Basic Studio Setup To Film DSLR Video By Yourself

Video is one of the most powerful tools currently available to us. Whether your looking to educate, inform or entertain—video is a great way to deliver the message. No other form of communication builds brand awareness, increases engagement, or converts leads quite like video. 

studio setup, video tips, videography, video content, content creation, video marketing
Background image from Alexander Dummer on Unsplash
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But let’s face it, creating video content is easier said than done. In an ideal world, you would hire someone to take this job off of your plate. But the reality of hiring a videographer means that you have to find someone you trust, and the cost to get someone good is a very real factor. So, you find yourself in the situation of trying to learn just enough. This way you can reap the benefits of video now and aim to hire someone down the line. I applaud your foresight!

But now you run into another problem. Trying to learn this stuff isn’t a cake walk and you have other things you need to focus on besides learning how to film and edit videos. There’s a lot of noise out there telling you what to use and it can quickly become overwhelming. Well, hopefully I can help you along your journey and give you some recommendations for a simple, no-fuss, studio setup you can create at home.

The Power of Video Content

If you clicked on this post I imagine that you already know the amazing benefits video content has to offer. But just in case you’re new here, I’ll give a quick summary of some of the main points:

  • 83% of marketers say video gives them a good ROI (wyzowl)
  • Video on landing pages is capable of increasing conversion rates by over 80%. (hubspot)
  • Viewers are anywhere from 64-85% more likely to buy after watching a product video (neilpatel
  • 85% of people reported that they want to see videos from brands they support (wyzowl)

So yeah, video is the powerhouse of marketing right now. In my work as a videographer/video strategist, I have seen first hand how video positively affects change for businesses and brands alike.

So let’s get you on the video content train! 

A Simple, “No-Fuss” Studio Setup

I’m going to break down my recommendations down Cameras, lenses, lighting and audio. 

Cameras

  • Main Takeaway- Look for a camera that has auto-focus and versatile monitor

When it comes to filming a standard youtube video, you really can’t go wrong with any DSLR camera out there. However, since you’ll be filming by yourself I highly recommend getting a camera that has auto-focus. There’s nothing worse than filming a video for hours just to find out you missed focus! 

It’s also important to note that it would be very helpful if your camera has a screen that can be flipped out and turned around. This way you can see yourself when you are sitting in front of it and it will make things a whole lot easier.

Here are my DSLR camera recommendations for your studio setup:

Canon EOS Rebel T7i Body

Sensor: 24.2 megapixel | Compatible Lens Mounts: EF and EF-S mounts | Monitor: 3” articulating touch screen | Highest Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080p

Sony Alpha A6500

Sensor: 25 megapixel | Compatible Lens Mounts: E mount | Monitor: 3” Tilting touch screen | Highest Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080p

Lenses

  • Main Takeaway- Get an all purpose or portrait lens with the best aperture you can afford..

For lenses, the most crucial thing is the focal length and the aperture range. I like to recommend “all-purpose” type lenses that have a standard zoom range, these are lenses anywhere between 20-100mm. Because of their zoom range, they are more versatile and can adapt to various locations. 

I also recommend getting a lens that has a relatively low aperture. However, you will usually find that the lower the aperture is, the more expensive they become so I suggest aiming for as low as possible within your budget. A “portrait” lens is generally any lens with a focal length between 50-100mm. They are great for “talking head” youtube videos because they crop the shot from the waist up, like a portrait.

RELATED: Understanding DSLR Lenses | Focal Length, Aperture, Full Frame VS Crop

Here are my lens recommendations for your studio setup:

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS

Mount: EF-S Mount | Aperture rage: f/2.8 to f/22 | Best Used For: All purpose

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC (Canon)

Mount: EF-S Mount | Aperture rage: f/2.9 to f/16 | Best Used For: All purpose

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

Mount: EF Mount | Aperture rage: f/1.8 to f/22 | Best Used For: Portrait

RELATED: Is the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM Right For You?

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8

Mount: EF Mount | Aperture rage: f/1.8 to f/22 | Best Used For: Portrait

Sony 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS 

Mount: E Mount | Aperture rage: f/3.5-5.6 to f/22-36 | Best Used For: All Purpose

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS 

Mount: E Mount | Aperture rage:  f/3.5-6.3 to f/22-40 | Best Used For: All Purpose

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

Mount: E Mount | Aperture rage: f/1.8 to f/22 | Best Used For: Portrait

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8

Mount: E Mount | Aperture rage:  f/1.8 to f/22 | Best Used For: Portrait

Audio

  • Main takeaway-Go with the simplest set up as possible. An on camera mic should do the trick.

When it comes to audio there’s a few ways you can go about it, but the simplest method is to go with an on camera mic. The only downside to these is that if the background noisy you will definitely pick that up. But if you can manage to film in a quiet area then a rode mic will do just fine! These are far better than the built in mics that come on most DSLR cameras.

Rode VideoMic GO Lightweight On-Camera Microphone

Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro On-Camera Microphone

Lighting

  • Main takeaway- Film in front of a large window or get LED lights but make sure you diffuse diffuse diffuse!

Lighting is an often overlooked part of video content creation, but in all honesty it’s the most important. Actually, It’s more important than any piece of equipment in your studio setup to be frank. Videography is the art of capturing light. Think of it this way, if you turn your camera on in a dark room what do you see? If you don’t have adequate light, it doesn’t matter what else you have, you won’t be able to overcome that. So if you are thinking about where your money will best serve you, it’s definitely in this section.

The first thing I would suggest is to film in front of a window with lots of natural light coming in. But there are things to consider. If you are getting lots of direct sunlight, then filming in front of that will just give you weird shadows across your face or make the image too bright (no matter what settings you put your camera/lens on). So I recommend doing some test shots around the same time that you plan to film and see what it looks like.

If that isn’t an option and you need actual lights, I recommend getting at least 2 LED lights and diffusing it! Diffusing just means that you are making the light “softer” buy putting something over it like a softbox. You could also get pretty decent results with a single ring light, but ultimately I’d suggest getting two lights if and placing them both sides of your camera. Like this:

Here are my lighting recommendations for your studio set up:

Flashpoint Photo/Video 19″ AC Powered 55W 5500K Dimmable LED Ring Light With Bag

iKan Onyx OYB5 Half x 1 Bi-Color 2-Point LED Light Kit, Includes 2x Compact Light Stand, Stand Bag and Light Bag

One More Thing…

When it comes to editing, I recommend putting an outline together of the things you’d like to cover beforehand and try your best to say everything in one go.That will help you immensely when it comes time to edit. Most computers come with some sort of simple video editing software and you can just put the video clip there, add your intro and outro a little music maybe and you’re done!

At Home Studio Setup, Made Easy

I hope these recommendations help you on your journey to creating video content! If you have any questions for me, please feel free to leave a comment below, I’m happy to help!

Ready to Hire Someone?

I am a videographer, writer and director that runs a full service video production company. If you are looking to have videos created, or need a consulting to come up with the right video strategy I’m happy to discuss that with you! Drop me a line with what you are looking for and I’ll follow up with you as soon as possible!

Thank you for reading

Olivia J

Olivia J is a video producer, writer, and director specializing in corporate video, events, documentaries and film. To see some of her work visit oliviaj.me