Hello my friend. For the longest time equipment was a bit of a crutch for me. I figured that I needed to get the best microphone, the best webcam… It was just a way for me to procrastinate, from actually getting out there and shooting videos.
All the gear but no idea
If you listen to Gary Vee (Gary Vaynerchuk), he always says you have the equipment you need to get started. Just pull out your iPhone camera, start recording and you’re good to go. You don’t need to get all this expensive gear. It’s a bit sad to say but I was the guy with all the gear and no idea. I spent a few years just buying stuff. I spent a lot of time researching at least ten hours looking at different items I needed to buy. Because I felt if I had the best equipment that I would suddenly be really good at creating videos.
You have got to walk before you run – just get started
I’ll let you in on a little secret. My wife she looks at these videos and she says you come across as so dull. You’re a completely different person on camera. It’s true that in terms of how I present it’s gonna take a bit of practice and failing over and over again to get better. You have to walk before you run that what I keep telling myself. So the more videos I shoot the better I become.
But along the way I have picked up a heap of really cool gadgets, really good tools and what I want to do in this video is just take you through my full equipment list. Like I said, I spent so many hours researching this equipment. You can skip that time. Get the equipment if you want to get it. If not just use your iPhone to get started and build up the equipment over time such as a microphone webcam etc. But if you are at the stage where you feel you want to level up, then I’ll give you the list of everything that I’ve got. Hopefully this shortcuts your process.
Audio equipment – the most important element
So let me jump right into it. So the main thing is audio and what I’m using here is a zoom H6 recorder. It’s purpose-built mainly for podcasting so one of the benefits of that is it allows you to have up to six inputs at once. For me I’m just doing a single recording for now, but in the future I do plan to have guests and that way I’ve got multiple inputs for multiple microphones. So it’s just future proofs my setup. It’s a bit overkill, but having this recorder the zoom h6 (I’ll have links for all of these in a PDF below), having this recorder allows me to have the microphone go through the recorder and straight into my Macbook. So this zoom has a double-purpose. 1) you can record to it in terms of an SD card; and 2) it acts as an audio interface to take my XLR microphone (which I’ll get into next) and pipe that audio through the Zoom right into the Macbook You don’t need any software on the Macbook which is amazing. It just shows up as a microphone and the quality is really good. I don’t need to do any editing. So when I record this video I’ll literally just have it hooked up as an audio source and bada-bing bada-boom I’m good to go. The Zoom recorder is mainly actual used for podcasting but you can use it for anything audio related.
Pro microphone so that your voice is crystal-clear
The next thing I needed to find was a microphone. One person who’s amazing in terms of his technical knowledge is Marco Arment. He has a podcast called ATP which I listen to. He has spent a lot of time testing different microphones. He did a mega review and you can go and see his website (Marco.org). You can search for this mega review on microphones. It’s really good. He gives you example audio clips from each of the different microphones he tests and there were heaps he tested, I think at least 10 microphones. But if you jump to his favourites I just took his number one pick which the Shure Beta 87. It costs around 250 bucks USD and that’s what I use. Here it is on Amazon. It’s amazing, given it’s a Shure brand it’s made for professional environment and really robust. Apparently they last for years.
So that’s the other thing about buying this equipment. With the Zoom recorder and the Shure microphone, buy it once and it’s gonna last you for a long time, really durable, really high-quality equipment. It’s rated on Amazon 4.2 stars so pretty good.
That’s the main audio equipment and it’s the most important thing because you want your audience to hear you clearly.
Great video through a dedicated webcam instead of your built-in camera
Video is the next most important. I use a Logitech webcam. I’ll have the model numbers and all of that in a PDF cheat sheet which I’ll link below with a full-list of all my resources from today. This webcam is really good. It’s not that expensive actually. I’ve got the Australian site here, $150 Australian dollars but in the US I think I paid something like $50 or $60 for it on Amazon. So it’s a really good price. It’s easy to connect. I didn’t need any drivers with the Mac, just plug and play, ready to go straight away. I find that compared to my Macbook having a dedicated webcam makes a huge difference just because you have a bigger lens for the camera you capture more light. It’s just a lot better.
In the future I will use my Sony mirrorless SLR camera. I’ve got a Sony a7 III but the problem is my current Macbook doesn’t have the processing power to be able to hook that up through an Elgato Camlink 4K. So that’s a future thing. So for now I’m just using this webcam, but in the future I will use a mirrorless SLR camera which will give me the next level up for quality. I got the Sony SLR for taking photos out and about (e.g. landscapes) and I thought why not use it as a webcam as well.
Pro studio LED lighting
The other item I picked up was an Elgato Key Light. This lets me shoot in the night when it’s a bit darker. It lights up my face nicely. The room that I am in at the moment only has two down lights. So it’s it’s not great in terms of the lighting itself because it’s an older house. But having the key light at least illuminates my face a bit more and ideally in the future I would have two (one on either side) to give a more even lighting effect. Even now it’s still not the best lighting, it can be improved. But if you have a light of some sort, a LED panel, it’s definitely going to allow your face to be lit up and in focus. If you just get a lamp and direct it in your face you end up getting really hot and sweating and it’s not very good, you start seeing circles. I’ve done that before. Just picking up a key light which is not that expensive I found has been really worthwhile and this one is rated 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon from the reviews.
The next item I have is my Macbook. I’ve got a really old one, 12 inch, I think it’s a 2018 model and it’s really struggling now, I’m not even able to connect the Sony mirrorless SLR to this Macbook given it’s only a dual-core and what I need is a quad-core. So I’ve kind of hit the limit. So I’d wish I had gone for the MacBook Pro instead.
So that’s the main hardware. I am using a Mac, I’ve got the microphone, I’ve got the Zoom audio interface and I’ve got the webcam.
Loom pro cloud based recording software
Moving on to the software side, the main thing I use is a Loom pro. So loom is really cool because it gives you this little circular thumbnail and you can just record your screen and you can go through Powerpoints or Keynotes using slides. It’s a really easy way to get started quickly. It’s super cheap at the moment I think and this is because of the COVID 19 pricing. It’s currently a bit cheaper that $5 USD a month. It’s great software. I just run it on my Mac and hit record and almost instantly it’s uploaded to the cloud. I then get a link to the recording that I just generated. It’s probably one of the quickest things for you to get up and running with to create videos. Within a week I was just hooked to this product and I bought the pro version. I’ll give you a tip in the PDF in terms of the pricing that I kind of stumbled on.
Ok moving onto the accessories now.
Heavy duty microphone stand
So for the microphone the Shure microphone I’ve got a little stand. My brand is a little bit different but this looks like the same sort of product. I’ve got a Samson model but this one is called onstage. The cool thing is it’s really heavy, I think it might even have a cast iron base. It just sits at a fixed level. I’ve had those boom style microphone arms before but they kind of just get in the way. You don’t need the Shure microphone to be too close. So being able to let it sit out of the way on a table is nice. I find it really great.
The other thing is a XLR cable because you need some way to connect your microphone to the Zoom recording unit. I use Lyx Pro cables. They are really well rated on Amazon. You can choose different colours. I went for the green and you just get whatever size you need. So pretty self-explanatory.
Microphone clip for attachment to the stand
The other thing you need on top of your microphone mount is a microphone clip. I couldn’t find my exact one on Amazon but essentially this will do the same thing. This is a Shure one and it’s meant to be paired with Shure microphones. It is also really well rated.
Foam microphone cover
There is also a microphone foam cover for the top of the microphone. When you speak you might hear pops or noises. So having a foam protector, it doesn’t have to be the Shure branded one, but having some sort of protector is good to have on top of your microphone to cut out the extra noise.
Small rig mount to connect the Zoom recorder to the microphone stand
I also have one of these small rig clips because I like to mount my Zoom recorder on my microphone so I can see the audio levels and everything. I don’t know if you can really see it in the camera but it’s a really cheap gadget but nice to have. It keeps the whole recording setup nicely organised together
Anker USB-C hub
Lastly because these Macbooks (the new ones) don’t have any full-size USB A ports they are all on USB-C I need some sort of adapter. I use this Anker product. I find Anker high-quality and well rated (4.5 out of 5 on Amazon for this one). It allows power pass-through and is essential because my Macbook only has one port. I basically put the power in through the Anker so the MacBook is charged while I use various USB ports from this Anker unit. I’ve also got another Anker adapter that I use (4 port USB hub) and that allows me to connect the webcam and the Zoom interface into my Macbook.
Record videos really quickly
So yeah quite a few different items but in the end this setup allows me to record really quickly I would say. Just going back to the software part, Loom pro is amazing because I do all my recordings in one take. If I’m not happy with the first take I just record it again. But often within 2 or maximum 3 takes I have something that I can push out and publish. The idea at the moment is just focusing on getting you guys the really great content and over time just through practice the delivery gets better. So what I try and do is make sure I have some really good takeaways for you from each video.
Grab your 1-page equipment cheatsheet that lists everything I covered in this video (all hardware including model numbers + software)
For today’s recording I’ve got a one-page cheat sheet with the list of all of the items I’ve run through today including the model numbers. You know the drill, just click on the link below and I will send you a PDF with all the details. I’m not doing this to make affiliate link money or anything like that. There are no affiliate links in the PDF. But you can buy most of this stuff (hardware) on Amazon. I’m not trying to make money out of you through affiliate income. I just want you to get started. To start creating videos. Don’t spend hours on end researching or procrastinate like I did for years just trying to build my hardware stack. Just get started and leverage all the stuff, all the research that has been done by other people. I’m happy to share all my cool gadgets and what has worked really well to shortcut your process. Good luck and get started.
Grab your 1-page PDF equipment list cheatsheet below…
[Free download] 1 page cheat sheet with the list of everything I use (hardware + software) to quickly create videos: