Building a Video Studio

When I posted this picture the other day, many people wrote to ask if I could share how I put together my home office video studio.

You want it, you got it. BUT FIRST… you have to see this 10-minute video that shows you the whole set up and talks about the settings and options, as well as the process for the green screen magic.

The Essentials: Lights, Camera, AUDIO!

To get good video, you need to invest time and money into lighting, video equipment and audio recording tools. Here’s what I used:

Lights: Fancierstudio Lighting Kit

I got this three-piece lighting kit for less than $50, and it really has come in handy. The biggest challenge I’ve had is that over the years I stole the original bulbs for different projects, and that left me with substitute bulbs of varying strengths, which caused shadows. So I bought three of the same bulbs when I set up the studio at this house, and all is great.

Fancierstudio Lighting Kit 3 Point Light Kit Fluorescent Lighting Kit Umbrella Kit

Camera: Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920

After a lot of research, I settled on this webcam, which also costs less than $50. I think there are better ones out there since I made this purchase, but it works just fine.

Image result for Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, Widescreen Video Calling and Recording, 1080p Camera, Desktop or Laptop Webcam

Audio: Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone

This microphone was even less than the other two components — just $39 today on Amazon. I’m pretty sure I paid more than that two years ago, so there are probably updated ones. The only thing I don’t like about it is that the tripod bottom makes it a little large to use in front of a computer screen.

Image result for blue snowball

Other Accessories

Green Screen: Elgato Green Screen (Collapsible)

When I chose this green screen, I had my old, tiny office in mind. I wanted something that I could put up and take down whenever I needed because I was still thinking that it would be in the way in a small space. But even though I didn’t really need a collapsible screen for this big office, I am glad I got it. This was a bigger-ticket item at $160, but the quality is worth it.

Image result for elgato green screen collapsible

When you buy a green screen (or indeed use any backdrop), you have to be very careful about wrinkles or creases in the fabric. This slides up and down easily, and it is tight in the frame so no wrinkles. If I was really pressed for space, I also might try this popup screen that folds up. These are $43.

ePhotoInc 5' x 7' PHOTO COLLAPSIBLE CHROMAKEY GREEN BLUE BACKGROUND 2 in 1 Backdrop Panel T57BG

Laptop Stand: Aidata Aluminum Portable Laptop Ultrastand

Whether you’re making YouTube videos or just attending a videoconference, you want to make sure the video camera is at the right height. I use this stand to prop up my laptop so the camera is at eye level. I bought the one with the wider angle range for $30.

Google Photos is creeping me out
Welcome to 2019: the Year of Automation!