Affordable Video Production Studio Equipment 2020
Setting up and producing quality videos seem to cost a lot. But despite the advancement of technologies in 2020, there are still ways for you to avail affordable video production studio equipment without breaking the bank.
Here are the things you need to do to minimize your video marketing costs when setting up your own studio.
An empty room, your home office, or even a decorated garage all work well as a studio. If the focus of your videos is to speak directly to your audience, you won’t be able to do that with a distracting workspace.
The beauty of indoor studios is that once your studio is set you can just leave it as it is for the next shoot. No need to break it down and set it up again; once it’s there, it’s there.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “a camera is gonna cost me an arm and a leg, there’s no way I can afford a camera to shoot my videos.”
If you’re like me and have spent numerous hours surfing through YouTube you can relate that not all videos are made the same.
If you have a smartphone made after 2015, chances are you can shoot 1080p videos with relative ease.
It goes without saying if you’re a travel vlogger, chances are you might not want to invest in something like a 1080p webcam.
When it comes to webcams, the quality won’t amaze you but they do serve a purpose especially when it comes to live streaming. Online educational services have made great use of webcams to deliver quality information via live or recorded content.
With many models utilizing USB for its connectivity, it makes it versatile for both Mac and PC.
They cost about $50 bucks on eBay if you need it as soon as possible.
Point and shoots are the Vlog standards when it comes to active lifestyles. Of course, the price does get much higher but so does the quality of your videos.
They come in different form factors and with various special qualities like waterproofing, but really, personal preference is a huge factor here.
The point and shoot provide a unique perspective because it feels more real metaphorically speaking.
The motion, the interaction with not only the viewers but the world around it, makes the audience feel more connected from their seats.
With this added opportunity comes added accessories which in the end means more money.
Obviously, point and shoots are not directly connected to your PC like a webcam so the power and the storage of content are required.
When you buy new cameras, it will come with a battery but storage is seldom included.
A couple hundred bucks will get you in the door with a competitive point and shoot.
The Sony DSC W800 or other comparable models in the $100 price range are more than capable of taking your video content to the next level.
As we move on we have to give notice to a popular type of camera that has given lifestyle bloggers incredible range with the content they are able to capture: Action Cams.
Now if you’re not familiar with what an action camera is, you’ve probably heard of GoPro or maybe even seen a commercial or two.
Why not, right? They tend to be small, portable, and in most cases come with accessories that can protect it from the elements so why doesn’t everyone have an action cam.
Let’s put all of our cards on the table here. Not everyone will need a camera that can handle the harsh elements of the world but the truth is there are those that live a life of adventure.
To be even more honest, there are people that don’t have the capability to go on rigorous excursions. This makes the YouTube personalities that do seem intriguing.
It’s the concept of living life thru someone else’s eyes.
Living vicariously through a YouTube personality who can ride a motorcycle thru traffic, scale the side of a mountain, and even swim with the sharks give the curious audiences something to look forward to.
That’s where the action camera comes in, providing the audience with a front row seat to the experience they have yet to obtain.
If you’re on the move where travel and adventure is your studio, an action cam is where you need to begin.
The prices do range from $70 for an off-brand action cam to something like $399 for a more premium action cam like the high-end GoPros.
Now the quality and the extra perks come with the price. For the low-end models in the $70-$100 range, the basics are generally 1080p recording at 30 frames per second.
Which is perfectly fine. As you scale up to the $200-$300 range, this is where you see things like optical stabilization and 4k recording.
Let’s not forget the one thing that all these actions cameras have in common, they are tiny. Literally small enough to fit in your pocket.
The ease of use is relatively simple with no more than 5 buttons to press on most devices.
The learning curve for these action cams is short with most devices being compatible throughout all platforms.
It really comes down to what you will do with it.
Full disclaimer, the majority of these action cams have a crappy audio recording! At best so if you’re going to be doing a good amount of talking, an alternative is best advised.
An action cam is probably not best in an indoor studio primarily because they have poor low light options.
If you’re outdoors, have great light, and have an activity that is full of life and motion, then an action cam is for you.
They make a great addition to a video production studio but also have many different uses outside the studio that can be beneficial to your content development.
One of the great things about camcorders is that even budget options have excellent quality.
Although the video quality is not comparable to most DSLRs, the accessories for camcorders like batteries and external microphones tend to be more affordable.
Like everything camcorders do come with their faults. For example, if you are trying to create a cinematic feel to your videos with that “bokeh effect,” most consumer camcorders won’t be able to keep up.
It will keep everything in focus, which is what makes camcorders so great especially for group activities like seminars or educational content.
It makes a great addition to your studio simply because it’s so easy to use. Camcorders are built to take long videos without overheating.
Plus the amount of time you get to record generally on most camcorders are far longer than most point and shoots and DSLRs.
Camcorders can get a bit pricey ranging from $150 to a staggering $1000.
For a camcorder that can shoot your standard 1080P 30 frames, you’re looking at a sub $200 price range like the Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder which can cover all the basics in your video production studio.
Camcorders aren’t really built for excessive moving so adventure vlogging probably isn’t your best bet.
If your videos are made to be informative and you need everything in focus, you might want to pick up a camcorder for your studio.
Now we move on to the last but not least camera for an affordable video production studio, the DSLR. It means Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras which among all the cameras mentioned has the bigger price tag.
However, with the bigger price tag comes the best video quality and versatility among the rest of the cameras mentioned.
What makes the DSLR amazing for video production along with the body is the lens.
Good glass comes at a price though so if you’re thinking of purchasing a DSLR you might want to think of investing in good glass down the line.
Most brand new DSLRs come with what’s called kit lenses, the introductory lenses to be exact. Now, these lenses aren’t the best in the world but for a starting studio, it is plenty.
It will definitely take some time to fully understand all the functionality that a DSLR will come equipped with so don’t get too discouraged.
YouTube has a great community of photographers that have loads of walkthrough step-by-step guides on how to use your camera.
Be sure to plug in your model of the camera into YouTube for some great tips and tricks specifically for your camera.
DSLRs are not cheap and that goes for the rigs and accessories for your camera too. Most DSLRs won’t have the greatest audio or battery life for that matter.
They are great for short videos, especially if you want to bring your production to a higher level but don’t expect a full day of shooting with these cameras.
It handles indoor and outdoor shots pretty effortlessly; however not all DSLRs are weather treated so be mindful of the elements before shooting.
Given all the financial requirements it takes to get started with a DSLR, it’s understandable if you opt out of purchasing one out the gate, but if you do, understand it is an investment that will add a whole new level of production to your content.
DSLRs with a decent kit lens will start at about $300 up to a whopping $3000 or more for newer mirrorless DSLRs.
If you’re in the market for a solid intro DSLR, you might want to start with a Nikon D3400.
Aside from the standard 1080P 30FPS, it does shoot 24FPS which gives you that really cool cinematic feel.
There are also what’s called bridge cameras which is basically in between the point and shoots and DSLRs.
They are supposed to be the more affordable options to DSLRs but can be as pricey for the same functionality.
The only difference really is the fact that you cannot interchange the lens, but for the most part generally the same as DSLRs. If you’re not into changing out lenses then take a look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70.
Stabilizing the Camera
Now that we have a place to shoot and narrowed down what type of camera we’re going to shoot with, we’ll need to figure out where we put the camera.
If at this point you’ve chosen the option to use a 1080p webcam for explainer videos or review videos, then you can simply mount your webcam on top of your laptop or computer.
Since you won’t be moving too much, your webcam will sit perfectly atop your device.
If you need to have a higher vantage point stacking a few books on top of each other will help get you that perfect angle.
The items you’ll need for more elaborate standing videos is dependent on what you have at your disposal.
If you’re shooting indoors, for example, a shelf, bookcase, or any participant willing to hold your camera should serve you well.
Otherwise, the buddy system is your best bet to keep your cost next to nothing.
When we talk about tripods and steady cams, there is a slew of DIY options that can help you get the shot you need.
Although some of these DIY options come with an assembling process others require little to no effort at all.
If you were to google smartphone stands in your search bar you would get literally thousands, if not millions of results.
The idea is that you shoot your videos in landscape mode so DIY stands that have your phone in portrait mode are out.
Check his video out here.
So whether you have a smartphone and later decide to buy a point and shoot or go all out and buy a DSLR you want a system that can handle it all.
A smartphone, point and shoot, as well as an action cam, are all compatible with this system.
Of Course, there are better all in one sticks but most of them cost more than $50 and since we’re here to discuss the tools you’ll need for an affordable video production studio we want to keep cost on a necessary basis.
For everything else that requires mobility it’s great but for something like a DSLR, don’t risk it.
With that in mind, the $40 price range can get you an awesome tripod like the Ravelli APGL5 which doubles as a monopod in case you need some fresh air.
These are by far the most expensive things you can buy to stabilize your footage however its purpose is more niche.
Especially if all your doing is talking to the camera from a stationary position.
If however, you’re looking for something affordable, most solid Steadicams start at about $50 like this one you can find on Amazon.
They come in different variants for action cams like the GoPro and smartphones.
If you want more of a warm “golden” look to your videos then shooting from 4 to 7 pm would be optimal.
Not to mention if your studio doesn’t have any windows than purchasing lighting equipment is the way to go and we’ve got just the way to do it on every budget.
Check out this video at Full Sail University to get a nice quick lighting setup for under $100.
Yes you can build something comparable with some can do attitude and elbow grease, but if you want something hassle-free, a time-tested retail item might be your best bet.
For the most part, many people will deal with subpar videos but bad audio is a killer to your video production.
If you do find yourself in a position where you have to purchase some audio accessories we’ve got some affordable options to get you started.
Many smartphones, both apple, and android now have very good audio recorders that can capture really high-quality audio.
In these cases, the best option would be to have some type of recording device handy like a microphone or in this case a lavalier.
Wireless lavaliers can run up to $200 for solid professional grade type lapel mics but what we want to do it save you money without sacrificing quality.
DIY options are great because you can use what you already have like the headset microphone that came with your smartphone to produce great audio.
Check out this quick DIY walkthrough to making an awesome lapel mic.
Now shooting outdoors can have its own difficulties but the right combination of items in your background can make it look very professional.
The point is to do away with distracting items that can shift your viewers’ attention during your video.
It really depends on your approach, the substance of your content, and obviously how much will it cost you. Luckily we have the information you need to make the thriftiest decision.
Yes, those king/queen sized linens are great way to start, just make sure it’s a nice solid color.
Although plain solid color backdrops work well, sometimes filling the background with interesting posters or picture frames even shelves with some of your collectible items can give your background a more personal touch.
The question now becomes what type of material do you want.
Paper backdrops are very affordable like the Superior Seamless Photography Background Paper which runs about $30.
However, you choose to stabilize your camera and get the perfect shot is in place. The lighting is just right and the sound is audible and smooth. Your background is looking nice and pro, so what’s next.
Now although the big players on youtube are using some serious software to edit their videos, there are tools you can use that won’t leave you broke.
In fact, there are some really nifty tools that come free with your pc, whether its mac or windows.
Here’s some software you probably already have and some affordable options if you’ve got some cash to burn.
iMovie comes with a ton of great features but simply put, it’s better than movie maker.
But when it comes to a really good tool for editing videos Openshot will not disappoint.
As of 2018, this free video editing software was highly regarded for it’s easy to use interface, light grading tools, and green screen compositing.
The only downside is that the more premium tools will have you forking out some cash.
Chances are the $300 and $20/month respectively are too steep starting out but eventually, as the value of your skill and videos increase so must your tools.
The important thing is that your content is well thought out and valuable to your audience.
Just like how you choose to stabilize your camera, no one wants to watch you rant from the floor.
Of Course, you can’t forget that a background is not only eye candy, it’s what sets the tone for your content. Lastly, the software you use is the cherry on top, it can make a mediocre video into a great work of art.
Now you have a great roadmap with some insider insight on how to start.
Take the first step and you will see that setting up your first affordable video production studio isn’t that hard, you might even have some fun.