About me
I'm Ann Elisabeth. I'm from Norway. I do videos on tech, reviews, handbags, hauls, travel.



Tech videos

My equipment:

  • Camera: Sony RX100m2
  • Lights: Two softboxes, energy saving bulbs
  • Action camera: Polaroid Cube
  • Tripod: Old fashioned DSLR tripod, flexible tripod, light stand/reflector arm, various small tripods
  • Software: Adobe Premiere Elements 14, Windows Movie Maker
  • Computer: Dell XPS 15 and various other Windows machines for non-editing tasks
  • Sound recorder: Zoom H1
My Youtube channel



I uploaded my first video to Youtube July 24, 2016. I've made some reflections on video equipment since then, and invite you to share in my thoughts. Maybe it will help your own decision making process.

First version: May 2017

Camera

I bought a small camera a few years before. I had figured out that I usually left my DSLR at home because it was too heavy. I wanted a camera that was small enough I could keep it in even a small handbag without skipping it because of size. But it also needed to be good enough pros would use it for the same reason. I bought it for taking still pictures, not for video. The RX100m2 was the latest iteration when I bought it. Looking back, I wish I'd waited another year, so I could have gotten the RX100m3. It has a flip up screen, which would be better for "walk and talk" videos. But so far I haven't started putting my face in the picture, and it has been enough up to this point. I have made a segment for a video where I used the mobile app to frame the video.

The screen on mine, as with cameras such as Sony a6500, a6300 and A7R II, tilts but doesn't flip up. That means it doesn't have a selfie screen. You can use a mobile phone with the app to view what the camera sees and start and stop video. That's clunky if you run and gun. It can be used if you put the camera on a tripod and sit down, though. However, because it has that tilt screen, it works well for desktop videos, which is what I do most of all. Put it on a tripod arm with the top towards you, and you can tilt the screen facing towards you. You only need to rotate the video in the editor afterwards.

If I were to start youtube today, I'd start with whatever camera I have, as long as it does 1080p. Unless you have a camera already, like I did, that usually means a cell phone. The drawbacks are that cell phones usually
  • don't have good stabilization. So they'll work better on a tripod. I'd start with a flexible tripod off ebay (similar to gorillapod), but make sure you get one rated for the weight of your camera. I still use one of these for travel, even though I have an old tripod meant for an SLR. Also get a phone holder of the type you get with a selfie stick. One big enough for your cell phone. Some youtubers don't turn off stabilization when the phone is on a tripod. The result is horrible effects where the camera tries to "stabilize" when it shouldn't. Avoid!
  • don't do well in low light. So prioritize plenty of light more than anything else. If you have a room with a north facing window that gets plenty of light, that's a good start.
  • don't have good microphones. This depends on how far away you are and the specific phone you have. As a general rule, the closer to the camera, the less noise. There are lavalier microphones meant for using with phones. Many use those or another microphone for that purpose. Beware of Huawei phones. They have non-standard mini-jacks, and don't work with anything but their own headsets. There isn't ONE standard for all phones here. Apple have their own standard, Nokia/Windows another, Samsung a third.


I've made one video with my Huawei Honor 5x. My RX100m2 was starring in the video, so I needed to use a different camera. This was recorded in Thailand in my front room, with a tripod pointed at the floor. So plenty of light. Also notice the neoprene case I bought at Daiso. My ideal case for my camera size for not adding any bulk and the perfect protection for a camera in a woman's handbag.

If I were to buy a new camera today, there are three cameras that would tempt me. The Sony RX100m5 - for obvious reasons. It's everything mine is and more. The Panasonix Lumix LX10/LX15 is almost identical to the RX100, but cheaper. You have to incessantly tap to focus - RX100 has better face detect focus. Or the new Panasonic Lumix GH5 because of the insane stabilization. It's bigger than I like, though, and I'm unsure of the auto focus. More time is needed to assess. I would not go near Canon G7x, because the constant focus noise drives me up the wall in every sit down video I watch on Youtube. But right now I'll stick with the RX100m2. The longer I can make due with that one, the better cameras get released. I'm in the position I don't have to switch. It's good enough for my use right now.

Lights

The first thing I did after I uploaded my first video, was to buy studio lights and wait until I got them to make my second video. I bought a set recommended by Silje Helen Henriksen. It consists of two softboxes, energy saving bulbs and stands (Ebay listing for European electricity). It's perfect for desktop videos. More than enough light. I would have wanted more light for sit down videos, unless I could put the softboxes very close to me, maybe adding a ringlight. I believe Silje needs higher ISO for her videos, while I use the lowest ISO my camera allows on my desktop videos. There are softboxes with several bulbs inside. Those give more light, and more suited for a bigger set.

There are lots of possible solutions for desktop video rigs. Mine is sort of makeshift, but it works because my camera is lightweight. I use a stand meant for mounting collapsible reflector screens. It's called a reflector arm. I bought mine locally many years ago (I used to be a photographer), but they're available from ebay as well. I added a clamp bought with a gopro attachment to attach the camera to the arm. I attached the arm to a very sturdy light stand I already had.



This is a desktop set, and on my kitchen table. I added white cardboard, which I need to replace soon. Also a cutting board, which doubles as a way to see what the camera sees, without having to look up.

Action camera

I bought a Polaroid Cube on sale. I got that one because of the price and because it's got a magnet. I wasn't sure how much I'd use an action camera, so I wanted to start slowly. The GoPro Hero 5 is my dream action camera. But right now I don't do enough stuff the Cube can't do, so I'll stay with it for now. I also bought a 50 piece set of accessories for the GoPro off ebay. If I'd bought a holder, I could use everything with the Cube as well. The waterproof housing has GoPro mount, though.

The Cube footage does NOT work on Windows computers as is. If you have Apple, you're golden. With Windows Movie Maker, the video works, but not the audio. Youtube editor gets both. Premiere Elements doesn't even import the footage.

Software

I use Adobe Premiere Elements 14. I got the option to buy both Premiere and Photoshop Elements when I bought my computer. Both for the price of one. But I was going to get Premiere Elements anyway. My first video was made with Youtube editor, and the next few with Windows Movie Maker. It's the best editor for machines with older or weaker specs. It'll run fine on a celeron processor and 4 Gb RAM and an intel integrated graphics card. I had done some video editing before, and got super frustrated when I edited the first video, because WMM doesn't do overlay (ie insert a picture or video over a video, either full screen or in one corner). You have to cut the video, insert the picture or other video, then start it again on the other side. If you can live with that, you'll possibly save yourself the cost of upgrading your computer.

The reason I decided on Premiere Elements, is because there's an upgrade path there, and at the moment, Premiere Pro CC is one of the most popular "pro" software, and used a lot for people who collaborate on projects where they're physically in different locations. But Pro is a monthly/yearly subscription, and it costs a lot more than Elements. At this point I don't need any of the pro features of Premiere Pro, but by using Elements I'm in the same eco system, and the stuff I learn I should be able to use with Premiere Pro if I make the switch in the future.

There are many different programs, and most are good. What you choose depends on your ambition level and what you're willing to pay for as well as the features you're looking for and what kind of workflow works for you. I had used Photoshop before at work. I tried to get comfortable with GIMP, despite the keyboard shortcuts I'd been using with Photoshop didn't work. But when I had a project where I needed features GIMP didn't have, I paid for Photoshop Elements (it's on an older machine). So I was already into the Adobe eco system.

Computer

I had an older machine that ran WMM just fine. But it was unlikely to run Premiere Elements. I did quite a bit of research. I wasn't happy about buying a new machine. I'd just bought a smaller machine I planned on using for travel.

My first question was Mac or PC. At that time Mac was due for another refresh. The newest refresh proved to be unsatisfactory for video editors (16 Gb RAM was max it would support), but I didn't know that at the time. Already at that time PCs had leapt ahead in terms of performance, especially comparing price and performance. I did consider a Mac, even though I've never owned one, but a PC won out due to performance/price. This is still the case. The only reason to choose a Mac right now for video editors, is if you've used iMovie or Final Cut Pro for a long time, and are either unable to learn a program, or it would take you such a long time to edit while being so fast on the Mac only software, that this alone makes staying with Mac worth it for you. Lately quite a few former Mac devotee vloggers have either tried out a PC or have decided to keep a PC (usually a laptop, usually a Dell - either XPS or something even more powerful and less portable).

I decided on Dell XPS 15 because it can do basically anything today. For 4k an upgrade to 32 Gb RAM would be smart. But the main reason I decided on that machine was the small size/weight combined with high specs/performance. It's the size of a 14" machine, but is actually 15". And it's lightweight. I still use my old machine for anything but editing and web pages. I don't put much on this machine - because I don't have to. I 15", 10" and 7" windows machines. So I can keep the XPS clean and take the 7" if I don't have much space. And the iPad. I don't spend much time on Windows anyway. Just the stuff iPad can't do.

Sound recorder

I did a slideshow type video quite early on, and scrambled to find a good way to record my voice. So I decided to get a good sound recorder. The entry level is Zoom H1. Unlike some of the more advanced Zoom recorders, this one does only stereo sound, while the others do multi track. It will accept an external microphone, but the built in ones are good, if you're in a quiet environment. I have bought a lavalier microphone, but not started using it yet.

Ads