Gear Doesn't Matter


This is an excerpt from my upcoming book: DIY Video Guide. Coming February 11th, 2014.

My wife and I have spent over $20,000 on photography and videography gear over the past two years.

We have a closet full of cameras, lenses, memory cards, film, microphones, lights, tripods, monopods, flashes, bags, audio recorders, and more.

And I want to tell you why you don't need any of it to make your videos.

When people email and ask me questions about video, whether they're aimed at ones I've made or they're trying to making videos themselves, without a doubt the majority of the questions I get revolve around gear and equipment.

"What camera did you use?" "What lens is that?" "What software do you edit in?"

When this happens I typically turn extremely nerdy, rattle off all the names of said tools, and offer my own two cents about the ins and outs each of them.

But deep down there is a part of me that wants to reach through the computer screen, grab them by the collar, look them in the eyes and say in a stern, Alec Baldwin voice:

Gear doesn't matter. Gear doesn't make videos go viral. Gear only keeps you from making more videos. Tweet this.

It reminds of that line from Fight Club.

"You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You are not your f'n khakis."

What Really Matters

I actually do care about gear. Heck, that is why I have a gear guide on my site. That is why my wife and I have invested so much money into gear. That is why I geek out when I get to use new fangled gadgets like the MoVI.

But great videos and photos are not dependent on the gear that you used.

There is so much more to it than that. Planning, scripting, framing, lighting, editing, pacing, storytelling, acting, etc.

Asking what camera someone used to make a video is like asking what car you should use to drive across the country.

Just get in the car and start driving.

Figure it out later. It is more important that you start making more videos.

Make Do With What You Have

I don't care whether you have an old handicam or just the webcam built into your laptop.

Start making more videos.

I don't care if you're saving up for a new camera, lens, lights, or microphone.

Start making more videos.

I don't care if you edit your videos using iMovie on your iPhone or have a Mac Pro running Final Cut Pro X.

Start making more videos.

Whatever you have is good enough. In fact, it is better than good enough.

Look at some of the most popular YouTube videos of all time. Except for all the music videos, the most watched videos all have pretty poor video quality. I'm thinking of Evolution of Dance, Sneezing Panda, Charlie Bit My Finger, David After Dentist. I'm pretty sure all of those were shot on a phone.

They were shared and watched so many times because of the content of the video, not for how it looks or sounds.

Now, I know you're not really expecting to get hundreds of millions of views for your videos, but I really mean it about this gear thing.

Gear doesn't matter. Start with what you have. Keep hitting record. Make videos more often.

Are videos taking too long?

The above video is one of over 15 video tutorials I made as a part of DIY Video Guide, a book + video tutorial training program.

If you want to start making better videos of yourself, this is for you.