Dave Chesson’s Video Studio Setup

I 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 not everyone has the budget to buy all of that.  So, I’ve broken this article into three segments:  Bare minimum, home office, and streaming.

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!

My Bare Minimum Film Equipment:

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

Lens:

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.
Primary – Sigma 30mm: http://amzn.to/2frRWKf  <- major game changer
Secondary -16-28mm: http://amzn.to/2wQNS95

Camera:

However, if you’re looking for the best DSLR, then this is the one I chose in the end.  This camera won in the end because of the show, “House.” They filmed their season finale entirely on this camera.
Canon 5D mark iiihttp://amzn.to/2xA5CJc

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 (kelivns anyone?) and none of it worked.  However, this LED system was the best. It was a real game changer and my #1 recommendation period.
Diva Ring Light: http://amzn.to/2htpPaH

Tripod:

In truth, just about any tripod will work here.  I just got the below hefty duty tripod because I also used a teleprompter from time to time, and the extra weight of that secondary lens (16-28mm one) was pretty hefty.
Heavy Duty Tripod: http://amzn.to/2yCOuRU

Microphone:

It’s incredibly important that your sound is clear.  Even the best filming will be crappy if people can’t hear you best.  For this, there are two options: a lavalier mike, or a shotgun mike.  The lavalier is MUCH better than nothing, especially if you’re using a iPhone as your camera and it is mobile.  However, the Shotgun mike is super important for the next step up (especially if you’re setting up the Desk studio I discuss below).  Shotgun mikes work best if you are stationary and indoors – which is where I intend to shoot 99% of my videos.
Lavalier Lapel Mikehttp://amzn.to/2wWS9aZ
Shotgun Mike: http://amzn.to/2wRc1fO

 

Creating the Desk Studio

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:

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 🙂
ApexDesk Elite Series 71″ Electric Height Adjustable Standing Desk: http://amzn.to/2yofDHl

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.
VIVO Triple Monitor Adjustable Mount for 3 LCD Screenshttp://amzn.to/2fsHoup

Poles for Placing Inside of the Monitor Mount

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.
Amazon Light Standshttp://amzn.to/2fz9xzR

Bendable Neck to position the Camera

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

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.
JOBY GorrilaPod Ballheadhttp://amzn.to/2wWWY4d

Continuous Power to Your DSLR

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.
Glorick replacement AC Power Adapter Kit for Canon DSLRhttp://amzn.to/2fz7oo0

Streaming My Videos to FB Live or Youtube Live using DSLR

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.

Black Magic Web Presenter: http://amzn.to/2htOeMX

Blackmagic Design Teranex Mini Smart Panel: http://amzn.to/2y2Vz0N

 

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:

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.
LED String Lightshttp://amzn.to/2fzI1T9

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

Remote:

This little guy allowed me to snap pictures from far away.  Quick and easy to connect with most DSLRs.
Amazon’s DSLR Remote: http://amzn.to/2yofiEz

Teleprompter:

This helped me doing long videos that required I have a script. It took a lot of practice to not look like I was reading…a long time. So, only give this a try if you seriously think you need to do teleprompting and are ready to have patience and work with it.
Glide Gear TMP 100 iPad/Tablet/Smartphone Teleprompter: http://amzn.to/2wQO08

Clocks and Reporting:

I love this because this clock connects to my social media and even Google Analytics.  It reports my numbers and when someone subscribes or likes my page or channel.  Right now it is tracking my Facebook page likes 🙂
LaMetric Time Wi-Fi Clock for Smart Homehttps://amzn.to/2K1mo8u

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *