Recommendation for beginner's YouTube video camera
March 3, 2020 3:19 PM   Subscribe

My grandson who is 16 is interested in making YouTube videos. He is just a beginner and I know nothing about this. I envision a camera that is good at making head shots (such as on a tripod) as well as one you can carry to record other scenes. Could you please make recommendations for such a camera and any other resources that might be useful? Thank you.
posted by Rad_Boy to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
iPhones (and I guess probably other phones) are capable of videoing up to HD quality - I woudn't bother buying a separate camera these days, especially for someone just starting out. Something like a Joby GripTight will enable him to attach it to the top of a regular camera tripod if that's what he wants. Joby also make the Gorilla tripod, which is a small, flexible tripod you can put on a table top, of flex to hold onto a vertical pole, or whatever. Alternatively, he might just want to carry it, or invest in a gimbal (a hand-held bracket you can put the phone in that smooths out movement so it's not too shaky if you're filming by hand) Sorry, I've not used one so no recommendations on that front but amazon has plenty.

The other thing to think about is sound. If he's just wanting to film himself talking to the camera, he'll probably be fine doing it in a quiet room, but he could upgrade by investing in a cheap lav mic that clips onto his shirt and plugs into an iPhone (actually... they tend to have 5mm jack plugs so newer iphones might need an adaptor for that). If he's going down more of a "I'm going to write my own horror movie and film it" route, he might need to investigate further into boom mics etc., but I'd try and start him out with the simplest, cheapest kit possible, and only encourage him to upgrade once he's actually started making things and a. knows what he wants and b. has proven he's enthusiastic enough to stick with it.

If he gets started with his cheap kit and loves doing it but is disappointed by sound quality, for example, he'll then have the motivation to research for himself what extras he wants to upgrade his kit.
posted by penguin pie at 3:41 PM on March 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

I searched for Budget Vlogging Cameras; that's a good search term for you, and it will include both SLR-type cameras as well as enhanced phone-style cameras. If your grandson has a decent camera on a phone, that may be a good option while he tests the waters.

This page recommends the ~$400 Canon Eos T6, a digital SLR that can store video to SD cards or possibly stream it over Wifi.

Cheaper still is an "action camera," such as the GoPro, which are sturdy little cameras designed to be worn, but can also fill the role of low-feature video cameras for vlogging. $200-$400 range for those, typically, with lots of accessories.

Consider getting refurbished models so you can get a lot more camera for your dollar; refurbs seem to sell for less than half of the new model, which is great. I had some other advice about tripods, but penguin pie really did a better job than I did.

Down the road, if the hobby continues or becomes a money-maker, y'all might look at 360 cameras (cheap but largely a novelty) and "prosumer" cameras which really upgrade the features and production value.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:53 PM on March 3, 2020

Is he wanting to make videos sitting at his PC? Or make videos around the house? Or make videos out in public? Or all of the above?
posted by dgeiser13 at 4:24 PM on March 3, 2020

If he's going a bit serious with re-takes and editing and such... Tom Scott had the great idea to buy dozens of the same red T-shirt and a couple grey hoodies and wear them all the time. When you find that you need to go and re-do some little piece... you don't have to track down the outfit you were wearing that day as to not make it totally obvious that you did a re-take a week later.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:26 AM on March 4, 2020

Whatever the current incarnation of the Flip Video camera is would be just about perfect. No moving parts, runs on AA batteries (so that you can swap batteries quickly. TIP: use rechargeable AA's), mounts to a tripod.
posted by Wild_Eep at 8:14 AM on March 4, 2020

Response by poster: I response to dgeiser13, "all of the above." Thank You.
posted by Rad_Boy at 8:48 AM on March 4, 2020

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