The Scrappy Entrepreneur’s Video Studio for under $1,000

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I’m a busy entrepreneur who doesn’t want to mess with expensive, complex video equipment. I’m here to make money for our company and our clients, not make the next Star Wars trilogy.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve tried dozens of cameras, lights, and gadgets at various price ranges. And as you can probably guess, fancy equipment at the hands of a novice does worse than a pro with just an iPhone. I don’t want to check 5 cases of equipment each time I go to the airport either. And I can’t tell the difference between an $85,000 Red camera and a simple DSLR, especially when watching video on a cell phone.

Or maybe I’m just old with poor eyesight– perhaps I don’t have the eye of the pro. But you probably don’t, either. And I’ll bet you want to know what equipment and techniques are actually necessary to drive sales via video.

So after wasting hundreds of hours watching YouTube videos, talking to people who are successfully using video to sell things online, I’ve prepared this list of equipment for you to buy.  I hope this saves you a ton of trial and error– I know it has for my non-video, non-technical friends that have bought these items and have quickly started to produce solid videos to drive sales for their company.

You’re busy, on a budget, and don’t have time to fool around– get these items that are under $1,000 in total:

Studio Setup

Video

Sony Alpha A7 R II – Price: $1,079.95

Neewer Professional Aluminum Alloy Tripod – $109.94

Neewer Professional Aluminum Alloy Tripod

Lighting

Fovitec StudioPRO LED Panel Bundle – $329.99

Fovitec StudioPRO LED Panel Bundle

Fovitec Softbox Kit – $189.95

Fovitec Softbox Lighting Kit

Neewer 14″ Ring Light Kit – $89.99

Neewer 14″ Ring Light Kit

I love this ring light kit. It includes everything you need to get up and running (ring light, stand, charger, carrying case, phone adapter, etc.).

Audio

Saramonic Dual Wireless VHF Lavalier Microphone Bundle – $234.95

Saramonic Dual Wireless VHF Lavalier Microphone Bundle

Sennheiser ClipMic Digital Mobile Recording Microphone for iOS Devices – $199.95

Sennheiser ClipMic Digital Mobile Recording Microphone for iOS Devices.png

RODE VideoMic Studio Boom Kit – VM, Boom Stand, Adapter, 25′ Cable – $169.00

RODE VideoMic Studio Boom Kit – VM, Boom Stand, Adapter, 25′ Cable

Blue Yeti USB Microphone – $129.00

Blue Yeti USB Microphone

The Blue Yeti USB microphone is one of the best USB microphones you will find. This mic is great for webinars, podcasts, and interviews you do online. The Blue Yeti has a headphone output, so you can hear your interview and talk without much latency – a great feature for a USB mic.

2 Lavalier Lapel Microphones Set for Dual Interview – $45.35

2 Lavalier Lapel Microphones Set for Dual Interview

Miscellaneous Extras

DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo Collapsible Quadcopter Drone Safety Bundle – $1,299.00

DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo Collapsible Quadcopter Drone Safety Bundle

Glide Gear Teleprompter (iPad Size) – $199.99

Glide Gear Teleprompter (iPad Size)

Having a teleprompter for live streams, courses and other videos can help ensure you don’t skip a beat when it comes to your content.

Smartphone Teleprompter – $134.95

Smartphone Teleprompter

A smaller teleprompter that utilizes your smartphone to display your video copy.

DGI Osmo Mobile 2 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal – $118.95

DGI Osmo Mobile 2 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal

The DGI Osmo Mobile 2 is great for recording smooth video with your smartphone. Easily rotate, pan and tilt the camera with the attached joystick.

DTSE batteries and charger for box lights – $35.99

DTSE batteries and charger for box lights

SanDisk 128GB Memory Card – $26.89

SanDisk Ultra 128GB Memory Card

Green Screen Backdrop – $32.94

Green Screen Backdrop

LimoStudio Photo/Video Backdrop Stand – $34.99

LimoStudio Video Backdrop Stand

Anker 6 Port USB Wall Charger – $25.99

Anker 6 Port USB Wall Charger

Coty Airspun Face Powder – $5.67

Coty Airspun Face Powder

Grand Total: $2,578.02 (Not including Misc. Items)

Beginner Bundle

Video

Pretty much any smartphone will do here, just make sure you are capturing video with the camera stabilized on a tripod.

Lighting

NEEWER Dimmable Video Light – $23.99

NEEWER Dimmable Video Light

QIAYA Selfie Light Ring for Cell Phones – $14.99

QIAYA Selfie Light Ring for Cell Phones

A portable ring light that is great for recording video on the go.

Audio

Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone for iPhone and Smartphones – Price: $58.19

Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone for iPhone and Smartphones

Rode SC1 20′ TRRS Extension Cable For SmartLav+ – $27.60

Rode SC1 20′ TRRS Extension Cable For SmartLav+

I’ve found that what’s more important than the quality of your equipment is whether you actually use it or not. Set up a dedicated space, ideally a whole room, so you can record whenever you feel like it.  If you have to set things up and put them away, you’ll be less motivated to make your one-minute videos or even a string of them.

When you are out and about, you need only your iPhone, mobile ring light, and Lavalier microphone. I like the two Lav mic set from PowerDeWise because it’s cheap and plugs directly into the lightning bolt jack in modern iPhones.  You could buy a headphone jack to lightning bolt adapter to switch between plugs or even use regular headphones.

If you’re new to speaking in front of a video camera and are a bit shy (we’ve all been there), here are two techniques to help you shine.

1) Have your friend or colleague interview you, so you’re looking at them, while the camera is off to the side. Staring into that empty void is intimidating– and I think it’s harder than speaking on stage since the camera doesn’t provide any feedback.  It just stares back at you.

2) Buy a Parrot or tablet-mounted teleprompter.  The Parrot teleprompter screws onto your DSLR camera– super easy and super cheap.  The larger teleprompter lets you see more words, so if the camera is more than 6 feet away, get the bigger one.  There are mobile apps that are teleprompters, but I find the quality awful.

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About Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is the Chief Technology Officer of BlitzMetrics. He is an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook marketing, having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, and CBS Evening News. He is also a regular contributor for Adweek's SocialTimes column. Dennis has held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines. He studied Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics. Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you. You can contact him at dennis@blitzmetrics.com, his blog, or on Facebook.