Playing games is fun, but sharing your gameplay and experience with many others on YouTube is a dream that many people have. Becoming a YouTuber is pretty easy, however, to start a proper gaming channel on YouTube, and become successful, some equipment is required. So, here is a list of equipment that you need to start a gaming channel:
- A Gaming PC
- Screen Capture Software
- Video Editing Software
- An External Microphone
- Professional Audio Interfaces
- Photo Editing Software
- A Professional Webcam
Please note that it is also required to have a gaming keyboard/mouse, and access to games. Also, keep in mind that content creation can be quite simple; however, if you want to create high-quality videos for your audience, recording and editing a video takes quite some time. But enough of that lets dive into the details of what you need to start your channel.
A Gaming PC:
The gaming PC is the most important component you need, as he has to be powerful enough to play games on high-graphic settings while recording the gameplay simultaneously. If you only want to play high demanding games like The Witcher, going for a more powerful system is recommended. On the other hand, if you play less demanding games like Overwatch, Minecraft, or CSGO, the PC doesn’t have to be very expensive.
Besides being powerful enough to record and play games at the same time, make sure you have enough HDD/SDD storage space free, to be able to record the gameplay. If you run out of free space on a hard drive, the recording will stop, and you have to delete the entire video, to record it once again.
When you purchase a new PC, you can either build one yourself or order a pre-built system from a store. Pre-built systems are usually a bit more expensive than self-built systems, as the manufacturer slaps a small amount onto the sales price to make some money from the deal. If you want to build a gaming PC on your own, I highly recommend doing so, as you can save some money, and customize the system to your needs.
Today, a decent gaming system that can run most games on high settings can be purchased under $1,000. However, if you want to play more demanding games, maybe with RayTracing activated, expect to pay around $1,300-$1,500.
If you want to know what is needed for a gaming setup, check out this list fot everything you need.
Screen Capture Software To Record Gameplay:
To record a PC game, you can choose between screen capture software like Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) or a built-in capture card like the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S+. At the beginning of your gaming channel, OBS is the best screen capture software to chose from, as it is free to use, can be used to record audio/video, or live stream to YouTube and Twitch.
Side note: OBS can only be used to record video-/audio signals from a PC, where built-in Elgato capture cards are used to record video-/audio signals from consoles like an Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch.
When activating the capture software, everything on your primary monitor will be recorded, including in-game sounds and microphones. With decent software like OBS, it’s also possible to choose which microphones and games you want to record, which is handy if you have multiple audio sources.
Video Editing Software To Edit Videos:
After recording your gaming session, you have to edit the video as well. In most cases, there are parts in a video that are not interesting for your viewers, or you just messed up something that needs to be cut out. Editing can make a standard video stand out from the crowd, which is a crucial aspect of success.
Uploading an unedited video will not fit today’s video culture as well unless you’re creating a “Let’s Play” series. However, such videos should be edited as well. Besides video, most editing software also enables you to edit your audio.
Most larger gaming channels on YouTube use more professional editing software for their videos, as they give them more options and freedom for creative tasks. Recommended professional software for video editing is:
Editing software is one of the few components, where you need to invest some money. Most free video editing software lacks tools, making it more difficult to create a decent video. Having enough options to choose from and an easy-to-use interface is definitely worth investing some money, even with a smaller gaming channel.
For beginners, I recommend trying Filmora9, as it is very straightforward, and offers many functions and designs for video editing.
An External Microphone For High-Quality Audio:
Sound is one of the most crucial parts of a video, so having good audio quality is a must. Whenever a new viewer watches a video and likes the content, but the audio is complete trash, chances are high that he will leave the video and never come back again. Having a good sound is even a bit more important than video quality.
Today, purchasing an external microphone doesn’t have to be extremely expensive, as decent mics like the Rode NT-USB or the BlueYeti USB only cost $150-$200. Professional studio microphones like the Shure SM7B are more expensive than regular microphones (about $400); however, they create the best results.
Using an integrated mic of a gaming headset is not recommended, as they lack quality. When comparing a decent mic like the Rode NT-USB with the Headset of a Logitech Arctis 7, the Rode will perform better every time.
Suppose you cannot afford a professional mic at the moment. In that case, you still can record new videos for your channel, however, make sure to upgrade your audio quality as soon as possible.
A Professional Audio Interface To Record Audio:
Switching from an integrated headset microphone to a professional studio mic is a massive improvement; however, you can improve the quality even more, by integrating an audio interface to the setup.
With an audio interface as the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, you can transform digital-signals into analog-signals, analog-signals into digital signals, and record multiple audio sources in high-quality. Adding an audio interface is recommended if you want the best audio quality from your microphone.
If you have a modern sound card build into your gaming PC, purchasing an external audio interface is not always necessary and can work for quite some time.
Photo Editing Software:
Before publishing a video on the YouTube channel, creating an interesting and attractive thumbnail for the video is needed. Thumbnails are the first thing someone sees on YouTube’s search results, so having a thumbnail that stands out can bring more viewers to the video.
Software like Gimp or Photoshop is widely popular and offers many tools and features. For beginners, Gimp is the best software to choose from, as it is free and has most of the essential functions. If you want to take everything a step further, switching to more professional software as Photoshop gives you more editing opportunities.
A Professional Webcam:
Over recent years, filming and including your own face into a video became more and more popular. Sure, filming yourself is not necessary if you want to stay behind the camera, however, being able to see the emotions and reactions of your favorite content creator is always entertaining.
If you want to use a facecam for your video creation, make sure it offers the option to record in HD resolution with at least 30 FPS (Frames-Per-Second). Cams like the Logitech C920 HD PRO, which can record in 1080p with 30 FPS, cost about $100-$160 on Amazon.
For the best results, using a DSLR camera is always the best option; however, they are much more expensive than a regular webcam. For instance, the Sony a7 III with 24.2 MP costs about $2,000 without any camera lenses. But you should only buy such expensive gear if you want the best quality possible.
If you want to show your face on YouTube, you need some good lighting, so your viewers can see you clearly in the video. Depending on your budget and available space for lighting, you can choose between different light sources.
The classic options for good lighting are Softboxes, which create a lot of light. Unfortunately, they need a lot of space as they are quite large in size. If you only have a little space available for your lighting, using something similar to the Elgato Key Light is recommended. This LED Panel produces 2800 lumens and can be controlled with the included software from the PC/Mac, or with the Elgato Stream Deck.
Having enough lighting for your face and body is essential, but you can also add lighting for your background. Most larger gaming channels have a unique background, usually with LED light strips to make it stand out even more.