To film, edit, and upload videos to YouTube, you’ll need the right equipment. For beginners, we recommend you start small and use what you already have. Most modern smartphones can record video and publish directly to YouTube. If a smartphone is all you have, use that. Don’t go into debt over a hobby or career you’re not even sure you’ll enjoy. Instead, work with what you’ve got until you’re sure YouTube is something you want to invest in. Only then should you consider upgrading your equipment.
Basic Equipment Needed for Beginners:
- Camera (a smartphone is fine)
- Screen recording software
- Computer with reliable internet connection
- Video editing software
- Image editing software (for making thumbnails, social graphics, etc.)
- Ring light/softbox light
- Selfie stick (for vlogging)
If you’re going to be uploading videos that include live footage, you’ll need a way to capture video. For beginners, a smartphone may be all you need to start. However, if you’ve decided to buy a camera for filming YouTube videos, take as much time as you need to shop around for one that is perfectly suited to your needs. Think about the kinds of YouTube videos you want to make, any other content creation you want to try, as well as your hobbies and lifestyle. For example, if you want to try live streaming in addition to filming YouTube videos, you’ll want to look for a camera that has clean HDMI output. If you’re interested in vlogging, opt for a camera with a flip out screen so you can see yourself. A camera is an expensive tool so there’s a lot to consider and research before making your purchase.
If you plan to shoot videos with your phone, that’s great! Check out our article on how to record high quality videos with your smartphone.
Screen Recording Software
Certain types of YouTubers will require screen recording software like Streamlabs Desktop. If you plan to incorporate your computer screen into your YouTube videos, for example, by demoing a game, showing how to use a particular software, filming yourself drawing digitally, talking with a guest, etc. you’ll need to record your screen. Streamlabs Desktop is super easy to use and as you might expect, we’re pretty big fans of it around here!
If you prefer browser-based recording solutions, you can use Talk Studio (it’s like Zoom, but better!). Record your videos directly within Talk Studio and use the footage in your YouTube videos.
Both Streamlabs and Talk Studio are free to use. In addition to screen recording, streamers and podcasters can use either of these valuable tools to repurpose content for YouTube videos. Uploading streamed VODs or podcast footage to YouTube is common practice and can draw traffic to your content—we highly recommend it.
While streamers often need specialized computers that can handle heavy loads if they want to stream the latest games, YouTubers don’t require such high spec models, so any modern computer or laptop should be able to serve you just fine. If your computer is old, it might have a hard time processing your video footage (though browser-based options can help mitigate these issues). If you have slow or spotty wifi, your videos can take hours (or even days!) to upload to YouTube. As always, start with what you already have and see if it can do the job and consider upgrading where you experience bottlenecks.
Video Editing Software
You’ll want to use editing software to trim your clips, add transitions, edit out bloopers, etc. There are a ton of different editing software options out there and it can be extremely overwhelming to choose one. We recommend Video Editor, especially for beginners, because it’s super easy to use, allows you to upload directly to YouTube, and is browser based, meaning you don’t have to download any software to clog up your computer. Did we mention it’s free? You can find lots of tutorials for Video Editor here at Streamlabs as well as on the Video Editor blog. Give it a try: we really think you’ll love it. Intro Maker also gives great templated options for your YouTube intros.
Image Editing Software
Image editing software is great for making clickable thumbnails, making graphics to promote your YouTube videos on other social media (like your Instagram or Twitter) and for making banner art for your channel. We like Canva because it’s simple, user friendly, and free. It also has templates already set up for YouTube thumbnails, Instagram stories, and more. Take a look at our article on how to create a click-worthy thumbnail to learn some valuable tips and be sure to check out Thumbnail Maker if you’re a Ultra subscriber for easy-to-use thumbnail templates.
If you’re doing sit down videos, while you can always prop your camera on a table or stack of books, a good tripod will greatly simplify your filming process. Also, if you plan to film yourself outside and don’t want to use a selfie stick, you’ll definitely need a tripod (unless you have your own personal filming assistant). There are tabletop tripods, full tripods, tripods with built-in ring lights, etc. Check out our article on tripods to learn more.
Ring Light/Softbox Light
If you plan to film mostly indoors, you might want to consider some type of lighting equipment. For starters, try using natural light as best as you can to see if you’re able to film clear, bright videos. If not, consider a softbox light or the ever popular ring light. If you plan to film videos near your desk, something like the Logitech Litra Glow is an affordable option that doesn’t take up a ton of space like most lighting equipment.
Depending on what type of videos you want to film, there are different microphone options available. A mic that you can clip onto your clothing is popular (just make sure you choose one that works with your camera). If you plan to record voice overs or stream, a USB microphone that connects to your computer, such as the wildly popular Blue Yeti, is what you’ll want to go for. Some content creators may need both in order to have their filming needs met.
For vloggers, a selfie stick is a great tool to help you safely hold your camera and keep it stable while recording yourself. There are tabletop tripods that can also be used as selfie sticks so be sure to check them out if you want to save a little bit of cash.
Now that you have an idea of the equipment you’ll need to get started on YouTube, you’re ready to start filming, editing, and uploading videos. The world is waiting to see what you’ll create! Speaking of which, let's move on to our next section: How to Storyboard, Script, and Film Your YouTube Videos.