It’s a trap!
It can be really tempting to tell yourself that you’ll get started after you buy that expensive piece of equipment.
And as a fellow gear enthusiast, I completely understand, but this is a trap.
When you’re starting a new endeavour you want to create a process and produce a proof of concept. What you don’t want to do is spend $10,000 on a home studio only to discover that going live or recording videos isn’t something you want to keep doing.
So what’s the solution?
Start with the things you already have access to
Take stock (literally) of what you already own or have easy access to.
In terms of video creation, consider:
- Your smart phone: It’s bound to have a half decent camera. You can stream from it, you can record to it, you can use free or cheap apps to edit video on it.
- Your webcam: An external webcam can be easily repositioned, put on a desk tripod, but even a webcam built into your laptop will capture basic footage.
- Natural lighting: Rearranging yourself in front of a large window is often an easy win.
- Artificial lighting: Before I invested in my Elgato Key Lights, I used to use a cheap desk lamp with an adjustable neck. It was insane how much this improved even the way I appeared on a standard webcam.
Start simply and add extra things slowly to your livestreams or video production over time. Your message is more important than flashy gimmicks.
Scrappy solutions to real problems
A little creativity can go a long way when it comes to overcoming issues in your makeshift studio.
In the past I have:
- Used a stack of old textbooks as a microphone stand
- Bought a 1.25 kilogram weight from Kmart to stabilise my RØDE NT1-A in a table microphone stand not really designed to support that much weight.
What can you do to overcome existing problems without spending too much money?
Cheap and free video software and tools
We are really fortunate to have access to cheap and free software and tools to support our video and livestreaming projects.
- OBS Studio: Free and open source software for video recording and streaming. Available for Windows, macOS and Linux. Its functionality can be extended through plugins and scripts.
- Restream will let you broadcast via custom streaming software (such as OBS Studio) or in the browser via Restream Studio. Restream has a free tier that will let you broadcast to 2 channels with Restream branding.
- StreamYard also has a free plan with StreamYard branding and some other constraints.
Video Editing Software
- CapCut is a free video editor from the makers of TikTok. There are browser, desktop and mobile versions of the software. It includes many useful features including automatic captions (though, as always, check those captions and correct them so the audience know what you’re actually talking about).
Royalty Free Assets
There are places you can download free and royalty free assets to add to your livestream or video projects. (It’s worth checking the licensing agreements carefully.) There are a lot of these so I will only mention a few here.
- Incompetech: Kevin MacLeod has been sharing royalty free music compositions for as long as I can remember, and even some of my YouTube videos from 15 years ago have included Kevin’s work. It’s been cool to see certain compositions of his (such as “Monkeys Spinning Monkeys”) finding a new life on platforms like TikTok.
- Unsplash: Visuals for your projects.
- Pexels: Images and videos for your projects.