- SemideCoco is a Toronto-based YouTube creator who makes ASMR videos and has over 150,000 subscribers.
- ASMR has become a popular content category over the last few years, and content creators are making careers out of it.
- But in order to start making high-quality ASMR, creators often invest hundreds of dollars in equipment like microphones, lighting, and cameras.
- Business Insider spoke with Semide about what it takes to start an ASMR channel and what equipment she uses.
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Purchasing high-quality equipment like cameras and lighting is part of many YouTube creators' budgets. But for ASMR creators, that equipment is particularly important for the highly sensory content they create.
ASMR is short for autonomous sensory meridian response, and refers to the tingly feeling many people experience when listening to or watching videos of people whispering, eating, tapping, or doing other soothing activities. The content category has exploded over the last few years on YouTube and some find it helpful for relieving anxiety or insomnia.
ASMR creators often have multiple microphones, cameras, recording devices, and a plethora of props to make these videos. And building that library of tools and gadgets takes time and money.
"I started off with a secondhand Blue Yeti," said Semide, a Toronto-based YouTube ASMR creator who goes by SemideCoco online and does not use her last name for privacy reasons.
The Blue Yeti is a microphone that many ASMR creators use for their videos and ordinarily costs about $130, according to several online retailers. Semide paid about $50 for it at the time, she told Business Insider.
"It wasn't until I started generating some more revenue and thankfully receiving donations through PayPal and then more from Patreon, later, that I was able to invest in some other equipment," Semide said. In addition to PayPal donations and the subscription service Patreon, Semide makes the majority of her income as a part-time creator through YouTube's Partner Program, which allows creators to earn money from Google-placed ads on videos.
Today Semide has over 150,000 subscribers and over the last several months, she's been investing in new equipment.
Semide has graduated from her first Blue Yeti and now uses four different microphones when filming new content for her YouTube channel. And on top of those four microphones, she also uses pop filters for clean sound and a sturdy microphone stand.
She recently invested in a new pair of binaural in-ear microphones, which can cost between $100 and $200. These are what makes some of her ASMR videos sound hyper-realistic, she explained.
"It's as if you're listening, you are the person who's receiving the massage or receiving the medical exams," she said.
"You have to play around with these things," she said, adding that the feedback from her audience is what helps her decide what microphones, sounds, and styles resonate.
"That's how you grow your channel," Semide said. "You just keep following the feedback that they give." She'll often include polls on her YouTube community page and ask them which microphone they liked best.
"Of course, you can't please everyone, but you can try to tailor your content to what people enjoy the most," she said.
Equipment pictured in Semide's at-home filming set-up:
- Canon EOS 70D: about $1,200
- Canon EOS M100: about $600
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens: about $125
- Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM lens for Canon: about $700
- Aston Spirit microphone: about $450
- Zoom H4n recorder: about $230
- K&M 210/9 Compact Tele-Boom Mic Stand: about $90
- Tripod: about $28
But Semide uses a wide range of equipment and tools for each video, depending on the content and the style of ASMR.
Here are a few other tools Semide uses:
- Binaural in-ear microphones: between $100 and $200
- Audio Technica AT803 microphone: about $150
- TaoTronics LED Floor Lamp: about $40
- Ring light: between $60 and $150
She also uses any lighting she already has around, such as candles and lamps, she said. Most of the props that are included in her video are items she owns, that she bought from thrift stores, or that she got as gifts (from brands or friends). For instance, the essential oils she uses in her videos are part of a brand partnership she has with Saje Natural Wellness, which gifts her products. And all of the medical tools she incorporates she already owned from being a medical school student.
"Get creative and borrow from friends and family," she advised aspiring ASMR creators. "If you plan on doing medical roleplays, it's good to get some equipment but there's no need to buy expensive ones unless you plan on using them in healthcare."
And in addition to all of the tools for filming, there's also editing software. At first, Semide used Apple's free iMovie editing software, but later upgraded to Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X and uses a student discount, she said.
Read Business Insider's full interview with Semide
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