The Best Tools for Online Activists
Are you passionate about a cause and want to take a stand, but don't know how to get your voice out there?
I have a lot of people ask me what tools I use to make my videos, record and edit my podcast, market my content via social media, and host my website. I've put together a list of the top tools I rely on on a daily basis. I've been using many of these tools for years and swear by them.
Because I like them so much, I reached out to the companies below to become an affiliate. That means, if you use the the links below to sign up for any these services, I get a small commission, and it helps support my work. Not all of the links below are affiliate links, and I ONLY recommend the tools that I believe in and use myself. With that full disclosure out of the way, these are the tools I use on a regular basis to do the work I do.
Video Editing Tools I use:
Website Tools I use:
Equipment I use:
While many YouTubers film with DSLRs, I prefer a dedicated video camera that has no time limits on video length, is light-weight, ultraportable, and designed specifically for video. This Sony camcorder does all that and shoots in gorgeous 4K as well.
Most of your shots as a vlogger are going to be stationary. The last thing you want is annoying camera shake. While, you don't need a super expensive tripod if you're not shooting documentaries with smooth tilts/pans, you still want a good tripod, and this one is an excellent choice.
I recommend that you learn your material inside and out and get comfortable without a teleprompter, but even if you are, this nifty tool can save you so many takes. I script most of my videos and teleprompters streamline the whole process and make it so much easier. Just don't forget to pick up a tablet to lay in front of it. Also check out the PromptSmart Pro teleprompter app (it's amazing).
Webcam: Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam
For any of your feature videos, you probably want to stick with the Sony FDRAX53/B 4K mentioned above, but if you're doing live streams, you'll need either a capture card with it or a separate webcam. In a pinch, you can fall back on the built-in one in your laptop, but the quality usually sucks. A better alternative is this Logitech webcam. It's great quality, plug-and-play, and super portable.
Studio Lights: Neewer Bi-color 660 LED Video Light and Stand Kit
Even a fantastic camera is going to look like garbage in poor lighting. If you're on a budget, you can work around this by manipulating sunlight and getting high-lumen bulbs on regular lamps. If you can afford it, though, these Neewer lights are phenomenal! I use 6 of them, strategically placed around my studio for full lighting. But even two or three of these will make all the difference in the world.
Sound Proofing: Acoustic Foam Panel Wedge Studio Soundproofing Wall Tiles
A great mic in an untreated, echoey room is still going to sound like a tin can. While you can pad your room with sheets, pillows, and blankets, I highly recommend these foam panels, if you want your productions to be taken seriously. If you place even just a few of these around your home studio, you'll instantly notice a positive difference.
Filming and editing at a cluttered, cramped desk will hurt your productivity. This adjustable desk comfortably seats two people side by side, allowing you to interview guests at it. It has lots of leg room, hidden slits to route messy cables, and the entire top of it is one big mouse pad. I've worked at lots of desks. This one is my all-time favorite.
Studio Mic: Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
If you have the budget for either a nice mic or a nice camera, ALWAYS GO FOR THE MIC FIRST! People will be offended by poor audio quality way faster than poor video quality. It's what sets a professional production apart from budget one. While I recommend first starting with an affordable mic and learning the audio tricks to make it sound good, as soon as you can afford to make the leap to a pro-level mic, do it.
Just bear in mind that this mic is going to require a Cloudlifter Preamp (see below).
Unless you get a USB mic (like the Audio Technica mentioned below), you're going to need an XLR cable to connect your mic to your sound mixer. Bear in mind that you will need two of these for the Shure SM7B mic mentioned above (one on either side of the Cloudlifter).
Mixing Board: Behringer XR18 Digital Mixer
This mixer is basically god. You can configure all settings on your computer, have different live effects on each track, save EQ profiles for each person who uses it, and even control it remotely!
Warning: this mixer is overkill for the beginning vlogger, but once you've mastered the world of audio, it will save you tons of time!
Travel Mic: Audio Technica AT2005USB
If you're just getting started as an online activist, this is the number one mic I recommend for vlogging/podcasting. It's only $69 at the time of me writing this, is super simple (plug it right into your USB port and start recording), has decent quality, and is directional (so it won't pick up a lot of background noise).
Just make sure you pick up this foam windscreen for it.
Portable Audio Recorder: Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder
If you're traveling, and want to record interviews on the road, this digital audio recorder is amaze-balls!!! It has mics on it that are actually pretty good, or you can plug two Audio Technica AT2005USB mics into the bottom of it using two XLR cables and record each mic to a different track for editing later in Adobe Audition.
Dual Editing Monitors: Samsung LU28E570DS/ZA 28" UHD 4K Led-Lit Monitor
Let's face it, no matter how good you are at filming and recording audio, you're always going to have editing work to do, if you want your work to really shine. There's no reason to settle when it comes to your editing workstation, since you'll be spending countless hours here. I recommend picking up two of these 4K widescreen displays. You can thank me later.
Editing Mouse: Logitech MX Master 2S Wireless Mouse
A good mouse will save you lots of time editing. This one works on any surface, has multiple assignable buttons, and most-importantly it fits ergonomically in your hand, so you can comfortably edit for hours at a time without discomfort.
Editing Keyboard: Razer Ornata Chroma Gaming Keyboard
I highly recommend picking up a good keyboard for editing that has macro buttons that you can program to your most-frequent tasks. This keyboard is nice because it's backlit (allowing you to work at night) and the hand rest makes it super comfortable to use. The only downside is this one clacks a bit louder than I would like - so it may bother sleeping roommates. If that's not an issue for you, than it's a great editing keyboard.
Tablet to use with Teleprompter: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Tablets can be great for drawing and editing on the fly, but my main use of a tablet is for use with my teleprompter. I got the PromptSmart Pro app on Android which follows along with your voice and scrolls the text at the pace you read (it's a game-changer)! While I technically have a Nexus 10 and not a Galaxy Tab, they no longer sell my old tablet, and any new Android tablet will work with this teleprompter app.
Editing Headphones: Audio-Technica ATHM40x Professional Monitor Headphones
After you record your audio, you're going to need to edit it. If you have a crappy pair of headphones you won't really be able to hear if you're final mix is high quality or not. This pair of headphones will let you hear EVERYTHING! They're amazing, and are a great choice for audiophiles and sound engineers of all stripes. My audio editing game improved by leaps and bounds after I upgraded to these bad boys.
If you edit video and audio. You're going to be sitting for extended periods of time. Do your back and ass a favor and get a chair that's actually comfortable. You won't regret it.
Below is a list of books related to marketing, business, and activism as well as how to get your life in order to be the most effective activist you can be. I've read a lot of books on these topics, but these were a few of the good ones that I recommend checking out if you want to learn how to be a more effect internet influencer/activist. Happy reading!
Top 11 Books for the Future World Changer:
- 1Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success
- 2Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
- 3How to Win Friends and Influence People
- 4Primal Branding: Create Zealots for Your Brand, Your Company, and Your Future
- 5The 4-Hour Workweek
- 6The E Myth Re-visited
- 7Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too
- 8Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
- 9The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs: Elevate Your SELF to Elevate Your BUSINESS
- 10Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World
- 11How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships