If you want to create videos for church announcements, teaching, or testimonials, you could easily spend thousands of dollars on video equipment. But today, creating a professional looking video doesn’t have to break the bank.
A few months ago, I dove deep into finding a cost-effective solution to set up a video studio in my office for an online preaching course that I’m creating (details coming soon).
I wanted the video to be professional quality, but I don’t have buckets of cash sitting around.
After a lot of research, I found a great solution. My videos look and sound great, and I didn’t even have to sell a kidney.
If you’re looking for an affordable video studio setup, here’s my setup:
Video Camera: iPhone
Cost: Free (if you already have one)
After researching all the best DSLR cameras on the market, I couldn’t get over the price tag. I’d love one, but they can run anywhere from $500 to $3,000 or more.
But the iPhone 7 in my pocket can shoot HD video (up to 4k) that’s hard for the untrained eye to distinguish from more expensive cameras.
Spending thousands more wouldn’t increase the quality all that much.
The real secret to getting the most from your phone’s camera is having the right lighting and a good microphone. Even a top-of-the-line camera with lousy light and sound can’t shoot a good video.
Saving money by using the camera I already own allowed me to invest the money in the stuff that’ll make a greater impact.
Microphone: Shure MV88
The built-in microphone on your phone is not good. Whether you use your phone or a more expensive camera, you’ll still need a better microphone to capture quality audio.
There are lots of options on the market. But I was most impressed with the Shure MV88 microphone because (1) Shure builds great microphones and (2) it’s made to work specifically with an iPhone.
I love how portable and easy this mic is. It comes with Shure’s excellent MOTIV app that gives you to control of how the microphone captures sound. It also comes with a solid travel case and a foam windscreen.
Cheaper Option: If you’re looking for a cheaper option, check out the Rhode SmartLav+. It’ll also deliver good sound for around $60.
Lighting: YONGNUO YN300 Air LED
This little LED light packs a lot of power. It has a built-in cover to provide a softer light. The white balance is excellent, and you can adjust the brightness and tone.
I bought two of them so I can have light from multiple angles (learn about three-point lighting here). But you could get away with just one if necessary.
Note: The light can either be powered by a camera battery or plugged in with a power adaptor. But neither the battery or power cable are included. You’ll need to buy one separately if you don’t already have it sitting around.
Free Option: Another option is to use natural lighting by having the subject of the video face a window. You’ll have less control, but, hey, it’s free.
Cost: $12.97 (+$4.99 for a phone mount)
You’ll probably want a tripod or two to stabilize your camera and lights. I picked up a few of these AmazonBasics tripods.
They aren’t the most heavy duty, but they work just fine for filming in my office. I also like that they break down small and are lightweight for easy storage.
And don’t forget, if you’re using your phone for a camera, you’ll need a universal phone tripod mount. You can pick up a simple one like this for just $4.99.
Free Option: Depending on your space, you can get creative with things you already own. For example, you could set the camera on a shelf, a table, or a windowsill and use boxes or books for added height.
Teleprompter: Video Teleprompter App
You might not need a teleprompter, but if you want to deliver a script with confidence (and without having to memorize it), a teleprompter helps.
There’s a reason that professional studios rely on expensive teleprompters. But, if you’re recording with an iPhone and working on a budget, the Video Teleprompter App is a fantastic solution.
This app stands apart from all others because it allows you to record video while your script scrolls on the screen.
The beauty of this solution is that the text automatically scrolls on the side closest to the camera, so it still looks like you’re looking at the camera.
It’s by far the best teleprompter app I’ve found.
Free Option: Your video may not be as polished, but you could choose to film without a teleprompter. If you need notes, study them between takes.
Editing: Final Cut Pro X
Final Cut is the Rolls-Royce of video editing software, and great editing can take the materials from an average video and make it better
It won’t do the work for you, but Final Cut Pro will give you all the tools that professional video editors use for making movies, TV shows, and commercials.
If you plan on making a lot of videos, it’s worth the investment. But it’s also the most expensive item on this list.
Free Option: If you have an apple computer, iMovie comes built-in. While it’s not the most powerful video editor in the world, iMovie will perform all the essential functions you need.
Grand Total: $522.76 (or as low as $100)
This is a picture of my video studio setup. I’m extremely happy with it.
It’s a fantastic solution for churches wanting to make high-end videos on a low-end budget.