First, I should say you don’t NEED this stuff. It won’t make your jokes funnier. [Ask me how I know.] I already had the camera and lens—the most expensive parts—because I take lots of pictures.
Second, there are more economical ways of doing this. Where I think it makes sense, I’ll list cheaper options. But even then, there are going to be even more less expensive options. I’m listing what I’ve used or what I’ve heard others recommend. If you have another brand you love, go with that.
Third and most important, if you only take away one thing from this writeup, GET A LIGHT and a diffuser. That is the single most important component to step up your Zoom comedy show game. And the diffuser will soften the light so you don’t look like you have bags under your eyes. Even if you do.
Oh, and before we go too far, I’d HIGHLY recommend using an ethernet cable to connect to your router. A wired connection is faster and removes another variable from the “what could possibly go wrong?” equation.
Here’s what my setup looked like during a recent comedy set.
I stream my comedy and cooking shows in 4k, but you don’t have to. 1080p is just fine. Anything is better than the cameras built into laptops.
By NO means do you have to use Sony. I use the a7R III, my step-mom uses and loves the a6400 for photography, and I’ve seen a lot of YouTubers recommend the a6600. I like Sony because their face-tracking autofocus is stupid fast. I move around a lot in my chair when I’m telling jokes, and my camera never loses track of my face.
You can easily go cheap here. I use the Sennheiser shotgun mic mounted atop my camera because I already had it around. Rode vlogging mics would be fine too. I’ve seen a few comics hold a microphone like they’re on stage in a club. If that’s your jam, the Shure SM58 (Amazon | B&H) is a classic choice.
You’ll need a capture card to connect your camera to your computer. You’ll also need an HDMI cable to connect the camera to the capture card.
Look at the HDMI port on your camera to figure out what kind of cable you need. It’s likely a micro or mini HDMI. Note: Micro HDMI is different than Mini HDMI, so refer to your camera manual to ensure you get the correct one.
Also, you can go super cheap with the cable. I’ve never noticed a quality difference in HDMI cables.
I opted for a c-stand with wheels because I wanted a sturdy stand with the option to move my rig around. I stream live cooking shows and record auditions for commercials with this same setup, and I like not having to do everything from my desk.
If you’re only going to get one thing from this whole list, get the light and diffuser. I think this made THE BIGGEST difference in my video quality.