We’ve been all about the videos here at Brightspark these last few weeks as we work hard on preparing an amazing Social Media Training online learning course for you. I’ve decided to switch my focus from writing to video for 2017, so you can expect a lot more vlogs and videos, that’s a promise! Here are the recommended video tools you will need if you too want to follow this path.

A lot has been said about the many benefits of delivering your message through video, I’m not going to repeat that here. What this post is about is the ultra important decisions you’ve got to make in relation to the kit you use. This is our recommended set of kit for making videos, podcasts, and live streaming video.

best video tools

Mic (Sound)

I sat in on a great webinar by Steve Dotto (legend!) where he shares his secrets of online video. Key point I took away from that was that “people will stick around for bad video with good audio, but they won’t watch good video with poor audio”. So get your sound right.

  • Blue Yeti USB mic – recommended by most online course instructors as a solid option, good for quiet environments
  • Audio Technica +AT2100 – a great dynamic mic, ie. picks up what’s in front of it
  • Rode Video Mic – the closer you are, the better.

When you’re buying your mic, get a mic windscreen as well (cheap! less than €5) – or you can make one by wrapping a piece of fabric around your mic!

And be sure to check that your mic comes equipped with an audio jack for your camera and not just USB.

Webcam

For webinars and streaming, you need a decent webcam.

  • Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920
  • For basic starting off, you can get away with shooting on your computer’s webcam, assuming you’ve a reasonably decent computer.

Camera

If you want to go up a level in terms of quality and flexibility, you might consider investing in a DSLR camera. This gives you freedom of movement, you won’t be stuck on your laptop, and it shoots at very fine quality perfectly suitable for YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram.

  • Canon EOS range are fantastic – the 1200 D is the entry level model, also known as the EOS Rebel T5 in the US

Phone Set Up

Your Smartphone will have a pretty decent camera built in, so if you’re doing Facebook Live or Instagram Live, you’ll need to add a mic, a tripod and some lights!

    • Rode Smartlav + Mic – plugs into your phone and the mic goes on your jacket
    • LuMee case for your phone is the one that all the top Snapchatters and Instagrammers use (thanks to Melanie Morris for the tip!). It’s a hard case for your phone that comes with built-in lights, so you always look glowing and radiant, even in November!
    • Pick up a Tripod in Penneys for €5.

That’s The Hardware, Now The Software!

A robust set of kit is one thing, but with no software there’s no way to record your lovely video no matter how good your webcam is! So let’s talk screen capture.

What is the best screen capture tool?

The pros all talk about using Camtasia, but assuming you’re not ready to drop €185 on high-end software, we’ve done a little research ourselves and we recommend OBS. Here’s why…

We recommend using OBS as your screen and webcam recording software. It edges out Debut just slightly in terms of functionality and price. But if you don’t like the OBS interface, switch to Debut, it’s cleaner looking and is very good screencasting software.

Video Editing Software

Video editing can be a tad intimidating, but there comes a time to graduate from Windows Movie Maker or iVideo, and that time is now! If you want to use green screen after filming, cut film and make some magic, there are better tools you can choose.

Again, the professional standard is a bit pricey! €36 a month for Adobe Premiere can be a bit steep, so check out these budget starter options:

Videopad is the clear winner here for being cheaper, deeper, and more versatile. It’s also, unfortunately, much uglier in terms of interface. I recommend persevering with it for a few projects, so far it’s impressed me. Filmora’s sleek design didn’t fix the occasional clunkiness I felt using it.

That’s Your Recommended Video Kit

Now you’re ready to roll. Makeup and hair please.  And happy shopping for your screencasting software and video kit. Please comment below with any tips.  I know there are some well established podcasters and vloggers out there. I’d love to know your thoughts.

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