How To Build Your At Home Video Setup

Teachers are always surprised by how easy it is to record high-quality classes at home without breaking the bank. Whether you’re planning on filming a screencast-based class with a quick talking head intro, or an entire class where you’ll show your process for creating your own beautiful Kokedama, you’ll need a few tools to help you get started. These devices range from cheap solutions to more expensive professional equipment, but we always recommend using the resources you already have to create your Skillshare class. As long as you have clear audio and video quality, your class content will shine and resonate with the student community. Keep in mind, as your teaching style evolves, your at-home film set-up might evolve with it. We recommend starting with the basics and upgrading your kit overtime.

We’ve put together a few kits you can choose from to build your at-home video setup.

THE WEBCAM WAY

A lot of teachers film themselves using a classic webcam. Some teachers purchase external webcam device while others use the one directly built in their computer. Top Skillshare teacher Teela Cunningham uses a Logitech WebCam to film all her classes and, similarly, Jenn Coyle records all her talking-head style videos using a webcam. This tool is a great option to produce clear audio and sharp video quality. Check out a few webcam favorites here.

USB MIC

While your webcam will likely provide good sound quality on its own, consider looking into an external USB snowball mic to get the most crisp and clear audio possible.

Check out our favorite USB mic here. Teach Challenge winner Mimi Choa says “this little mic proved to take the quality of my videos sound to a way better level,” in her Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Filming post.

THE SMARTPHONE SOLUTION

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Some of our most successful teachers film themselves at home with their smartphone. Top Skillshare Teachers like Faye Brown and Christine Fleming record their talking-head style video using their respective mobile devices. If you already own a smartphone that can capture video, consider the following extra tools to expand your kit.

Something to Stabilize

Gorilla Tripod

For about $20 you can easily snag a great smartphone tripod on Amazon or Best Buy. Like every product hunt, we recommend conducting a quick Google search and consulting a few reviews before selecting the right tripod for your mobile device.

Stack of books

Being resourceful is crucial to preparing your at home film set up. Consider building your own make-shift tripod by simply gathering a few books around the house and stacking them atop one another. This method will allow you to film yourself and even help you master a top down birds eye view.

Lighting

Simply position yourself in front of a window with indirect sunlight to achieve natural-style lighting. Just be sure that the sunlight is in front of you rather than behind you. For a non-natural, less sunlight-dependent option, check out a few lighting equipment solutions here.

THE POINT-AND-SHOOT PATH

A point-and-shoot is a great choice for every teacher newbie! Not only are they easy to operate, but they’re generally fairly affordable without compromising quality. We’ve heard great things about the Canon G7X,as well as the Canon S120 for a more low-budget second contender. See a full list of vetted point-and-shoot cameras here.

Gorilla Tripod

Point-and-shoot tripods are generally affordable and a great tool to help stabilize your shots! Check out this neat and affordable gorilla Joby tripod. With this model, you’ll be able to meticulously orient your camera to achieve those specific frames in your shot list.

THE DSLR DIRECTION

A DSLR is a great option for achieving high-production video quality. Remember, our student community values educational content much more than production quality, so this kit is by no means essential. However, if you’re looking to invest in a DSLR and would like to use one to film your Skillshare class, we recommend the Canon T5i camera and the Canon 70D. These are both favorited cameras by the Skillshare teacher community and video bloggers at large because of their continuous auto-focus capabilities, which help teachers easily film themselves. For other DSLR models, feel free to consult this list of favorites.

Something to Stabilize

Tripod

If your DSLR is fairly heavy, you’ll want to invest in a sturdy and safe tripod. The Vanguard Alta Pro has all the features you could want in a tripod at a fairly reasonable price. For a more expensive option, look into the Manfrotto 055XPROB. Check out a few more great picks here.

Hacked Top-Down Tripod: Microphone Stand + Adapter

You can also hack together your own tripod for any top-down shots you'll need by using a video camera adapter and a tripod microphone stand. For more info on this method, head here.

Gorilla Tripod

We nominate the Joby DSLR gorilla tripod as a team favorite. Remember the more static a camera can be, the better. Like always, be sure to consult product reviews and check out a full list of coveted favorites here.

Microphone

Sound quality is paramount for any class. We recommend this wireless Sennheiser EW 100 Mic or a Wireless Sennheiser AVX Lavalier mic, but see a more robust list of contenders here.  If you’re not using a mic, we recommend standing about three feet away from the camera to capture clear audio!

Additional Skillshare Film Resources

 

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