How To Build a Home Video Studio On a Budget?

In Tips & guides by Matt MoranLeave a Comment

YouTube is one of the internets most popular platforms and many people aspire to make their own videos. However, if you’re on a budget, it can sometimes be difficult to create a space to film good quality content. That’s why I created this guide, to help you to find out how to build a home video studio on a budget.

So how do you create a home video studio on a budget? Well, it’s actually not as hard as you think. The main things you need are a camera, some lights, and a microphone, but it’s quite easy to get your hands on these, even if you’re on a budget.

Creating a functional home video studio doesn’t have to cost a million dollars, so if you have dreams of becoming a creator, follow these ten steps on how to build a home video studio on a budget

1. Buy A Camera

So, it goes without saying that a camera is the most important thing you’re going to need if you plan on making videos. It’s a common misconception that all YouTubers and streamers use really high-tech recording equipment to make their videos.

Many successful YouTubers do have expensive cameras now, but when they started their channels, a lot of them filmed their content using their smartphones. This is one option if you’re in need of a budget-friendly camera. iPhones, in particular, have pretty good video capabilities. So if you already have one, then you’re one step closer to creating awesome videos.

If you don’t though, don’t worry. There are a lot of other budget options to choose from. One option you should look into is buying a second-hand camera. If you buy used, you may be able to get a relatively high-quality starter camera for less than $100. When searching for a camera, you want to look out for things like:

  • Flip Screens – this will allow you to see yourself whilst you film.
  • Good low-level light performance – this will be useful if your studio is a little dark.
  • External Mic Input- This will allow you to attach a better microphone to your camera when filming and is the easiest option for recording great audio.

You could also consider renting camera equipment.  It may save you money if you’re just looking to create a few videos. However, it may not be affordable on a long term basis.

2. Find the Right Tripod

A Tripod is also a necessary addition to any well-functioning studio space. As an amateur YouTuber myself, I understand the struggles of mounting my camera on a makeshift stack of my possessions, only to have it fall down mid shot. The truth is, a functioning Tripod doesn’t cost that much.

If you’re just looking for a stationary tripod that will have a permanent home in your tripod, then you can easily purchase one for under $30. If you plan on taking your camera and tripod out and about, you may want to spend more to get a more durable tripod, but a cheap option is fine for stationary use.

When it comes to tripods, the best type to choose is a telescopic style. Telescopic tripods have adjustable legs, meaning you can adjust them to your desired height. If you want to ensure that you can set-up the perfect shot, then an adjustable tripod is key.

Most tripods are pretty versatile when it comes to the type of cameras you can mount on them, but it’s always a good idea to check that the one your purchasing is compatible with your camera.

3. Purchase a good microphone

Something else you may want to think about when creating your home video studio is audio. I personally have learned the hard way that built-in microphones on cameras aren’t great. Bad quality audio can really ruin a great video, so it’s worth investing in a microphone that works well.

Much like tripods, decent quality microphones are not expensive and can be purchased for less than $30. Although there are more expensive options available, cheaper microphones are worth it, as they are often much better than built-in microphone.

You can get microphones for video recording on Amazon, but there are a lot of different models to choose from. When shopping, you should consider polar patterns.

Microphones are commonly categorized by the polar patterns that they pick up. There are 4 main types of microphones: Cardioid, omnidirectional, bi-directional and shotgun. Cardioid and shotgun are both good choices if you plan on being the only person speaking in your videos. Bi-directional mics are good for interview style content. Omnidirectional mics are best suited to videos featuring two or more people in on shot.

The easiest way to record audio is to purchase a mic that plugs directly into your camera, as then you won’t have to edit your audio and visuals together in post.

4. Block out natural light

Although a room with a lot of natural light would be a good thing if you were selling it, when it comes to making videos, natural light is your enemy. Why? It’s unpredictable and therefore you can’t make sure that it’s the same in every shot. When creating your home video studio, it’s important to find a way to block out natural light. There are a few ways you can do this on a budget such as:

  • Choose a room with no windows
  • Cut pieces of wood to block the windows when filming
  • Buy an inexpensive blackout blind on Amazon
  • Paint the windows black

Out of the four options, it’s probably easier and more sustainable to get your hands on a blackout blind. You don’t have to spend a lot on it. Like most things, you’ll probably be able to find a cheap second hand one on Craigslist, or you might even be able to pick on up for free if you know anyone that’s moving house.

5. Create artificial light

Once you’ve successfully turned your studio into a natural light free dungeon, you can then go ahead and start lighting the space. Lighting is really important if you want to create a studio where you can capture high-quality video content. However, making your studio lighting look professional doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. When lighting your studio, there are three main lights you’re going to need to use:

  • A Key light— A key light the main light that you will need to use to illuminate the subject of the video. It should point directly at where you’re going to sit. Don’t worry if you notice a lot of shadows when you first set up your key light, the rest of your light set-up will combat this.
  • Backlights— This light goes behind the subject in the video. Backlights are important for creating a professional aesthetic and giving real depth to your videos
  • Fill lights— Fill lights will shine on the subject from the sides. These lights will help to counteract any shadows that are being caused by your key light.

Luckily, buying cheap lighting for Youtube videos is quite easy, and you can get most of what you need online. Check out this guide for pointers on the best lights to buy.

6. Create a Backdrop

If you want your videos to look professional and consistent, then it’s a good idea to install a backdrop. Lots of YouTubers choose to use green screens as backdrops as they can be really useful for adding effects in posts. Green screens are a good backdrop option if you do plan on adding things in post, but if you’re planning to do more simple edits, it’s not really required.

Alternatively, you can simply choose a black or white backdrop. Backdrops are one of the easy things to create yourself, and you probably won’t have to spend any money at all.

All you really need is a black or white cloth that’s big enough for your desired frame. You can then hang it using something like a curtain rail. You could even secure it using wall pins in the ceiling. As long as the cloth is crease free and drapes down to the floor behind you neatly, it should be perfect for a versatile backdrop. If you want a more natural back from, you can also try using the wall in your room and decorating it, as a lot of YouTubers do, but this can sometimes affect the lighting quality of your shot.

7. Soundproof the Space (if you need to)

If you want your videos to look professional and consistent, then it’s a good idea to install a backdrop. Lots of YouTubers choose to use green screens as backdrops as they can be really useful for adding effects in posts. Green screens are a good backdrop option if you do plan on adding things in post, but if you’re planning to do more simple edits, it’s not really required.

Alternatively, you can simply choose a black or white backdrop. Backdrops are one of the easy things to create yourself, and you probably won’t have to spend any money at all.

All you really need is a black or white cloth that’s big enough for your desired frame. You can then hang it using something like a curtain rail.

You could even secure it using wall pins in the ceiling. As long as the cloth is crease free and drapes down to the floor behind you neatly, it should be perfect for a versatile backdrop. If you want a more natural back from, you can also try using the wall in your room and decorating it, as a lot of YouTubers do, but this can sometimes affect the lighting quality of your shot.

8. Decorate The Space

Once you get to this point, you’ve probably already got everything you need to create high-quality videos. However, decorating your space can help take your videos to the next level. It’s worth having a think about the type of videos you want to create and plan your decorating to fit this theme.

For example, gamers usually have things like console boxes, collectible items, and merchandise visible in their videos because this is what their subscribers want to see. In a similar way, makeup and beauty vloggers often use string lights, pretty plants, and fluffy cushions to create the perfect girly background.

Once you’ve decided on what your set will include, you can then try to get hold of your items cheaply. Try shopping at discount homeware stores or checking out yard sales. You may be able to pick up useful items for very cheap or even for free in some cases.

After compiling some decorative items, set up your camera and be sure to see how they look in the shot before filming. Although items might look good to the naked eye, they could look small or unpleasant in the video. You don’t want to film a full video only to find your set looks hideous.

9. Make Space for Your Computer

When making videos, it’s always good to have quick access to your computer whilst you’re filming. If you have a laptop, this is pretty easy, just set up a small table that’s just outside the shot that you can get to easily. It will help your shooting sessions to be quick and efficient.

However, if you’re using a desktop computer and it’s located in another room, it could be a good idea to move it into your studio room. Ensure that you have space to fit your desk in without changing your studio set up too much.

If it’s going to cause you to have limited room for your camera and lighting, consider switching to a smaller desk or placing your computer just outside the room. Although having quick access to your computer is useful, it’s not worth compromising the perfect shot to fit it in.

10. Do a Test Run

Once everything in your studio is set up it’s a good idea to do a test run of all your equipment. You should do this before you get ready to film a full-length video. This will allow you to highlight any issues that you may need to rectify. Be sure to check the shot for any shadows or lighting issues. It’s also a good idea to test out a few different angles for your camera. You may find that some angles are more flattering than the others.

When you’re happy with the way everything is set up, mark where your lights and tripod are located. To do this, apply small pieces of tape to the floor under each foot on the tripod stand. Do the same for the stands on the lights. By doing this, you can ensure that you can create the perfect set again and again, even if you’re required to move things around when your not filming.

YouTube viewers love channels that are professional and consistent. So, it’s a good idea to try your best to keep your set the same every time.

Now get filming!

So there you have it, a complete guide on how to build a home video studio on a budget. If you’re keen to find out more about creating awesome videos, check out the rest of the site. We’ve got tons of guides that can take you from video amateur to YouTube pro in no time!

About the Author

Matt Moran

Matt is a writer, traveller, and amateur video maker. When he’s not writing blogs and articles, he’s busy making travel vlogs for his YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/c/macandshiv

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