5 Best Equipment for Starting a YouTube Channel

This week’s Dear Katie question is:

I’m looking to start my YouTube channel soon. Do you have recommendations on YouTube equipment?

And, of course, I do. You can create great content with affordable equipment and build your brand online, but before you invest in equipment, there’s something I recommend you do first. 

1. Step Back and Review Your Content

As a content creator, you need to be “everywhere” at once, or so it seems that way. While the person asking this question is asking about equipment, it’s crucial to think about the content that you want to create.

If your content quality is poor and not well-planned out, no one will care about your:

  • Lighting
  • Sound
  • Visuals

You know your audience’s needs better than I do. Topic quality must be a top priority, and I recommend considering a few questions:

  • What is your audience “wrong” about that they think they’re right about?
  • Does your audience have limiting beliefs that are holding them back? What are these beliefs, and how can you help them overcome them?
  • What’s a goal that your audience has that you can help them achieve? How can you help them achieve this goal? What simple process can you recommend to help them achieve this goal?

Your viewers are coming to you for your knowledge. And while your production skills may make your video look more professional, they’re really looking for insights and answers from you. Above all else, you want to focus on what truly matters with your videos and create the best content possible to help solve your audience’s problems.

2. Sound Quality and the Equipment You Need

Once you’re confident that you’re creating the content that people want to watch, it’s time to talk about something that’s so important – your sound. People need to be able to hear your videos, and it’s a major problem on YouTube if you have poor recording equipment.

What I use for audio depends on what I’m using for recording:

  • Phone or camera: I prefer the Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone (check it out on Amazon). Small and compact, you don’t need a battery for this microphone and it works very well to improve audio quality.
  • Computer: I use my computer for recording, too. I use the computer for podcasts a lot, and the microphone that I really like is the Shure MV7 (check it out on Amazon). It’s simple to use, isolates the sound well, and has touch controls.

Sound equipment will make your voice clear, allowing your audience to focus intently on what you’re trying to convey in your video.

Your next step? Lighting. 

3. Turn on the Lighting

Once you’ve nailed the sound, the next thing to focus on is lighting. You have great content. People can hear you clearly. But can they see you?

Good-quality lighting is more important than you think. 

You don’t necessarily have to invest in expensive lighting gear, either. Start by standing or sitting in front of natural light.

How much of a difference does lighting really make? 

Try it out for yourself. Take a photo of yourself facing a window, and then take another photo with your back towards the window.

Which one looks better? There’s no question that it’s the one where you’re facing the window.

If you want a little more control over your lighting, I recommend investing in a good ring light. I purchased this ring light in 2018, and it’s still going strong.

4. The Big One: Camera Quality

Your content is great. Your sound is on-point, and your lighting is fantastic. 

Now what? 

Shouldn’t you be investing in a fancy, expensive camera? Not necessarily.

Most modern smartphones have amazing cameras that will work perfectly for recording your videos. Many creators, including myself, still use their phones to record videos from time to time because the quality is that good. 

Plus, you know your phone and you’re comfortable using it. You may even feel more comfortable in front of the camera if you’re using a smartphone.

The last thing you want is to invest in an expensive camera and then never start producing video content.

I recommend starting with your phone. Once you’ve started growing your channel and you’re committed to creating videos, then consider upgrading your camera – if you want.

A greater starter camera would be the Canon EOS M50 Mark II. An upgrade from this camera would be the Panasonic Lumix GH6.

Just remember that for 99% of people, a smartphone is perfectly fine to start.

5. Tripods Help a Lot

Whether you’re using a phone or a camera to record your videos, there’s one essential thing you need to invest in: a tripod.

You could have the best camera in the world, but if your footage is shaky or blurry, your content is going to look unprofessional. A tripod fixes this problem – and they’re cheap!

A quick search on Amazon will help you find a suitable tripod for your camera or phone. 

If you’re just starting a YouTube channel and want to invest in some new equipment, start with these five things. Remember that for most beginners, a good microphone, simple lighting and a smartphone on a tripod should more than suffice until your channel grows.

And, that’s a wrap on this Dear Katie question.


Now I want to hear from you. Do you have a question? 

Submit it here

Until next time, cheers to your success!


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