Updated: Feb 18
So you have finally decided that it is time for you to build an online course.
The first step in the course creation process after building your course structure and gathering your content is to figure out how you will create videos as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible. One of the best ways to do so is to set up a simple home studio for yourself.
While it may sound like a ton of work, setting up a place for yourself to film and capturing high-quality video and audio does not have to be complicated or expensive.
Remember, we're simply trying to create content that can teach others. This is not the next Christopher Nolan movie.
Today we want to take you through some of the tools we use from our "Videography on a Budget" store. These are the same tools that we recommend to our clients here at courseCREEK, and we stand by/use every one of them when creating our own courses.
Think Before You Buy
While you may feel tempted to spend a day sifting through videography review sites looking for top-of-the-line equipment, you should also be aware that this is a product field that can get very expensive, very fast. It's important to keep in mind that most people watch footage from their smartphones every day.
This should tell you that you do not need pro-quality equipment to create a high-quality course.
When you get ready to do your shopping, the first thing you want to make sure of is that all of the gear you use is compatible. We've done the research, trial, and error for you to make sure that all of the equipment we use is compatible to help make your life as easy as possible.
The Best Home Studio Equipment On a Budget
To create the most cost-effective e-learning videos from your home or office here is all of the equipment that you need to get yourself started.
Best Video Cameras for Online Course Creation
It is important to start simple when you're building a studio on a limited budget. To purchase a camera with similar capabilities to the one that is already locked away in your smartphone, you'd probably end up spending hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Smartphone cameras are very powerful and more than sufficient enough for use in a home studio. One great thing about smartphones is that you can use them for live streaming, direct uploads, or editing, thanks to the array of onboard apps. Smartphones can even upload to various social media platforms, something you probably couldn't do with traditional cameras.
If you do end up using your iPhone or Android phone for course creation, there are a few tools that we highly recommend getting, including selfie sticks or ring light holders, both of which can be found through our storefront.
With these tools, you can maintain steady video and get easy lighting no matter where you decide to film.
Suppose you want to take it a step up and have a bit more professionalism in your videos. You have a few options.
Newer camcorders are great because they can either be used in a handheld manner or on a tripod. Many newer camcorders shoot in 4k as well. However, even more, convenient than a traditional camcorder is a webcam. High-quality webcams are excellent, as they can upload directly to your computer or laptop without any additional steps.
The video at the top of this section was filmed using a webcam and has stellar quality.
We are huge fans of Logitech Webcams here at courseCREEK, as they offer some of the highest-quality video available for the price range.
Best Microphones for Online Course Creation
Though the camera on your smartphone or webcam might cut it for video, the audio simply won't do for those looking to make professional education videos. A professional microphone will give your crisp and clear audio while cutting out any unwanted noise in the background. Even inexpensive mics will do far better than the microphone built into your phone.
While there are plenty of microphones out there that we could talk about, there are two main microphone types that we recommend when it comes to course creation: Lavalier and Condenser.
Lavaliers, otherwise referred to as lavs, are tiny microphones that clip onto your lapel. These are some of the most inexpensive microphones around, great for those who like to move around when they teach. Rode makes some of the best lavalier microphones out there today.
This high-quality lav is wireless and comes with everything you need to get started, including the clip, cable, and receiver.
If you are planning on creating more of a still-shot style of video and you want to invest a bit more in the quality of your audio, there are plenty of traditional microphone options out there as well.
Directional microphones are much better in spaces that aren't acoustically treated, which is why we recommend going with handheld-style dynamic microphones. You can find plenty of our favorite handheld-style microphones, all of which can be placed on a stand at our microphone shop.
Best Background for Shooting Course Videos
One of the most important things to consider when filming your video is the background. You want to make sure that the background you film in front of eliminates any distractions and adds a sense of privacy. Of course, it also has to be relevant to your course. You wouldn't want to film a course on computer software with your kitchen in the background.
Backgrounds that are too busy can overwhelm the cognitive load, which can diminish the learning experience and successful learning outcomes.
If you don't have a decent place in your home to shoot, we recommend looking into buying temporary filming backgrounds. You'll find plenty of high-quality options for green screens in our storefront.
Best Lighting for Online Course Videos
Even if you have a professional camera and a crisp, clear background, you won't get a professional video without good lighting. Overhead lighting is awful, as it can cast shadows on your face and create a dim look in your video. We always recommend trying to shoot in rooms with plenty of natural light, as it almost always tends to look best.
However, if you don't have a space to shoot with good, natural lighting, you'll need to get some equipment.
We always recommend that our clients start with a basic lighting kit package so that they don't have to deal with buying multiple pieces of gear from different sources.
You'll find a few kits in our storefront that come with everything you need for under $150, perfect for amateur videographers. Some come with multiple softbox LED lights, aluminum light stands, power adapters, cables, and carrying bags in the case that you want to shoot outside the home.
For those who don't want to invest in a complete kit or simply don't have the room to set a kit up, we recommend getting an LED ring. LED rings come with tripod stands and can hold your webcam or GoPro. They are ultra-portable, meaning you can bring them just about anywhere to shoot.
Best Accessories for Online Course Videos
One of the first things you need to consider before shooting any video is that video files are HUGE. You will need someplace to start storing your video files, which is why we recommend getting an external hard drive that has a few TeraBytes of storage.
For those who have a bit more to spend, we also recommend getting yourself a teleprompter. While we often talk about the importance of memorizing and rehearsing content before shooting, doing so isn't always practical. There are plenty of semi-pro teleprompter solutions out on the market today.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Having high-quality visual and auditory content is one of the most important aspects of course creation. Whether you are just getting started or you have been struggling with trying to find the right equipment for your home studio, the gear covered here from our "Videography on a Budget" store can make a huge difference.
We only speak from experience here at courseCREEK and assure you that we would never recommend equipment that wasn't tried and true.
If you're ready to take the leap and create your own online course, make sure to get in contact with us here.