6 Gifts for Video Creators in 2021

Sometimes I forget they’re even coming up. More and more I can’t help but notice them on the horizon like a massive tsunami, threatening to wash away all thoughts of youthful exuberance.

While the latter hasn’t quite happened to me yet, the days leading up to most of my recent birthdays tend to be trying to figure out how to strike the balance between my kid like impulses of buying what I want…and “adulting”…i.e. not buying the expensive toys that really want.

This year, with a household move around the corner, I decided to write about the expensive toys that I can dream of buying as an outlet to counter my inner child that wants to click ‘buy now’.

Toss me a comment if you own any of these and enjoy them…or if you WANT to own any of them!

(great book 4th in a series I listened to)
(for those bright shooting days)
(no more shaky footage!!)
(record all the image data)
(mmm…drones)
(drool factor)

Notice any trend there?

Yeah, I have high quality…and pricey…taste. However, I always say you get what you pay for and that has almost never let me down when it comes to buying quality goods like the ones I listed above. (I didn’t even bother listing the pricey Peter McKinnon variable ND filters!!)

What do I expect to get? Old faithful…the Amazon Gift Card.

Totally ok with that. 😉

(works every time)

2021’s BEST VLOGGING CAMERA

This won’t be replaced for at least 5 years…

I have to admit that I can be a bit of a gear head…but really…who isn’t? 😉

I also have to admit that I am incredibly delinquent in posting about my new favorite piece of gear…the Canon EOS R6.

Let me tell you why the R6 is the BEST camera for you!

It is what the EOS R “should have been”

The EOS R was tempting, but with the crop in 4K, the weird thumb pad on the back, and RF lenses still coming out when it was released…I decided that my Canon 80D was more than enough for my uses. (which you can get crazy cheap right now)

It is the “Goldilocks” of Cameras

I don’t need the Canon R5. It is $1,300 more, uses a CF Express card slot which also costs more (and more for another computer dongle), the file sizes are MUCH bigger (45mp sensor vs 20mp), and did I say it’s over $1,300 more than the R6?

I’d rather have 2 SD Cards slots (which the EOS R and 80D didn’t have), great 4k (now with smaller file sizes with a firmware update), and 1080p at 120 fps recording is enough for my slow motion b-roll needs. (It was good enough for Peter McKinnon for years!)

I has the same autofocus system as the R5, same IBIS system as the R5, can use the same RF Lenses (I would LOVE the RF 15-35mm f2.8…drool factor 11), same batteries (which are the same as my 80D), and more similar features!!

For most people, the only thing it DOESN’T do is 4k 120fps and 4k HD mode (which you need to watch out for overheating with).

Remind me why I waited so long?

He does the best reviews

It’s for the “Prosumer” in All of Us

The Canon R6 is honestly everything 99% of us will need. I am an absolute sucker for the upsell when it comes to quality products and companies…and I almost went for the R5, but the price difference and other downsides I saw (or “pro” level stuff I didn’t need) kept me away.

And MAN AM I HAPPY WITH THIS CAMERA!!!


I won’t ramble on…rather I will say that I can HIGHLY recommend this after filming and shooting a TON on it recently (see recent vlogs). It feels good in the hand, the 4k looks great, super solid, and I know it will last me for years.

If you’re considering the Canon EOS R6…go buy it.

Sony ZV1: The Vlogger’s Camera I Wish I Owned 3 Years Ago

This little camera completely blew me away…

I recently posted a video about starting my second YouTube channel with my wife. She’s a historian that loves seeing places of history and I found I like filming them with her.

In order to get her comfortable vlogging…and more importantly to get her a quality camera that is easy to use…I bought her the Sony ZV1.

Let me say I am IMPRESSED!!!

The picture quality if phenomenal, the ease of use is second to none, and the sound you get from it is pretty good too! You can buy the vlogger’s kit that gives you a memory card and bluetooh handle….I HIGHLY recommend it.

If you have been looking for a good starter and beyond vlogging camera (or a more video focused handheld camera) the Sony ZV1 is ABSOLUTELY the way to go.

What is the BEST EDC pocket knife?

Spoiler…

Before Christmas I fell down a few rabbit holes. When I emerged like Alice from Wonderland, I ended up with some GORUCK backpacks (which I still need to review) and a bunch of their gear.

I also came away with one of my favorite things I got from that happy holiday…a “Every Day Carry” pocket knife.

This isn’t a genre I follow closely so when I started doing my research (as I so often do) I was shocked by the whole EDC world and community built up around it.

One of the best YouTube channels I found on this topic was Best Damn EDC. Taylor Martin does a great job showcasing TONS of stuff over there…and I eventually came across the below video that helped me make my decision.

I had received a $50 Amazon gift card for Christmas…so this video was perfect for me and eventually convinced me to get the Civi Elementum. The one I picked was actually about $60…but it was worth it.

Is is the best?

Yes….for me.

Why?

Because now I ALWAYS have it on me, it’s a quality knife, I barely notice it in my pocket, and I was able to use a gift card to get it! 😂

What is the best one for you?

Spoiler alert…its the one you have on you. Just like you may have heard for cameras…same goes for this. Now that I always carry it with me I find I have it when I need it most. (completely random times throughout the day)

And I love it.

Check out the Civi Elementum over at Amazon.

Sponsored by Uppbeat!!!

Remember how I wrote about this brand new music service (Uppbeat) that has royalty music for places like YouTube? Well one of the things I wrote there was that I had applied for their sponsorship program to see if I could get a free year of premium from them.

Well to my great surprise they said yes! They agreed to give me a year of Premium if I made a video talking about the service. I actually had some fun making this video…even though I think it could have been 3 minutes vice 5 min (they required 5 minutes).

I guess you never know what you will get unless you ask!

So far, it’s a pretty great site for what you can get for free and for how inexpensive the premium price is.

I’ve found that their way of keeping copyright strikes off a video doesn’t work smoothly just yet…but if you dispute it, it gets cleared pretty quickly. (I can tell they’re sprinting to smooth things out and add features right now)

They haven’t approved my affiliate request with them yet. But you should check them out anyways…especially if you are always on the hunt for royalty free music for videos.

I wish this site had been around when I started my YouTube channel a couple years back…would have saved me hours of searching for good, free music.

Uppbeat.io

I Missed the Cut with Amazon’s Affiliate Program…Then I Got Paid

Funny how things work sometimes…

Last year I was really trying to see if I could get this website to make even a little bit of money. I posted consistently 5-6 days a week for about a year straight and (twice) tried to get an Amazon Affiliate account off the ground.

In the end, I proved what the experts say…

What Do The Experts Say?

I recently received an email from Amazon stating that they were paying me $4.64 for an affiliate account I had previously started.

I was shocked because I didn’t realize that ANY of my affiliate links had ever resulted in sales. I had regularly checked my Amazon Affiliate site to see if I had met the minimum of 3 qualifying sales within 180 days…and I never saw even one. Plenty of clicks…but I never saw my metrics showing a qualifying purchase.

Well…apparently I needed 3…and made 2.

Upon further reflection, I realize that I had proven what the experts keep saying and what various affiliate programs keep emailing me after they turn down my affiliate partner application.

More Volume

Image by John Conde from Pixabay
Image by John Conde from Pixabay

These experts kept saying that I need more volume before anything can really get started on this website. This is true for affiliate links, selling merchandise, trying out Patreon, and anything else.

Again…I posted every day for a year, but the raw website visits are not there…yet.

Volume does not mean volume of posts, it means the attention of more readers who find what I post here interesting, willing to share, like, comment on, or click on what might be an affiliate link. (I do my best to make sure people know that my posts contain affiliate links)

To me that means to keep my posting volume low (for now) and making sure the quality goes up.

Should You Set Goals for a Side Hustle?

Honestly I believe the answer to this question is different for us all. For me…I would say yes but very generic goals.

  1. Make money from this site…eventually
  2. Once I do…make enough to cover basic website costs

However, I am smack in the middle of a full-time career and honestly can’t devote as much time as I might want to my side hustle right now.

For others, your goals may be required in order for you to get any real momentum. If you are hoping that your side hustle can become a full-time gig sooner rather than later…your goals should be SMART.

What Are Your Next Steps?

Ask yourself that question. I did.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

For me, I have decided that I want to keep this site going for a long time. I like the format I’m using and I enjoy seeing people come across old posts and like them (thanks WordPress app!). I am one of those people that needs a creative outlet every now and then…and having my own corner of the internet to do that has become a necessity for me.

I am in this for the long haul.

One day I will be looking at retirement. It would sure be nice if my “side hustle” had matured to something more “full-time possible” by then.

Whatever your next steps are, take them.

Best Workhorse Vlogging Lens

This lens does it all for me…

This is an easy one for me. The Cannon 10-18mm lens is what is on my camera about 90% of the time I am using it.

Partly because (for photos) I’ve always been drawn to that wide angle lens look, but (for video) when it comes to vlogging it checks so many boxes.

I do wish that it was a prime lens (ie. a fixed f2.8) but that just makes me work for that good lighting.

If you are considering an “intro” vlogging lens and don’t want to spend a butt load of money…this is the way to go.

Best Bike Hitch Mount for Family of 5: Allen Sports Hitch

Takes what you can throw at it…

My kids finally got old enough to all be riding bikes. Had to find some way to carry all those bikes and this hitch mount works great!

This particular version even locks so that no one runs off with the whole thing. Although, let me tell you…this thing is super sturdy because 5 bikes are HEAVY!

Yeti 200X: The Perfect Power Station to Keep You Charged For the Weekend

Great for all your short, multi-day needs…

Goal Zero is known for it’s consumer friendly and quality solar solutions to gas generators.

I’ve been eying Goal Zero stuff for a while, and had even bought an older version of the Guide 10 Kit back in the day. As these power stations got more popular with the rise of overlanding and the #vanlife, my interested was renewed.

I really wanted to go for the Yeti 500x or even Yeti 1000…but I could not justify them for my budget…ie. my wife. 😂

As much as I dream about gearing up and knocking out a bunch of overloading trips with my family, my real world use case is still more along the lines of a long weekend trip.

Yeti 200X: Perfect for my family use cases.

In reality, I needed to be able to recharge phones, apple watches, and power some cool led light strips I bought for my car and/or campsite. The Yeti 200X actually fit the bill perfectly.

On my last camping trip, I was able to recharge phones, smart watches, headlamps, even my DSLR camera batteries for the whole weekend…and I only ever got down to 47% or so. I did buy the Goal Zero car charger, charging it for a quick jaunt to a nearby damn overlook.

Solar Panel to Go With It

image via Goal Zero

I also bought the Nomad 50 Solar Panel to go with the 200x. I wanted to buy the Nomad 100…but I wanted a solar panel that had a USB direct charger to it…and for some reason the Nomad 50 does and the Nomad 100 does not.

It can charge the Yeti 200X in about 5-10hours with full sunlight. Enough to top it off or bring it up throughout the day if you’re worried about it.

Highly recommend checking out this little powerhouse. You’re starting to see Goal Zero’s Yeti “X line” (as I call them) which has USB-C ports as well as USB-C power delivery for fast charging.

Check them all out here: