Creating a Prosumer Video Recording Studio for Under $3^*000

September 20, 2011 | Michael Helton
Creating a Prosumer Video Recording Studio for Under $3^*000

Last month I wrote a blog article titled, “Creating Quality Training Videos In-House: Cheap, Fast, and Efficient,” which was a “why-to” regarding creating training videos in-house.

However, I really liked Susan Edmondson’s “how-to” post on setting up a basic audio recording booth, “How to Build Your Own Brainshark Recording Studio” so I decided to write a “how-to” on the materials needed to setup a basic video recording studio for less than $3,000.

1)  Video Camcorder (~$1,500

Camcorder technology has come a long way in the last few years, so it is very easy to get a camera capable of capturing excellent quality, High-Definition video for a low price.  Essentially, there are three levels of video cameras:  Consumer (less than $1,000), Prosumer (ranging from $1,000-$5,000), and Professional ($5,000 and up).

I recommend the Prosumer level because these cameras are considerably better than the less expensive ones and they are on par with many of the more expensive professional versions.  I talked with many videographers and did an extensive amount of research.  The result was selecting a camera that will record in most environments and at a higher resolution than almost everything else in its class; the Panasonic HDC-TM700K.

I have shot hundreds of videos with this camera and I am very happy with it. If this camera does not meet your price range, there are less expensive models which still provide a high quality result.

2)  Microphone (~$600) 

You may be tempted to go with an inexpensive microphone, but I recommend spending a little money to be able to record high-quality audio. 

This is a wireless, omni-directional lapel mic that is optimal for recording interviews, dialogue, or many other audio situations. The Sennheiser EW 112PG3A.  

If you need a mic that will provide good quality audio in outdoor or distance situations, opt for a shotgun mic: Rode Videomic.

3)  Audio/Video Editing Software (~$600)

If you use a Mac, then there is really only one choice for audio/video editing software: Final Cut Pro. 

The PC has four main contenders (Sony Vegas Pro, Premiere Pro, Avid, and Pinnacle).  I highly recommend Sony Vegas Pro because of it’s ability to simultaneously edit multiple cameras/angles, a full feature set, excellent codecs and because it is very user-friendly.  

4)  Lighting (~$80) 

Lighting is very important because either too much or too little could make anything you record unusable.  You can easily spend thousands of dollars on lighting, but I would recommend starting out with an inexpensive lighting kit from your local video store or something like this Cowboy Studio set.  

If your needs expand, you can always upgrade your lighting kit at a later date.

5)  Accessories (~$200) 

Some other items that will round out your basic video recording studio are:

-Gaffer’s tape

-Face powder

-Batteries

-Tripod

-Bags for all of the gear

-Extra memory cards

-An extra camera battery

There you have it.  For a few thousand dollars, you will be able to put together a high-quality video recording studio.  Then, with a little intellectual sweat equity, you will be ready to start recording your own training videos and deliver them to your learners through Brainshark. 

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