Content creators are always chasing that picture-perfect shot, whether they are traversing the globe or in the comfort of their own home. However, many creators struggle with understanding what they need and what goes into building a functional and aesthetically pleasing studio. With the rise of online mega-retailers like Amazon, it has never been easier to purchase quality studio equipment at reasonable prices.
Lighting Your Studio
Setting up the lights in your studio will be the most challenging aspect when building your space. The key to success is utilizing a three-point lighting system. As you may have guessed, this method requires three different lights. Let’s look at the various lights and their function.
- The Key Light illuminates most of the space and the subject (you).
- A Fill Light provides more light to one side of your face, creating a nice shadowy look with contrast and depth.
- The Hair Light bounces a soft glow of light to the back of your head to create a halo-like effect. Not only does this add depth, but it also helps separate you from the background.
A studio should feel warm and inviting, which is achieved with the proper lighting techniques. The key light plays a crucial role because its abundant light output bounces light off objects to make colors pop and create depth. You can even incorporate some lights within the frame that serve a dual purpose. For example, in the Lost Creator Academy studio, we have a beautiful vintage light that we use as the hair light, but it is also an excellent prop for the background.
The fill light is used to expose the details of the subject that fall within the shadow created by the key light. There are many affordable options on Amazon; our light was only $35 USD.
Lights can also be aimed at walls to create a gradient effect which has a unique ability to make a room appear to have different shades of color; it also adds texture to your scene. It’s always best to film in a controlled environment, but incorporating natural light can be beneficial in some cases. If you have a scenic backdrop, try filming in the morning or evening, when lighting conditions are not harsh. Doing this can produce a dramatic and dynamic background.
Lighting Product Recommendations to Get You Started:
Audio: Recording in Studio
A studio’s sound quality will depend on various factors, including audio recording devices, object placement, external noise, and building materials. One of the best ways to get crisp and clear audio is a shotgun mic. This type of microphone provides excellent isolation, with remarkable treble and bass.
How to Setup a Shotgun Microphone
To determine the mic’s height, first set up the camera for a mid-shot. A mid shot is achieved using a 35 or 50mm lens to create a rectangular image that will not show the mic. I prefer the 50mm as it provides more depth and background separation. Setting up your camera for the mid-shot will take some time and patience, and it definitely helps to have someone there to support you.
Three Easy Steps to Setting up a Shotgun Mic
- Use an external camera screen so you can see how the shot looks. Have a friend stand behind the camera while you look directly into the camera.
- Slowly raise your hand and have them stop you when your hand is no longer in the shot.
- When your hand is no longer visible, place the mic in this position.
Although it looks simple on paper, getting everything in place should not be rushed. The ideal distance between your mouth and the mic is around one foot. When done correctly, this will provide incredible unidirectional sound.
The simplest option to try first is plugging directly into the camera. With this option, you will be able to play with the EQ in post-production to manipulate the audio. The EQ settings control different parts of your voice to get your desired sound. This method also allows you to create EQ presets that can be used for other videos that you record in the studio.
The next option is to plug the shotgun mic into an external recorder. This option is the superior recording method; the audio is rich, smooth, and will not cause fatigue to your viewer’s ears. However, it’s worth noting that no studio is alike, and everything will need to be tailored to your content needs. In some cases, even closing the blinds or curtains can slightly improve the sound in the room.
Audio Product Recommendations to Get You Started:
Arranging Your Studio
While having impeccable lighting and sound is crucial, so is the design of your studio space. Choosing the correct items and complimenting colors is essential in tying everything together to create a cohesive and functional space. If you find the technicalities of lighting and audio overwhelming, you’re going to like this part.
You can turn even the most simple scene into a beautiful one that will capture your audience. Understand that angles are everything, and objects within the space need a purpose. For example, looking at a desk straight on isn’t very visually pleasing, however having the camera side-on so that everything is within view is more pleasing to the viewer’s eye.
Add additional props to the studio design that resonates with your audience. In the Lost Creator Academy studio, we added an additional workstation to add a productive vibe to resonate well with creators. Get creative with the space, move props around, use chairs, lamps and eccentric items like a biker helmet to make it feel unique and authentic. With this, make sure to choose colors that complement each other by providing contrast and texture. In the LCA studio, the warm tones of the wood, the computer background, the greens in the plant and the grey walls all complement the studio backdrop.
Studio Prop Product Recommendations to Get You Started:
Living With Studio Equipment
While some prominent content creators have large studio spaces or even a warehouse, this is not the case for everyone. Therefore, you will likely be living with your equipment, which needs to be considered when designing your space. Using tape to mark the positions of cameras, microphones, and anything else you might need to move when not in use helps with the continuity when framing and will save you a ton of time. The floor, countertops, and walls make for great markers to quickly get your studio up and running.
Studio Setup Recap
- A great studio is well-balanced, organized, and aesthetically pleasing.
- Objects are intentionally placed and moved around several times to find the right balance.
- Rotate objects to find the best way the light hits and in a way that looks natural.
- Even the background of a computer can make a massive difference in creating an exciting and dynamic scene.
- Add unique objects that are not distracting and add value to the space.
- Lighting can add a stunning gradient effect to a simple wall color.
- Experiment with the audio to find a solution that works the best for you.
Becoming a World-Class Content Creator
I hope that you found this guide helpful in learning how to set up a professional studio for content creation. If you’re looking to propel your career forward, join our free 1-hour online creator training to see what the Lost Creator Academy is all about!
Let’s get lost in the next one!
This guide links some of my favorite products and services to use as a content creator. I have partnered with these companies and earn a small fee from each purchase at no additional cost to you.