The Best Piece of Gear for beginner YouTubers

August 8, 2020

A video light. Simple huh?

The biggest benefit to buying a light, ironically isn’t in the light that it provides, but the time that it saves. Let me explain why.

Have you ever recorded a video only to have:

- the exposure change over the 30 minutes it took to film it => Beginning is kinda bright, end is kinda dim.

- The white balance inexplicably change between each take => Your face alternates between orange and green throughout the video.

- To wait for the sun to be in the right position => Someone starts to mow the lawn / vaccuum and your audio would be terrible.

Matt Kander describing the best piece of gear for beginner youtubers
Having consistent lighting makes everything a LOT easier
For far too long when I was filming videos I had to rely purely on the big orange ball in the sky. I was completely at it’s mercy.

While working full time, it meant when I got home at night, I couldn’t film. It was too dark. During the weekend I had to film around 10 or 4pm in order to get enough light in the apartment to get a decent looking shot. When you’re trying to juggle a full time career with a side hustle like YouTube or any kind of content creation - you need to make sure the process is as easy as possible. When you have to rely on the sun, it is not.

The matter gets even more complex when you start trying to film products. You'll be constantly chasing light around the apartment, trying to find areas to film that are well lit enough. It's tough.

When I bought a light, it meant I could film at any time of the day, regardless of what the sun was doing. I could film during the week, at midnight, or before I went to work in the morning because I had *control*.

It may seem like something you can avoid spending money on, but considering the amount of time it saves I’d say that this is an absolute necessity if you want to speed up your workflow. If you only have the one camera, and you’re looking at a new lens, or a new mic, or some new presets and a gimbal. It’s really not going to speed up your workflow as much as buying a 120 dollar light with an umbrella.

As for what lights I’d recommend, most YouTubers go with the Aputure 120d. This is insanely expensive, I do YouTube full time and I can’t justify buying something that expensive… yet.

I opted for the Godox SL60W instead and honestly, it’s a 9/10 in my book, 10/10 for value. It produces a very good amount of light (it won’t overpower daylight), it’s quiet enough that it won’t be picked up by my mic plus it’s very affordable!

Different day, same look. 11:30PM at night

So in summary, a light will allow you to:

- Film whenever, and wherever you want.

- Get a consistent look between all of your shots, with minimal effort. You'll be surprised how much this adds to a professional look and feel.

- If you grade your footage, the time in post is greatly diminished trying to match shots.

All of this adds to an incredible amount of time savings, if you're interested in getting a light, here's what i'd recommend.

Godox SL60W - 10/10 recommendation. Strong continuous light for indoor use.

Aputure 120D - If you want to be part of all the cool kids. This light will last you years.

Falcon Eyes rollable mat - If you're stuck for space, these are excellent options. Also handy for rigging to an overhead rig for top down product shots.

For a diffuser you can go with either a cheap umbrella - iPhonedo used umbrellas for years and his video quality was excellent.

Alternatively you can go with something like the aputure mini light dome ii or light dome ii. I use the light dome ii because of the superb soft light, but most importantly the insanely quick setup and teardown time.

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