Video Gear 101: The Three Essentials for a High Quality Home Studio

February 10, 2021

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Alright, so you’ve started your online entrepreneurial journey. You’ve decided on your content type, website host, scheduler and payment system. Great. But how will you record all of your content?

Today we’re covering the basics of the gear you’ll need to record your online instructional courses. To keep it simple, we’ve kept the options limited to our personal favourites in each segment.   The three main prongs of a high-quality video setup are lighting, sound and camera. This order of equipment is also the order of importance.

1. Camera

Don't underestimate the camera in your pocket. Paired with the right equipment, your phone will meet and surpass your video quality needs.

It’s amazing how technology has improved over the years. 10 years ago, a camera would be the number one most important piece of gear. Today, your phone is 90% of what you’ll ever need. To really see noticeable differences in your video quality, you would need to spend about three thousand dollars on a camera and lens. But this money can be spent elsewhere much more effectively. Even if you were to spend that money, after video compression, there would only be a negligible difference in quality.

Another huge benefit of filming from your phone, is that you're instantly ready to upload it to your azingo app! No need to worry about SD cards and computer transfers.

You'll need to mount your camera somewhere though! Checkout a mini flexible tripod(like this)Or choose a taller, more traditional style tripod (like this one)

2. Lighting

The two main options for lighting are to use a ring light or soft boxes.

For close up content like makeup tutorials or cooking, a ring light is the best bang for your buck. (checkout this cheap ring light option) The ring provides a high quality, even illumination. (Here's a fully featured ring light) But beyond a normal conversational distance (~6 feet/2 meters), ring lights’ quality diminishes, once the light has spread over that distance, the subject is often dim.

If you want a bigger stage for your content, the best option is to use soft boxes (checkout these ones). You’ll need at least two to start. But once you get into it, you may consider buying a third (here's a good kit of three). The most popular setup for vlog-like content is having each light slightly behind the camera, on a 45-degree angle from you. These are called the key light and the fill light. Find the optimal brightness for your key light and then dial your fill light to 50-75% of the key’s output. This setup offers great depth of lighting and natural shadows. If you go for a third light, it will be used as a backlight.It sits behind you, just out of frame. Its output is very low and subtle.

3. Sound

Your content won't be very enjoyable if the audio quality is low!

As a start, your phone will do the trick. But we do recommend you invest in a shotgun style mic. There are tons of low budget, good quality options. These mics will offer a much fuller sound profile to your content and a huge upgrade from your phone’s mic. (This one is a great option) There are tons of options on the market, but they will all meet your easily needs. (here's another, larger styled one)

Once you’ve got these three pieces of gear dialled in, you’re ready to start filming your content! The key takeaways from this article are: your phone’s camera has amazing potential, lighting is key, and you can get great sound for cheap.

Like anything, there will always be room for improvement. Be sure to keep up to date with our blog for more tips!

If you've gotten your gear and are ready for your first video, checkout this blog we've written on 5 tips to nail your first virtual class!

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