Starting a motovlog can be intimidating, and costly, but I’ve found it to be worth my time and money, because for me it is fun, it satisfies my creative need, and has opened me up to a community to make new friends around the world. I’ve been wanting to make a series of videos to give you a realistic and comprehensive look at what it takes to start up your very own motovlogging channel, so you know what to expect before starting your ownvlogging adventures.
But, before I jump in, I want to take a moment to address anyone who just got their motorcycle license. It may seem easy to ride and talk at the same time, but if this isn’t something that comes naturally to you, and you find talking while you ride is distracting you from being an alert and safe rider, please use your best judgement and be cautious. Your safety is priority #1 and certainly more important than your channel, so know your limits before you hop on your motorcycle to record content for your YouTube channel.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s jump right in.
I started my channel with a fairly affordable helmet setup and did all of my editing on my iPhone with iMovie (which is a free app, by Apple, that I downloaded on my iPhone). Before you begin, know how much you have to spend. I would warn against the idea of, “well I kinda need a new helmet anyway, and my phone could use an upgrade so I’ll just do that now”. If you’ve got the budget for all of that, by all means, do it, but just remember that you’re going to be dropping a relatively fair amount of money on your setup and things can add up quickly. Which is why we’re starting at the very beginning, and considering each step of getting your channel started.
Under the assumption that you already own a helmet that you can set-up your camera and mic, a motorcycle - that’s fairly important - and an editing program, you can get your channel going for the cost of the camera, microphone, and mounting equipment. Some motovloggers choose to do just the camera first and edit in sound after. This is a good option if you are a new rider, and (as I mentioned earlier) talking and riding at the same time is difficult for you. But really, the mic is one of the least expensive parts of your helmet setup, so if you feel like you’re ready to hit the road and record, I’d encourage you to start out with both camera and mic.
HELMET SET-UP - Let’s start off by taking a quick look at how I’ve set up my helmet, but before I do, I want to send a huge shout out to Blockhead. If you want an in-depth tutorial for setting up your helmet, I highly suggest checking out his video, and you can follow the link at the top of the screen to check that out. Understand that this is not the end-all-be-all of motovlogging rigs. I’ve seen cameras on top and on the side, and you can situate yours in whatever way you can to make it work for you. Not all helmets have the same exterior availability for mounts so you can use my setup as a guideline and go from there. What I can tell you about my setup is that it is tried and true.
One consistent comment I get from viewers is that the audio in my videos is excellent. So much so, that I’ve received several comments asking for what I do to get solid audio. I’ve used both a dead cat, and a standard filter, but both have worked similarly well, and having a helmet with a chin curtain, and closeable vents, have made the biggest difference for me in recording with solid audio.
CAMERA OPTIONS & COSTS - Now, as I go over specific gear, I'm going to give you numbers on everything I did, so the expectations are clear. Also, you should understand that a lot of time goes into running a YT channel, i mean A LOT, so if time is money to you, I'll leave that to you to factor that into your budget.
First - Camera costs - if you’re going the classic GoPro Hero and mic setup that a lot of motovloggers (including me use), you can get a pre-owned or refurbished GoPro for about $200. I’ve had decent success with used electronics, and even though there is an inherent risk in buying a pre-owned camera, you can definitely get a solid camera at a considerably cheaper price. Now, if you go the new route, which I’ve personally found to be a better long-term investment, expect to pay about $300 for your camera.
The price tag for the rest of your set-up - including mounts, mounting tape, Velcro, and zip-ties are negligible in comparison with the camera. Expect to pay somewhere between $15-25. If you choose to buy a new GoPro, you can definitely start with the adhesive mounts that come with the camera. And last but not least, a decent lavalier microphone can be had for $20-50.
With GoPro Hero cameras, mics are not necessarily plug-and-play. You’ll likely need to purchase a GoPro mic adapter for $50. That’s a steep price for a little piece of proprietary gear, but I’ve been using the same adapter (without issue) since I started my channel over two years ago, so they are durable.
Now let me give you a couple quick pointers on microphone audio. First, if you find you’re not getting any audio in your recordings, it may be because your jack (though it technically fits in your adapter) is not compatible. Check the rings on your mic jack. If there are three, you may need to add an adapter that only has two rings, and then try again. Second, practice good cable management. It’s crowded in your helmet, and if you’ve already installed a Bluetooth with all of it’s wires, then you’ve got even less real estate to work with in there. So, use zip ties or twist ties and be thoughtful about your set-up.
So let’s sum up these costs - if you’ve gone the pre-owned, most-affordable route, you’re looking at about $300 to get started. If you’ve gone the new route, expect to upfront costs to be around $450.
And that’s it! Now that you’re set-up, you can move on to part 2. If you have any questions regarding part 1, please leave a comment, or feel free to hit me up on social media
If you made it to the end of the article, share with us what camera you will start off with, and why? Also, what camera do you want to eventually graduate to, or are you just going to go for the best stuff right out of the gate?
And that’s it! Now that you’re set-up, you can move on to part 2. If you have any questions regarding part 1, please leave them in the comments, or feel free to hit me up on social media.