If you want to get your drumming skills displayed to the public, the best way to do it is to jump in front of a camera and click record. Posting drum videos to the Internet is a common practice nowadays, and it’s a fantastic way of building rapport on social media. It also allows you to keep track of all your progress over time.
There are several types of cameras that you can use, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. In this guide, I’m going to suggest a few different camera options to consider. Some are very affordable, while others are a bit on the pricier side.
Bottom Line Up Front
Drums are large instruments that often require multiple camera shots to get a full view of everything that you’re playing. It’s ideal to use multiple cameras, if possible, to shoot great drum videos. One of the best cameras to get that will allow for amazing shots is the Canon EOS R. It’s a top-quality mirrorless camera that is still relatively affordable compared to many other options on the market.
Apart from that, here are my other suggestions. You can use all the options below to record drum covers, performances, drum lessons, and vlog-style videos.
My Top Picks at a Glance
- Smartphone – Most affordable option, considering that most people have one already.
- GoPro HERO8 – Best action camera to get cool angles.
- Canon M50 – Best entry-level mirrorless camera.
- Nikon D3300 – Best entry-level DSLR.
- Canon EOS R – Best all-purpose high-quality option.
- Canon Vixia HF G50 – Best dedicated video camera.
Tips for Choosing a Camera for Drumming
Types of Cameras
Before buying a camera to make drum videos with, you should learn about the different types of cameras to allow you to make a more informed buying decision. Different types of cameras tend to work well for varying settings, so getting an appropriate one for your situation is ideal.
Here are some of your options:
Most people are walking around with smartphones nowadays. While their main purpose is connectivity, many of their built-in cameras are surprisingly good. If you don’t have a dedicated camera yet, you can easily use the camera on your phone to record videos.
I started making Instagram videos with my phone, and I managed to gain about 5000 followers before investing in any better video gear. The big downside of using a phone is that you have almost no control over how the video looks, so keep that in mind!
DSLR cameras are the standard types of cameras you get that offer extended control for photos and videos. DSLR cameras are known to have the biggest pool of different lenses to choose from, and having a variety of lenses at your disposal will allow you to shoot drum videos with all kinds of angles.
A DSLR camera was my next upgrade after using my smartphone. It was the tool I used to learn how to work cameras properly. I think everyone should get a bit of experience using a DSLR. Once you know how to adjust the settings, you’ll learn how to get the best footage available. DSLR cameras are still the industry-standard, but they’re starting to be replaced by mirrorless cameras. Because of this, you may be able to find some great deals on used DSLR cameras.
Mirrorless cameras are a lighter option than DSLRs. They don’t use mirrors. Instead, they show you all the images you’re shooting through an electronic screen. Many people argue that mirrorless cameras are the way of the future, considering that you get the same quality you would from a DSLR in a lighter package.
If you’re planning on buying a new camera and you’re happy to spend a decent chunk of money, I’d suggest getting a mirrorless camera over a DSLR. You may find that you’ll be able to get the same video quality and feel from both types of cameras, but more support is coming to mirrorless cameras in the future, potentially making them better in the long run.
Action cameras are small and built sturdily to take out with you on adventures. People will use action cameras to film sports and intense activities. They work incredibly well for drumming as they can be placed in unique spots around your kit to get interesting angles. While they don’t have too many customization options, they’re optimized for lots of movement, which is what drumming is all about.
I’ve heard dozens of drummers mentioning action cameras as ideal options for recording drum videos. I’d only recommend using them for secondary angles. Also, action cameras need a serious amount of lighting to look good. I came to this realisation when I used a friend’s GoPro once. He then explained to me all the GoPro promotional footage was recorded outdoors because of this. That’s another very important aspect to take note of.
Video cameras are big and bulky, and they’re designed purely to take videos with. While most of the other options also focus on taking photos, the cameras with good video capabilities tend to be more expensive. If you buy a dedicated video camera, you’ll get better quality shots for a better price.
I always think of Mike Johnston when bringing up the topic of video cameras for drummers. All the drumming YouTubers I watch use DSLR or mirrorless cameras, whereas Mike uses high-end video cameras. It’s no surprise that his videos tend to look a lot better than most other drummer’s videos on the platform.
Number of Cameras
Since drum kits are so large, it would benefit you greatly to have multiple cameras when filming videos. While one primary angle will work well, it helps whoever is watching your videos to see you playing from different perspectives. I speak a bit more about this in this article, but keep it in mind when thinking of cameras to buy.
The more cameras you have, the more dynamic your videos will be. It’s often better to split your budget between two decent cameras rather than buying a single very expensive one. On the flip side, you could buy a fancy main camera to use for your primary angle and then get very inexpensive ones for your other angles.
If budget constraints aren’t an issue, then I suggest getting the same camera for all your angles. That will allow you to dial in the exact same aperture settings and get all your shots to look similar with minimal effort.
Lighting and Sound
Something that I need to mention that is incredibly important is the fact that good lighting and sound are far more valuable than a fancy camera. Cameras love light, and they perform a lot better when there’s more of it.
If you’re planning to make drum videos, you should invest in some LED panel lights. These will put focus on your drums, and your camera will be able to get much higher-quality shots. Using an intermediate camera with good lighting will get you much better-looking videos than using a pro camera with no continuous lighting will.
You should also take this into consideration when establishing a budget for filming gear. It’s better to get a more affordable camera with a few LED panels than it is to buy an expensive camera and have no panels.
The other important aspect to think about is sound quality. This is a whole topic on its own, but the gist of it is that sound quality is more important than video quality, especially with drumming. Invest in some good drum mics and an interface, or use an easy recording tool like the Yamaha EAD10.
You could have the best-looking drum videos on the Internet, but if they sound bad, no one is going to watch them.
Learning to Use Cameras
If you invest in a good camera, I highly suggest that you learn how to work it well. DSLR, mirrorless, and video cameras come with manual and auto modes. The auto mode will do everything for you, allowing you to just point the camera and shoot. It’s very easy to film this way, and there’s nothing wrong with doing it as you’re starting out.
However, you’re going to get the best video quality if you learn how to shoot in manual mode. Manual mode requires you to control this thing called the aperture triangle. You work with aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. The aperture controls your depth of field, the shutter speed controls how much motion blur you get, and the ISO brightens up the shot when you raise it.
I had no idea how to work these settings when I first started making drum videos. After a few crash courses given by my photographer wife, I realized how powerful these tools were to get the best-looking videos possible. Higher-quality cameras will make working these settings easier, but you can also get good lenses for lower-quality cameras that do a similar trick. Having more continuous light on your drum set will also make it easier.
Now, let’s move on to my top camera picks! All the options I’ve selected below are relatively affordable. While you can buy a $4000 camera that would make your videos look amazing, my suggestions are all going to be for drummers who aren’t professional photographers or videographers who need high-end gear.
Rather, they’re attainable options that you’ll be able to buy with some saved-up cash. All of them are also very easily attainable from secondhand marketplaces, which is my favorite way of acquiring video equipment.
Each option below will fall under one of the camera types that I previously mentioned. To recap, these types include phone cameras, mirrorless cameras, DSLR cameras, action cameras, and video cameras.
Best Cameras for Making Drum Videos
There’s a popular saying in the photography world that one of the best cameras is the one in your pocket. If you’re thinking of making drum videos for the first time, this is what I suggest you start with. It’s the free option, and a smartphone’s point-and-shoot style will allow you to get comfortable with filming yourself playing without worrying about extensive camera settings.
You’ll need a tripod for your phone as you won’t be able to get any good angles of your drums without one. You’ll also need plenty of lighting, considering that smartphone cameras are typically quite bad in low-light settings.
I’m not mentioning one specific smartphone here as there are way too many fantastic options, and I’m mainly suggesting you use the one you already have. However, here is a small list of smartphones that are known to have amazing video camera settings:
Just note that you’re going to have extremely limited control over how your video looks with a smartphone. This may not be an issue, but you’ll realize it once you get accustomed to using aperture triangles on proper cameras.
- Free option if you already have a phone
- Very easy to use
- Easy to transfer footage to a computer
- You can even edit your videos on your smartphone if needed
- Very limited quality control
- You’ll need a smartphone with a high-quality camera
GoPros are the most famous action cameras in the world. They’re excellent for recording drums as they pick up fast movements very well. You can also place them in arbitrary areas around your kit to get unique angles. Their small size makes this possible, whereas bulky cameras wouldn’t work in those places.
I’m suggesting the HERO8 here as it’s affordable and provides amazing video quality. I recommend getting a GoPro as a secondary camera, though. If you use one as your main camera, you’ll find yourself becoming frustrated eventually with its limited settings. It’s more intended for the action shots rather than your main angle.
Since the HERO8 is affordable, it’s a cool idea to have two or three of these for secondary angles in combination with the primary angle from your main camera.
- Allows incredible action shots from anywhere around the kit
- Small and easy to place
- Great option to get alternate angles
- Limited control over settings
- Needs a lot of light
- Not ideal to use as your main camera
The Canon M50 is an entry-level mirrorless camera, and it’s my favorite camera on this list. It’s incredibly small, but it provides amazing video quality.
At a stage, this was the camera that all the YouTube vloggers were using. It has excellent autofocus, great battery life, and an easy-to-use interface that makes it very beginner-friendly. This is the camera that I personally use to record all my talking shots for my drumming videos. It works very well for drumming shots as well, though.
Since it’s an entry-level camera, it’s a good option to have when you start learning about proper camera control. You can get some amazing footage from this thing, and it’s all packed in a camera that only costs around $700.
- Excellent battery life
- One of the most affordable mirrorless cameras
- Good option for beginner filmmakers
- Video quality isn’t as good as some DSLR cameras that cost the same
- The camera can shoot in 4K, but the 4K shots are cropped so much that they aren’t usable for drumming videos
The Nikon D3300 is one of the most affordable DSLR cameras that you can get. It isn’t the greatest in terms of what you can achieve with cameras, but I think it’s an excellent option for drummers who want video quality that is slightly higher than if you were to film with your smartphone.
The best way of improving the quality of this camera is by buying new lenses, and it’s entirely capable of getting crisp-looking footage that is professional. Like the previous camera, this option is great for learning how to work all the settings that cameras offer.
This was the first camera that I used when I started making videos. I found that learning how to get good footage with a limited camera helped me get great footage a lot easier with higher-quality cameras.
- One of the most affordable DSLR cameras
- Plenty of lenses to add on for higher-quality footage
- Feels quite bulky and durable
- Needs lots of light to get great shots
- Doesn’t have a flip-out screen, making positioning yourself for videos a lot harder
Canon EOS R
The Canon EOS R is my top suggestion for drummers who want a top-quality camera to make videos with. While it’s not the highest-quality camera on Canon’s product list, it’s one of the best mid-range mirrorless cameras around. I don’t suggest spending more on a camera than this as it provides all the quality and settings that you could possibly need.
If you want higher-quality footage than the EOS R offers, then you can get different lenses to use along with it. This camera has amazing autofocus, which is a requirement for drumming videos considering that we move around so much when playing.
It provides a lot more than that, though, and you’d need to sit with it for hours to figure out all the specifics. Overall, it’s my top choice. You can take some epic pictures of your drum kit with it as well.
- Incredible autofocus
- Extremely high video quality
- Very solidly built
- Most expensive option on this list
- You’ll need to buy a separate lens to come with the camera body
Canon Vixia HF G50
The Canon Vixia HF G50 is my suggestion for a dedicated video camera. Out of all the cameras I’ve suggested, it will be easiest to get the highest-quality drum videos from this camera. You can shoot in 4K, and it looks incredible.
The specs of this camera are geared toward videomaking, making it a much better option for drumming videos. However, not everyone wants to have a big and bulky camera sitting on a tripod in their drum room. I’m in the same boat, and that’s why I prefer using mirrorless and DSLR cameras.
If you have the space for something like this and you’re happy to use it, go for it! The video quality you get will be unmatched.
- Provides amazing video quality
- All the specs are focused on filmmaking
- Crisp 4K availability
- Quite large and bulky
Answer: You need to use microphones. If you want a full microphone setup, you need to use a combination of condenser and dynamic mics around your kit and run them through a recording interface that connects to a DAW on your computer.
An easier option would be using some sort of condenser microphone that doesn’t require an audio interface, such as a Zoom H4n or Yamaha EAD10. However, those won’t give you as much control over the sound as much as a full set of drum mics will.
Answer: There are a few skills to learn and some gear to acquire in order to make drum covers. You’ll need to have some sort of camera, some drum microphones, a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), and video editing software.
It’s ideal to have multiple cameras so that you can record different angles of you playing the cover. The drum microphones will allow you to get high-quality sounds from your drums for the video. Those sounds can be edited and mixed in a DAW. Once all that is done, you can put it all together with the song you’re covering using video editing software.
Answer: Creating a YouTube channel is quite simple. You can make an account for free and start uploading videos as you wish. The trick is to make high-quality videos with good titles and thumbnails so that the YouTube algorithm pushes them out to the wider public.
We have a full guide here on the site with some more advice on this!
Answer: YouTube is an excellent platform for finding educational videos. The best thing about it is that they’re free. However, you may struggle to find lesson videos that have steady structures, making them quite hard to follow.
One of my favorite courses on everything related to filming drums can be found on OrlandoDrummer.com. Adam Tuminaro is an incredible filmmaker, and he teaches everything you need to know on his educational drumming platform. You’ll need to pay a monthly fee to have access to the course.
I went through his filming masterclass, and it improved the quality of my drumming videos drastically.
Answer: Sound is the most important quality above all others. It’s better to invest in a good sound setup before spending too much on lights or cameras. The reason for this is that viewers naturally prefer good sound quality over good visual quality.
If you have an amazing drum mix, people are more likely to stay on your video for longer. I find myself clicking off of videos that don’t have great sound quality all the time. Once you’ve created a good sound setup, then you can focus on video quality.
To wrap things up, I suggest starting to film yourself as soon as possible. It’s better to use what you have and get used to playing in front of the camera instead of waiting to get good gear. Your smartphone is perfectly capable of getting the job done.
Once you’re ready to invest in a higher-quality camera, choose whether you want to get a DSLR, mirrorless camera, or dedicated video camera. When you have one of those, you get a few affordable action cameras to add extra angles to your videos. Also, remember that sound and lighting are more important than video quality, so keep that in mind when budgeting for new gear.
If I were to suggest only one camera, it would be the Canon EOS R. Many people are saying that mirrorless cameras are the way of the future, and you’re going to future-proof yourself by investing in one of these. It’ll allow you to get incredible video quality, and you can upgrade the lens down the line to get even better footage.
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