The gear I use to produce my videos is the most common question I get asked in the comments sections of my videos. Before I start however I think it’s important to detail that gear isn’t everything, and like many I started on what I had, whether it be filming using a phone, editing in Windows Movie Maker or Apple’s iMovie. That being said, this gear was chosen because I had reached the limitations of what I was already using. I can fully recommend everything detailed below:
Panasonic’s Lumix GH5 is the latest addition to my gear arsenal, allowing me to make the move to 4K. It shoots 1080p at up to 180FPS, for buttery smooth slow motion, and 4K at up to 60FPS, for the nicest pans, tilts and tracks. It also features in build stabilisation which works fantastically, and a Micro 4/3 lens mount. This camera comes in significantly cheaper than Sony’s A7S II, especially when you consider the cheaper, and often sharper Micro 4/3 lenses.
Zoom Lens: Panasonic 12 – 60 F3.5 – 5.6
One of the great upsides to the Micro 4/3 sensor is the 2x crop on full frame lenses. It means that you can get a greater range, and father zoom on telephoto lenses, this lens ranging to a 120mm full frame equivalent, giving you a greater zoom range.
Main Prime Lens: Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC DN
Despite the numerous advantages of the Micro 4/3 sensor, there is one notable downside: low light performance. The one way to get around this, as much as possible, is to use fast prime lenses. Don’t get me wrong, the fast F1.4 aperture won’t give you A7S II, full frame low light performance, but it will certainly help, and, more importantly, allows for a great blurred background to cinematic A-Roll and B-Roll Shorts.
Microphone: RØDE VideoMic Go
This microphone is one that never fails to impress. Coming in at less than half the price of the famous VideoMic Pro model this unit is surprisingly fantastic. This microphone is powered only by the mic jack, and not any external batteries, which is fantastic, although it does introduce more background static and hissing. Since upgrading to the GH5 the background hissing has been greatly reduced thanks to the camera’s superb audio pre amps, but with cheaper camera bodies the Pro Model might be in order!
Back-Up Camera: Canon 700D (t5i)
My previously main shooter, Canon’s 700D DSLR (t5i) now works as a great back up. It’s a great starter DSLR for YouTube and boasts Canon’s impressive array of lens section, also supporting the crop sensor EF-S glass. it shoots full HD, albeit at a meagre 30FPS, with no slow motion capabilities, unless you drop down to 720p, only to gain another 30FPS. The addition of 60p at 1080p is something Canon should go about adding on their newer Rebel line of cameras, as Nikon have done with their D3300. Crucially, it features a microphone port, for connecting external mics and is usable in low lighup up to ISO 400, anything higher isn’t ideal – that being said ISO 200 is more than enough under proper video lighting.
Back Up Lenses: (For 700D/t5i)
The first lens I got for my 700D came in the box, the trusty EF-S 18-55mm Kit Lens that came straight in the box. It works great as a short range, zoom lens backup. It isn’t the sharpest, especially in the corners, but 18mm is a nice wide angle focal distance on the APS-C sensor and 50-55mm in is nice for close ups too. It doesn’t stack up to any of my GH5 glass, but is nice to have on hand.
The next 2 lenses are the primes I bought for the 700D. Firstly, a 50mm F1.8 prime, with a tight zoom and fantastic bokeh, the second a 24mm F2.8 EF-S prime, which worked great as an A-Roll lens.
Tripod: Manfrotto 190 XPRO3 4 Section Tripod
Manfrotto is my go-to for any camera support gear. This tripod, whilst a little pricey, is super sturdy and nice and flexible with respect to positioning of the legs and centre column. It also has a great payload, for mounting fluid heads, heavier cameras, sliders and the like. I opted for the heavier Aluminium option, although a lighter, more travel-friendly Carbon Fibre option is available.
Main Fluid Head: Manfrotto 502HD
Manfrotto’s 502HD is arguably the best fluid head at the sub £200 price bracket. It allows for tilt and pan-resistance controls and has a great payload. The fluid in the head means the pans and tilts are butter smooth and there are locks on both the pan and tilt functionality.
Secondary Fluid Head: Manfrotto Lightweight Fluid Head
Manfrotto’s Lightweight Fluid Head is my second go-to option in terms of tripod heads. It’s lighter than the 502 and works great on my slider for unique movements. It doesn’t have the levels of control that the 502 holds, but is cheaper and lighter.
Camera Slider: Neewer 80cm Carbon Fiber Slider
Neewer is a staple in the ‘cheap and cheerful’ camera equipment market. Whilst I wouldn’t exactly buy a lens or teleconverter from them this slider is made of Carbon Fibre (supposedly) and has a nice payload, enough for my GH5 and Fluid Head at least.
Lighting is something I looked over for way too long, more light into a camera generally means less noise. Granted, this 3300W kit is a tad overkill to say the least – just one of the three soft boxes suffices for general use. Bigger projects do however warrant the use of a second, such as PC Build Guides. The set also includes a ridiculous amount of bulbs, and whilst more power hungry than LED lighting these 45W CFL bulbs do the job – not to mention they last quite a while and a relatively cheap! (Although the kit includes so many I doubt I’ll ever need to buy more!)
Portable LED Panels: Neewer CN160
Neewer makes their second appearance on this list with their LED panels, these small 160LED units are great in terms of portability and light output. They can also be powered by Sony’s NPF series of batteries, which is great given how affordable and common this line of batteries are. They also have the option to be powered off AA batteries, although that power method should only be used as a backup (this unit could take out 6 AA’s in one 1 hour recording session which gets costly and wasteful!)
Headphones: Audio Technica ATH-M50X
If you’ve watched any tech YouTuber in the past couple of years you’ll have heard of these. They are a pair of headphones with a flat sound signature, and are technically called ‘monitors’. What they mean is they don’t ‘spice up’ the EQ (adjust the bass, mids or treble), so what you hear is what you get. That is key for people publishing content, such as myself. The last thing I want is to compensate for a headphone’s heavier low end, only to find half of the audience end up with a video that’s super treble heavy. Given their capabilities, they are also surprisingly good value, which is great!
SD Cards: Sandisk 128GB V30 Extreme
SD cards aren’t exactly the most interesting piece of tech in my arsenal, but they are crucially important. I have 2 of these 128GB models, which feature the crucial ‘V30’ rating I need to write 4K 60FPS to the cards. The ‘V30’ basically guarantee’s sustained write speeds of 30MB/s, something I need with my GH5. I have only had these a couple of months, but as of yet no problems what so ever!
SD Card Reader: Anker USB 3 4-Slot Card Reader
Next up on my list of ‘boring things that you need’ is an SD card reader. Reliability is key here, from the unit’s physical durability for travel purposes, to speed and consistency of file transfer. Moving data from the camera to your Mac/PC is a key point of failure, you could easily lose or corrupt files here. Thankfully, Anker are a company that just doesn’t seem to disappoint, with this little gadget being no exception.
Batteries: Sony NPF-550 Series
The last item on my list on ‘mind-numbing necessities’ is the battery staple of the prosumer and semi-professional videography arsenal. Sony’s line of batteries are a widely used standard, from my portable LED lights to external camera monitors and motorised sliders. You can never have enough of these because you never know when you’re gonna need them!
I have listed below the specs of my PC, and why I used the parts I did. I chose each part for its performance and reliability.
CPU: Intel Core i7 6800K 3.4GHz 6-Core
Intel’s i7 6800K is the lower end of the enthusiast CPU’s but rocks 6 cores and 12 threads at a stock clock of 3.4GHz (boosts to 3.6GHz). It has insane multi-threaded performance and squeezed into my budget quite nicely.
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 240
Keeping my CPU cool is Cooler Master’s Master Liquid Pro 240. A 240mm radiator with 2 fans is quiet and great for overclocking. The block features the Cooler Master logo with a blue LED and their unique FEP tubing, which is super flexible, if a tad long.
Motherboard: Gigabyte X99A-SLI
Housing the CPU is the Gigabyte X99A-SLI giving 8 RAM slots, decent overclocking and a budget oriented price point. The gold accents aren’t my favourite, but aside from that, I can’t really complain. The SLI and Crossfire also both work great on this board – even with the typical quirks of multi-GPU setups.
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB DDR3
Four of Corsair’s Vengeance LPX 8GB RAM sticks is plenty, standing up to my extensive use of After Effects. Clocked at DDR4-2400Mhz it isn’t the fastest in the world, but plenty fast enough for me. I have found Corsair’s DDR4 to be very reliable, and to date, not had an issue with it. You can get it in a range of colours, but all black works best for me!
GPU: Zotac GTX 1080 8GB
The graphics card is a key component in any PC, more so in an editing PC, with GPU acceleration playing a huge part in programs such as Premiere Pro, After Effects and Davinci’s Resolve.
SSD: Kingston Savage 480GB
Storage is a nightmare for content creators. Kingston’s Savage drives are stupidly fast, with 500MB/s read and right speeds. The 2.5″ form factor is a little more versatile, from easily plugging into any other PC where necessary, as a pose to the M.2 standard. e
HDDs: Seagate Barracuda 4TB
4K video files don’t come small, and for mass storage, I have 2 of Seagate’s Barracuda 4TB hard drives. They come in at a 7200RPM speed (as fast as mainstream, consumer hard drives) and 4000GB of usable capacity (the 2 drives in a RAID 1 config) I have plenty of space. As of writing this (30/4/17) I’ve used almost 1.9TB so still have some headroom left. Some may say archiving all the video files, from the initial, unedited footage, to the final version is a tad excessive, but I like to keep it, just in case it comes in useful in the future.
PSU: XFX 120W
WD Black hard drives. Powering the system is a 1250W XFX PSU with an 80+ Gold Certification and the ugliest cables I’ve seen on a power supply at this price point. That being said it’s quiet, efficient, has a hybrid fan mode and my little niggle can be remedied with cable extensions.
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower
The mammoth case housing it all is my Phanteks Enthoo Pro, it’s massive as a full tower but has support for 6 hard drives, 3 optical drives and 2 SSD’s all at the same time! It has a nice window on the side and the best side panels I’ve seen on a case yet, (they have 0 flex!)