Dave Chesson’s Video Studio Setup

I’ve had many people ask me about my office setup and how I was able to create video effectively and efficiently. The truth is, the equipment was the most important part.  I went through thousands of dollars trying out all different types of gear until  I finally found the best equipment for making my professional videos as quickly as possible.

But I had two requirements: 

1. I wanted the video and sound quality to be pretty legit and professional looking

2. I wanted to be able to start shooting in less than 5 seconds and do it by myself. 

So, in order to show you how I did both of these, I’ve separated my equipment discussions into two parts: Making Professional Videos, Setup For Easy Filming. 

Please also be aware that all links below are affiliate links.  If you click them, I’ll get a percentage of the money you use to pay for it. That will not cost you anything extra by using my link.  Instead it just goes to help my coffee funds 🙂

But First, Let’s See How Good it Looks and Sounds

For the first one below, we actually used a second DSLR (my wife’s Canon Rebel T4i) on a little portable tripod that sat in the left corner of my desk. We recorded both simultaneously.

 


For this the below, I made a mistake and forgot to turn the amp on on the shotgun mic. So, this is a great sample of what it sounds like when you don’t have a good shotgun mic (or in the case, you aren’t using that extra juice that some of them have).

So, if you want your videos to sound and look like this, then below is the equipment you need!

Equipment to Making Professional Videos:

The following are the BEST pieces of equipment that anyone looking to do video should SERIOUSLY consider

Lens: Sigma 30mm


The lens is the most important part for creating an awesome and clear video.  Honestly, any ole DSLR camera will do fine, but the lens is everything and makes the real difference in your picture quality.  This lens specifically gives me that blurry background look and  clear image without a fish eye look.  Believe me, I spent thousands of dollars testing tens until I found this one. 

Camera: Canon 5D mark iii


Here’s the thing…you don’t need an top-notch camera.  It’s true.  The lens and lighting and mic are way more important.  However, I definitely recommend you use a DSLR  or something equivalent.  Also, I really like the Canons because they come with a free software that allows me to control my camera from my computer.  I personally choose the Canon 5D mark iii because to prove its capability, the show, “House” filmed their season finale entirely on this camera.

Lighting: Diva Ring Light


This was my FAVORITE find of all.  All of my videos looked yellowish and crappy. I tried doing recessed lights and different bulbs (Kelvins anyone?) and none of it worked.  However, this LED system was the best. It was a real game changer and my #1 recommendation period.

(Option 1) Microphone: Rode NTG3B Shotgun Microphone or Audi


Later on in my YouTube video making, I decided to step up my game and purchase the Rode NTG3B Shotgun mic.  This is expensive but definitely improved my sound quality.  However, in order to use this effectively, you need to also get a Zoom H4N to process the sound. 
(Needed): Zoom H4N:  https://amzn.to/3aHZqAe

(Option 2) Microphone: Audio Technica ATR2100


When I first started though, I used the AudioTechnica ATR 2100 USB microphone.  It was good enough and is an extremely cheap microphone…especially for the quality.  I still use the ATR 2100 for podcasts and generally communicating via Skype or Zoom.  Plus because it plugs into your computer through USB, you don’t need the H4N.  So, a much cheaper option. 

Desk Setup to Make Videos Easily

Being able to have everything setup permanently, was my main goal.  Without the help of anyone else, I just wanted to come to my desk, flick a couple of switches and start recording.

Desk: ApexDesk Elite  Adjustable Standing Desk


This was the best investment I made for myself.  I LOVE the ability to stand up from time to time while working.  But it also allows me to attach the camera to the desk through a monitor mount.  What I love most about this desk is that it’s extremely affordable for its price, it’s more than large enough, and is super sturdy – many other electronic height adjustable desks were not and wouldn’t be able to hold the amount of weight my system puts on them – but this one did 🙂

Monitor Mount: VIVO Triple Monitor Mount


How do I connect the camera to the Desk?  Well, this tri-screen monitor mount did the trick.  First, it’s an amazing monitor mount.  But second, the middle stanchion/pole is hollow and allows for me to stick poles inside of it (see the below next one).  Those poles are what hold the neck that holds the camera.

Poles for Placing Inside of the Monitor Mount: Amazon Light Stand


In order to have the camera sit in the area with the ring light, I needed to get creative.  It needed poles small enough, but strong enough that had the right connectors to fit the Diva light and the Bendable Camera neck (both below).  This is what I found and for the price, it was low enough I didn’t feel bad.  I took the top pole off of each, measure the distance up that I wanted the pole to sit, and sawed off the rest.

Bendable Neck to position the Camera: Stellar Flexible Neck

Finding this took some time.  But thankfully a buddy of mine, Joe Nicoletti, pointed me in the right direction.  This bendable neck is strong enough to hold the DSLR and lens but still be able to move if I want it to.
Stellar Flexible Nickhttp://www.stellarlightingsystems.com/stellar-flexible-neck/

Ballhead Mount for Camera: Joby GorrilaPod Ballhead


Any ole ballhead mount will NOT work.  You need something heavy duty because it not only has to hold your camera, and lens (which are pretty heavy), it also had to be sturdy enough to not move when lowering and raising the desk, plus be able for you to quickly reposition it when needed.  This was by far the hardest find and it worked perfectly for me.

Continuous Power to Your DSLR: Glorick AC Power for Canon


I hated the idea of having to remember to charge the battery for the DLSR. Instead, since the DSLR is now fixed on my desk, I can just directly power the DSLR through the wall outlet with this little guy.  If you don’t have a Canon, no worries. Each company has a power adapter version for that camera type.

Streaming My Videos to FB Live or Youtube Live using DSLR: Elgato Cam Link 4K


If you want to stream your DSLR straight to FB live, Youtube Live or even on Skype and other video software, then you’re going to need the Blackmagic setups.  They are expensive and I only recommend this if you truly intend to make FB Live or other streaming social a priority in your business.
Website to Check Your Camera’s Compatibility for the Cam Link: https://www.elgato.com/en/gaming/cam-link/camera-check

Anything Else?

Here are some of the extra pieces that I used, but aren’t super important for your video creation.

Logo Light Box in the Background: Etsy Saw & Steel

Like that Kindlepreneur logo lightbox?  Pretty cool branding right?  Well I had it custom made on Esty by the below-talented metal worker:
Etsy Logo Light Builderhttps://www.etsy.com/shop/sawandsteel

LED String Lights behind my Book Shelf:


I attached the below lights behind my shelf as well as the monitors on my desk.  With the remote, I can change the colors and thus the mood. Really cool looking for the video (be sure your lens is good enough otherwise it will see strobing. The primary lens above is good, not the secondary) as well as helping to set a mood in my office.  Plus these are really cheap.

Clips to Hold All of my Cords and String Lights

Here are the clips I used to hold my wires and string lights in place. They were perfect and one of my favorites.
eBoot 100 Pieces Adhesive Cable Clipshttp://amzn.to/2wX08oy

Software for Editing:

My absolutely favorite is ScreenFlow, however it only works on Mac.  Therefore, if you have a PC then you should use Camtasia.
ScreenFlow (MAC): https://kindlepreneur.com/click/screenflow
Camtasia (PC): https://kindlepreneur.com/click/camtasia

Bookcase in the Back: Multiple Cubed Bookcase White


It’s funny, but I get asked this a lot: What is my bookcase in the background of my videos. Well, it’s the Multiple Cubed Bookcase which you can find on Amazon here. I’m a pretty bit fan.