Improve your audio and video recordings with a few inexpensive pieces of equipment. You can create high quality audio and video without spending a lot.
Live or recorded, the last thing you want is bad camera work or muffled sound (or even no sound).
The good news is, you don’t have to spend a lot on equipment to produce high quality media recordings. But you do have to plan ahead and get organized. These are the basics you will need.
1. A Good Camera
If you already have a smartphone, it should be fully equipped with a good camera. Hold it sideways (landscape). You can also use your tablet or a webcam on your desktop computer, though this will offer you the least amount of flexibility in terms of where you can film your videos.
2. A Tripod
This will help hold the camera steady while filming and enable you to film yourself.
3. Cloud Storage You Can Connect To via Wi-Fi
Your video files will take up a lot of room. Have at least one cloud-based storage account so you can save them and then remove them from your phone memory.
The best light can be natural light provided it is not coming from behind you and casting you in shadow, or so much in your eyes that it makes you squint painfully. A room with a northern exposure will give you natural light all day. Add a desk light or any other lamp to give more light. The light should be fluorescent if possible, or clear bulbs, otherwise you will get a rather sickly-looking yellow glow. I also like and use ring lights, as they are super helpful if you are filming on your own, without help. Here’s my favorite.
5. A High Quality Microphone
Generally speaking, the more expensive the microphone, the better the recording quality.
Some people use their smartphone. Others use their built-in mic on their laptop. But there are limitations to these. You have to be very close to the mic and you can’t record in any location with a lot of wind or background noise.
The most popular mic with media pros is the Blue Yeti USB microphone, used by many vloggers and podcasters. You can buy it on its own for less than $200 or get it with a set of studio headphones for around $250. Since it is highly sensitive to all sounds, consider getting a package that includes a desktop arm stand and pop filter. Otherwise, stand it on something really thick that will muffle sound, such as a phonebook, and be sure not to tap your table or move too much in your chair.
6. A Professional-Looking Background
For less than $55, you can buy a full Studio Backdrop Background Kit. It comes with a white screen, a black screen, a stand, clips to hold the fabric or attach things to it, and a carry bag so you can take the kit with you anywhere. It rolls up small into the duffle bag and the entire kit weighs in at a little over 9 pounds, so it is highly portable.
7. Editing Software
There are many good video editing options available at various price points: iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, HitFilm, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Premier Pro. Consider both your budget and your level of patience and willingness to use the program. Some, like Adobe, will be more full-featured than others.
With these items, you will be able to create professional-looking videos without spending a fortune.
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