VLOGGING On A Budget: from Budget Gear, Free Editing Apps to Useful Tips!

Thinking of starting your own vlog but have no idea how?

I’m Mae Ilagan and I’ve been blogging for over a decade now. I started out taking photos and writing my experiences here on When In Manila. Although I still love taking photos until now, I recently found interest in making short clips about my travels and food adventures. Story telling becomes more interesting with videos and my readers also tend to react more. I also find it convenient to just play it again over and over whenever I please.

Before, I used to shoot videos using my dslr, but to be honest, I get really lazy during the editing part. It’s just too much work for me. Not practical for my busy schedule. Not to mention the hassle of carrying a big camera around- Just not my thing anymore. I also read other articles about the expensive equipment/gear I needed to buy to help me vlog. I find them to be quite impractical especially since I’m only starting out and dislike carrying a lot of gadgets.

So if you’re a newbie as well and don’t have much budget to buy expensive gear over 27k, you may wanna consider the following…

I believe you only need 3 essential things to kickstart your vlogging career. A smartphone with a good camera, a handheld gimbal and a selfie led light lamp (if you want to do makeup tutorials).

The Gear

  1. Choose a practical vlog-ready smartphone.

Before, I thought only those high-end flagship smartphones were the only ones that can help me produce HD quality videos… this belief of my mine changed when I started using the Huawei Nova 5T – It’s positioned as a flagship smartphone for the younger generation with innovation and trendy elements. It has the specs similar to Huawei’s flagship phones, yet super affordable at only P18,990!

Super stylish Nova 5T

The Huawei Nova 5T is actually the reason why I became interested in creating videos again. It’s really awesome. The primary reasons why I love using it for videos is that it has the ff:

  1. Ultra-Wide Angle lens – great for wide-angle shots during travels
  2. Macro mode – to capture up-close subjects like food and flowers
  3. 48MP 5 AI Cameras – helps me capture a wide variety of HD shots at any given scene
  4. Kirin 980 chipset – a flagship chipset that provides me with superb speed and performance
  5. 3,750mAh battery with support 22.5W Huawei SuperCharge technology so I never missout on important moments.
  6. It’s ultra-stylish – I love using it whenever I’m out. It’s such a cool looking phone to carry around.

with 5 AI Cameras

To be honest, having this alone is practically all you need. The next items are just optional.

2. A handheld gimbal like a DJI Mobile 2

    If you want to take more fluid shots, then a gimbal can be very useful to make your videos look like  a pro. The DJI Mobile 2 is lightweight and costs only around P6,500 to P7,900. I recommend you buy at Henry’s Camera Photo.

DJI Osmo 2

3. A Selfie Ring Light  & Cell Phone Holder Stand

This is another option you can use if you plan to talk in front of the cam like the ones that beauty vloggers use in their makeup tutorial videos. I bought this for only P450 at the 2nd floor of Computer Graphics Center along Gilmore in QC. They have a lot of electronic gear there at super affordable prices. You may wanna pay a visit one of these days if you want to save on cash.

Selfie Ring Light  & Cell Phone Holder Stand

The Apps

Now let’s discuss the apps that you can use to edit your videos. I’ve used quite a lot of other editing apps, but I always end up using these 2 that are absolutely FREE!

  1. Quik  (click HERE for Android and HERE for iOS)

The app made for GoPro users. Luckily, even non-GoPro users can edit videos here. It’s super easy to use!

Tips on using Quik:

  1. Set the total duration of your video to over 1 minute so you can use the Instagram Feed Preview when you post it on IGTV. It helps you get more views.
  2. Set in Cinema format so it can be compatible with your Facebook, Youtube and Instagram platforms.
  3. Highlight your best scenes and movements per clip so the app can automatically adjust the clips to be featured on your final video.
  4. Play with Slow motion and Fast speeds to create more dramatic scenes.
  5. Add captions to help your readers understand your story more.
  6. On the settings, set to save videos in 1080p HD, save videos in PRO Quality and in 60 FPS to make sure your videos are clear when you upload on your chosen platform.

The only thing I dislike with Quik is that the music selection is limited. So what I do is that I turn off the music, save the video and I transfer to this next app…

2. InShot (click HERE for Android and HERE for iOS)

 This is another free app that I find really nice. Here, I simply open my saved video from Quik then I select my preferred background music to go with my video. They have more selections here. Most of them are FREE too! They also have a nice array of movie filters to choose from to add character to your videos. After selecting music and filter, I simply save it and upload straight away.

Video Samples and More Useful Tips

Lifestyle Travel Videos

Here’s a sample video which I made using only my Huawei Nova 5T.

Tips when shooting:

  1. Shoot the moments you want to immortalize. I made this video in just a day and I simply collected all the scenes I found interesting. Examples would be colors, various textures, flowers, food, the people I meet and even animals. It’s always interesting to showcase movement to make the video more alive. Don’t be afraid to shoot up-close and also shoot wide when necessary. Experiment on various angles to offer a variety of shots.
  2. Shoot establishing shots to give your viewers a clearer idea where you are. Are you in a city? Take a video of majestic buildings and landmarks you get to see. Close to nature? Take shots of trees and greenery. At a beach? Take videos of the sand and waves.
  3. Take a video of your feet while walking, or your hand while reaching for something. To me, this makes a travel video more intimate. I also enjoy literally looking at the path or road that I’m walking at. If you have a friend with you, perhaps you can ask him/her to take a video of you while walking or taking photos. Use slow motion to make it more dramatic.
  4. Use zoom in, zoom out, pan left and right for added definition and movement to your subjects
  5. Choose a piece of good background music for your video.

Again, I just collected all my best clips during that day. I actually had a lot of fun shooting this. Nobody even noticed that I was shooting a lot. The best part was that I only edited this in less than 30 mins using the free apps listed above.

Food videos

In shooting food videos, here are some tips I can share based on my examples below…

  1. Again, shoot interesting elements like the misty pond at the beginning of this video and also the flames from the hotpot. I like to show that fire element since the video is all about cooking.
  2. I went to the sauce station and took clips while people were mixing their sauces. I found this scene so interesting.
  3. I also like the slow-motion boiling soup and cooking shots. Remember, it’s all about movement!
  4. The “cheers” scene on the last part was also nice since it added a lot of emotion in the whole video. I love hand gestures since it adds that “human element.”  Proof that you don’t really need to show actual faces to evoke emotions on videos.

For this next video, I just really wanted to highlight all the dishes we ate. I think we had around 40 types, so it was pretty epic. For this, I focused on hand gestures as people picked their food. I also took videos while the dishes were being served, as well as highlighting people’s faces while they were eating. Always be on the lookout for raw emotions. Of course, take loads of up-close macro shots to show the texture of each item. It also helps to decide your over-all mood or the primary emotion you want to convey in your video.

How long did it take to edit this? Under 30 mins as well. So easy!

Hope you learned a lot from this article. I’ll be posting more videos using my Huawei Nova 5t on my Instagram so you may wanna check it out – @mayoilagan . Feel free to ask me questions as well. =)

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