How to Make the Best Home Recording Studio on a Budget

Just because you’re hoping to build a home recording studio doesn’t make it less of a project. You must do your due diligence in research, reconnaissance, and planning. Nevertheless, after realizing all the work needed, you shouldn’t wimp out and leave with your tail between your legs. It takes time to carry out this task, but it’s not an impossible undertaking, either.

Thanks to digital technology advancements, even a modestly funded home studio can produce professional-quality video recordings. This is absolutely good news for aspiring vloggers and entrepreneurs who primarily sell their products online.

Yet, you can’t just install a camera and start taping in your bedroom or wherever you want to be. To make professional-looking, high-quality videos, you’ll need to set your home studio up properly. Needless to say, we have some recommendations for you if you’re planning to do just that. 

Steps on Making a Home Recording Studio

Step 1: Choose a Location

How much space you need for your home recording studio is determined by how you intend to use it. The whole idea is to find a room large enough to accommodate the equipment, which is really not that much, to begin with. Such locations as basements, unused garages, and spare bedrooms could work.

When selecting a recording location, keep in mind that low ceilings and square rooms should be avoided. Due to the nature of sound waves, low ceilings echo sound more intensely than higher ceilings. Because of this, the resulting microphone recordings are distorted and difficult to understand. Similarly, there are “null points” in square rooms where frequencies cancel out. This leaves unpleasant empty spots in the room’s acoustics, which can mess with accuracy. 

What are the essential pieces of equipment that you must have to start out your home recording studio? Well, a tripod, ring/softbox light, a microphone, and a phone are all it takes to record videos at home. If you’re using a laptop, you can stack boxes or books to place the camera lens at eye level. Following this simple tip, you’ll be amazed at how well your videos could turn out!

Step 2: Choose a Setup

There are typically three types of video recording setups, and it will be up to you to choose the right one based on the kind of content you’re making. These are:

  • Talking Head
  • Full Body
  • Top-down or Overhead

Talking head is a video setup where the speaker does not show his or her whole body. It’s one of the most common ways to record videos. This setup is interview-style, where you speak straight into the camera as if talking directly to an audience. If your body movement does not matter as much as the information you’re presenting, the talking head should be your setup of choice.

Another thing about this setup is it’s perfect if you have a smaller space to record the video. It’s also cheap, easy to create, conducive to different learning styles, and adds a human “touch.” 

The second type of setup is the full-body setup. The camera is set back enough so your entire body is visible in the frame. This is perfect for yoga or Pilates teachers, bodybuilders, dancers, or anyone who talks about sports and similar topics. That’s because a full body is needed in these situations to show movements and proper form. Remember, though, that you’ll need a bigger room if the content you make benefits from a full-body setup.

The third type of video setup is the overhead or top-down format. This angle works wonderfully if you want to immerse the audience in the action taking place on a tabletop. You may use this setup to record anything on a table, including cooking videos, drawing videos shot from above, demo videos, and more. The most basic gear to pull off a top-down setup is a flexible arm phone mount, but if you have another camera guy to do the shoot for you, that’s even better.

Step 3: Get your equipment ready

The equipment for a video home recording studio is not as expensive as home music or audio recording studio. That said, you still have to round everything up to make the most of your budget home recording studio.

Here are the things that you need:

  • Microphone. Great content is always the key to videos. The value of the material and the presentation make up the majority of what can be described as “great,” but everything goes down the drain if you have poor audio. That’s why it’s recommended to buy the best microphone that you can afford.
  • Lighting. It’s always best to use natural lighting, but in reality, you may have to shoot videos on nights and days when natural light isn’t enough. The answer is softbox lights. There are cheap options that should work great, especially if you invest in LED lights to put on them.
  • Camera. Smartphone cameras have reached a point where they can record 4K resolution videos. If you’re on a budget and planning to go that route, it’s not a bad option at all. However, if you can get a better camera, go for a DSLR, preferably the one where the screen flips out so you can see yourself as the video records.
  • Camera Mount. Tripods are okay for basic video setups, but you’ll get bored shooting with the same angle every time. At some point, you will want to experiment, or your content will evolve, and you will need more than a standard tripod. Other options would be a Gorillapod (a tripod with flexible legs) and a desk mount (the best option for overhead setups).

Step 3: Design a customized backdrop

Video backgrounds or backdrop makes your videos look cooler. You may always go for a natural video backdrop, especially if you’re filming in your bedroom at home, but make sure everything is neat and tidy. Even little things, such as plants, make a big difference in the overall backdrop design.

However, you may also opt to use curtains, another layer of paint, and cotton or paper backdrops. Another thing to consider is if you choose paper backdrops and similar setups, you will have to purchase a backdrop stand. This will evidently go against your budget, which is something you must consider. Whatever you opt for in the end, just ensure you’re not taking your backdrop for granted.

Step 4: Choose High Quality Video Software

After finally getting the camera to roll, you’ll have to edit the scenes so your video won’t look like a fast-paced mess. The editor can then focus on other aspects of the video, such as color grading, layering, sound editing, etc., with the help of the software.

Of course, the idea of making a home recording studio is to make everything cost-effective. The good news is while you have to pay for the best software, you’ll have several excellent options that won’t break the bank. 

Top 10 Tips for Filming Videos at Home

Once you’ve completed the above steps, you’re ready to begin producing video content at home. Here are our top recommendations for converting your room into a top-notch studio environment:

  1. Position the camera at eye level at all times, if possible, unless you’re shooting from overhead.
  2. Give adequate space around the subject to allow the video to be readily cropped for multiple platforms. 
  3. Allow some space between the subject and the background, as this adds depth to the shot. 
  4. Be sure to shoot in 4K resolution at all times.
  5. Natural is always the best source of light. 
  6. Carpeted space and other soft furnishings reduce echo, so you may want to prep your room or any filming location around the house with those.
  7. Shadows can be both a friend and a foe. Too much of them can get in the way of what you want the audience to focus on, but the right amount can add needed depth. Try to find the right balance by adjusting the location and positioning of the light sources.
  8. If you need to memorize long lines of text, consider using a teleprompter. Teleprompter apps range from free to paid, but the idea is the same; these tools allow you to speak as if talking directly to the viewer with minimal hiccups. That said, even with a teleprompter, practice the script to avoid mistakes.
  9. If you need to zoom in the camera, simply move it closer to the subject. Never use the zoom feature on the camera because it will blur the video.
  10. Invest in a new computer with enough RAM to handle video editing projects. Editing on a slow computer could be incredibly frustrating.

Final Thoughts

Setting up a home recording studio on a budget is possible, many thanks to the improvement of digital technology. Smartphones have become powerful tools to record high-resolution videos, and other types of equipment, such as video editing software, computers, and light sources, are affordable enough that they are no longer major hindrances. After you’ve set up your lighting, audio, and editing equipment, it’s time to start creating content in your home video studio and be the next social media sensation!

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