$800 vs. $8,000 YouTube Setup – Is There a Difference?4 min read
I recently made a YouTube Video (link coming Friday) where you can check out the side-by-side comparison.
Is an $8,000 YouTube Setup 10x better than an $800 YouTube Setup? I decided to run an experiment and find out.
Recently, I bought the a7S III. However, is it that much better than the cheaper Sony camera I have? The a6300? I wasn’t sure.
I wanted to test it. So for the sake of a nice title and a fun experiment, I aimed for $800 for setup #1 and $8,000 for setup #2.
- Editing Software
- Sony a6300 – $550 (used)
- Sigma 30mm lens – $200 (used)
- Lavalier Microphone – $39 (camera audio used in video)
- Amazon Basics Tripod – $25
- FREE: iMovie, lamp/iPhone lighting, Audacity audio editing
The major fault in this setup is lighting. If you watch the video the light makes a huge difference; it takes it from a good setup, to a great setup.
The microphone is solid. The only thing I don’t like is that you can see it in videos. It does clip to the underside of my shirt, but every time I move it rustles and disrupts the audio, also it’s just recording straight into my phone which makes the workflow more difficult.
So if I only had $800 dollars and had to make a YouTube setup what would I do? Lighting is the most important, then audio. I would get this exact setup and invest in lighting as soon as possible.
So, overall, this setup is great. It’s a big step up from just recording from your phone. And with a good light? You start to struggle to differentiate this from professional setups.
Now, this setup is amazing (and my current setup). No microphone hanging anywhere (it’s above me), the lighting is nice, and the camera is a beast!
Camera – a7S III ($3,500)
This is by no means an extensive review of this camera, there a people that have better reviews. The reasons I bought this camera are:
- Rotating screen
- Touch screen
- Eye autofocus
- 10-Bit 4:2:2 Internal
- Amazing autofocus – Sony does this really well
- 120p 4k
- No overheating during 24p 4k
- The menu is much much better
Tripod – Sachtler Ace M System ($700)
The Sachtler tripod allows me to pan smoothly, it is sturdy, and has amazing tilting/balance control; it’s a professional tripod.
Lens – Sony FE 85mm ($600)
- Bokeh! Now, this is actually cheap for a full-frame lens, honestly, after buying the Sony a7S III, I couldn’t afford anything more than this.
- This lens is amazing, it’s sharp, it autofocuses amazingly well, and, I think, is the best full-frame lens you can get at this price point for the full-frame Sony camera.
Microphone – AT4053B-Hypercardioid Condenser Microphone ($900*)
- A piece of professional recording equipment
- Direct and clean signal, even in a noisy room
- The sides and behind the microphone are silenced, so most of what is picked up are my voice (which is what I want!)
- *I use this audio interface, stand, and cable in order for this microphone to work.
Lighting – 2x Neewer + Softbox + Stand ($600)
- This would be my first serious upgrade on any YouTube setup.
- Good lighting makes a huge difference in image quality, autofocus, and makes your videography much more error-friendly.
Gimbal and Drone – DJI Mavic Air 2 + Zhiyun Weebill S ($1,200)
- Say I want to do some running shots and no shake? Gimbal!
- I want some cool aerial shots to set the scene? Drone!
- Side note: I think drones can VERY EASILY be overused and abused, especially in YouTube videos.
Software – Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro ($500)
What I found is the $800 setup is good, but can be great with good lighting.
The $8,000 dollar setup is fantastic, and what I will be using for my future YouTube videos, but, remember, content is king.
I wish I started making YouTube videos earlier but felt like I couldn’t because I didn’t have the proper camera setup… microphone… etc. Those things, really, don’t matter – there are a bunch of people making really cool things with just their iPhone. If I began making videos as an undergraduate or even a year ago when I only had the sony camera, I would have been so much better today.
All of this gear is fun is cool, I love learning about it, and that is the reason I made this video; because it would be fun. In the end, however, what I really need to improve is my story-telling ability and my content.