Recommended Video Production Setups

Welcome to my inner secrets - Rockstar client!

There is more to making an excellent podcast, online course, YouTube video, or social media post than equipment.  The essentials are a good story, a strong presence, the edit, and your creativity.  Gear matters but much less than YOU.

After all, I shot a commercial for a company -ON MY PHONE!- that made over $100,000 in the first 4 days it was promoted to their email list.  That's 30% better sales than when they didn't have a video a month earlier to the same list.    Gear matters but how YOU use it and YOUR creativity, story and presence, and the edit matters more.

I also tell ALL of my clients to find a good editor to take care of that for you.  This frees you up to do what you do best (share & make your content).   I offer editing services and an editor can also be found on Upwork.

Hardware

Simple Video Production Setup

This setup can be used at a desk or on the fly.  It is small, requires little geeky intelligence, and is affordable.  This is the exact setup that made $100,000 for one of my clients

Rode Video Lapel Mic - Good audio is the most important part of a good video.  An external microphone for a cell phone is pretty much a must buy to isolate the person speaking and keep out the background noise.  When recording with newer phones you'll also need a dongle adapter for your specific phone to this mic.

LED Ring Light - This ring light is bomber!  A ring light like this is great because it provides good light, has a mount for the phone (no tripod required!) and makes a beautiful round glow on the speaker's eyes (very engaging).  The only downside of this light is that it must be plugged in.  If you need a battery-powered light - See my Basic Video Production.

Google Pixel - Phone image quality is getting better and better.  Pixel 3 is one of the leading edge phones with lots of manual exposure locks, colors, and different physical lens qualities.  When paired with the video mic, this is a great setup.

 

Basic Video Production: Studio

This is the setup that I start most of my clients with for basic video production in a studio.  It requires more equipment but there is also a significant quality difference from the Simple Setup.  This setup is for fixed settings (not Vlogging).  It works great for Online Courses, Podcasting, Exercise videos, How-tos, and Makers.

Yetti Microphone - I made over 370 videos for my first online course (and another 580 videos for subsequent courses) with this microphone.  It was completely reliable and had a good out-of-the-box sound for a good price.  If you're shooting a podcast, it is a great place to start.  If you're shooting a video, it is also a good place to start.  The only drawback, for me, to this microphone is that it needed to be in the video to get that great sound.  I eventually switched to the Advanced Video Production: Studio setup that has no visible microphone.  This microphone plugs directly into a computer.  If you want a mic that plugs into the camera, see the Mobile/Vlog setup.

LED Light Package - I use these lights constantly.  They're bright enough for most applications, adjustable color options, battery-powered or wall powered, and small enough to take nearly anywhere.  For 3 years, this was the only light setup I used.

Backup Batteries - I always have a spare set of batteries around.  There is nothing worse than starting a shoot and then halfway through you're out of juice and have to wait an hour for the batteries to charge.  Keep that creative flow and just buy some high capacity backup batteries.

Panasonic Lumix G9 (Kit Lens) - This camera is a bit of a dark horse.  I've shot podcasts, Vlogs, commercials, online courses, and even ski videos on this camera.  It is a great value for the dollar and pretty easy to learn.  The image is great and because it has a bigger 4k sensor than any phone, the image is greatly improved from even the newest phones.

Video Tripod - A good camera is only as good as what it sits on.  This is a good tripod for the dollar but isn't too bulky to take somewhere to shoot outside of the studio too.

Advanced Video Production: Studio

This is the setup that I use most of the time I'm creating courses or YouTube Videos in the studio.  I've worked really hard to slim down the number of pieces of gear needed to make a great production and to smooth the post-production process (I only use 3 lights!).  My more advanced clients use a very similar setup to this as well.  It does require some know-how with equipment but I hope to better serve everyone in the future by describing how to get this studio started with a series of lessons that I'm producing.

Video Light with Remote - This light is a versatile one LED light.  It comes with barn doors to limit where the light goes, a remote control so one person can control it while on camera, and color gels.  The color temperature is adjustable to match other lights in the environment and the brightness is easily controlled on the back of the light or by remote.  This is my ONLY primary light for shooting in the studio.  There are more expensive brands that I've used as well.  This light works just as well as the other brands unless you shoot really high-speed footage.  Then the expensive brands perform better.

Light Stand - The Video Light needs a stand to put it on.  This is the one I use.  It has no plastic parts to break.  Buy it once, keep it forever.

Diffuser/Reflector Bundle - I use the diffuser in this bundle (on a stand) in front of my Video light.  It gives a nice soft light and makes the light seem larger than it really is.  This kit also includes reflectors that are handy when shooting out of the studio in natural light.

Diffuser Stand - This stand holds the diffuser in front of the light.  It is wholly adjustable and easy to balance.

Clamps (2) - Simply put, these are the best clamps ever.  These clamps attach to pipes, desks, and guitars!  I use one of these for my overhead microphone and another for my top-down camera.  Both of them mount to the backdrop stand over my desk. These may be my favorite piece of gear ever.  They're all metal, last forever, and so versatile.

Backdrop & Stand - This kit is pretty basic but handy.  I don't typically use backdrops but when I do it is the greenscreen for SFX or tutorials.  The stand is super handy and I position it right over the set desk for my video work.  I mount the top-down camera on it, the overhead primary microphone and my audio interface.  Everything on one stand.

Focusrite Audio Interface - This interface is easy to use and sounds great.  It takes the signal from the microphone and ports it into your computer.  This is my primary audio interface.

Rode Video Mic - This is just an all-around good microphone for on-camera use.  In the studio, I use this as the scrub audio for my video.  All of the audio from this mic gets thrown out but a good mic on the camera ensures I get good audio sync in post-production (saving me tons of time).  I also constantly use this mic when in a mobile or Vlog shoot.

Olympus TG - 6 -  This is a great little camera.  I got it for several reasons.  It is super tough (waterproof, drop-proof) and easy to use.  It shoots 4k, high-speed footage, and shoots award-winning macro photography.  It also has a live video outfeed.  In the studio, I mount it above the desk  (top-down) to record the desktop for illustration or writing in online courses or demonstrations.  It's a great camera for the outside and in the studio.  It's also pretty inexpensive.

Canon 90D - This is the primary camera in the studio.  The 90D has a flip-out screen, microphone inputs, live monitor outputs, and shoots up to 4k footage.  It can also take a flat color profile to make the image as clean as possible in post-production.  A solid camera for this application

Canon 24mm Prime With UV Filter - My favorite Canon lens for the 90D.  This little lens lets in a lot of light and makes for a nice soft background when shooting for a course or talking head style video.  It is also just a beautiful lens to shoot with out of the studio.

Monitor for DSLR -  Instead of the flip-out screen on the 90D (which gets in the way of the mic plug, I use this monitor.  It gives me more detail than the on-camera monitor and gives me a good idea of what the framing is.

LED Ring Light - This ring light is bomber!  A ring light like this is great because it provides good light, has a mount for the phone (no tripod required!) and makes a beautiful round glow on the speaker's eyes (very engaging).  The only downside of this light is that it must be plugged in.  If you need a battery-powered light - See my Basic Video Production.

Dimmable LED Light Panel - This little battery-powered light is mounted to the wall behind the presenter with a yellow filter and pointed at the wall.  That gives a soft color contrast and helps the presenter pop out from the background.

Cold Shoe Mount - Screw one of these to the wall or background set and then mount the dimmable LED light panel to it.

Gaff Tape - Gaff Tape is great for wire control on any surface.  It won't leave a sticky residue and is great for organization and safety.  I buy it by the case!

Shure SM58 - My main overhead microphone.  Shure's legacy with the beta58 to the SM58 I've loved for 20 years.  It is a great mic for vocal applications (singing or speaking).  It has no noise and great sound.

Parrot Teleprompter - This little teleprompter helps a presenter stay on track.  It is so easy to mount and use.  I also like it because it is easily mobile.  You simply need a phone and their app and you have an instant teleprompter.  Practice and distance from the camera will minimize distracting eye movements.  It also helps the presenter look into the camera instead of one of the monitors.

Video Tripod - A good camera is only as good as what it sits on.  This is a good tripod for the dollar but isn't too bulky to take somewhere to shoot outside of the studio too.

Software

Garageband - A solid, easy to use, and free audio editor for Mac users.

Audacity - A pretty good audio editor for PC, Mac, and Linux users.  Lacks bells and whistles but gets basic audio for a course or online promotion

Davinci Resolve - Ironically, I'm an Adobe Certified Educator! ha ha.  BUT I love Davinci Resolve and edit all videos for everyone in Resolve.  Why?  A few reasons.

  1. There is a robust free version (some people don't need more than that!).
  2. It has integrated audio, SFX, and edit in one program.  Adobe makes a user jump from app to app (each app using lots of computing power to run).
  3. No subscription.  This is a BIG deal to me.  I buy Davinci Resolve once and no subscription fees follow.  That also means that I can always edit and produce videos.  With a subscription (like Adobe) my license can expire bringing my production to a halt.  OR Adobe can close service in my area that my business relies upon.

artlist.io - Music for your videos gives them movement, drive, and more emotion.  That music also needs to be legally used!  I love the search tool in artlist.io and they're constantly adding new music.  This is my #1 source for quality background tracks.

________________________________

So, there you have it.  A whole lot of stuff to consider.  I am, currently, developing a course for entrepreneurs -like yourself - that will help you get started making great content that looks and sounds great too.  If you want advanced notice of this course, sign up for my newsletter "The Markside" and I'll let you know when it goes live.

 

Cheers!

 

Mark

 

 

 

 

 

Film and Learning is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Affiliates Program, and affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links”. This means if you click the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products or services that I like and actually use. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FCC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Join the Markside

Let's Chat & Get the Latest News!

15987
FilmandLearningHead