Casey Neistat is a 36 year old creator of popular youtube videos, producer and director. Casey is also the co-founder of Beme, a social media company that has created an app to share unedited 4 second videos to your friends which they can respond to. Casey was born and raised in New London, Connecticut. He dropped out of high school at the age of 15 and did not return or graduate. From age 17 to 20 he worked as a dishwasher and lived in a trailer park with his girlfriend and their son, Owen. Casey then decided to move to New York City to chase his dreams as a filmmaker.
Casey Neistat’s first gained international exposure in 2003 with his short film title ‘iPod’s Dirty Secret‘ in which he criticized Apple’s lack of a battery replacement program for the iPod. The film was uploaded on September 20, 2003 and was viewed over six million times in the first month of its release online, 3 years before Youtube launched. Casey later went on to produce a variety of videos such as an eight-episode tv series called “The Neistat Brothers” on HBO and other films that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
Starting in 2010 Casey started producing more internet video’s. He started by making short films about different topics such as chatroulette, the use of subway emergency brakes and bike lanes and a documentary style video about Neistat’s own grandmother. Casey has also written, directed and starred in a few videos for Nike such as Make it Count and DO MORE and has done the same with commercials for other big brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Inc, Google and J.Crew.
On March 24, 2015 Casey Neistat started posting daily vlogs to his YouTube channel and uploaded his first vlog. At the time of uploading his first vlog Casey already had 520k subscribers on his youtube channel from his short films. After starting to upload daily vlogs to youtube his channel quickly started growing and he reached 1 million subscribers on August 22, 2015. Doubling his subscriber base within 5 months of uploading his first vlog. His vlogs quickly became more popular on youtube and he reached 2 million subscribers on January 27, 2016 and even reaching 3 million subscribers May 20, 2016. Adding another million subscribers to his channel in just 4 months.
Casey Neistat stands out from other vloggers by doing a couple of things different from usual vlogs. The first thing that makes Neistat stand out is that he is great at telling a story through his videos. Usually vlogs are a collection of fragmented scenes throughout the day while Casey always has a cohesive story line in his vlogs. The second thing is that Casey has a great personality. Casey is very genuine, like-able and interesting which makes the vlogs much more endearing to watch.
The third thing that makes Casey stand out from other vloggers is the top notch quality of his vlogs. Casey incorporates time-lapse footage, drone footage, 360 footage and other cool angles into his vlogs which are all edited in a way to support the story Casey is telling in his vlogs. Casey supports the high quality video footage with a great music choice for his vlogs.
On the 19th of november 2016 Casey announced that he will stop daily vlogging to focus on other projects after his company had been acquired by CNN for $25 million. After the announcement, Casey still uploaded new videos to his YouTube channel but less frequently. Over time, the frequency of uploads started to increase again and on the 27th of march 2017 Casey announced that he will start daily vlogging again.
Casey Neistat Camera Equipment
This is a list of all the equipment Casey Neistat currently uses to produce his videos and daily vlogs.
Small Video Camera’s
Casey uses three different ‘small’ point-and-shoot cameras. These cameras are significantly smaller than DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses which makes them more portable. These small point-and-shoot cameras are mostly used by Casey for daily vlogging.
Sony CyberShot RX100 V – New Camera
The Sony CyberShot RX100 V is Casey’s newest camera. Although the camera is very small it’s incredibly powerful which is probably why Casey uses it as his main vlogging camera. The camera has world’s fastest hybrid AutoFocus system (0.05 sec) and shoots beautiful 4K video footage. The screen can be flipped 180 degrees to the front so you can see yourself while recording.
Sony a6500 – Old Camera
Before switching over to the RX100 Mark V listed above, Casey used this Sony a6500. The video quality of these two cameras are pretty similar so most YouTube viewers won’t notice the difference between these two.
The a6500 is slightly more expensive but has some advantages over the RX100 V. It is a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses and the microphones are on the front of the body. This improves the sound quality and picks up less background noise. The camera screen can not be flipped to the front which is a huge downside for any vlogger.
Canon G7 X – Small Camera
The third small camera that Casey uses is the Canon G7 X.
Although the camera has gotten less use recently as it’s mostly been replaced by the two Sony cameras listed above it’s still a great portable camera for (beginning) vloggers.
The camera shoots in Full HD 1080p at 60 frames per second, has a flip screen and is also a lot cheaper than the other cameras used by Casey.
Big Video Camera’s
Casey also uses three different ‘big cameras’. These big cameras are mostly used for recording short movies or when he is recording in his studio, not so much for vlogging. You can still use them for vlogging and Casey does every now and then but the size and weight make it more difficult.
Sony a7S II – Main Studio Camera
The Sony a7S II is the camera that is used for most of the studio shots (mail time, product reviews, build videos).
This camera is expensive but offers some of the best consumer-level video quality that money can buy at the moment. It is a full-frame camera with 5-axis image stabilization and incredibly fast Hybrid AutoFocus.
The a7S II is also the world’s first camera to offer internal 4K movie recording in the full-frame format with full pixel readout and no line skipping or pixel binning.
Canon EOS 70D
The Canon EOS 70D used to be Casey’s favorite camera and the camera he mainly used for his vlogs. Casey has tried to use the newer Canon EOS 80D but soon went back to use the 70D as his main vlog camera.
Neistat had engineered his own vlog ‘contraption’ consisting of this camera, a Shure VP83 Lenshopper Microphone and Joby Gorillapod which we will go into more in their respective categories.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
The image quality of this camera is great so if you have the budget for it, you can consider this camera.
However, in our opinion, you can get similar quality cameras for a better price (Like the Canon 70D).
To use with his cameras Casey has a couple of different lenses for different types of situations and lighting. Casey, like most vloggers, mainly uses wide-angle lenses.
Using a wide-angle lens in your vlogs can help capture more of the environment behind you which adds an extra dimension to your vlogs.
Sony SEL1018 10-18mm Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
The first he lens uses is the Sony 10-18mm wide-angle zoom lens. This is a wide-angle zoom lens and has a maximum aperture of F4.
The minimum focal length is 10mm and the minimum focus distance is 0.82 ft (0.25 m) with a maximum magnification ratio of 0.1x. The lens also has built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization.
The low minimum focus distance and built-in optical image stabilization make this a great lens for vloggers with an interchangeable lens camera.
Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Lens
The second lens that Casey uses is the Canon EF-S 10-18mm Lens. This ultra-wide zoom lens has a 10-18mm focal length and a maximum aperture of 1:45-5.6.
The closest focusing distance is 0.72 ft. / 0.22 m. which is great for vlogging. The stepping motor helps with noise-free video shooting and the lens also has optical image stabilization built-in. This is a great lens for vloggers with a Canon DSLR camera.
Canon EF-S 10-22MM Lens
The third camera lens that Casey uses is the Canon EF-S 10-22mm Lens.
This wide-angle zoom lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.5-4.5 for EOS DSLR cameras.
The lens has great AutoFocus performance and speed with full-time manual focus with the turn of a ring.
The closest focusing distance is 9.5 inches (24 cm) which is great for vloggers.
Shure VP83 LensHopper Microphone
To capture the best possible audio and better filter out unwanted background noise Casey uses this Shure VP83 microphone. This microphone is highly directional so it only picks up sound from the intended sound source while it rejects unwanted noise coming from other sound sources.
It is also immune from unwanted audio artifacts from cell phones and has an integrated shock mounting system to prevent vibration and mechanical noise from disrupting your videos.
Rode VideoMic Pro
The second microphone that Casey uses is the VideoMic Pro by Rode.
Rode is a popular microphone brand among YouTubers and Vloggers because it’s easy to use and captures great audio.
The VideoMic Pro is very compact (150mm/6″ length) and ultra light (85g/3oz) which makes it the perfect microphone for a portable vlogging setup.
Camera Stabilizers and Tripods
Casey also uses some tripods in the production of his videos. Casey was one of the first vloggers to use the GorillaPod tripod in his vlogging rig and many vloggers quickly followed suit.
Joby GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead X bundle
To complete his ‘vlog contraption’ Casey uses this Joby GorillaPod to mount his camera on.
The Joby GorillaPod is used mostly as a kind of selfie stick since it’s easier to hold than the camera and also places the camera further away from his face while vlogging which makes the shots more dynamic.
The GorillaPod can also be bent which makes it a versatile tripod that can hold onto fences or railings.
The BallHead also has a locking adjustment knob if you want to lock the ballhead into place and a built-in bubble level for more precision.
This ballhead is not just limited to the gorillapod. It can also be used with any tripod with the 1/4″ screw and 3/8″ adapter.
Casey incorporates a lot of drone shots into his videos. Which drone he uses for those shots depends on the situation. If he needs a drone that can easily be carried around he usually opts for a foldable drone. In other situations where video quality matters more he picks a bigger drone such as the Phantom 4.
DJI Phantom 4
Casey Neistat uses a lot of drone footage in his vlogs showing cool scenery and overview shots. The drone Casey mainly uses to record these shots is the DJI Phantom 4. The DJI phantom 4 is a camera drone that is able to capture in 4K Ultra HD at 30 frames per second and has Gimbal Stabilization Technology to capture steady and smooth video footage. Before picking up the Phantom 4 he used the Phantom 3. The price of the Phantom 3 has dropped significantly since which makes it one of the best drones for beginners.
DJI Mavic Pro
When Casey is on-the-go and needs a drone that’s more portable and easily fits in his backpack, he uses the DJI Mavic Pro or the GoPro Karma (listed below).
The Mavic Pro folds down to the size of a water bottle and has 4.3 miles (7km) of transmission range. The drone has a top speed of 40mph (64kph) and the battery lasts up to 27-minutes. It also has features like ActiveTrack and TapFly to create stabilized 4K/Ultra HD footage effortlessly.
The second portable drone Casey uses is the GoPro Karma. The Karma has a harness for your GoPro Hero5 camera so you can use your GoPro Hero 5 as your drone camera. The stabilizer of this drone is also modular and slides out of the drone for use as a normal GoPro gimbal.
Overall the DJI Mavic Pro and GoPro Karma are very similar. The Mavic Pro has a bit more ‘flying power’ but the Karma’s modularity is also very convenient.
For more action oriented shots where the DSLR is too bulky to carry, likely to break or difficult to mount Casey uses a GoPro Hero 5 Black.
This GoPro records in up to 4K resolution but can also do cool slow motion shots at a lower resolution.
You can also use this camera for time lapses since the GoPro has a wide lens which can record wide shots of the area.
GoPole Scenelapse 360-Degree Time-Lapse
To make the time lapses even more interesting Casey uses a GoPole Scenelapse.
This small device spins 360 degrees in 60 minutes with your (GoPro) camera mounted to the device.
This results in a dynamic time-lapse with lots of movement that is very interesting to watch.
Of course, if you want to record time lapses in a fixed position you won’t need this device and you only need a GoPro camera.
Every so often, Casey produces a 360 degree video. To create these kind of videos you need to have a special 360 degree video camera.
Samsung Gear 360
Casey Neistat teamed up with Samsung to visit the Oscars which he filmed completely in 360 degrees.
To shoot this video Casey used a prototype of the Samsung Gear 360 Camera which he highly recommends and has used in more videos.
The Gear 360 is a lightweight, compact 360 degree video camera that is both dust and water-resistant. The lenses are made of tempered glass to prevent lens scratches.
Overall this is a great 360 camera that can be used in almost any situation.
Rico Theta S
The second camera that Casey uses for 360 videos is the Rico Theta S. However, after partnering up with Samsung this camera took a back seat and Casey mainly used the Gear 360 (listed above).
The Rico Theta S is capable of recording 360 videos up to 25 minutes in length and has a live view function on your mobile device.
The video format is also directly supported by YouTube and videos can easily be transferred to your mobile device without needing a computer.
Laptop and editing software
2016 Apple Macbook Pro 15.4-Inch with Touch Bar
For editing the vlogs Neistat uses a 2016 15-inch Macbook Pro. He used to use his Mac Pro for editing but that computer wasn’t fast enough anymore after years without updates.
The editing software Casey uses is Final Cut Pro.
If you are not familiar with Final Cut Pro X you can download a free trial version of Apple’s website and try it out for your own videos.
Casey lives and works in New York city where it’s very difficult to get around by car or to find a parking space. To get around this problem Casey uses an electric skateboard called a boosted board. This electric skateboard has a 7 mile range, weighs only 13.5 pounds and has a top speed of up to 22 mph.
Apart from using his boosted board to get around in the city he also uses his bike to move around for longer distances. Neistat’s bike is a fixed-gear commuter which he customized by removing all branding, applying stickers and he has also cut the handlebars to the width of his shoulders. Most of the time Casey still uses his boosted board over his bike.
Storytelling Above Camera Gear
As Casey Neistat explained in his guide to filmmaking you really don’t have to own the most expensive camera equipment in the world to make good videos. Even though Casey uses pretty expensive camera’s now since he can afford it. Some of his most popular videos have been shot on very cheap camera’s that anyone can afford. His HBO show ‘The Neistat Brothers’ was shot on a video camera that recorded on tape and could not record in high definition. His Bike Lanes video that has been viewed over 17 MILLION times was shot on a Canon PowerShot 300 HS, which you can pick up for under 300 dollars.
Casey recommends picking up a point and shoot vlog camera that best fits your budget or if you have a slightly higher budget you can also buy a DSLR camera instead of a point and shoot so you can change lenses or add a tripod or external microphone to your vlogging setup in the future. If you’re not sure what camera you should get you can check out our guide on Buying the best vlogging camera where we explore all the different options for different budgets, pick the best camera’s for your budget and list all the pro’s and cons of different camera’s so you can make the best decision if you want to pick up a camera to start vlogging.
If you regularly watch Casey Neistat’s vlogs you know that he often uses music in his vlogs and a lot of subscribers wonder how he finds the music he uses in his videos. The answer is it usually gets sent to him from unknown music producers who want to use Casey’s videos to generate more exposure for their work.
Chances are your youtube channel is not nearly as big as Casey’s so you don’t get e-mails from music producers asking you to use their music in your videos. If you want to use similar music in your vlogs as Casey you can head to Soundcloud and search for music in the ‘headbob’ sub-genre. This is a subgenre that has a certain vibe to it that fits vlogs very well. Once you find a song you like you can contact the uploader and ask permission to use the music in your vlog.
We have also written an article with other ways to easily find vlog music to make this process easier.
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