Figuring out how to build your own video production studio can be a mess of technical knowledge and terms if you don’t already have some idea about what you need to do. Luckily, we’ve gathered some up basics for you to start with if you want to build a professional home studio.
How do you build your own video production studio at home, but with more professional standards? You must ensure you’re buying professional-quality sound, lighting, and recording equipment and set it up properly for your space. You must also be willing to adjust your setup until it’s correct for your studio.
What exactly will you need? Can you install it all on your own, or will you need a professional? There are a couple of questions you need to figure out before you begin working on your studio and we will answer them in this article.
How to Build a Professional Grade Home Video Production Studio
The first thing you need to worry about is making sure you do your research on your equipment. There’s a lot on the market that’s professional quality. The most important thing is finding the equipment you understand, can work with, and fits in your studio.
For instance, you can buy the best lighting kit on the market, but it won’t help you if it barely fits in your studio. Or you can buy the best microphone, but if you don’t properly adjust the echo in the room, you’ll only get messy, overlapping echoes.
What You Need from the Space of Your Video Production Studio
While the equipment for a video production studio is where most people focus, the true first step is the location of your studio. Are you going to set up in the garage? A spare bedroom in your house? The RV parked outside?
There’s plenty of possibilities for where to have a studio at home, but each requires something a bit different. For instance, if you’re somewhere that can get loud outside or where people will complain if you’re loud, you’ll need soundproofing. Big rooms require things to stop echoes.
Building a Video Production Studio in the Garage
Garages are known as the place where bands get their start, but they can also make great studios. The main things to worry about are echoing, outside noise interference, and possibly space.
Not all garages even have insulation, so you’ll most likely need to do something to prevent echoing. If your garage is large enough to have an echo, read under the section for studios in large spaces later down the article.
Aside from echoes, you also may encounter outside noises. Because there isn’t always even insulation in the walls, it’s easy for noises to penetrate into garages. This will interfere with your recording audio, but you can easily fix it with acoustic panels to soundproof the studio.
Finally, you may have an issue with space if you’re working in the garage. If you’re sharing space with tools, storage containers, or even a car, you’ll have some unique problem-solving to do. Check out the section on studios in small spaces to get some ideas to try.
Building a Video Production Studio in a Spare Bedroom
Spare bedroom studios can range in needs, from:
- Echoing from either a large room or one with few things in it.
- Too small to comfortably fit everything in.
- Noises leaking in from outside the studio, interfering with recording, or conversely, the noise of the studio being too loud for the rest of the house.
- Consistent interruptions.
Echoing and noise leaking in or out of the studio are easily fixed just like it is in the garage. Acoustic panels are the best option for this, but hanging textiles can be utilized as well. Make sure if you don’t have carpeting in the room, to throw down some rugs as the floor can cause sound waves to echo even if your walls are covered.
Organization can be key in bedroom studios as well, especially if you chose the smallest bedroom in the house, as many people do for their home studios or offices. Make sure you have places for everything to go to reduce clutter.
Consider making a plan with your family on how they know when it’s okay to come into the studio and interrupt you and when they can’t. If you live alone, this is no issue for you, but with a family, it can be hard to record without anyone bursting in. Consider a sign outside the door or some other way to alert them of when you can’t be disturbed.
Building a Video Production Studio in Small Spaces
The biggest issue with studios built in small spaces, and small spaces in general, is the lack of space. This can be a major problem when you factor in the equipment needed for a high-grade video production studio. It can also be a way to have only equipment that you truly need.
The key to small spaces is organization. If you don’t have your things organized, they’ll only turn into a big mess, causing frustration. Look into storage systems on Amazon. They have some specifically for recording equipment, but also look online to see what things other people have repurposed into recording studio organization.
Don’t keep things you don’t need and certainly don’t buy things if you don’t know exactly where it will go. Small studios are never the place to tinker with broken equipment, as the clutter will only make the space more claustrophobic.
If you don’t need it in the small studio, don’t keep it in the small studio.
Building a Video Production Studio in Large Spaces
If you have space, a big room can be a great space for a studio. You’ll never run out of room for equipment. You can have multiple backdrops up without taking them down to change them, and have room for lots of people.
However, large spaces are echo-y. If you attempt to record in a large, mostly empty room, you’ll only hear the echo bouncing around the room in the recording. How do you fix this? Easily.
- Acoustic panels will help absorb sound. You can find a lot of them on Amazon for cheap. They’re just foam panels of varying thickness to absorb the echo and keep it from bouncing back at you.
- Hang textiles on the walls and cover the floor with rugs if you don’t have carpeting. Sound waves are hitting the walls and hard flour and bouncing back off them. Just like with the acoustic foam, textiles will help absorb the sound waves.
- Fill the area with bookcases, tables, chairs, etc. The more things you have in the room, the less echo. Keep in mind, though, you need some soft items to absorb sound, or else they’ll merely bounce off the hard items you add, defeating the purpose.
Echoing is really the only problem you should encounter when it comes to recording in large rooms. The only other issue you may experience is cords not quite reaching, but it’s easy to buy extension cords or longer cords.
What You Need for Lighting in Your Video Production Studio
Before you can turn on the camera, you have to turn on the lights. The wrong lights will lead to bad video quality and misplaced shadows.
If you have a natural lighting opportunity, see if you can position your studio so you can take advantage of it, at least occasionally. If you can’t get the correct angle consistently or you don’t have any natural light, you’ll need to invest in all your lighting setup.
Clamp Lights for Your Video Production Studio
These are basically what they sound like-lights that come with clamps so you can attach them wherever you need. Some will even attach to your camera, ensuring you’ll never shoot outside of your lighting.
These are helpful, especially when you’re beginning or in small spaces. Small spaces make it rough to have too many pieces of equipment up on stands without knocking them over. With clamp lights, you can attach them to any other piece of equipment or stand.
Lighting Kits for Video Production Studios
‘Lighting kit’ either means it includes a stand with the light and/or it includes umbrella mounts. Lights that go up on stands are nice because you can place them in their location and not have to worry whether the clamp will hold.
Stand lights are also more stable.
Most lights can be bought in a variety of ways, with clamps, stands, mounts, or simply just the light. The important thing is finding professional quality lighting that works for your space, and you’re comfortable using it.
For recommendations on lights, I keep this page up to date with what I am using (or wish I could afford).
What You Need for Audio in Your Video Production Studio
Most likely, you’ve already decided you need to do some kind of soundproofing in your studio or find ways to enhance your audio. After you’ve mounted enough acoustic panels to fix any echoing or outside noise interference, you’re ready to move on to the more detailed audio aspects.
Microphones for Video Production Studios
A quality microphone is a necessity for video production. Condenser microphones are generally what’s used for recording, as it offers a depth of sound lacking in the others, but electret microphones that clip to your clothing or run over your ear are popular as well.
Do you want a microphone that attaches to you? These are great and terrible for the same reason-they’re right there. Everything you say is directed straight into the microphone as long as you aren’t angled away from it, but so are plenty of background noises amplified, like your breathing and rustling of your clothes.
Condenser microphones won’t pick up the little sounds like that, but it also won’t move with you. You have to make sure you’re speaking clearly at the microphone for it to pick your voice up best. However, it has the strength and depth of sound that small microphones lack.
There are other microphones used in video recording, such as dynamic and ribbon microphones, but these are the two kinds most used. It’s best to determine which is most fitting to your needs before you settle on one kind, or get more than one to experiment with if your budget allows.
Other Sound Equipment for Video Production Studios
Audio interfaces and preamps are terms you’ll hear frequently when working on setting up a production studio. Without an audio interface, your computer will have no way to transcribe the real audio happening into digital audio that you can edit and playback.
Preamps are more optional, to a degree. Without a preamp, your microphone’s audio won’t be as clear. The preamp takes the microphone’s sound waves, which are very small, and enhances them to a level your other audio equipment can work with.
Many microphones come with a built-in preamp, as do some audio interfaces. However, these aren’t always ideal, and you may find yourself wanting to purchase a higher quality one.
If you’re doing a lot with music in your studio, like music videos or creating original music to go with your videos, you may want to invest in monitors to help clarify playback. Headphones are a good idea as well for editing audio, whether it’s music or to a video.
What You Need for Visual Recording in Your Video Production Studio
Obviously, you need something to record on. The variety of video cameras is another long discussion, but if you don’t have any clue where to start, here’s a decent list of the best of 2017’s cameras for music videos to get you started. There are hundreds more, but this is a good place to start for decent lists.
But after you have your camera, you still aren’t done with the visual recording aspect of your studio. You also need to think about backdrops, props, and anything else you may want to include in your videos.
Make sure everything looks the same in the lighting you have set up and on the camera. Shades of colors can change with different lighting, so make sure your red shirt doesn’t show up orange. Adjust everything as needed before you start recording.
Backdrops and Background Space for A Video Production Studio
Depending on the size of the space, you may have multiple areas for shooting. This means that you can design your studio to have different backgrounds or use certain backdrops for particular shots. Even in small spaces, there are techniques to create different backdrops while allowing for easy transitions.
If you are working in a smaller studio, consider layering different backdrops so you can pull one aside for a new one whenever you want. A green screen may also be a useful investment for these small (and even large) spaces because they will allow you to take your video productions to the next level with technology.
In a larger space, you may be able to space these backdrops out, especially if you switch from one to the other frequently. This may just be art or designs on a wall to be filmed in front of or require a bit more detail and equipment. If you plan to produce interview-style videos, you may want to bring in a desk or chairs and a table to make your guests feel a little more comfortable.
In either situation, the simplest of backdrops and backgrounds can look professional if they are:
- Fit to your wall: You want to make sure the backdrop covers the entire space you plan to use as the background. It should be smooth to a wall to not appear as if it is covering something and large enough that if you move the camera further away, the entire frame is still covered by the backdrop.
- Hung correctly: Some backdrops are solid color where these details are not as important, but if your backdrop is brick patterned or looks like a bookcase, you need it to be straight. A tilted bookcase would not make sense. Make sure the angle of the backdrop is lined up correctly.
- Properly lit: Test out your lighting against the backdrop. You do not want to get any glare in your shot. This can be evaluated and adjusted when you set your camera up and look at the framing of your shot.
You can find lots of backdrops online at a low cost or use a natural background such as a wall with decorations that are not incredibly distracting. These can be stored easily or laid over one another if your space permits.
If you looking for inspiration, take a look at the ultimate list I compiled of 50 backdrop ideas to see what would work best for you.
Building Your Own Video Production Studio
If you follow the many steps we’ve laid out in this article to build your own video production studio, you’ll be well on your way to producing high-quality videos. Attention to detail in all areas of video production, including the visual and audio aspects, will make a difference when the final product is finished.
It doesn’t take much space or equipment to create a great environment for producing quality videos. With care and effort into your work and studio space, you’ll be making great videos in no time.