If you’re asking “How did she do that?” this is for you. Here’s what I’ve used to create videos for launching my book, creating my online course and launching my daughter’s business.

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What I use for video production

Equipment

Camera: Logitech c920 Webcam

This doubles as both my live-streaming camera and the one I use for recording videos.  It was recommended by both video and course creation experts.

Microphone:  Blue Yeti USB

This microphone was highly recommended as a solid start-up mic.

Since sound quality can make or break you, my husband (aka “Tech support”) insisted on spending the money when I started my podcast back in 2015. I’m glad he did.

I continue to see this exact mic in “behind-the-scenes” photos of some big bloggers and podcasters.

When I’m recording a podcast or anything else that allows me to be close to the mic, it works perfectly. We also use it when we video, but it has to be further away from my face. Thus, we had to develop a solution to keep the sound from being “tinny” (or thin and metallic). (Photos below of the insulated box). The microphone sits in front of me or off to the side in this box as I record. Although the camera can see the mic, when I edit the video I’m able to zoom in enough to edit it out.

Pop filter: Dragonpad USA

This hooks onto the microphone. It’s necessary when recording up close to keep explosive sounds like “p” and “b” from sounding like pops.

Lighting: LimoStudio 700W Photography Softbox Lighting Kit

Lighting is an element that is often underestimated. Before I invested in good lighting, I had a compilation of stands and lamps strung everywhere. Getting these lights changed everything about my process. My only regret? Not investing sooner.

There are two choices here. The first is what I purchased in Summer 2017. The second is what I was planning to purchase based on recommendations for start-ups. In the end, I chose to spend a little more money to get stronger lights.

See the reviewer’s video on the Amazon sales page. He does a great job showing you what’s included.

 

Another highly recommended option:

CowboyStudio Triple Lighting Kit

This one comes with the third backlight. For that reason and due to its great price, it is often recommended by video experts as the best start-up option. I found I didn’t need the backlight for my purposes and if I did, I could use one of my lamps or husband’s workshop lighting. I wanted the stronger lights included in the LimoStudio set. But everything I read gave glowing reviews of this triple lighting kit.

Backdrops

I loved this backdrop because it was intentionally crafted to reduce the appearance of shadows, something you might not think of as an issue. I will be buying more of these along the way for my courses. We used kraft brown paper for my daughter’s interviews when she launched her business. That worked well also. All backdrops were simply tacked to the wall behind us.

Other Needs:

This inexpensive wireless presenter works perfectly with all my software. It easily advances, speeds up, and slows down the CuePrompter software. I also use it when I speak.

For a teleprompter, I use the free software at CuePrompter.com. It’s not the best option but it’s free. If you don’t have a large monitor to use it on, you may experience difficulties.

I completed an online course in amateur video production. The expert recommended this iPad teleprompter. It’s on my list to upgrade to in the future.

Here are a few other recommendations from that same course:

Behind-the-Scenes of our “Studio”

This is the microphone box my husband “engineered” —it sat off to the side, at about chest-level.
That’s the Yeti microphone inside a box covered in egg crate foam.
(Tip: It’s cheaper to get a mattress topper and cut it up than buy the “electronics” foam.)

 

This shows the lighting and camera setup (pardon the typo on the photo).

Camera, lighting, video

video production studio

 

This is what the camera shown above saw. Using the editing software (see below), I zoomed in on the video.

backdrop and staging

 

This short “bloopers” video posted on Facebook is not edited and thus shows the backdrop (brown paper) and the microphone box (covered in black) in front of us.

Click the image to play the video on Facebook:

Behind the scenes

Editing

Initially, I tried editing on my MacBook Air laptop. Although it worked for smaller projects, I never could have progressed in course creation without my iMac.

All of my course videos were recorded directly into the software Screenflow (by Telestream). This is only available for Mac.

The images in my course videos were created as a Prezi presentation. I recorded them as a screen capture through Screenflow and then superimposed them onto the teaching videos, all within the Screenflow software.

This is a sample project screen from one of the videos:

Screenflow workspace

 

This mashup video shows clips of videos that were all edited with Screenflow:

 

Many of the trailer videos I’ve created were done with iMovie using their trailer templates.

This is an example of a video created with an iMovie “trailer” template:

Stock photos & music

In general, I get stock photos from either Depositphoto, Christianpics.co, or Lightstock, depending on the need. Everything from DepositPhoto or Christian Pics is able to be used for commercial use. Lightstock has a few restrictions, but they haven’t affected me yet and they are the nicest people to answer your questions if you have them.

I’ve also used a few photos from Shutterstock, although they are more pricey.

For images and videos that show the placement of a product, my favorite site is Placeit.net.

Here’s a sample video I created solely through PlaceIt when I didn’t have time to craft my own video.
I simply uploaded an image of my book’s cover and the video was ready in five minutes.
I loaded the video into iMovie and added background music.
The video was only published on Facebook and their embed feature doesn’t always work correctly.
Click here to view the video with audio on Facebook.

The background music for my course “It’s Reasonable” was commissioned through my niece. My other source for commercial-use music is Jamendo. I got an incredible deal for a 10-pack of licenses that cost less than the price of one license.

These are the kinds of deals I share with my “Quick Win” email list when I find them. If you’re not on that list, it’s the best place to hear about the best I’ve found or tried:

Quick Win: Tell me More!

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Advice on getting started with amateur video for bloggers. Low cost equipment. Starter sets, video production, editing software, video camera, small business websites, promo videos