Video remains one of the best way to build trust with your audience, yet for many it seems like a method that you can only use with a lot of planning. Today I’ll share with you how to create a “set” you can use on the fly whenever the inspiration strikes. We’ll focus on more than just the equipment.
Specifically you’ll learn:
- How to design a set that will look good on your website.
- Accessory do’s and don’ts that really make a difference.
- How to choose colors that make you look your best.
- Technical details for how to set up your space.
Equipment recommendations (keep in mind that the prices are approximate and are from the day these were posted):
Soft Boxes – if you have a large enough space these are great for creating a great lighting environment at any time of day or night. You’ll need two and have them pointed toward you indirectly at a 45 degree angle so they aren’t shining right on your face, but mostly illuminating your background and your face will still catch light. Example $60: https://www.amazon.com/ESDDI-Photography-Continuous-Equipment-Portraits/dp/B015DYIQ94 if these aren’t available just search “soft box kit” and you’ll find a whole slew of the same thing. I recommend doing this search anyway to make sure you’re getting the best price.
If you are going to use chroma-key (green screen) the instructions are a bit more complex. You may also need a light that is hung overhead to shine directly on the background but not necessarily on you – essentially your green screen needs to have an even color with no shadows or bright spots in order to work correctly. This can usually be accomplished with the two softboxes set at a wide angle so they are shining a bit behind you, with another one overhead tilted toward the wall. In this case, if your background is “lit” but you are dark, then you may want to have another light directly in front of you but set at a distance or a low light setting so that it doesn’t light up your face too much. Example Hair-light $50: https://www.amazon.com/Dimmable-Temperature-Continuous-Hairlight-Photography/dp/B07R1S5B2W/ (there are kits that have the soft boxes plus hair-light together)
Ring Light – If you’re recording from a webcam at your desk, or your phone that is only an arm length away then a ring light will be sufficient to light your face. There are versions that clip to your phone and others that clip to your desk. I recommend getting one that has 3 light settings: white, warm, and combination. This will help you get the light right for you skin-tone so you don’t look washed out or too orange on the video. Example (the one I have) $15: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GDDZRTW/ Example clip to phone for portability $10: https://www.amazon.com/GLOUE-Bubbles-Rechargeable-Portable-Mirrors/dp/B07WD43MHJ/
Phone Camera – Most phones these days have a decent enough camera that you don’t need to buy something separate for video. The cameras on the back of the phone (vs the “selfie” camera that is on the screen-side) are usually a higher quality. You’ll need a tripod and a phone attachment. You can find universal phone adapters for your tripod for about $10, the adapter screws into the tripod and then there is usually a “hugging” mechanism to hold your phone.
Web Cam – If you’re recording from your computer than a high quality webcam is a must. Quick tip: you can also put your webcam on a tripod or even a boom-arm if you don’t have a good place to set it on your computer. The one thing to be aware of when shooting with a webcam is that the autofocus can be slow and make you blurry if you move around a lot. So try to keep still when you’re talking. Example $75: https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-C930e-1080P-Video-Webcam/dp/B00CRJWW2G/
Yeti Microphone – This is one of two mic’s I recommend if you’re recording at your desk. They are also great for podcast interviews, webinars etc. I’m not going to post a link because there are usually multiple sellers and different colors. If you do a search for “Blue Yeti” you can find the best price, usually around $125. Another less expensive option is the Blue Snowball (same company) this will serve your purposes but the Yeti in my opinion is worth the extra money. I have mine on a “boom arm” that is connected to my desk so I can pull it to me when needed, otherwise it sits at the back of my desk. Boom arm: $20 and I also recommend getting a “sock” for it to use as a pop-filter they are usually only a couple of dollars and the “wind screens” while looking cool, are kind of a pain to maneuver and just get in the way. Another accessory you can get is a “shock mount” which helps eliminate noise that comes from you bumping into the desk or any vibrations that may be transferring through the boom arm. This could be the most expensive part of your setup, but honestly is something you will probably use the most often as well so it’s worth it, you can start with just the mic though and add accessories over time until you have the “pro setup”.
Lapel Mic – If you’re recording on your phone and/or at a distance a lapel (aka lavalier) mic will go a long way to improving your audio quality. I recommend getting a wireless one because you’ll have a lot more flexibility. Example $115: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JNLYTL4/ (this is not the one I have, but this is what it will look like) the brands and sellers change constantly so again, do a search for “Wireless Lavalier mic” and whatever phone you have and you’ll get all of your options, usually between $80-$120. Wired mic’s are between $10-$20. Pay attention to reviews and you should be fine!
Backdrop – If you can’t paint a wall then using a photography backdrop allows you to have a nice looking background at not a huge expense. First consider the look you want to go for and then do a search on Amazon (or elsewhere). Example: Wood photography backdrop or Blue photography backdrop. They usually cost $20-$40 can can either hang on your wall or be propped up with stands.
Editing/Recording Software – For most of you, you aren’t going to need anything super fancy. I really like Camtasia from Techsmith, it’s easy to use and has a lot of features. Windows users could also use Screenflow and Mac users could use iMovie. I recommend using something that allows you to record directly into the software, import other videos, and do screencapture. This will allow you to create any kind of video you want all with the same software.