Casey Neistat is a 35 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 it’s 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 the fact 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 timelapse 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.
Casey Neistat Camera Equipment
This list contains all the equipment Casey Neistat currently uses to produce his vlogs.
Video Camera’s and Camera Lenses
Canon EOS 70D – Main Camera
The Canon EOS 70D is Casey’s favorite camera and the camera he mainly uses 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 has 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 EF-S 10-22MM Lens
To use with his camera Casey has a couple of different lenses for different types of situations and lighting. The first he uses is the Canon EF-S 10-22MM Lens. This is a wide-angle zoom lens and has great autofocus performance and speed. 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 but make sure you use a good external microphone so you don’t pick up too much background noise which will only distract your viewers.
Canon EF-S 10-88MM Lens
The second lens uses for his camera is the Canon EF-S 10-18mm ultra wide zoom lens. This lens is great for capturing wide images and is often used for his timelapse shots to capture a wide picture of the city or sky. The camera also has optical image stabilization which will make your vlog footage more stable.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is Casey’s secondary camera which he uses a lot less and is also a lot more expensive than the Canon EOS 70D he currently uses as his vlog camera. The image quality still looks great so if you have the budget for it you might want to consider this camera.
Canon EOS 80D (not in use anymore)
Like we said before, the 80D is the newer version of Casey Neistat’s current vlog camera but after trying it out for a few videos Casey still decided to go back to the Canon EOS 70D which he liked better and is still his favorite vlog camera.
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 a integrated shock mounting system to prevent vibration and mechanical noise from disrupting your videos.
Camera Stabilizers and Tripods
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 also hold onto fences or railings.
If you want to be able to adjust the angle of the camera on the Joby GorillaPod you will also need the ballhead mount so you cant tilt and pan the camera in almost every direction. The BallHead also has a locking adjustment knob if you want to lock the ballhead into place.
DJI Phantom 4
Casey Neistat uses a lot of drone footage in his vlogs showing cool scenery and overview shots. The drone Casey currently 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.
Parrot Bebop 2 Quadcopter Drone (not in use anymore)
Before Casey started using the more expensive DJI Phantom 4 camera drone he used this Parrot Bebop 2. The Parrot Bebop 2 ‘only’ records in 1080p but has an impressive 25 minutes of flight time thanks to the powerful battery. If you want to incorporate drone footage into your vlog but can’t afford the more expensive DJI Phantom 4 yet this is a great option.
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 4 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 which is able to spin 360 degrees in 60 minutes with your camera mounted to the device. This makes the time lapse even more dynamic.
Rico Theta S
Casey has also done multiple videos with a 360 camera. These cameras record in 360 degrees so the viewer can look around by moving their phone or by using virtual reality goggles. The Ricoh Theta S is an easy to carry and easy to use 360 camera which is recommended by Casey.
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
Laptop and editing software
Apple Macbook Pro 13.3-Inch
For editing the vlogs Neistat uses a 13 inch Macbook Pro with Final Cut Pro X. 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 regularly 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.
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.
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