Beauty YouTuber Uses Over $10,000 Worth of Equipment to Shoot Makeup Videos

Recently, one of the most significant beauty and makeup YouTubers released a video showing what kind of setup she’s using to shoot, and it’s absolute madness. If you thought people on YouTube were still shooting with webcams and the iPhone flashlight, you are in for a real surprise.

Desi Perkins is without a doubt one of the biggest and most well-known beauty and makeup YouTubers. She has around 2.9 million followers and has been on Google’s video platform for just a bit over four years. During that time, her tutorials and vlogs have improved quite drastically. Despite her videos looking very good, I’m sure few photographers or videographers would have thought she was using more than $10,000 worth of gear, including over $2,000 worth of lighting equipment. Don't get me wrong, the image quality and lighting are great, but it's quite surprising to see someone who's not a photographer or videographer having this kind of kit.

A couple of years ago, YouTube was platform were people would upload videos to share content and have fun. Nowadays, being a YouTuber has genuinely become a full-time job, and seeing people such as Perkins using so much high-quality gear to shoot videos confirms it even more. When you look at people such as Peter McKinnon, it only makes sense that they have expensive equipment to film as they got the gear to shoot their photo and video gigs in the first place, before turning it into their YouTube gear. But seeing people outside of our industry using Kino Flo Diva-Lite to shoot YouTube videos may push you to rethink what the YouTube community has become.

What do you think? Is her setup an overkill or is it worth the investment? Do you think every YouTuber nowadays is in some way a videographer or filmmaker as well? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

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23 Comments

I don't think anyone thinks youtube videos are still shot on Webcams and iPhone lights.

Also, kinda insulting to call someone who has 3 million subs on YouTube not a videographer don't you think? Seems like she knows what she's doing

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

I agree I think that most people see these youtuber just as stupid kids that waste their time in front of a camera not having any particular skill. It maybe applies to some of them but many really know what they're doing regarding the gear to use and regarding videography itself.

to K H, @5:55 she clearly states that "this is Stephen's little set-up". So how the hell sitting in front of the camera makes you a videographer?! Watch the video again and take some notes before making those ridiculous statements about insults :D

Leigh Miller's picture

LOL overkill but tame by comparison to the current trend...RED's and all that. I like their approach.

Joshua Kolsky's picture

Not a videographer? Looks like shes done her research to me.

Leigh Smith's picture

I would say her husband is the videographer for her. Obviously its just the two of them so she knows what's going on too, but he's def the one behind the camera.

Tony Northrup's picture

"it's quite surprising to see someone who's not a photographer or videographer having this kind of kit." <- YouTubers are videographers. We're not all good at it, but that is definitely the job.

Quentin Decaillet's picture

I'd argue that Youtubers are content producers. At least, despite having a YouTube channel as well, I don't see myself as a videographer at all. But I guess you could argue that a content producer can be a videographer…

Anyone who creates video is a videographer. Anyone who consistently creates video as their living is a professional videographer. It doesn't matter what the content is or what its distribution platform is.

When you strip away all the modern language, these two aren't "youtubers" or "content producers" or whatever, they are a professional production team.

Richard Maude's picture

Looks like they're a good team.Husband seems to have the video skills.Good luck to them.

Quentin Decaillet's picture

He does, some of their recent vlogs are amazing and definitely worth the watch even if you are not into makeup and beauty stuff.

Top YouTubers are indeed true videographers, just because they don't fit in the old convention it surely doesn't mean that they aren't. Many are self taught and have become phenomenal colour editors, film makers and content creators. I actually would pit their work against so called "videographers" out there any day and they would come out on top. Devin SuperTramp and his team for example is someone that comes to mind. And who cares what gear they use? iPhone, mirrorless, DSLR, RED, what's it to anyone? If you had the money and that gear was creating a massive ROI, WHY would you NOT want to invest in better gear all the time especially if your audience demands the highest quality?

Quentin Decaillet's picture

I really appreciate your comment and I totally agree with pretty much everything you just said. My goal with this article was to create a discussion about YouTubers and how the platform and content has evolved since YouTube has replaced TV for many millennials. Because of this change, "top YouTubers" have started using the same gear bigger productions and TV productions use. But I'm sure this is just the beginning :)

Robert Read's picture

That sounds a bit condescending. Cleary they are professionals and take their craft seriously, so it shouldn't be surprising they've made some key investments needed to produce a quality product.

Michael Kormos's picture

'YouTuber' sounds like a gross understatement. I'll bet Desi churns enough revenue in any given month to acquire fstoppers along with all of their staff. I'm no videographer, but her equipment seems reflective of the size of her audience and the production quality of her material.

Fernando Garcia's picture

I find it a bit disingenuous when they say, "you can shoot on anything like an Iphone with good lighting", yet they have the latest and greatest when it comes to actual gear which kind of defeats the whole theory of shooting on anything. Also, this just proves another point with amateurs which is that you can shoot on low budget gear but you'll likely get low budget results. Otherwise why do you need DivaLites or a 5D MK IV/ 70-200 combo sitting on a cine pano tripod, shotgun mic's etc. Bottom line is professionals leverage the best tools to get the best results which incorporate time, ease of use, adaptability, functionality among other things.

Daniel Haußmann's picture

I think you can probably get to 80% of this quality with gear for maybe 1000 USD. But if you want to push further, you have to exponentially invest. If you light it properly, you can use a T5I + kit lens to get good results. Throw in some cheap softbox lights and you are good. You do not need an expensive tripod (but it will make your life easier), you do not need an external monitor (but it will make your life easier), you do not need a 5DIV etc...

Felix Wu's picture

After watching the video I decided to check out what her normal video looks like and TBH I think it's a bit too commercial. I think I prefer what some other youtubers are producing with lesser and more basic equipments so audience can relate more.

Felix Wu's picture

I know its an overkill without clicking the video. : P

Dana Goldstein's picture

What's the issue here? Did you actually watch the video? Her setup isn't so different from a working headshot photographer. Yes she's got a good camera and lens, and good lights, but she's also using insulation boards from Home Depot for fill, 2 yards of fabric from Michaels and Joanns held on with A-clamps as backgrounds, and a scrim. What on earth is "absolute madness" about that? You may not be familiar with the top beauty bloggers but while the gang at f-stoppers is in existential crisis over producing 30 videos in 30 days, these people are sending out 15-30 minute finished, edited, really polished videos 3-5 times a week, month in and month out on the regular. This is her job and she's doing very well at it. She takes it seriously and has the studio of a serious professional to show for it. Good for her. The condescension is really pathetic. Take a lesson from the article on community critique and don't try to pull someone down for kicks.

Thanks. I just loved this. They're just so nice and helpful. Really charming.

Mihael Julius's picture

I know guys who own American made Fenders and Gibsons who can barely play three chords, while Squire and Epiphone players can perform Bohemian Rhapsody. Anybody can have money for gear. Only time and practice and give you talent.

Joel Cleare's picture

I believe the higher quality and expensive setups will eventually reset social media. It’s great to have quality videos. But these setups are becoming out of teach for normal people. The videos are becoming more cooperate. Vlogs took off because they were more real than big names.