I’m on a mission to help you make better videos for learning purposes. The camera gear you need to make learning videos is part of the four categories of gear: audio, lighting, camera, and computer. This post focuses exclusively on camera gear. Look for my other posts on the other gear types (links down below).

If your budget is small, spend it on a microphone!
— Chris Karel

The camera gear you need to make learning videos

There are two pieces of camera gear you need to make most learning or training videos, a camera and some type of stabilizer (usually a tripod).

Because I teach DIY creators and professional vendors, I offer you my gear breakdown into four categories: minimum, essential, nice to have, and next level.




For solo practitioners and rapid development instructional designers, the only camera you need is a mobile phone. I use my iPhone X to shoot all of my marketing and training videos. If you are looking to purchase a camera specifically for making videos, then it’s time to level up your skills beyond this post. Look for my advanced guide to creating Video for Learning.


Occasionally, I use my HD Logitech webcam to make learning videos. It’s convenient and connected directly to my editing PC. The quality is not as good as the iPhone, but sometimes convenience is more important than a slightly better-looking image (Done is better than perfect!). If you are ever concerned about image quality, remember that audio is more important than the image.


For those of you who want a camera recommendation beyond using your iPhone, I suggest a Canon. As a professional, I love the Canon cinema cameras. The C-series always delivers for me.

Where to Buy

I recommend B & H Photo and Amazon for most purchases. I visit my local shop, Dodd Camera, for rentals and the occasional purchase. If you have a local camera reseller, I suggest getting to know the people at the store as you may need to rent things and get immediate help with certain tasks.

Helpful Links

Basic Equipment for New Filmmaking Students

10 Best Cinema Cameras for Filmmaking from Beginner

All the Equipment You Need to Make Awesome Videos


If you are making training or learning videos please USE A TRIPOD.

After bad audio, the greatest distraction is shaky video. Buy a tripod that holds your phone or camera in one place while you record. The focus of your learning video should be on the subject matter, not the cinematography.  This is coming from someone who loves a high angle, follow shot, wide landscape, and silhouette. However, your video for a learning goal, first and foremost, is to engage and educate. If you are making videos solely for beauty and art, then you are no longer making learning videos.

Keep it simple. Use a tripod!


gorilla pod

Joby GorrillaPod 

This one is perfect for tabletop shots and mobile use if you are making videos on the move. The best part about the Joby Gorillapod is that the legs allow you to clamp your camera onto any surface. This is ideal if you are going to use natural light and need to stabilize your camera near a window or natural light source.

Cell Phone Tripod Mount

jellyfish tripod mount

This accessory enables you to attach your camera to your tripod. It is a bare minimum purchase. You may be able to find a tripod mount in a bundle so that you don’t have to buy it separately. I recommend the one made by Jellyfish or Manfrotto.

Square Jellyfish Cell Phone Tripod Mount

Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod Kit with Smartphone Clamp

manfrotto tripod kit



I use a cellphone tripod mount inside of my ring light for many of my video applications because it’s just easier. However, if you plan to dedicate a camera and lighting setup to your production environment then you need a dedicated tripod.

Fluid Head Tripod

I do not have a specific recommendation here because this depends on your budget more than anything. If you pay more, you will get a better tripod. You need to decide how serious you want to get with your camera gear. I like the Manfrotto and Magnus brands for the “I’m getting serious” video maker.

Best Tripod For Iphone

Additional Helpful Links

All the Equipment You Need to Make Great Videos

How to Choose the Right Camera for Video Production

The Ultimate Equipment List for Smartphone Video Production

Guide to Audio Equipment for Video


Camera Skills


Vertical or Horizontal (aspect ratio):

The most appealing shape to the human eye is the rectangle. See golden ratio. Therefore, most video should be captured in a horizontal or landscape aspect ratio.

aspect ratio image


Using a vertical ratio will give your video a Tik-Tok/home-creator vibe. For training and learning videos, go for a more classic and appealing to most audiences look, record in a horizontal 16:9 ratio. If you are putting your video into an eLearning wrapper through Captivate or Storyline, shoot horizontal video. The vertical formats are best kept to marketing, but that is trending toward more vertical video being accepted.

Auto-Focus = Bad

Auto-Iris = Bad

Lead-in and Hold out

When you’re recording, wait a few beats after pressing record to start the scene. Similarly, wait a few beats after the end of a scene before stopping recording. This will help you make sure that you have enough space to make edits before and after the scene and ensures you don’t miss any of the action.



Pro-tips for professional camera work:

Here are some tips for recording like a professional – even if you are by yourself.

1. Before you record

  1. Follow a script formula
    • Prep cue cards (whiteboard, paper, or teleprompter app)
    • Place cue cards/prompter off-camera to help with sequence
  2. Gather your props
    • Keep them within arm’s reach
  3. Check your storage
    • Do you have enough room to record?
      1. 375 MB per min in 4K – 3 min is over 1 GB
  4. Clean your lens
    • Breath warm air onto the lens
    • Wipe with a lint-free cloth
  5. Find your best background
    • Use finger frames or look through your camera to find the scene

2. Record

  1. Stabilize – use a tripod or Osmo
  2. Connect the microphone
    • Hide the wire on your lav mic OR plugin the mini-shotgun mic
    • Do a soundcheck – listen back with wired headphones
  3. Compose your scene
    • Choose portrait or landscape (based on your formula)
    • Place the camera between you and the light source – avoid light behind you
    • Set the camera slightly above your eye line – avoid shooting up the nose
    • Get close enough to fill the screen with your face
    • Look into the camera as you talk
  4. Lock focus & exposure
    • Tap and hold the screen on your face – learn more
  5. Do a run-through – PRACTICE (2- 3 takes)
    • Practice out loud and improve the flow
  6. Record and review
    • Record the intro
    • Watch it back with wired headphones on – Is it loud enough to clearly hear the speaker?


Helpful Links

How to Soundproof Your Room for Learning Videos

The Lighting Gear You Need for Learning Videos

The Audio Gear You Need to Make Learning Videos


Let’s be clear here. Skills are more important than gear. But, unless you have invented some kind of biotech microchip that records images you conjure from your mind’s eye, you need some sort of camera gear to make a learning video. Luckily, if you are a DIYer, your smartphone will do the trick. The other piece of the essential gear you need is a stabilizer – also known as a tripod. If you want to buy a camera, I suggest that you make sure that audio gear is obtained first since audio is more important than image quality when it comes to learning videos.


Join my learning pals

What camera gear have you used in your learning videos and how well did they work? Share your voice with me.

Did you like what you read? Join my learning pals. Please subscribe to my newsletter to receive free learning resources delivered to your inbox every two weeks.



Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Every two weeks we send out things we are doing and things we think are worth sharing.

You have Successfully Subscribed!