The Ultimate YouTuber Kit Guide

Making Videos can quickly absorb your money, and it's not money you want to waste as pretty much everything - software, cameras, equipment and promotion / distribution services; - can get expensive.

This page contains a list of equipment I've had direct experience with or know others have got incredible results with. Depending on the style of videos you're seeking to make, you won't need all of this, so obviously pick and choose from categories you're thinking about.

This page will be updated over time as I discover new resources worth mentioning.

This page contains numerous affiliate links. That means I get a small commision on any purchases you make through these links, which has no impact whatsoever on the price you pay for the goods. If you'd like to support compelling.tv by purchasing through any of these links, send me you're receipt number and I'll send you something real special ;)

Contents

Research

Most of time, it's fun to turn the ideas in your head into videos, but it's a mistake to ignore the power of targetting keywords with some of your videos to drive virtually free traffic from YouTube to your videos and website.

Keyword research is not that hard, and can be done for free -

YouTube Keywords Tool (free)
Youtube provide their own keyword research (targetting) tool designed for advertiser, however it's free for anyone to use. You can use this to generate ideas for videos and see what people are searching for (otherwise known as "demand")

Google Keyword Tools (free)
Similar, but for Google main search engine, and much more useful. This obviously provides keywords based on google.com searches, however don't ignore it - enough backlinks will pop your videos into google's blended results.

YouTube SEO Analysis Tool (free)
Once you've discovered keywords, see what competition you have on YouTube with our very own YouTube SEO Analysis Tool. There's a tutorial vid on the page.

Market Samurai
Market Samurai takes the keyword research game up a notch, providing data about keyword competitors, and how they've ranked - i.e. information you can use to beat their search engine rankings.

Planning

The best videos are planned, full stop. Whether it's Bieber's latest music video, or a deceptively simple tutorial video, good videos are planned so that the objective of the video is established at the outset.

Taking a little bit of time to develop an idea into a full-fledge plan for what goes in the video produces a better result, which means more views, likes, favorites and traffic.

Evernote
All my ideas, notes, plans and random thoughts are in Evernote. Period. Believe me I've tried everything. Word, Google Docs, hell, I even built my own tool for this, but Evernote comes out on top. There are extensive categorisation features (notebooks, tags), a robust search feature and you can link notes together, which is a godsend if (like me) you've got 260+ notes. Best of all, Evernote syncs between computers so I can access my notes wherever I am.

Mind Mapping

Mindmeister
Mindmeister allows you to create mindmaps online, which are a great way to brain-spew your ideas in a loose form.

Mindmanager
If you like the mind map approach and want to crank things up a notch, Mindmanager create mindmaps on steroids. This thing is great to embellish your ideas with links, cross references and more.

Script Writing

Microsoft Word
This isn't complicated, Google Docs or even Evernote will suffice. I use word for the 30 words in a line trick.

Video Cameras

We're in a golden age. Getting decent, HD video isn't expensive anymore. Of course money buys quality and features, but don't fall into the trap of thinking you need to spend a fortune on a video camera. Of course, you want to know you're money is going on a decent

Best low-cost options

iPhone 4S
Technically not low-cost, but given the obvious features of the phone and the fact that many of you will already have it, the full 1080p HD video quality in the iPhone 4S is a perfectly viable option for cracking out quick videos.

Flip UltraHD
The flip is a great little camera for busting out videos at about $100, and provides reasonably decent video quality. I used to have one until I left it on a bus :( - luckily it was empty!

Kodak Zi8
If you've got just a little more money to spend, a better option is the Zi8, for one killer reason - a microphone jack. Mic'ing is the bane of amateur video production, and this simple feature means you can capture much better audio than an on-camera microphone ever will. Gideon and Tyrone recommend it as well.

Best medium-range options

Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D
A Digital SLR as a video camera? You better believe it. As well as getting a really decent entry level SLR, the T3i kicks out amazing HD video. Be warned though - quality comes with constraints and drawbacks. You won't be auto-focusing (camera shake) and the dumps out BIG files you need to transfer and work with. However, what you do get is AMAZING picture quality, and the killer feature - interchangeable lenses. Trying screwing on a Fish Eye or Prime lens on the camera and see where your imagination takes you. Do yourself a favour - buy the body only and invest a little more into one of the IS lenses to get you started.

More camera recommendations coming soon

Microphones

Mic'ing is the bane of my video existance. Getting, consistant, quality results is a challenge, and you really have to get this right from the start. First off, forget the microphone in your laptop/computer - that's been disadvantaged from birth by it's line-of-sight proximity to hard drives, cooling fans, disk drives and other noise pollutants

Blue Snowflake
This was the first mic I bought for online video production, and it's great quality. However, in hindsight, it was a mistake. This thing is designed to hook your laptop screen like a webcam, however this renders it vulnerable to exactly the same noise problems an onboard mic has. If you're travelling and need something mobile, it's a good option for that.

Logitech USB Headset H530
For screencasting, webinars, script recording and webcam recordings, I currently put one of these on my head. Headsets solve the problem of inconsistant audio (the mic is almost always in the same place), and allow you to move about without affecting volume levels (don't go crazy though or you'll introduce noise!). Not the most expensive option but great audio for the money. The mic is a little sensitive but that's easily solved by bending the mic away from your mouth and lowering the levels.

More microphone recommendations coming soon

Lighting

Round Portable Camping Tent Light
Wanna look REAL sexy on your next webcam recording? Buy one of these mega-cheap camping lights then convert it with the world's greatest webcam hack.

Branding & Asset Management

Sound Effects

Podcaster Sound Effects Bundle
For sound effects, I've bought the very-cheap Podcaster bundle via the link above. It's a great collection of sounds for the price, however the audio quality is MP3 and not a super-high bitrate. For YouTube videos tho, they're perfect. This solves your sound effects problems in one hit - 536 effects to choose from and annoy your listeners with - don't go overboard with sound effects!!!!

Music

AudioJungle.net
If it's a video for the channel, I'll usually use creative commons music, otherwise for client's I'll usually purchase a track from Audio Jungle. They're cheap, and there's loads of great quality stuff on here.

Garage Band
Garage Band is actually the sole thing tempting me away from PC to Mac. I used to make music so I'm familiar with the likes of Sonar, Ableton, Fruityloops etc, but for sheer I-need-some-music-and-I-need-it-quick value Garage Band is stunning. Pop in your local Mac shop, play around with it and try not to get hooked.

Openers, Bumpers, Logos, Motion Graphics, etc

VideoHive.net
Most of this stuff I make myself, using the software listed below.

Storage (Hard Drives)

Western Digital Portable 1Tb Hard Drive
All this stuff is going to gorge hard drive space, so go purchase one of these super cheap portables to keep your stuff on.

Western Digital ShareSpace 8 TB
As well as having a working hard drive to store stuff on, I use a Sharespace on my network for backup - this thing configures the four 2Tb drives in it with a technology called RAID - put simply, you only get 6Tb of useable space out of the 8Tb available, but if one of the hard drives fails, you won't lose anything as long as you replace it quickly.

Editing

Once you've got music, video, graphics and sound, you need something to put them all together with.

Sound

Audacity
It's easy to use, and completely free for mac or PC. All my audio tweaking is done in Audacity.

Graphics

Photoshop
You'll often want to encorporate your logo, branding and graphics as overlays or content in your video, so a decent graphics editor is a must. Photoshop is a defactor standard, and unknown to some, has basic animation capabilities as well.

Paint.net
If you can't afford Photoshop, Paint.net is a superb free alternative with 90% of the features you need to get by. Even with Photoshop, I still use paint.net for some tasks

Inkscape
I sometimes work with vector graphics for videos as well, in which case Inkscape is an excellent (and free option).

Animation & Presentation

Powerpoint 2010
Huh? A crappy slideshow program? You better believe it - Powerpoint is my greatest secret weapon for creating fast paced, informative videos. With Powerpoint 2010, Microsoft have jazzed up all the animation effects and transistions with smooth, blended gradients and transparency for a professional result. You can now export 720p, HD video direct from powerpoint as well which means all your complex effects get smoothly rendered out. Put simply, it's the simplest and cheapest option is you want to get started with animation.

Powerpoint isn't a video editing suite (though you can use nothing but it), but video you export from Powerpoint can be imported to other programs for further treatment.

After Effects
Make no mistake, After Effects is a career by itself. It's unforgiving on the beginner and has numerous key concepts that take some time to get to grips with before you can even make anything basic. It's also not cheap at nearly $800. But what you get for going past this is unbelievable power. Literally, in the words of Emporer Palpatine, unlimited power. Just Look at what it can do.
If you want to get into special effects After Effects is a challenge and a great opportunity, however as I mentioned above, you can achieve great looking animation/typography effects just in Powerpoint, so that may be the better option

Screen Recording

Camtasia
The defacto screen recording software, if you want to make any tutorials or website demonstrations this is the go. If you're keen on making these sorts of videos, Camtasia functions as a half-decent editing environment as well, and is much simpler to use than the bigger packages.

Video Editing

Sony Vegas Movie Studio 11
I've played with both Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas, and I should preface this by saying I've not worked with either extensively enough to make a completely informed judgment, but for ease of getting started with Vegas feels better. Premiere is prettier, but Vegas is just a bit more intuitive in my opinion. What's more, it's a quarter of the price.

Final Cut Pro X
If I had a mac, I would use Final Cut Pro, unequivocably. I've played with it on a friend's mac and as with all things Apple, it's a joy to use.

Publishing

All of the software above will take care of encoding your videos, I recommend mp4 files in the H264 format for YouTube. You can go all the way up to 1080p, but for the majority of people 720p is more than fine, and is a lot easier to deal with file size wise.

I may expand this section with encoder/converter software if it warrants inclusion

Distribution & Hosting

At this point you've got your video produced, so the next step is getting it on the web.

Tube Mogul
If you want to spam distribute your video to multiple sites at the same time, Tubemogul can do this for you. It requires setup because you have to register for accounts at vimeo, metacafe, dailymotion etc to let TubeMogul upload to them, but once done you're good to go. I've used this in the past and surprisingly found Google indexed my dailymotion vids above Youtube (with no promotion), but I'm now of the opinion it's better to focus on one video site (YouTube in my case) and ensure all my energy goes into that. Still, this is an option that works if that's your thing.

Promotion

Most videos need a little kick in the backside post-upload to get them into the mainstream. Generating just a few backlinks and doing some social media distribution is often enough to pop your videos into YouTube's (and potentially Google's) search results, from which point you'll get a nice, steady stream of views :)

Tube Toolbox
Controversial for some, but it works. Tube toolbox automates stuff that you'll otherwise do manually, but goes to pains to stay within limits YouTube publically state. I still doubt whether YouTube likes services such as these, but if you use them responsibly you can get results.

fiverr
There are a myriad of tools to spam blast your video link out to facebook, twitter ad nauseum, however I'm finding it's easy to outsource these tasks on fiverr rather than own/operate the products my self. Search the marketing/seo gigs, then pick sellers who offer top-rated gigs where a tonne of happy comments support the seller's work. DO NOT buy any "get 10,000 views" services - these are junk. Use fiverr for backlinking to your videos and distribution.

fiverr is also a viable place to get video intros and other video jobs done - check the quality of the work before you buy though. You can get a refund on crap!

aWeber
You're most effective source of immediate views for your video is your email list, and if you don't have one it's website 101. Start a list now at aweber, encourage your viewers to join and you have an on-tap source of traffic for your videos each time you have a new one

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