You don’t need a home studio to start posting videos to YouTube – but having a dedicated space for filming is great. In the video below, I share a tour of my home studio (AKA, the guest bedroom.) And I have a post on setting up a home video studio that goes even more in depth.
Benefits of a home studio:
- You already own the space (assuming you have a spare room to convert)
- You’ll record more often if everything is ready to go
- You don’t waste time setting up and packing up your equipment
- It’s easy to re-shoot if you realize you miss something when editing
Below I list all the equipment in my home studio. I only provide links for equipment that I would recommend, and these links are affiliate links (I make a small commission if you purchase using these links – thanks for supporting my website!)
The camera I use most (and love) is the Canon 70D (and sometimes my older 60D.) This camera is great for YouTube – it has interchangeable lenses and a big sensor (important for getting a shallow depth of field.) My lens of choice (which I also love) is a Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 Lens. This lens has a really wide aperture (great for those shallow depth of field shots, and for low light shooting) and it’s a great range of zoom. This camera also has a flip out viewfinder – something pretty important when you are filming yourself. If I were buying my first camera today, I would probably consider the T5i. It has a lot of the same features as the 70D, but is less expensive.
I sometimes use my iPhone to record video – especially when I’m using the white background (and depth of field doesn’t matter.) I use a great Smartphone Tripod Mount for my iPhone that fits many cell phones and mounts to my tripod. My other camera is a Logitech C920 which I use when doing webinars / live videos / Google Hangouts.
The tripod I use at home is 30-40 year old photography tripod. But when I’m out I usually use a Mefoto Travel Tripod.
Finally, to start and stop my camera remotely, I use an Opteka RC-4, but I can’t endorse this product because I have two and neither works well with my camera. I don’t know if it’s my camera or the RC-4, and I still use them… when they are working.
Audio is probably more important than video on YouTube. And it’s a bit complicated when I use the DSLR. DSLR’s are notorious for having poor audio recording capability – so if you use one, you’ll want to record your audio separately, and then put them together when you edit. If you use your webcam, iPhone or traditional camcorder, you can record the audio and video into one device and you won’t need something like the Zoom H4N.
I use a couple different lavalier microphones. First is a cheap wired Audio-Technica. And my favorite lavalier is a Sennheiser wireless lav. When recording on my iPhone, I use a Rode smartLav+. The Audio Technica and Sennheiser microphones plug into my Zoom H4N digital recorder. This is a great tool for recording with the onboard microphones, has two inputs for XLR cables or 1/4″ cables, and you can connect a 1/8″ cable too. When I’m using these microphones with my laptop, I use a M-Track USB Interface to convert the signal from analog to digital. I’d love to have a Blue Yeti microphone that plugs directly into a computer via the USB port, but I started with more traditional filmmaking, and gathered a bunch of analog gear. If I were starting with YouTube today, I’d probably start with a Blue Yeti.
I store my audio equipment in Pelican cases. The Audio Technica is stored in a Pelican 1010 Case, and the Sennheiser is stored in a Pelican 1200 Case (but this might be overkill.)
My studio is 10×12 with hardwood floors, and can be pretty echo-ey. I’ve placed rugs on the floor and used heavy blankets and towels to stop the sound from bouncing. If you want to look like a pro, you can use a sound blanket.
There are many options for lighting – you just need to do something to properly light you set. I started with simple clamp lights, and still use these when I’m doing a quick and dirty shoot outside my studio. When I’m in my studio (or away on an important shoot,) I used the CowboyStudio set of two lights and an additional light behind me on a CowboyStudio Premium Socket. (I had bad luck with the CowboyStudio AC Socket.) This socket works well with an umbrella – which I use when I’m outside my studio and need to look professional, but don’t need to lug around the big lights. I’ve rented LED panels, and I love them. But right now, they are outside my price range – but the prices are falling fast!
I also recently upgrade my backdrop. I purchased a PBL Backdrop Support Stand to hold up white, black or green fabric backdrops. This replaced a white projector screen that I’d found at a garage sale.
I’ve put all these links in one place in my Amazon Store.
[UPDATE] I just filmed a 30 second timelapse video showing the transformation from spare bedroom to studio.
Question: Are you recording onto a camera and then loading it to a software. Or can you film directly onto your laptop.I was wondering why you used the Zoom h4N? DOes that go into the camera for the audio? Not real clear.
Thanks for your question. I really need to re-write this blog post to make this all clear – I made a few edits for clarity. But here’s the quick answer to your question.
DSLR’s record gorgeous video, but awful audio. So I use the H4n to record audio separate from my video, then merge the audio and video files when I edit.
If you use a webcam you can record audio and video together into your laptop. If you use a real video camera, it probably has a jack where you can plug in a microphone (or you can just use the onboard microphone) and record audio and video into the camera.
But if you want to get the video quality of a DSLR and the audio quality of the H4n in one device, the price starts around $2500 for the Canon C100.
I am just starting and completely clueless about what to get to get started
1. Set a complete home studio, to create v-loggs for an educational Youtube channel
Let me know if you have specific questions!