Best cameras and mics for yoga videos

teaching yoga online May 19, 2021

Every day a yoga teacher asks me to what gear I use for making yoga videos and for teaching yoga online. It's all here, along with my suggestions for audio, cameras, microphones and lavalier mics.

I've invested more than most people are ready to spend, so I'm also including products I've tried that make decent lower-cost options. P

I have a background as a performing musician, so I already knew a bit about audio gear. I don't know much about cameras, but I've been fortunate that my fiancé is a photographer and gear geek. We both spend lots of time watching YouTube reviews about lavalier mics, camera gear and such. 

I am happy to share what I've learned with my YYTT students because I want you to have a good start! So if teaching online or creating yoga videos is where you're headed, I've got you. 

Audio

For yoga teachers, audio quality is actually more important than video quality, so we'll start here.

If you're using the onboard microphone on your computer or phone, the audio quality will degrade the farther you move from the camera. Since yoga teachers usually need to be at least 8 feet away from the camera, teaching decent online classes means you should definitely invest in some type of on-body mic. Here are the choices: 

Bluetooth Earbuds with Microphone: Use Apple Airpods or Airpods Pro, or other wireless earbuds with a mic. Pros: you can also use them to talk on the phone and listen to music or other audio from your computer. Cons: The audio quality is not great, and they can fall out of your ears.

Lavalier Microphone: Sometimes called a lapel mic or a clip-on mic, this is the best quality you'll get. :

I highly recommend the Rode Wireless Go ($229) (or the upgraded Rode Wireless Go II ($299) for yoga teachers. The receiver plugs directly into the audio jack on your camera or laptop. The clip-on mic can be easily clipped onto your shirt or sports bra, and if you want to conceal it below a top, it's designed so that it doesn't create clothing sound when you move, which is awesome.

The Rode can also be used with your smartphone using this adapter. If your phone doesn't have a microphone jack, you'll also need this adapter. If you're teaching on zoom and using your phone,  you won't be able to hear your students unless you connect to a bluetooth speaker such as this cute portable one by Sony ($38).

For the highest professional audio quality, get the Sennheiser G4 Lavalier System ($599). This is what I use, and it's the standard among all the biggest online yoga teachers* To connect it to my phone, I use this adapter and this adapter. If you teach on Zoom with your phone, you'll also need to connect to a bluethooth speaker otherwise you won't be able to hear your students.

If you need to connect the mic to your computer to teach on Zoom, you'll need an audio interface like this one by Focusrite which is what I use. 

*Wondering what mic Yoga with Adriene uses for her videos? Her producer Chris Sharpe pairs the Sanken COS-11D mic ($379) with the Sennheiser G4 for the best quality audio. She conceals the mic by attaching it to her chest with Rycote covers.

The lavalier mic used by Yoga with Kassandra and Brett Larkin Yoga is the Sennheiser G3 lavalier mic, which is the older version of the G4 (it still sounds great).

Webcams, Camera & Video Quality

You can use the camera on your phone or computer, or you can use a separate camera. There are pros and cons to all. Most yoga teachers start with what they have, and build up from there. If you're going to invest in anything, start with your audio and upgrade your camera next. 

Whether you're using a computer, laptop or phone, your camera should be around 3 feet from the floor - not directly on the floor, and not as high as a table or desk. So place your computer on a low table, or mount your iPhone on a small tripod.

Webcams: Many laptop webcams are minimal quality, but will do the job. If you choose to buy a webcam, I recommend the Logitech C920x. (I made the mistake of upgrading to the Logitech Brio, and I am disappointed. The C920x is awesome and affordable.)

Smartphones: Most people with an upgraded smartphone have an excellent camera available in their pocket. For picture quality alone, this is usually a better choice than any webcam. Be sure to mount your smartphone using a tripod like this one which I like.   

Mirrorless Cameras: For more professional quality, use a DSLR or mirrorless camera like this Canon EOS M6 & 15-45mm lens 

What I use: I enjoy a top-of-the-line Sony A7R4 mirrorles camera ($2,998) with a 16-35mm wide-angle zoom lens ($2,098). This set is major overkill for most yoga teachers, but it's worth it for us since we also use it for Konrad's photography. 

Music

To play music as you record a video class, use the Rode Wireless Go II system which provides two microphones. Place the extra mic next to the speaker that your music is being played from.

If you're teaching on Zoom and using your phone with an external mic plugged in, you won't be able to play the music from your phone - you'll need to play the music from another phone, or from your computer or stereo system.

Another option if you're teaching on Zoom is to share your computer sound directly from your computer into Zoom.

Volume control is tricky since you never hear the same thing as your end users will hear. For live classes, take some time to test, record and adjust your levels to make sure it's loud enough without overpowering your voice. If you're just making videos and planning to edit them, you'll end up with two tracks, so you'll be able to adjust them later in your video editing program. 

Other Resources and Tutorials

Ashley Hagen's YouTube playlist: Microphones for Online Yoga Teaching

Yoga with Adriene - Cameras and Gear by Chris Sharpe

 

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