After over a decade of YouTube, it’s hard to imagine things staying the same as they’ve always been. The community and industry are a totally different beast nowadays, and more things have changed than people might like to admit. But some things have changed for the better; most notably, the types of filming equipment all our favourite creators are using.
But we hear you ask “how have things changed?” Well, little YouTube fan, let us take you through the timeline; where you’ll learn what many of your favourite YouTubers were filming with when they started, and why they kept evolving…
Until just a couple of years ago, YouTube was still supporting direct uploads to the site from webcam recording. Bit mad, considering most vloggers evolved past them almost a decade ago; but webcams, the most accessible video-to-computer device at the time, were unmistakably a cornerstone of how YouTubers came to be.
Most people would have been using a clip-on webcam bought from their local “computer store” to use on their Windows PC; but for the lucky ones who hopped on the MacBook trend before it was cool, they were likely using the built-in iSight camera. This is why you might see a lot of Photo Booth effects in some people’s earlier vlogs – and the odd upload from literally inside an Apple Store.
During YouTube’s slow rise, digital cameras of all brands and models had also started to settle on using SD cards universally for storage. As a result, they became a lot more popular in the YouTube world. While still not exactly TV quality, camcorders allowed a major improvement in video and audio quality for a lot of creators.
This also meant that portability became a major factor; and people could start filming YouTube videos while they were out in the world (I know, going outside, what a concept).
It’s almost amazing to believe that YouTube existed before the iPhone did; but it’s the truth. Vloggers were vlogging before it could even shoot video. However, when video-shooting smartphones such as the iPhone 3GS finally started to popularise the market (and change the world), they became a fearsome tool in a vlogger’s arsenal.
Since then, smartphones have upgraded faster than most cameras; and while your average YouTuber will still prefer something more professional, their phone can be handy in a pinch. But newer creators have found their phone to be an mazing jumping-off point for video tech; and the rise of video-friendly phone accessories has definitely helped, too…
YouTube has evolved in many ways; but most notable among them is how the site handles video quality. Once YouTube finally started supporting HD content, while “being a YouTuber” also started to actually feel like a commercially successful option, creators began moving on from their old camcorders; and putting a bit of money into their gear.
Proper photography/videography models like the Canon 60D changed the way people looked at YouTubers forever. Quite literally – the quality that cameras like these are able to offer turned the aesthetics of a vlog into one of its most important factors. And those who weren’t able to upgrade so easily found it difficult to grow.
Now that video quality has become unparalleled, the next step could only come in one form: gimmicks. Waterproof cameras, cameras that shoot from every angle, cameras that can fly… they all fall into the subset of “action cameras”.
The GoPro (and cameras like it) has proven to be the most versatile of these. Easy to use, mountable and sturdy, this sort of action camera is great for YouTubers who are fans of travel, sport, or just documenting their every move.
Drones have also seen a surge in popularity; especially since someone figured out how to fit a cinema-quality camera on one. But for your average vlogger, drones are more of a vanity purchase; so look out for the ones using one completely pointlessly.
Can you believe that, after years and years of YouTuber cameras getting more expensive (and gimmicky), we would come full circle? Well, believe it baby; because everyone you watch that who routinely does daily/travel/going outside vlogs is probably using the same digital camera.
The Canon Powershot G7 X looks like the digital cameras of old, with a few upgrades; not only does it shoot in full HD at an impressive 60 frames per second, but it also has a flip-out viewfinder like its big DSLR siblings. Perfect for YouTubers that can’t vlog without checking their faces out first.
Of course, there are similar alternatives; and as mentioned, plenty of creators are happy to whip out their phone for a vlog on the go. But it’s amazing to see that after a decade of upping the production value with bigger, better, more cumbersome tech, one of the most popular YouTuber cameras is one that almost wouldn’t look out of place in 2008.
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