My Vlogging Gear

Canon 80D, R8, and DJI Pocket 2 Cameras

I have been filming and posting videos to YouTube since 2016 at a fairly slow pace. My historic martial arts channel, LearnFiore, is now up to about 35 videos and 125 subscribers. Clearly I am not destined for YouTube riches, but I’m still starting to get questions about what gear I am using to create my videos. So, this article will start as just a list of Amazon affiliate links (I will get a small commission for anything people buy from clicking on the links. This helps cover the cost of my web hosting fees for this page) for the gear I’m using but may evolve into a more detailed set of recommendations, its own video, or perhaps an in-person class at some point. We’ll see how it goes.

Starting Out

My first few videos were shot on a Samsung Galaxy Tab A tablet. I have since upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite which I still use as a tablet but not as a camera. I also shot some footage on my cell phones. I used a very small shotgun microphone that plugged into the headphone jack. The one linked below is similar, but connects to a USB-C port on the tablet/phone.

Evolving

Most of the more recent videos have been shot using a Canon 80D digital SLR which I bought in 2017. I mount it on a tripod and use a larger shotgun-style microphone that mounts on the top hot shoe of the camera. There are many newer models that will perform similarly. Software wise, I had purchased the last “pay once” licenses for most of the Adobe software suite: Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier Pro, After Effects, and Lightroom. I don’t use them enough to justify the current subscription price.

Streaming

During Covid, we collectively moved meetings and classes online. I developed an improved set of presentation tools for teaching online and even taught a class about them.

Spiffing Up Your Online Presentations on the Cheap class

The core of the class was using cheap cameras that you may already own, a free mixing/switching program called OBS, and a few very optional accessories. Here are a few links to that optional hardware:

Upgrading for the Future

I am currently in the process of upgrading most of my video kit. I’ve added a DJI Pocket 2 gimbled vlogging camera and some wireless DJI microphones.

I have also upgraded to a full-frame, mirrorless, camera body that will do a better job of shooting video. I added a standard set of accessories that I do whenever I get a new camera.

This picture shows the Canon 80D on the left, the noticeably smaller and lighter R8 on the right and the DJI Pocket 2 in front.

All of these upgrades are in hand but very new. I have tried out using the Pocket 2 camera on a monopod to simulate a crane shot. This was my first time using the camera in any fashion, so I still need some practice. You can see the raw footage that I shot with it here. The “do-it-all handle” allowed me to monitor the camera using my cell phone while the camera was being held up in the air and its tiny screen was not visible. I have not yet used any of the other new gear.

Here’s a picture of me with the pocket 2/monopod rig extended. I could actually hold it a little higher than this if I wished.

Here’s the DJI pocket 2 attached to the tripod mount at the top of the monopod.

And here’s my cell phone attached to the bottom of the monopod allowing me to watch and control the camera. One pro-tip for this setup is to avoid having the clamp holding the cell-phone positioned such that it presses on any of the phone’s buttons – sound or power.

The DJI software allows me to change all of the camera settings and start and stop recordings without having to touch the camera itself. I was very pleased with how the battery on both the camera and the cell phone lasted through my trial runs. The 4K video output from the camera was amazing.

Alas, my copy of Adobe Premier Pro was so old that it had issues loading most of the footage. It turned out that I had recently purchased a copy of Corel Video Studio Pro from a Humble Bundle bundle. I installed that copy and was able to edit my video. It doesn’t seem as powerful as Premier. I have now switched to DaVinci Resolve which was recommended by a friend and has a very powerful free version. I have also started using Blender to do some simple effects for my videos.

I intend to use a combination of the Canon camera on a tripod, the Pocket 2 in handheld mode, and the Pocket 2 in crane/drone like mode to shoot my next video. Hopefully that will be a big leap in video quality and engagement.