If you are thinking of creating your own YouTube channel, you must have thought about the cost, complexity, and equipment required. It just so happens that we recently took on the challenge of creating a YouTube studio to create YouTube content, so why not take a trip with us and maybe learn from our mistakes?
We wanted to create a YouTube studio “on a budget,” but initially we didn’t have a specific budget in mind. We aimed to create such a system that would allow us to get the desired quality of content without spending more money than necessary.
So let’s take a look at the process we followed.
Think about your content type
The first thing you need to think about is what kind of content you want to create. This particular YouTube studio setup is for talking head videos with technical explanations.
The subject will be cropped from the waist up or down. This will be the “A-Roll” footage, the main footage of the video in which the presenter speaks to the camera. B-Roll footage to support this will be filmed separately or from other sources.
We can also use this same space to create a B-Roll piece, using the folding table as a place to showcase things. However, screen recordings or press footage, as well as outdoor scenes, will also be used.
Unless you plan on creating the exact same content, you need to think carefully about how your own content style will influence decisions about what gear to get and how to customize it.
The most important factor in getting professional video is YouTube studio coverage. In fact, even if your camera isn’t that great, light your subject well and it will look amazing. Even the best camera won’t fix poor lighting.
Three-point lighting is the standard for properly illuminating an object. You need a key light, a back light and a fill light. We’re actually done with a four-light setup. With two diffused LED softbox lights, LED spot light on the ceiling and battery operated LED light for barn doors.
A spotlight illuminates an object from above, two main light sources fill the space with diffused light, and then the last LED light is used to eliminate some unwanted shadows resulting from the two main light sources illuminating the object.
We had to adapt the lighting to our available space, which is quite cramped. You can buy a regular three-point lighting fixture to get started, but you may notice that your particular studio may require more.
Since we are using a chromatic keyboard screen, it would be optimal to have two additional light sources between the subject and the screen itself. Due to space constraints, this is not possible, but the only real effect of this is that adjusting the color takes a little more work. The end result was still acceptable.
The special lighting kit we used was the Andoer Photography kit, and the third light source was the Yongnuo YN300 III, which is also great for on-camera when shooting outside the studio.
Speaking of the green screen color key, since we are never going to shoot someone full-length, it would be pointless to get a green screen with the so-called “infinity blob”.
This is a screen that goes from the top of the frame to the floor so your subjects can stand on it. Not only is it painful, but the service is pretty awful.
Instead, we found this stunning green Elgato screen that works like a projector screen. We hooked the hooks to the wall, attached the screen, and now it just rolls when needed. Our subject is completely surrounded by green in the frame, so it worked out well.
The sound is difficult
Believe it or not, the hardest part of making videos in YouTube studio is getting your audio right. Viewers will tolerate imperfect images, but there is little that will make someone jump to another video other than bad audio.
There are two elements to this problem. One is the acoustics of the room, the other is your microphone.
We don’t necessarily want to “soundproof” the room. This is a massive and costly task that we can get around by using microphones that don’t pick up too much external noise, and simply fixing problems or filming when it gets quieter.
Much more important is the acoustic treatment of the room. Particularly when it comes to reflectivity . This is when the sound emanating from the source vibrates around the room. The best way to reduce this amount is to have thick, soft materials in the room. Sofas, curtains and the like.
This is why so many podcasters record their work in a closet. The clothing absorbs all reverberation, creating a beautiful dry recording sound. You don’t want to completely kill the reflectivity, because if you go the other way, the recordings can seem lifeless. In our case, the room had a green screen at one end, a closed wooden screen at the other, and a carpet.
Reflection was a problem between the two bare walls on the sides. The solution we used was to hang two thick curtains on either side of the frame. This reduces the reflected sound.
We then used a wired lavalier microphone that doesn’t pick up distant sounds too much. You can of course use the microphone on a stand outside of the camera (or on the camera of your choice), but keep in mind that each type of microphone has its own pros and cons. Boom microphones can also be used, but these tend to pick up more room noise.
Camera and Teleprompter Setup
At our YouTube studio, we used a smartphone-based teleprompter combined with the Elegant Teleprompter app and an old smartphone that we had. The scripts are written in Google Docs and then imported directly into the teleprompter application.
Then the phone is mounted on the teleprompter and the Canon 80D camera we used looks through the mirror. The 80D is a great all-round camera for professional use and is especially good as a camcorder as it has autofocus and face detection.
The teleprompter will work with a variety of cameras, it even comes with a smartphone mount on the side of the camera. This means that with two smartphones, you already have full setup. Bring the lavalier microphone up to the smartphone you’re recording and you’re done.
Now that everything is ready, you can see the final product.
From here you need to remove the background. This feature is built into most of the popular video editing apps. This includes Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and many more.
This is how the final setup of YouTube studio looks like.
This is a budget home setup, but with a relatively small investment and little time and effort, you can create videos that pay more attention to detail and make a much more satisfying experience for your audience.
Of course, these are just the tools you need. Most of the work takes place with other parts of the workflow, such as scripting, editing, and the actual performance of the camera itself.
Even the most professional YouTube studio cannot make you the best content creator, and the best content creators can make something compelling using the most essential elements.