creative assets
  • Editing software

Cameras

When it comes to YouTube channel equipment, this is obvious. How do you expect to create videos without a camera? Of course, you could research the best phone for video recording… that’s a feasible option given how powerful some smartphone cameras are these days. Below, we’ve got a few recommendations.

camera is an essential youtube equipment

Best for vlogs and beginners – Sony ZV-1

If you’re looking to create vlogs and film many pieces on camera, the Sony ZV-1 is an excellent option. It’s very small and light, shoots a really high-quality, crisp 1080p video, has a solid built-in microphone (along with a 3.5mm audio jack if you’d like to upgrade to an external mic), and the face-recognition autofocus is the best out there. So you won’t go far wrong with this one. 

Best for cinematic – Sony A7S III

One of the best mirrorless cameras for filmmakers, this video-centric beast is a fantastic piece of YouTube equipment if you’re looking to capture high-quality, professional-looking video. It’s certainly expensive (not to mention the additional lenses), but if you’re looking for cinematic and high-end, this can do the job.

Best phone – iPhone 13 Pro

They say the best camera is the one you have with you, and smartphones really have taken that to a whole new level. With the iPhone 13 Pro, you can capture some astonishing footage. Plus, the audio isn’t half-bad either – more than acceptable for YouTube gear, we think. Yes, the iPhone 14 Pro has been announced recently, but that hopefully means we’ll see a drop in price for the 13.

Something a little different – Insta360 X3

If you’re looking for something different altogether for your YouTube channel equipment, how about the Insta360 X3? This brand new 360 action camera is really impressive. With the ability to film yourself in your environment, change the angles and camera frames all in-post, and add an external mic, this is a really viable option for those looking for YouTube video equipment. It can also be used as a traditional action cam, making it very versatile and perfect for sports and adventure videos.

Microphones 

If you’re googling “equipment for YouTube channel,” learn this. Alongside a camera, any complete YouTube channel equipment checklist prioritizes a good microphone. The formula is very simple: if you want to be successful on YouTube, you need great audio. So, what are the best vlogging mics?

Rode VideoMic Pro+

This shotgun mic has been a firm favorite of YouTubers for many years now, and with good reason. It boasts excellent, professional performance; it’s rugged, small and compact enough for most YouTube video equipment setups, and it won’t break the bank.

Joby Wavo Pro

The Joby Wavo Pro is the new kid on the block – a direct competitor to the Rode VideoMic Pro+. If it’s good enough for Casey Neistat, who recently endorsed it on his channel, then it’s probably good enough for the rest of us, right?

Rode Wireless Go II

This mic differs from the 2 shotgun options above, but the Rode Wireless Go II is a fantastic piece of YouTube gear. If you’re filming interviews or different pieces to camera and don’t fancy wires getting in the way, these wireless lav mics are perfect for clipping onto your clothes. And they capture clear, crisp audio no matter where you are and whatever the weather is doing. They’re also compatible with the Insta360 X3 setup.

Tripod

Next in our essential YouTube equipment checklist are tripods. While you can film everything handheld, you will need a tripod for stationary hands-free shots from time to time. There are many options out there, so we’ve handpicked a few of the best tripods that fulfill various roles.

Joby Gorillapod 3K

This model was first championed by Casey Neistat (there’s a running theme here, but he is the godfather of modern-day YouTube). Joby’s Gorillapod is one of those vital YouTuber accessories you didn’t realize how much you needed until you got one. Both flexible and rigid, this versatile, easy-to-hold tripod is perfect for vlogging handheld and also setting up all kinds of hands-free shots. In addition, it comes in different sizes depending on which camera you opt for.

Manfrotto PIXI Mini

The Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod isn’t as versatile as the Joby Gorillapod, but it’s much smaller and works very well with smaller cameras such as the Sony ZV-1 or your smartphone. It’s a handy little piece of equipment for YouTube videos if you’re doing a lot of handheld vlogging and looking to keep things small and compact.

Manfrotto 190 Carbon Fibre 4-Section

If you’re doing a lot of talking head videos or perhaps something like cooking where you need your camera to be stable and stationary for long periods of time, the Manfrotto 190 Carbon Fibre 4-Section tripod is a really solid piece of YouTube gear that’s up to the job. Of course, you won’t necessarily want to carry this around for vlogging and travel, but that’s not what it’s designed for.

Lighting

Your YouTube lighting setup really matters. It can be a little daunting to get your head around at first, but knowing the different types of lights you need and what each can achieve can totally transform your videos. We’ll briefly explain 3 different types that you’ll find useful.

A studio full of equipment for youtube videos

Key and shadow lights

If you’re filming any talking head videos (interviews, narration to camera, tech reviews, etc.), you’ll need a key light and a shadow light, ideally. These are your “main lights.” So you’ll want to choose a big, bright LED panel that can be mounted on a tripod, comes with a softbox or umbrella to diffuse the light and is easy enough to change the temperature and brightness.

LED light boxes

For any vlog light setup, expect to see one of these. Small LED light boxes such as the Aputure MC are perfect because they’re small, powerful and lightweight. On models like the Aputure MC, you can even change the color and color temperature too. They can either be mounted on your camera to provide additional lighting or placed in the background to add some depth and light to your scene.

Ring lights

If you’re vlogging a lot, filming on your smartphone for TikTok or the beauty industry, ring lights are a very necessary purchase. They produce a nice, even light and bring out the subject’s eyes.

Creative assets

While not a physical piece of YouTube equipment, all the best YouTube filmmaking channels use a variety of creative assets to produce the best, most professional videos on the platform: 

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Using music in videos can be tricky, and just adding a random song to your video could get you a copyright strike, which could lead to your channel being deleted altogether.

On the other hand, licensed music will put those worries to bed and let you focus on making the best content you can. Check out Artlist’s curated library of music available in its entirety for an affordable subscription fee.

Sound effects

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As mentioned above, sound is as essential to your video as your visuals, and using sound effects is the best way to improve the quality of your audio. As with music, SFX should also be licensed, so head over to Artlist to check out an extensive catalog of royalty-free SFX.

And to help you find what you’re looking for as fast as possible, check out these curated collections of sounds

Stock video

Stock video is a great way to save money and diversify your visuals. After all, many of us haven’t got the time or resources to capture every shot essential to our YouTube video. On Artgrid, you can find royalty-free stock footage shot by the industry’s top cinematographers with unlimited downloads and a license that covers every type of video.

Templates

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We all know that creating an animation or YouTube intro from scratch can be a painful, time-intensive process. So save yourself that anguish by browsing the thousands of templates available to use right now on Motion Array. You’ll take your videos to the next level with the millions of assets available. 

Editing software

editing software

Without the right editing software, you’re screwed. Editing is where your story gets stitched together – where the magic really happens and where your film comes to life. So it’s important to pick the right editing software for you. Here are a few of our top recommendations.

iMovie 

iMovie is amazing. It’s one of the best budget video editing software out there because…well, it’s free! It’s a simplified, easy-to-use video editing software targeted at non-technical consumers and YouTube creators. This is your best bet for anyone who owns a Mac (that’s the one requirement) and needs a fast, simple way to edit and format a video for YouTube.

HitFilm

Available free or paid, HitFilm is an easy-to-use editing platform (powered by Artlist) with solid VFX capabilities. And with its new affordable subscription plans, you get plenty of creative assets and tools to create professional-looking videos.

FCPX

Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) is Apple’s more professional, grown-up editing software. Again, it will lock you into using Apple hardware, but it’s hard to argue with how good this program is. As a beginner, it might be a steep learning curve, but once you get to grips with this, you won’t go back.

Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro is the alternative to Final Cut Pro X. Fitting well into the ecosystem of other Adobe software such as After Effects and Illustrator, Premiere Pro is used by professionals throughout the creator economy. It’s expensive and has a similarly steep learning curve to FCPX, but you’ll have everything you need.

DaVinci Resolve 18

Recently, DaVinci Resolve 18 has been gaining a lot of ground on the more established editing software such as Premiere Pro and FCPX. Whether YouTubers are fed up with Premiere Pro crashes or just looking for something new and fresh, DaVinci Resolve offers a cheaper alternative. It has a competent free version or a one-time payment option. The software requires you to think and edit differently, but it has some fantastic options for color grading and has been garnering big fans such as Sam Kolder.

YouTube equipment Wrap up

So, that’s our essential YouTube equipment checklist for beginners. If you’ve been Googling “equipment needed for youtube channel” to figure it all out, we hope this puts your mind at rest. It can be very tempting to buy everything that you see recommended by your favorite YouTubers. Sometimes, we can get distracted by all kinds of theoretical concerns, such as a YouTube new layout, but really, all that matters is having the bare basics and hitting record.

Grabbing these particular YouTuber accessories (as well as using the software and creative assets we mentioned) will ensure you have everything ready to start your YouTube journey. We can’t wait to see what you create!

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About Josh Edwards

Josh Edwards is an accomplished filmmaker, industry writing veteran, storyteller based in Indonesia (by way of the UK), and industry writer in the Blade Ronner Media Writing Collective. He's passionate about travel and documents adventures and stories through his films.

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