Video Studio Setup: Level 2 Intermediate
Have you already built yourself a basic home video recording studio using simple equipment such as your smartphone or webcam? These days it’s easy and inexpensive to get started with video recording. In a previous article, we discussed how to get started with setting up your very first video recording area using basic tech and minimal expense.
But if you’re ready to take things to the next level, then read on! In this article, we detail the upgrades you can make in your equipment to produce higher quality videos.
The first piece of equipment we’ll cover is the recording device. Smartphones are great for filming when you are getting started, but if you want your videos to look more professional then you’ll have to upgrade to a DSLR camera.
DSLR cameras provide more control over your filming. You can adjust settings such as frames per second, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to improve the video quality. In one of our previous articles, we discuss DSLR cameras that are great for people who are either just learning how to use a DSLR or haven’t before.
The camera we recommended was the Panasonic Lumix G7 since it has features such as an easy to maneuver touch screen menu, rotatable screen, and a clear audio recording quality.
Having a camera with a touch screen menu makes it faster to change settings quickly instead of having to scroll through the menus by pressing a button. Most of the settings that you need to adjust while filming are on the menu and can be adjusted by pressing on the screen with your finger.
If you are filming by yourself, having a rotatable screen is key. When you flip the screen over you are able to see yourself when you are filming. It is also useful to see how you are positioned when you are setting up your shot.
The other important feature is getting a DSLR that records good audio quality. Some entry-level DSLR cameras have a lot of hissy background noise even if you use an additional microphone to record with.
If you are purchasing a DSLR camera you expect to spend between $600 to $2,000.
If you are upgrading to a DSLR camera, you might have to upgrade your tripod too. There will be more weight on your tripod and a camera is a lot more delicate than a phone, so you should have a tripod that is sturdier to support a DSLR camera.
A tripod with supports in-between the legs will be sturdier. The supports prevent the tripod legs from sliding inward which would cause the tripod to fall over.
Having a good tripod head is also important because this is what holds your camera in place. A tripod head with a quick-release clamp is useful because it makes it easier to take the camera on and off without having to screw it on and off. Also having a handle on the tripod head is useful for moving your camera horizontally and vertically for setting up your shot.
Tripods with these features can range between $80 to $200.
If you upgraded your recording device, you’ll also have to upgrade your audio. It is recommended that you get a directional microphone. One of the top microphone brands is Rode. They have several different products that vary in quality. The best option is the standard Rode VideoMic. The Rode VideoMic has a standard audio jack that plugs into your DSLR’s audio jack. It is attached to the camera through the camera’s hot shoe (the metal bracket on top of the camera).
If you are filming in locations that contain a lot of background sound like outdoor traffic, loud fans, or air conditioners, then I would recommend upgrading to the Rode VideoMic Pro because it has high pass filter options on the microphone to help reduce the background noise when you are recording.
The standard Rode VideoMic is currently $190 and the Rode VideoMic Pro is $254.
Three-Point Lighting Setup
The next important factor in recording video is lighting. You don’t have to purchase expensive studio lights to achieve a studio three-point lighting setup. The portable LED lights we covered in our previous article provide enough light to use for this setup.
You’ll need three LED lights and three tripod stands for the lights. You can find tripod stands specifically for lights. You have to ensure that the stands and the lights have compatible threads so they can be attached to each other.
The three-point lighting setup uses, that’s right, three lights!
- Key light
- Fill light
The key light is the main light used to light up your subject. It is positioned in front of the subject on a diagonal angle. It could be on either side of the subject but it is usually on the left-hand side. It will also be the brightest light out of the three lights you’ll be using.
The fill light is used to remove the shadow from the other side of the subject. It is placed diagonally on the opposite side of the key light in front of the subject. The fill light should be around 30% to 50% less bright than your key light.
The backlight is used to remove the shadows casting behind the subject. It is placed behind the subject at a diagonal angle on the same side as the key light. It is also the dimmest light, around 70% less bright than the key light.
The three-point lighting setup is what works best for us personally but there is room for customization and experimentation for you to adjust your own lighting setup to find what works best for you.
Another aspect of creating a video recording studio is having a clean backdrop where you are filming. Tidy up your recording studio area to make your workspace look more professional. It could be your office desk, the wall behind you, a colored cloth, or any place you feel has a clean and professional atmosphere.
One factor you can add to improving the quality of your backdrop is by having a consistent color scheme with your brand. You could have images displayed of your brand’s logo on your computer monitor behind you. Painting your wall or draping over a long colored piece of fabric is another method to match your brand colors.
That’s the list of equipment and tips we recommend to have when creating your own video recording studio at an intermediate level.
Here’s an overview of what we’ve covered:
- DSLR Camera (Panasonic Lumix G7)
- Microphone (Rode VideoMic)
- Three-Point Lighting Setup (LED lights with stands)
- Clean backdrop
At Learn to Flourish we are all about creating relevant, engaging, and effective eLearning and videos. If you want to increase the quality of your educational videos, get our free training on how to make great demonstration videos for your audience.
For more tips on video and eLearning creation, check out our blog for more articles such as the Video Studio Setup for Beginners and how to create online education that people will love.
Wishing you inspiration, innovation, and continuous learning,
Lorena and the Learn to Flourish Team
(Prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of publication. Learn to Flourish does not receive a share of sales or any compensation from sharing any of these products, they’re just some of our favorites!)
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Hi, I have a quick question for you. I’m shopping for a new DSLR and my buddy was telling me not to consider anything but a Nikon or Canon. Do you think those are the only 2 brands to consider? Or maybe there is another brand that’s better? I’m looking for the best bang for my buck really. Thanks in advance for your answer!
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