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Advice on budget studio setup

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Ker Than
Advice on budget studio setup
on Nov 2, 2015 at 3:45:40 pm

I'm an in-house video producer at a university and I've recently been given the go-ahead to set up a video studio. I'm fairly new at this so I'd like some advice. I've done a lot of gear research and I've narrowed down my list of lighting and audio gear, but before I hit the buy button I'd like to run it by some professionals. I have about $3,000 to spend, which does not include stands/tripods or camera/lenses (which I already have).

Brief background: I mostly interview scientists about their research. I use a two-camera setup and I'm looking to create a studio so my videos can have a consistent look and so I don't have to deal with wildly varying different lighting or background conditions in labs and offices.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on whether this gear list is suitable for my needs, or whether there are alternative brands/items I should be looking at. Thank you in advance:

Audio:
Rode Wireless Mic (lav mic)
Rode NTG3 or NTG4+ (backup mic)

Lights
Kino Flo Diva Lite 401 or Aputure Light Storm LS 1c for key light
Aputure Light Storm LS 1/2w for back/hair light
Kino Flo Diva Lite 201 for fill light
Switronix TorchLED Bolt 220R for backdrop light

Backdrop
Impact Background Kit (white)


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Steve Crow
Re: Advice on budget studio setup
on Nov 3, 2015 at 5:15:51 pm

Your list looks good but I would reconsider the premise of always filming in the studio for these interviews. Although I very much understand the challenges involved in field production and the lighting/sound issues that come with that, I think the trouble is all worth it.

Don't you think after a while the videos are going to get pretty boring visually since they would all be essentially the same?

Perhaps a midway point would be to film lots and lots of custom B-roll in their labs, classrooms etc for each interview subject so that the viewer isn't always looking at the "talking head" of the scientist.

Steve Crow


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Ker Than
Re: Advice on budget studio setup
on Nov 3, 2015 at 6:02:14 pm

Thanks, Steve, and great point. I plan to cut the videos with lots of B roll from labs and experiments and from footage of the scientists out in the field. One major benefit for me is that our scientists do a variety of research all over the world, so there's potential for lots of great photos and B roll to use in the final videos.


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Advice on budget studio setup
on Nov 4, 2015 at 12:37:36 am

Ker:

I take it you are not going for an all-white infinity background with just one background light. How does your camera handle gradients?

I'm a fan of the TorchLED Bolt. I've used it many times as a back/rim light.

If you've basically got a permanent interview setup then I would definitely not use a lav mic, but instead boom a good hyper-cardioid mic overhead.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Ker Than
Re: Advice on budget studio setup
on Nov 4, 2015 at 3:01:20 pm

Glad to know you've used and like the torchled, Jason. And you're right that I'm not going to for the infinity background look, at least not initially. I was planning to buy some colored paper, probably gray, and use that as a background first. It seems simpler and the white backdrop feels a little overused in videos these days.

I haven't checked gradient performance on my cameras. I imagine it would be fine, but that's a good point that I should test it. I'm using a Nikon D7100 and a D750 for filming.


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