I’ve only recently gotten into vlogging with my new YouTube channel, and I’m far more used to being in front of someone else’s camera for videos so this is a new world for me. I’ve played around and done a lot of research to figure out the ideal vlogging rig, and I think I’ve managed to create it.
Let’s start by defining what makes the ideal vlogging rig. It’s important to have a capable camera with a preview screen that can face the content creator (that would be me). Perhaps more important than the camera is the audio – we will watch bad video, but we won’t listen to bad audio! Next up, lighting. In low light conditions, we need to add our own light, and we should be able to match the colour temperature of the ambient light. Finally, a good, sturdy base for when we put the camera down and something ergonomic to hold onto. So, here’s my solution: –
Let’s begin with the camera. I chose the Sony a6000 for the level of performance it has packed into a small, lightweight body. I did toy with the idea of the ZV1, pitched by Sony as the ultimate vloggers camera, but the a6000 pipped it to the post with the spec I was looking for. The batteries hold a decent charge, the ports are easily accessible, and it fires up and starts recording in no time at all.
For sound, after talking to Røde at The Photography Show and checking countless reviews, I opted to upgrade to the Røde VideoMic Pro. I previously had the Røde VideoMic, but the upgrade to a powered microphone with a high pass filter has enabled me to create far better audio, particularly in windy conditions.
My lighting solution is the Spiffy Gear KYU-6 Bi-Color and RGB. I use the Bi-Color to match ambient light and it sits atop the camera doing the job of a key light. The RGB is more useful when I shoot in the dark and want to give the viewer something to look at, but still keep my own eyes balanced to the dark in order to retain some night-vision. The red light on the KYU-6 RGB does a great job in this scenario.
The rig is supported on a Platypod Max and Platyball Ergo, which acts as the most stable platform and a very comfortable handle. The Platyball Ergo, as the name suggests, was designed with ergonomics just as high on the priority list as functionality. Being able to hold onto something so comfortable while vlogging is more important than I first anticipated. The shape or the Ergo makes it perfect for this task. The Platypod Max is wide enough to be super-stable when I put the rig down, and I can add the screw-in legs or use the silicon mat for extra stability if I need to.
The only problem I have left to solve with this rig is the cold shoe adaptor. It holds the microphone and lights just fine, but it gets in the way of the screen. Aside from that, I’ve managed to muddle together the perfect vlogging rig for good quality video and audio. It’s easily transported, easily dismantled, and just gets the job done.
If you wanna see what everything looks like, just check the vlog below. You can see how the rig can so easily swap between hand-held and placed on the ground