Over the years I have learned that if I want to be of service, reach out and teach as many people as possible, then I need to provide the best quality so that I can be seen and heard without distraction. Our Hooplovers YouTube channel has received millions of views and we have learned a lot about what makes a fun, clear and popular video.
There is nothing worse for students or learners than watching poor quality video, listening to bad audio or struggling to hear in class. We have tested so many gadgets and helpful equipment over the years and I am going to share my best recommendations in this video and blog.
The best part is that all of this equipment will improve how you teach and share but does not have to cost a fortune.
In this blog I will list up all of the equipment that we use to provide high quality video and audio for students in our online courses, YouTube videos and live events. Firstly, I will list them by category including links to each piece of equipment. At the bottom you can find a summer of must have gadgets for teachers/creators on a budget.
– Microphones & Sound Equipment
– Lighting Solutions
– Tripods and Stands
– Other Essentials
– Get Started on a Budget
Microphones and Sound Equipment
Make sure you are heard clearly; there is no excuse for poor quality audio, distracting noises or low quality speakers. Your teachings are valuable, your words need to be projected professionally without distraction and your students deserve great sound. Here is a list of the gadgets we now use and love.
This little gadget is a life changer for any teacher or speaker. Wireless, light weight, handsfree and a great investment. I have tried many other head mics and this is by far the easiest, most versatile and most cost effective one. I want to buy more just in case they ever consider stopping production. My fav gadget ever.
We bought ours on Amazon and got the best price.
This is the little plastic mount that you will need if you are using the wireless Samson AirLine for videos and need to mount it to your DSLR camera.
The link above is for a mount I found on Ebay but you can search for one in your own area. I always check product reviews and seller reviews before purchasing online and ask the seller questions if I am unsure.
Lapel Mics are your best friend.
This is the RODE lapel mic that I am using in the video. Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone for iPhone and Smartphones I have it plugged into my iPhone and I recorded my voice as I was speaking to the camera and then added it to the video when I was editing. It sounds crisp and high quality and was easy and inexpensive to capture. Sometimes I use my Samson AirLine Micro Earset Wireless System but a lapel mic is more discrete and clips on easily.
We invested in a Sennheiser EW 112P G3-A omni-directional EW system many years ago. If you have the budget then this is the best but I personally would go for a less expensive and less complicated option in the beginning. Find a high quality lapel mic, with good reviews that will plug into your phone. Record your voice for videos through your SmartPhone using a voice recording app. This will give you better quality audio for your videos.
Another option for better sound quality through your SmartPhone, particularly if you are recording video is a Rode VideoMic Me Directional Microphone for Smart Phones. Affordable and heavy duty. It is what I use to improve the sound quality on my videos that I shoot for Facebook groups and Instagram if I want my voice to be a little more clear but I don’t need to set up too much, just plug in, hit record and then upload.
If you want one step up from that for your SmartPhone, I would probably go for the Rode IXYL Condenser Microphone.
Other microphones that we have used for great sound quality when outdoors and indoors recording voice.
Rode VMPR VideoMic Pro R with Rycote Lyre Shockmount : sits onto of your DSLR camera and picks up great sound, especially if there are other noisy distractions around.
A more economical version might be Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone with Rycote Lyre Shock Mount We use this one a lot to pick up great sound for videos indoors when using a DSLR camera.
I have three of these sound systems and have had them for years. I invested in these because they are portable, have great sound quality and they were easy for myself and my teachers to use and carry around. I also love this company and their designs.
I love the UE Boom speakers. So portable, great sound and easy to use. A yoga teacher friend (who is also a musician so he knows his sound) was saying that he sets up two UE Booms in classes and in his house. One on each side of the room. The coolest thing is UE Boom now have an app for iOS and Android and you can set up your UE Booms to get surround sound. Such an affordable and effective sound solution. Apparently you can synch up to 50 UE Booms at one time (if you want to go extra!)
And they have a cute video ad
You can also get UE MEGABOOM as the name suggests they are MEGA!
I would put these UE Boom speakers in my most used and must have list. Absolutely.
I did not show this table mic in the video about but I should have. It is the most cost effective and best quality way, in my opinion, to do voice over work on videos. Sturdy, stable, good quality, easy to use and allows you to sit at your desk comfortably and speak clearly into the mic for awesome, professional quality voice over videos on a budget.
A cost effective, simple and portable way to keep your class playlists with you. I also transfer podcasts, practice playlist and audio books onto my iPod shuffle because it is easy and light weight.
The downside is that there is no screen so you have to make sure that you are prepared and your playlists are in order if you are using one of these for your classes or workshops.
The iPod Nano is awesome if you need a screen and like to see what songs are on your playlist, but you still want something lightweight and easy to plug in anywhere. I carried one of these everywhere with me for years.
Of course there are other music players on the market, but I have never used any of them. I would highly recommend checking reviews and talking to friends who have used the equipment before spending your money. Or buying from sellers who offer refunds if you are not happy.
The cheapest, best source of light is the Sun but it is inconsistent and simply not around if you want to video at night, so here are the lights that we use and love.
On a budget? Want to look fabulous on video with continuous light? Get a lighting kit that will brighten things up. This was the first kit we purchased and we still have it. Photography Photo Portrait Studio 600W Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit by LimoStudio
The larger continuous LED lights we use now are Jinbei EF-200 5500K LED Video Continuous Sun Light Lamp Bowens Mount Much more powerful and adjustable. We also bought softbox attachments for the front of each light to create more of a glowing effect and not such a harsh, bright light. I believe the ones we have are similar to these StudioPRO 60 Inch Octagon Softbox Photography Light Diffuser You can get various sizes and shapes. Look for the ones that fight your exact lights and will fit in your space.
These are the LED light panels that I show in the video Aputure Amaran AL-528W LED Light I bought two of them to shine a little extra light on things but they are best for small areas and direct light. They would not be my first choice for larger areas, great but not the absolute best as they are limited in the distance they can radiate.
Tripods and Stands
If you are investing in any kind of equipment, whether it be a SmartPhone, lighting or cameras, you want it to be safe so you will need some light weight but study tripods or stands.
The versatile tripod that I demonstrated in the video is the MeFOTO Aluminum Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit Highly recommend this one, we use it often and it works for a variety of angles. It is strong but I use it mostly for my light weight cameras or my iPhone.
You will need to make sure that you have the right mounts for your tripods depending on what gadget you are connecting to them.
Here is a head we use for bigger cameras and video work Manfrotto 128RC Micro Fluid Head with 200PL 14 RC2 Rapid Connector Plate
Here is a SmartPhone holder that I use most commonly Shoulderpod S1 Professional Smartphone Rig
Here is a less expensive version iGadgitz PT310 Black Mini Lightweight Tripod
We have tested many cameras over the years. I personally use my iPhone a lot for quick videos for Social Media but for YouTube videos and professional online course videos we use a range of cameras. I have included links below to the cameras we have invested in. In order of price, at the time this blog was written.
Canon EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-55 IS STM Kit This is a great place to start if you are on a budget and looking for a DSLR camera for online videos.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY DSLM Mirrorless 4K Cinematic Camera Body Only (Black) This is the camera I showed in the video above. It is compact, light to carry around, it shoots in high quality 4K, it is great for photography and video.
Canon EOS 70D Digital SLR Camera with 18-135mm STM Lens When we started making YouTube videos we used this camera most commonly. It has a great autofocus (so you will not be blurry) and is still popular with online teachers and vloggers. The video above was shot with this camera.
DJI OSMO (NA) Handheld Fully Stabilized 4K 12MP Camera Floatly, fabulous and dynamic footage. This is the gadget for you!
If you are using high quality cameras you will need to grab a couple of memory cards. Make sure you get the ones that fit your gadgets.
Changing your camera lens. If you are shooting your videos in a small space but really want to capture the whole space you might consider buying a wide angle lens like Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens. Sticking with the kit lens that comes with your DSLR camera is great if you are on a budget but if you want to experiment and play with different captures then you might consider purchasing a range of lens.
We have also bought the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Zoom Lens for our Cannon DSLR because it is great for well lit indoor spaces and outdoor videoing. Has greater zoom so can experiment with various focal lengths allowing more variety in your video shoots.
Belkin 6-Foot MIXIT Coiled Aux Cable (Pink) I have a few of these. Valuable. Needed. Never assume every space, studio, festival has it’s own cables. Always come prepared, always ask what system they provide or take your own.
My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive If you are shooting video you need somewhere to store it and to back up all of your files. Essential.
MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop Is my lifeline. It is here that I prepare all of my notes, playlists, ideas, write blogs, reply to comments. Lightweight. There are others ont he market. This is my fav.
Charging station If you have several gadgets on the go I highly recommend buying yourself or making yourself a charging station with multiple USB ports for charging everything at once. You want to be effective with your time and there is nothing worse than running low on battery mid video shoot.
OK longest blog post ever, but to finish up here is a summary of what I personally would invest in if I was on a tight budget but I wanted to create some quality videos/workshops online or offline and wanted to get started soon.
Get Started on a Budget
- Headmic – Making sure you are heard clearly, don’t lose your voice or students who can’t hear you online or at festivals/workshops/talks – Samson AirLine Micro Earset Wireless System
- Camera -A SmartPhone for videos and tutorials, if you want something compact, versatile and easy to use.
- Lighting -You will need great lighting though so that even if you are using a SmartPhone camera you can get a relatively nice video quality. Photo Portrait Studio 600W Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit by LimoStudio something inexpensive but with all the pieces in one kit to begin with.
- Video microphone -A lapel mic Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone for iPhone and Smartphones to plug in to your SmartPhone if you are doing a lot of talking to camera videos. You want your quality of voice to be clear. If you are using a SmartPhone and don’t want to wear a lapel because you are moving around then consider Rode VideoMic Me Directional Microphone for Smart Phones to pick up good voice quality. Of course the closer you are to that mic the better quality it will be.
- Speaker & music player -Teaching indoors or outdoors, get yourself a portable speaker system. I would consider 2 x UE BOOM 2 Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Speaker (Waterproof and Shockproof) and get the app to set up the stereo sound. And then of course a heavy duty iPod to store your playlists and pump your tunes, along you could also use your laptop but I prefer to take really good care of my laptop and keep it in my living room or studio space.
- Tripod – A strong and adjustable tripod to take anywhere you shoot video MeFOTO Aluminum Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit and make sure to get the right mounts for the equipment you intend to use. On a total budget and using a SmartPhone go for something like iGadgitz PT310 Black Mini Lightweight Tripod
- Clean, uncluttered back drop or back ground
Looking forward to seeing your videos. Leave your links and ideas below in the comments. If you do create some awesome videos please link me up so I can enjoy and share them with others.
Here are some other videos we have created using a variety of the gadgets I talked about in this blog.
Please note : It is important to decide what types of videos and tutorials you would like to create. All of these recommendations are based on equipment that we have been using for many years to share online courses on Hooplovers.tv and the Hooplovers YouTube Channel
This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means I receive a tiny percentage like 4-8% if you make a purchase using any of the link but I appreciate everything and it helps keep this blog going! Please do your own research, decide what is best for you.