- You probably own equipment that will do the trick, but it’s important to have good lighting and audio.
- Always test before shooting.
- There are plenty of affordable upgrade options on the market.
Video content is dominating the Internet and quickly becoming essential to anyone who wants to run a business or side hustle. The good news is that it’s cheaper than ever to make and distribute high- quality videos. The bad news is that setting up your video studio can be a daunting task. Not to worry: here’s how to set up your very own studio at home.
Step 1: Evaluate your equipment
Most modern smartphones are capable of shooting high-quality video that’s suitable for online distribution. If you’d like better audio or image quality, you can purchase add-on microphones and lenses that plug into your phone. The most important thing is to keep the phone stable while shooting, so be sure to invest in a tripod for static shots and a steadicam rig for moving shots. If you’re doing livestreaming, webinars, or explainer videos, you can use your laptop’s webcam and microphone to shoot video.
Again, you can invest in specialized equipment such as a podcast microphone or external webcam to improve the output quality. In a pinch, though, most modern laptops can record high-quality video. If you’re serious about video, invest in a DSLR camera that can capture high-definition video. You can plug this into your laptop for livestreams or use it to capture footage that you can then edit into a polished video. You could also look into lavalier (lapel) or shotgun microphones to plug into the DSLR to boost the audio quality.
Step 2. Set up your space
Where you shoot makes a world of difference in the quality of your video. Even the best equipment can’t make up for poor lighting or noisy backgrounds. Choose a space in your home that’s relatively quiet — no fans, air vents, fish tanks, or other sources of noise. Do an audio test to see if your microphone picks up a lot of ambient sound. If you have trouble finding a quiet space, you can soundproof a room by sealing cracks and adding egg cartons or foam to the walls and ceiling. Next, make sure that your studio space receives a lot of light, whether natural or artificial. Always shoot so that the light is spilling on your subject, not coming from behind your subject. This is especially important if you are looking into the camera: backlighting will make you silhouetted on the video. If you don’t have enough light, you can invest in an LED clip light for your laptop (for webinars or livestreams) or a photographer’s light (for studio shoots). Do a few test shots to make sure that your subject is evenly lit but not washed out.
Step 3. Do a test run
As mentioned above, you should test your setup to make sure that the audio is clear (not muffled or echoey) and that your video is crisp and well-light (not grainy or shadowy). Once you do this, you might notice some issues, whether that’s an obnoxiously bright lamp in the background, the whir of a fan, or unsightly clutter.
Make an effort to clean up your space as much as possible. If you’re doing a livestream or explainer video sitting in front of your laptop, be cognizant of what’s in the background. People prefer blank backgrounds rather than a shot of a cluttered room. Consider hanging a backdrop (it can be as simple as a curtain or bedsheet), or shoot so that viewers see an interesting bookshelf or clean room behind you. Never shoot with your back to a window.
If you’re doing a studio shoot in which you’re turning the camera to another subject, check the shot for trash, excessive clutter, or distracting items. Remember the infamous Starbucks coffee cup on that episode of “Game of Thrones”? You don’t want to make that mistake in your video. The basic rule to keep in mind is to test first, shoot second.
Once you follow these steps, your videos will be much higher-quality and more appealing to your target audience. Proper lighting, clean backgrounds, and good audio make videos look great even with the equipment you already have. A well-done video will get more views and is more likely to be shared, which boosts your brand’s reputation. And if you’d like to upgrade your studio, it’s more affordable than ever to do so. Happy shooting!