According to Data Axle, you have three seconds to hook your audience. As an online course creator, your video content has to engage quickly and look professional. Follow along as we share the best home video studio setup ideas for you to implement before you record your next online course.
Home video studio setup ideas for course creators
One myth to dispel quickly is the idea that you must break the bank to deliver professional video from your home studio. Instead, I advocate making your studio part of your business growth strategy. You can start small and grow as your e-learning business does. Here are the best ideas to help you get started:
Locate your future home video studio
If the idea is to start small, then it begins with the room that will become your studio. You’ll need privacy, the right size, the right lighting, and even the right decor. Let’s break it down.
In some cases, the type of content you deliver will determine the room. If you teach cooking courses, you’ll have to work in the kitchen. If your content centers on home DIY projects, your main room may be the garage where you keep the power tools.
If your course does not require a specific room, then an extra room in the house will do the trick. Some content creators have started by converting a closet into a video studio.
Once you know the room you’ll be using, assess the size and lighting of the room. Ideally, you want something that gives you room to move and two locations to shoot. One section can be right in front of your desk and the other could be the far corner of the room. Even a small 8-foot by 9-foot room can give you this much space.
3. Natural light
Next, consider the natural light of your room. This will let you know how much artificial lighting you are going to need. You want a room with a window that lets in natural light if at all possible. If you have that, you want the window to be behind your camera so that it lights you up as the subject. If you don’t have this window or the window you have doesn’t work for this purpose, you’re going to need artificial lighting.
Your room decor should be a deliberate choice that lines up with your personality, the mood of your content, and of course, the subject matter of your courses. Anything from weights in an exercise room to a bobblehead figure or the types of plants behind you will add to the mood of your content and give your audience areas of interest around you.
Consider the hardware
OK, you’ve got your space and you have it looking just right. Now it’s time to get it ready to record your content. This is where some course creators struggle. They either go directly into spending a lot of money to buy equipment they don’t know how to use or they buy nothing and speak into their laptop camera and hope for the best.
You do not need the top-of-the-line, most expensive brand and model. However, you do need one that can handle creating quality videos. A phone from a leading manufacturer that is current generation or one before can get you surprisingly good results.
Like the phone, you’ll need something robust enough to handle video recording and editing. If your laptop is equipped with a camera, it can become your secondary camera. If you do use it this way, be sure to elevate it so it’s at eye level or slightly higher. Your laptop is also the center of your business – your workstation. You will use it to edit videos, hold live streams, and manage your online course.
7. Learning platform
There is more to delivering a course to learners than recording and editing. Having content that is engaging and organized requires a learning management system (LMS) you can trust. Find an LMS that gives you control over releasing your content on a specific schedule, enables you to separate cohorts, and offers gamification features for your learners. Even better, platforms such as INDIE LMS allow you to record video and audio directly from your browser when using the content authoring tool.
8. Halo light
Even if your space gets natural light, a halo light will come in handy. You may record in the mornings or evenings when there’s less natural light. My first halo light was this one that clips right to your phone around the camera. It still comes in handy when filming something quick outside. You have many options when it comes to ring lights, so make sure to do your research first.
Your phone may capture great video, but the sound may leave something to be desired. A study by Throughline found that audiences are more likely to dismiss the message and speaker in a video with bad audio quality. That is why it’s important to get the audio right.
Desktop microphones are the easiest and least expensive choice. The classic starter microphone is the Snowball by Blue Microphones. This mic is sleek, looks good on camera, and is among the cheapest quality microphones coming in at $59.
A lavalier microphone, also known as lapel microphone or lav for short, clips on to your clothing as close to your face as possible. A lav microphone will pick you up well so long as you stay facing forward, over the area of the microphone.
The other option is a shotgun microphone. Shotgun microphones are known as highly directional. You can set them up in the same area as your phone and point them directly at you so they pick up everything you say. A solid directional microphone for home studios is the Rode VideoMic.
10. Tripod stand
Even with a small setup, you have items to set up on stands. There are many choices in stands but I opt for one that can hold everything I need. This saves space in a small room. You can pick it up, set it up, and set it out of the way so you can move freely while recording.
Read more: 9+1 Tips for making a video for your course
Invest in your home video studio as you grow
Now that you’ve created a few courses and have people coming to you for more, it’s time to start investing back into your business. Let’s look at getting some equipment you didn’t get early on.
While a backdrop is not needed to get things started, it is good to have. You can get a few colors, but usually, people go with a black backdrop and a green or blue screen. Backdrops come in handy to create background thumbnails or sections where you want to include yourself speaking to describe an image in the same frame.
Your phone has probably done wonders, but getting a professional camera means you can have a device dedicated to your recording space. You won’t need to take it off the stand or change the settings once in place. The Nikon D3500 is an established choice but you can look for other top DSLR cameras for streaming as a good starting point for your search.
13. External hard drive
As your recordings grow, your laptop’s hard drive space will get pushed to the brink – video files are large. Get an external drive to hold these valuable files of your courses. You’ll have plenty of room, and you won’t have to worry about your files if your laptop ever crashes. Of course, you can – and should – back up those files to the cloud so they never only exist in one place.
Upgrade where you need
You now have everything you need in your home studio. You can record anything and look your best. Your editing skills are improving, and thanks to your LMS, you can roll out courses exactly as you need.
But there are always things that can be better. At this point, it will all be personal preference. Here are some of the things you can look to upgrade.
- Microphones: If you opted for a Blue Snowball or similar desktop microphone, it might be time to step up to a lav or shotgun microphone;
- Lens: Adding a wide-angle lens allows you to get closer to the camera without looking uncomfortably close and captures more of your background, opening up your space;
- Lighting: A clip-on halo light won’t suffice. You’ll have to invest in a larger halo for the DSLR and perhaps a pair of studio lights to go along with it.
As a course creator, giving your learners content that looks and sounds professional is key to your success. That doesn’t mean you have to begin by spending thousands of dollars on equipment from the very beginning. These home video studio setup ideas show how much you can do with a well-lighted space, a current-model smartphone, and your personality.
As your audience grows and you have the revenue to invest in your space, there are several things you can do to improve your setup and continue delivering quality content your audience appreciates. Embrace your home video studio as a part of your business journey and watch it grow.