My Video Equipment for YouTube Tutorials

bumblebeegeisha72
Bumble Bee Geisha 2.5×3.5 Pen & Ink with Watercolor

YouTube Gear for Video Tutorials by Artists

After a presentation to the Angeles Crest Art Guild on the benefits of a YouTube channel for Artists, attendees asked for a list of my favorite video equipment.

Video gear for youtube art tutorials doesn’t have to be complicated or super expensive. I use basic, low-to-mid range video and audio equipment to make watercolor and printmaking tutorial videos on my youtube channel. You don’t need to break the bank to start filming, editing, narrating and uploading videos from your studio to YouTube.

Scroll down and take a look. πŸ™‚

where to adjust the volume on a you tube video

Watching Video Tutorials

There are considerations for both viewing art tutorial videos (adjust your volume, speed, quality and screen size at the bottom of the video screen), and creating videos.

Before you start filming your studio activities, spend some time watching other artists doing similar work as you on youtube. Take note of what you like, and what you want to avoid. Note audio quality, speaking style, backgrounds behind the artist, angle of the camera while filming process, still shots and titles inserted throughout the video, etc.

Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

It may help you to use a blank lesson plan binder to storyboard your shots before you begin filming. A plan makes a huge difference in the time it takes to finish a video. Use the spaces in this lesson plan book to sketch angles, take notes on shots, and add bullet points for later narration.

camera angles on tripods for tutorials
Set your camera up on a tripod for an over-the-shoulder view of your studio practices.

Expect to Grow Over Time

The tutorial videos posted on my channel have evolved while climbing a steep learning curve, so I hope this list helps you avoid some of the gear hiccups I’ve experienced.  

Before you start filming tutorials or presentations for real, practice (casually) recording yourself on your cell phone. Record, and look at your footage. Make adjustments, and record again. Repeat till you’re a little more comfortable, a bit clearer on your message, and you can relay it with an economy of words.

[Note: some items are affiliate links, which costs nothing to you, but a petite commission keeps my art supplies stocked, so thank you for that β™₯].

I’ll update the list as I research and acquire additions to my video equipment, so bookmark the post if you want to keep the list handy.

#Illbeyourtestpilot

an art studio table with a computer monitor, a camera on a tripod and a sleeping cat
Typical morning: ready to film a tutorial segment, with the Studio Inspector napping nearby

My Favorite Audio and Video Gear

I recommend starting with a very basic set up to see if you enjoy making and editing videos. It’s a lot of planning, and more hours of time than you might think.

Don’t be afraid to videotape yourself. Your face and voice and gestures will humanize the videos you post. Do it for the opportunity to connect with others.

Film, Edit, Narrate – Dive In

Keep in mind that you’ll be doing this for free, as a service in the interest of sharing useful tips to other people a little behind you on the path. πŸ™‚

Once you’ve posted a dozen videos, if you’re still having fun, purchase your video equipment piece by piece.

It’s more economical to buy each piece of equipment as you get used to the rhythm of making art while filming.

Editing the footage, narrating it, and then uploading to YouTube takes a lot of planning and time. During that acquaintanceship, you’ll learn what works best for you in the category of equipment.

art-tutorials-on-youtube
Experiment with camera angles, and move your tripod from the right to the left side of your work space, as well as from up high for s top-down angle directly above your table.

Use Gear You Already Have

I started by shooting video for my youtube channel on my iphone attached to a bendy-legged desktop tripod. You can do that too. Test before you invest.

I also used free editing software that came already loaded on my computer. I learned to edit with online videos and books, so my initial set-up cost me nothing but time.  πŸ™‚  I currently edit with Adobe Premiere.  

Consider familiarizing yourself with YouTube’s best practices and terms of service. Watch the series they published for new content creators – it’s a viewership bootcamp – check it out here.

Using Adobe Premiere Elements on a Mac
Narrating video clips with Adobe Premiere Elements on a Mac with Bose Headphones (<–LOVE these!) and a Yeti microphone (which now comes in blue!)

Audio Equipment is Important

Yeti Blue Microphone

An audience will forgive less than stellar video quality and editing, but they won’t tolerate bad sound. I know this from experience. ?

I use this microphone to narrate video tutorials. It’s sturdy, sensitive, consistent, and less expensive than some of the higher-end, professional mics out there. And since I got mine a decade ago, it now comes in a beautiful shade of blue!

Get a Good Camera Tripod

Manfroto BeFree Aluminum Tripod

I use this Manfrotto aluminum tripod to prop my DSLR Canon camera on my work surface, pointed at my painting or printmaking process, or on my etching press. It’s heavy enough to not topple over when I’ve angled the lens wayyyy down to collect details on a process, and it’s lightweight enough to travel with.

a dslr camera on a tripod pointing down, with a black cat curled up asleep insif=de the three legs of the tripod
My camera and a previous tripod (I upgraded to a Manfrotto Be Free Aluminum), with my studio assistant napping on the job.
Canon EOS Rebel T61 kit

My camera is an older Canon Rebel T6i. I bought it as a re-build from the Canon site. I don’t think it’s available in anything other than a complete kit now, unless you check the second hand market. This (above) is the current equivalent of my gear. I love my camera. πŸ™‚

a dslr camera nestled into a well-padded carry bag
I travel with this excellent camera evecase holster style camera bag. It’s light, petite (but big enough to stash an extra lens and batteries) and it protects the camera while I walk around or climb in an out of Ubers and subway trains, etc.

Video Gear – Editing Software

Editing software can be free, or paid for via a monthly subscription from Adobe. The paid version comes in two flavors; a light version, and a pro suite.

I edited all my video tutorials with iMovie (it comes loaded on a mac for free) for the first 15 or twenty videos on my channel.

Later, I used to Adobe Premiere Elements for a few years, because it gave me a lot more control for titles, transitions, audio and export formats. The Elements software is not as deep and broad as the full suite of Adobe Premiere Pro, but the “lighter” version has what you need to get the job done.

You can try both the Elements and the Pro editing software for 30 days trial on the Adobe website.

artists-studio-in-watercolor
My video lighting and camera recording set up is almost a constant in the outline of my workspace, so it’s in a few watercolors of my studio.

Video Gear – Lighting

Limo Studio Photography and Video Lights

These photo and video camera lights, and umbrellas are wonderfully bright, light weight, easy to set up, and very affordable. They also break down and store in a small space. I’ve had mine for almost 10 years, and they’re still working hard for me. The difference in video with good lighting and bad lighting – especially for a tutorial where details are crucial – is huge to the viewer. Go with good lighting. These are an amazingly good deal.

Ring Light

The exact light I have is no longer available, but there are a ton of them on the market now. I know someone who uses this one, and it’s very nice. It’s also a best seller on amazon. When you’re talking into the camera lens, your face should be well-lit. Take a look at some before and after videos on YouTube that advocate a well-lit narrator’s face to see the difference.

Azden Pro XD Lavallier Wireless Mic

I just recently started to use this mic for recording intros and outros, and while I’m moving around in the studio, narrating as I go.

A good lapel mic is *much* better than the audio from the built-in mic on my camera. It’s less tinny, with no echo, and less ambient noise from the room, the cars on the street.

The difference between this mic and the Yeti above in this post is that the Yeti requires you to sit close to it, like a traditional performer’s microphone, so I use that to narrate footage. πŸ™‚

What’s your favorite video equipment? Leave us some tips and links in the comments below.

Thanks for visiting, and I’ll see you in the next post!

Belinda

Art Quote

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Henry David Thoreau

6 thoughts on “My Video Equipment for YouTube Tutorials”

  1. Wow, thank you for this information, Belinda! You are always so generous with your thoughts and techniques; I often include your blog or videos as a resource for my students in the workshops and classes that I teach. I’ve been considering the possibility of doing some video tutorials myself to augment my live teaching, so perhaps this post will really light a fire under me. (Ironically, I love teaching but I’m very camera shy. Gotta work on that too…)

    1. Hi Gabrielle – thanks for the compliments, and I hope you DO make some video. The only way to get cozy in front of the lens is to practice. Expect the first few to be awkward, but keep going till you get comfy. You can do it! πŸ™‚

  2. Thank you Belinda. Beautiful work, and wonderful information. I would need someone holding my
    hand through the process, so for tonight it’s just painting — something I can do. You so rock, and I am bookmarking this.

    XOXOXOXOXOXO Barbara

    1. Thanks for the compliments, my friend. You’d catch on to the video shooting and editing in two shakes of a lambs tail. Your smart like that. Truly. One day, maybe you’ll give it a go, and I’d welcome your good company out in youtube-land. xoxo

Write something.... pretend we're neighbors, and we’re painting watercolors together in the garden....