Setting up a home video studio can be done! Yes, in a perfect world, one would have track lighting, a dedicated audio/visual room, video monitors, or even someone to do the filming for you! But if you are like most of us trying to do videos, you get by the best way you can. Here's a few tips on how we set up a video studio at home.
Sony HXR-NX30U is the camcorder we use for most of our videos. Because we live in an area where internet service is extremely poor, videos turn out better for us if we record instead of doing live.
The Sony camcorder has worked well for us for several years and we've never had any problems with it. It has a shotgun mic and two ports for XLT microphones. The XLT ports are larger than your typical microphone plugins. Please understand that I am no expert! But, by asking questions and explaining to support people on what I wanted, we were able to get the right equipment to work. It was no easy task!
We have Lavalier mics that are wireless and some that are hard wired. The pros and cons are that you have to keep batteries fresh for the mics and the remotes, whereas the hardwired are attached to the camera. You just have to remember that you are attached too!
Beware of jewelry when wearing a Lavalier. A mic scraping on your necklace can ruin the audio in your video.
The camera has a cable for transferring the video to you desktop. Right now I mainly use Filmora or Movie Studio Platinum for editing. Sometimes getting images or video off a phone can get wonky. That is never a problem with the camcorder. So far!
There are smart phone apps for editing video, and I use these occasionally, but for the most part, editing is done on my desktop.
The easiest to use of all cameras is probably your smart phone. Sometimes I use my iPhone for filming in the portrait mode for videos to upload to Pinterest and Instagram or when I just need a snippet of video. We do use an iPhone for lives and sometimes a Mevo.
The Mevo is great for lives since you can zoom in with just a swipe of your fingers. Again, you need great internet service with an upload speed of at least 3 mbps. In our area, the best we can get is around 1 so the video skips and lags and it's very frustrating for viewers.
If you're thinking about getting a Mevo, you might want to invest in the battery boost and carrying case also. But check out the Mevo products. There are new styles and accessories since we got ours so no telling what kind of new things they have))
We have 3-4 tripods and the one I like best is the oldest one. It's a Velbon 9000 and has survived three grandchildren. Something about those handles and swivel heads just intrigue children)))
The Velbon 9000 has served me well, but if I were in the market for a new one, I would look at the Manfrotto tripods.
The type tripod you need depends on the camera(s) you will be using. The heavier the camera, the more sturdy tripod you want. If you use your smart phone there are all types of clip on, free standing, goose-neck tripods and camera holders.
Filming directly over your project presents a problem sometimes. There is software that you can purchase or subscribe to that lets you switch from one camera view to another. This is great if you have 2-3 cameras or smart phones that you can set up and just leave in place. OBS is free open source software that you can download and use with multiple cameras.
Another software is Switcher Studio. I have used the trial version of Switcher Studio and it worked great with two iPhones. But, we didn't continue it since it was a subscription based product.
The OBS software is free and it's my goal to conquer it! Right now, we only have one webcam and you really need two to be able to take advantage of the switching views. So, that's on my to do list)))
So, when I want to video directly over my project I position the tripod with video camera as close as possible or attach the camera to an Arkon Mount which allows you to film directly over the project.
The Arkon Mount works better with a smart phone or iPad. You can mount a camcorder to it, but you have to use counterweights to keep it from tipping over. The Arkon mount is adjustable. It holds your phone and an iPad at the same time which is handy for lives.
The Arkon Mount sells for about $139 but you can get 20% off by using the code "trendy." You can use that code on any Arkon products they sell.
You can read more about my experience with the Arkon Mount here:
Arkon Mount Filming Directly Over ProjectArkon Mount Unboxing Setup and Review
As you can see, I've set up a video studio and recorded videos in almost every room in the house! We've done videos from the warehouse, the retail store, the back porch and now an extra bedroom. Wishing now we had finished out attic space, that would have made a great place to work. But I keep forgetting....I'm retired)))
There are all kinds of phone holders on the markets. Some have clips and include lights too.
A few weeks ago I found a clip on phone holder with gooseneck light at Walmart.
The gooseneck light plugs into a USB port and has different settings of light adjustment. It's a very quick and easy setup when using your phone.
You will find yourself using different setups for your home video studio depending on the project you're working on.
Lighting is so important in home video studio and one of the hardest aspects to obtain. It seems like there is plenty of light most of the time, but when you go back and look at video it's obvious the setting was too dark. In my case anyway. Natural light helps, but it can cast shadows. Most of the time I will leave the shutters closed when filming.
Again, I'm no expert, I can only share with you my experience in setting up lighting. You can spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars setting up a video studio.
My first attempts included clip on spot lights when I was taking macro close images of products. That wasn't too bad since they were positioned around a white light box. But when I tried my hand at doing videos, we had to have more light.
The first attempt was using work lights from Lowe's. Now those lights are bright! I thought they would be great....but the lights were incandescent which gave off a yellow cast. After that scenario didn't work, we decided to invest in a little more expensive set of lights. And, you need compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs.
We purchased a set of lights for our video studio that included two box lights, a boom light and a backdrop frame and fabric. If you've seen any of our older videos, you may have seen us use the fabric backdrop (which didn't look worth a crap). I mean, the backdrop fabric was okay, and if you had to coverup a messy background or dark walls it would be fine. It just wasn't aesthetically pleasing. Then we had the antique doors....and now we're back to plain walls again.
Here's the kit we purchased: Cowboy Studio Complete Photography and Video Studio 2275 Watt Softbox Continuous Lighting Boom Kit with 10' x 20' Black White Muslin Backgrounds and Backdrop Support Stands. Wow, that a mouthful of a title! You can get it on Amazon. Our link is included.
Maybe we worry too much about what is in the background! Do you pay attention to that when you're watching a video? Let me know, I would love to hear from viewers.
The light kit comes all packaged neatly in a carrying case. The case is good for storage. I can't imagine dismantling the setup and moving it too many times! But, for instance, we're not using the backdrop frame or fabrics so it's nice to have a place to store them out of the way. The kit included the bulbs.
I'm not sure there is anyway to create a home video studio without it being crowded. You have to just kind of weave yourself in and out around the area. The lights have to be close enough to do any good, but not so close that they get in the camera view.
It would be wonderful if you could have lights mounted from the ceiling. But, for now, we just have to weave in and out of the room and try not to knock anything over.
The two soft box lights have white covers for diffusion and the boom light hangs more directly over the table or over the person's head.
The boom light has a counter weight to help keep it steady. The bags for the counterweight are empty when you purchase them. We added rocks for weight. A boom light is also called a hair light.
The lights in the video studio are all connected to a power bar. The power bar makes it easy to turn the light on and off and it's probably safer too. Plus I can do it with my foot))
I have dismantled this kit and put it back together, so that means you could too!
The gold easel came from Home Goods. The white board came from Lowe's. It's a precut dry erase board that measures 24" x36" and was around $6.00
Hope going over the setup of our home video studio helps. If you have any questions, just leave me a note!
*Disclosure: (Jeannie Pence)
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