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Our video studio setup cost less than $400

How to Start a Professional Video Blog for Less Than $400

Thu Apr 5, 2018

So you want to add more variety to your content, but don’t know where to start. Perhaps you always wanted to be a director, but never made it to Hollywood. The great news is, both of your dreams can come true! As outlined both in Samantha Stone’s recent blog, people learn in a variety of ways, and offering content in a variety of formats creates a lasting impact.

Setting Up The Studio

I made a list of necessities (which I’ll include below), totaling less than $400. We didn’t invest in a digital camera (this is a studio “on a budget” after all), and instead opted for the iPhone method; one for video, one for audio. Once my equipment arrived, I took over an unused room in the back of the office and hung up a sheet of seamless paper across an old backdrop stand (although the paper can also be fixed directly to a wall). I fixed 2 of the 3 lights to light stands, set up a boom stand for audio, and positioned the camera tripod about 10 feet from the backdrop. A third light is placed behind the speaker to eliminate shadows. For more tips and tricks about setting up a studio, be sure to visit Wistia’s learning center. Our video studio certainly wouldn’t be possible without their tutorials!

Studio Necessities

2 iPhones (one for audio, one for video) — we borrow from two colleagues, so no cost there.

Camera Tripod - $29.95

iPhone Mount  - $6.95

Paper Backdrop 107” x 12 yards - $45.00

(x4) Light Stands - $15 ea

(x2) Rosco Diffusion Material - $7 ea

(x3) Scoop Lights - $11 ea

(x3) CFL Bulbs (daylight balanced "High-CRI" or "Full Spectrum" bulbs) - $25/4 pack

(x3) Spring Clips - $7/6pack

(x3) 12ft Extension Cords - $11.49 ea

(x1) Package of Clothespins - $3

(x1) Boom Stand - $30.95

Total Cost: $352.32

Finding Talent

Once the makeshift studio was finalized, it was time to enlist a speaker. Our content manager, Karo Kilfeather, stepped up to the plate. Following in her footsteps, a few great Percussion employees have done videos; however, folks from other companies have also come in and provided valuable insights. While keeping it in-house can be easier, don’t be afraid to invite guest speakers into your new studio. Having their content on the web is beneficial for both you and them!

We like a conversational feel, so we typically keep our videos to a 3 take maximum. Some video experts recommend writing a script and rehearsing beforehand, but the natural approach has been working for us so far. If there are any flubs beyond what would be considered conversational, they can be covered up with a graphic or a sneaky fade during post-production. I’d recommend having graphics or pictures ready to compliment the speaker’s topic. Pictures contribute substantially when they’re providing context, especially for those who learn more visually.

Making Edits

I used iMovie to edit our earlier videos; it’s a basic product but has everything you’ll need to create simple video interviews or blogs. If you’re looking for a more robust product that allows you to be more creative with your editing, I’d recommend investing in Final Cut Pro (used to edit our recent video, How To Get Your CEO To Approve Your Content Marketing Budget). It not only has more options such as text animation, but also includes features which will make editing much less time consuming, such as giving you the ability to have multiple graphics appear on the screen at once; a courtesy that is unfortunately not offered in iMovie.

So there you have it! Get started creating your own video content, and let me know what you come up with in the comments.


John Matthews
John Matthews
Video Content Specialist

John studied computer science at Northeastern University before moving to Los Angeles to play drums at Musician's Institute. He joined Percussion's sales team in 2014, and he currently does video production and editing. John is also the drummer in the metal band My Missing Half, and utilizes his percussion expertise both in the office and on stage.