VLOG / TURN / RIVER: Learn About the Tools of the Trade

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Vloggers have a wide selection of equipment to choose from.

You have a passion for poker and video. What better to combine the two than starting your own vlog? Playing poker is the easy part. Just find a casino near you. The hard end of the equation is finding the right equipment to film, produce, and edit the vlogs. All vloggers in the “Vlog, Turn, River” series had the same challenge on their hands upon starting and have recommendations for what is best to use.

The preference varies from vlog to vlog with the same advice of “the story is the most important part.”

Starting Off Small

A smartphone is the best tool for filming at the table, according to most of the panel. Vlogger extraordinaire Andrew Neeme is of the mind that telling a good story for the audience is more important than what the story is shot on.

Smartphone types range from an iPhone 6 used by Brad Owen to the LG Stylo employed in the hands Andrew Pieper. There is a secret to using a smartphone that Pieper enjoys.

“There are drawbacks to carrying around a bigger camera. I can film stuff inconspicuously with my phone.” Pieper said.

When at the table, vloggers prefer to keep things as simple as possible. The act of sitting and filming becomes cumbersome at times due to the limited available space.

Taking it to The Next Level

Jaman Burton takes the camera game one step up. The St. Louis-based vlogger has an army of toys at his disposal. When on the vlogging grind, Burton uses the combination of a digital camera, smartphone, action camera, and a drone.

Outside of the cost of the assumed existence of a smartphone, Burton estimates that the added price of the other equipment runs up to $1,700. The toy army employed by Burton has different uses that allow him to bring an added flair to his vlog.

“I use the Canon Powershot G7 Mark II,” Burton listed. “I also have an action camera, that’s like a knock-off GoPro that was like $70. I used to have that mounted in my car. That’s what I use for my car shots. Then a drone. I have a DJI Spark. Then there’s various tripods, memory cards and things like that that will run you another couple of hundred bucks.”

Burton sets up his Samsung Note 9 when he films at the table.

Making the Production Magic Happen

Most of the vlogging action takes place on the felt and in a second location for hand reviews. The home for all the footage is on a personal computer. The preferred choice for this task is a MacBook Pro laptop. MacBooks host programs such as iMovie and Final Cut. These programs are the ones our panel finds most useful to make their vlogs.

Matt Vaughan started using iMovie on his MacBook Pro and then made the transition to his iMac. From there, Vaughan enlisted Final Cut. Vaughan tends to vlog from home with his desktop. If he needs to take the show on the road, Vaughan has external hard drives on hand to assist with the excessive storage space needed.

The Final Cut program adds a professional layer to vlogging that Jaman Burton, in particular, enjoys. Burton purchased a 2017 MacBook Pro for $3,000 and is reaping the benefits of having up-to-date software on his machine.

“I use Final Cut Pro X. I bought some custom LUTs. It’s basically a cheap way of color grading. It puts an adjustment layer on top of my film to make it look a certain way,” Burton detailed.

The PC crowd is represented by Tim Watts and Andrew Pieper. Using a Dell and Lenovo laptop, respectively, both vloggers utilize the built-in PowerDirector program.

Andrew Neeme finds himself on an island with Adobe Premiere Pro. Worry not, the premiere vlogger says that help is only a few YouTube clicks away.

“I’m using Adobe Premiere Pro which has been pretty solid. There are tons of features that I’ll likely never know how to use. The basics took me a couple days to figure out. There is a YouTube video out there for every question one has.”

Investing in Success

The process of becoming a vlogger with thousands of subscribers comes with time and dedication. The panel agrees that there are ways to create a quality vlog without breaking the bank. The showmanship put on by Burton shows in his craft and others can choose to follow in that path.

By putting the right amount of money in their vlogging future, the panel has a leg up on the next wave of competition.