A full list of the audio and video equipment needed when setting up a home studio for recording high-quality podcasts, video trainings, virtual events, and webinars.
When I launched this website in late 2017, I did so with a commitment to add video to content creation and overall marketing strategy. I had pretty much completely avoided video to that point, except for podcast interviews and guest webinars for other peoples’ audiences. To be totally honest, I was scared to take on video… I mean, what if I looked stupid?!
I’m not one to let fear get in my way however, so I got started and my first few videos were crap. I launched this site with videos that had terrible lighting and poor sound. But I did it, I took action, and I got it done. While I am going to reshoot a couple videos with the new equipment, I’m going to leave the blog post videos as they are so you can see the difference in quality. (And, maybe inspire you to get started with video like I did, even if things aren’t perfect yet!)
- Worst: The Art Of Client Captivation
- A little better: Delivering A Minimum Viable Product Without Providing Minimum Value
- Best: 25 Tips To Get More Qualified Clients For Your Web Design Business
Video has been a big learning experience, and while I’m still learning, I’ve made some huge improvements to the equipment I’m using and the quality of the videos I am creating.
I originally invested in the Audio Technica AT2020 microphone and used the webcam built into my iMac. The webcam was decent but not great, and while the AT2020 microphone is a high quality mic, it picked up every single little noise in the entire house. Plus, my office had a pretty good echo going on that was a constant battle.
Over the past few months, I’ve been getting my audio and video equipment dialed in.
With the creation of Profitable Project Plan and more video training courses, webinars, and special video projects on tap for the future, I knew I needed to upgrade my equipment. I combed through podcasting equipment recommendation lists and turned to my friends Shawn Hesketh and Chris Lema for recommendations.
OMG. I needed a lot of stuff and I don’t think I’m done yet either! What I learned is that a high quality microphone and webcam aren’t enough. The first thing I bought were two desktop acoustic panels to get rid of some of the echo in my office, then I invested in a lighting kit so my videos would look better, and then I dove head-first into all sorts of audio equipment, including a new microphone, to clean up the sound, and finally I bought a new HD webcam.
Many people have noticed the change in video quality and have reached out to ask what I’m using now, so I figured I’d put together this handy guide listing all of the audio and video equipment I’m currently using to record podcasts, webinars, and video trainings.
Two quick things:
- From cables and screws to the mic and preamp, I ordered every piece of gear on this list from Amazon. Easy peasy.
- If you’ve seen photos of fancy podcast studios with walls covered in foam, and you’re thinking, “I work from home, I can’t do that to my house!” Don’t worry! I work and record from my home office too. You can get great audio and video quality without building a professional video studio or podcasting studio.
Now let’s get to it…
Audio and Video Editing Software
Whether you’re recording audio podcasts, video podcasts, video training, or webinars, you’re going to need software to record the audio/video and to edit the recordings. Here’s what I use:
- Quicktime: It’s a free, easy to use tool for recording video with my webcam or recording my screen.
- iMovie: It’s a quick, simple, super easy, and free tool that lets me edit my audio and video.
- Screenflow: It has way more options than iMovie and let’s me easily record my screen for screencasts and trainings or record video to accompany my blog posts then edit them as needed.
- Zoom: Whether I’m hosting a video meeting or live webinar, Zoom has me covered. It allows me to invite participants, has built-in signup pages, automatically records the video, and it super easy to use. It also connect to Facebook for hosting Facebook Lives, but I haven’t tackled that one yet!
- YouTube: All videos publicly available, like those created for my blog posts, are hosted on YouTube so I can also leverage YouTube’s reach and audience.
- Vimeo Pro: All videos that are part of an opt-in offer, paid course, or product are hosted on Vimeo Pro. This allows me to lock the videos to a single URL, skin the player with my brand colors, and remove any third party branding for a clean viewing experience.
Portable Acoustic Panels
Voice sounds travel in all directions and I needed additional sound deadening in my home office, so I bought the Auralex DeskMAX Acoustic Treatment Panels — a pair of 2’x2’x3″ portable Studiofoam panels used to reduce unwanted reflections in recording studios, broadcast booths, classrooms, podcasts, home offices, and other locations where sound quality matters. With two desktop stands included, the Auralex DeskMAX is designed as a portable, lightweight, highly effective absorption treatment — an ideal solution for musicians, voiceover professionals, and podcasters working in spaces where wall-mounted acoustical treatments may not be feasible.
Microphone Preamp Processor
A preamp processor enhances the audio signal coming through the microphone and isolates and removes background noise. It’s not required, but worth every penny. Now if my heater or air conditioner comes on, my kids open the refrigerator door in the kitchen, or the neighbor starts mowing their lawn, none of the noise is picked up.
I went with the dbx 286s Microphone Preamp, a processor that delivers a studio-quality microphone/instrument preamplifier and four processors that can be used independently or in any combination. With this preamp you can control the input gain, remove low frequency hum, rumble, or wind sounds, smooth out uneven acoustic tracks, add sparkle and crispness to your tracks, add fullness and depth to vocals and bass instruments, and clean up muddy low mid-range frequencies.
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB Audio Interface
I use this audio interface to convert the analog signal from my microphone and preamp processor to a digital signal that my computer can use.
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 has 18 inputs and 20 outputs, which means you can record anything from a drum kit to multiple instruments, vocals, synths, and keyboards on your computer. It has eight natural-sounding combination input Scarlett mic preamps, roundtrip latency of 2.74ms, and class-leading sound quality and digital conversion are complemented by a host of additional inputs and outputs. An ADAT input allows you to expand your analog inputs for larger recording sessions.
This is total overkill for what I’m doing, but how all this stuff looks sitting on my desk every day or on video matters to me — this larger option is the same size as my microphone preamp processor, which means it can be rack mounted and all the cords can be hidden.
Outlet Power Conditioner and Surge Protector
I learned that all electricity can introduce extra noise into an audio path and this power conditioner removes that extra noise and provides a clean power input. What I love is that the master switch on the front turns on all of my equipment at the same time.
The Furman M-8X2 Merit Series 8 Outlet Power Conditioner and Surge Protector has eight rear-panel switched outlets, one front panel convenience outlet, and a 15 amp rating with a circuit breaker and front panel indicator. The noise filtering reduces RFI and EMI interference to deliver a cleaner sound without pops, crackles, and interference, while spike and surge protection ensures your equipment stays safe and the power stays clean.
Studio Rack Cabinet
Like I said, my audio interface, mic preamp processor, and power supply sit on my desk and I didn’t want cables and cords everywhere, so I went with a rack-mount system. The Gator Cases GR-STUDIO-4U four space studio rack uses 5/8″ furniture grade black oak laminate and 3.2mm heavy-duty cold rolled steel rack rails, and is designed for studio, home studio, office, or venue use. It isn’t the best quality (I had to touch up a lot of scratches with a black sharpie), but it’s a great price, looks good, and gets the job done.
Rack Filler Panel
The AC Infinity aluminum rack panels are designed for high-end audio video and home theater racks. My rack system has four sections but I only needed three, so a Rack Panel Accessory Blank was used to cover the conceal empty rack space, provide a clean uniform look, and provide rack rail support.
Logitech BRIO HD Webcam
Whether you’re a business or home office professional, streamer, YouTuber, vlogger or anyone else looking for a top-of-the-line webcam, BRIO brings you one of the highest quality desktop video experience available. Logitech BRIO records at 1080p, 720p, and full 4k Ultra HD video resolutions in three different field of view settings: 65°, 78°, and 90°. It automatically adjusts the exposure and contrast so you always look your best in any lighting and noise-cancelling technology helps filter out any unnecessary sounds. Plus, it’s super easy to setup.
Rode Procaster Microphone
The RØDE Procaster is a professional broadcast quality dynamic microphone, specifically designed to offer no-compromise performance for voice applications in the broadcast environment. With an internal pop filter, high output dynamic capsule, and balanced low impedance output, the Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone is perfect for every application where a great sounding, robust microphone with superior ambient noise rejection is demanded.
Rode PSM1 Microphone Shock Mount
Using a shock mount to fasten your microphone to the boom arm helps reduce or eliminate noise from vibrations or contact with the microphone or boom arm.
The Rode PSM1 Microphone Shock Mount is the perfect suspension shock mount for the Procaster or Podcaster. It provides isolation from external vibrations which can translate as low frequency noise or manipulate the microphone position and gives you confidence when using your microphone in environments where there is any movement that may interfere with the microphones performance.
Rode PSA1 Studio Boom Arm
I went with the RØDE PSA1 Professional Studio Boom Arm because it was designed for the RØDE Procaster (which I have) and Podcaster microphones and it allows me to position the mic anywhere I need it and hold it in place.
Meant for radio, broadcast, studio, podcast, and home use, the PSA1 offers a horizontal reach of 820mm, a vertical reach of 840mm, and full 360 degree rotation. It comes with velcro cable wraps and both desk-clamp and desk-insert style attachments for mounting.
XLR Microphone Cable
The 10 foot Hosa HMIC010 Pro XLR Microphone Cable has silver-plated REAN connectors for superior signal transfer, 20 AWG oxygen-free copper (OFC) conductors for a louder clearer signal, and a 90% OFC braided shield for a higher signal to noise ratio.
Preamp To Audio Interface Cable
The Hosa HSS-001.5 Pro Balanced Interconnect Cable is ideal for use in touring and other live-sound applications. It has nickel-plated REAN plugs for efficient signal transfer and rugged durability, oxygen-free copper (OFC) conductors for enhanced signal clarity, and OFC spiral shield for a higher signal to noise ratio.
Short IEC Power Cables
When rack-mounting all of the audio components, I needed extra power cables to connect everything. At one foot long (about 7″ of actual cable), these short power cables worked perfectly inside the rack without having lots of extra cord rolled and stuffed inside.
Thunderbolt 3 Cable
This Thunderbolt 3 Cable allows for faster data transfers when connected to Thunderbolt devices. This cable supports data transfer rates of 20Gbps when connected to a Thunderbolt 3 device, so you can transfer photo and video files at twice the speed of a USB 3.1 (10Gbps) cable. For example, you can transfer a 4K movie in less than a minute. When connected to a USB 3.1 device, the cable supports data transfer rates of 10Gbps.
The cable supports full 4K 60Hz video and DisplayPort 1.2, and is compatible with existing DisplayPort displays. It’s perfect for connecting your docking station or laptop to a monitor with great resolution, contrast, and color depth for amazing detail.
Gator Cases Rack Screws
While some components came with their own screws, the rack didn’t come with screws and I wanted all of the screws on the rack to match and ordered a package of 25 black Gator Cases rack screws with small plastic washers that will protect the mounted gear.
Video Backdrop Kit
I’m still getting my process worked out for video and getting used to all of my new equipment, but I do know that I won’t always be sitting at my desk when shooting video. That’s why I picked up this Background Support System with Black White Muslin Backdrops so I can easily setup black or white solid backgrounds.
Three Light Kit
With over 1000-watts of power and soft boxes that collapse for easy storage, this three point video lighting kit is a great value. It includes two uLite constant lights, two 20″ collapsible soft boxes, two 7′ light stands, two 500-watt photofloods, and one fill light.
The bulbs did arrive broken and after reading reviews about how crazy hot the included bulbs get, I went with natural light bulbs from Lowe’s instead that were about $50 each.
Selfie LED Camera Ring Light
Between shooting photos of food for Inspired Imperfection and taking selfies and photos in dimly lit places or in the dark, I was frustrated with poor lighting making my photos look crappy. While it’s marketed as a selfie light, the super cheap QIAYA Ring Light solved all of my on-the-go lighting problems. The rechargable USB ring light has three levels of brightness so I can choose how much light I want, it fits in my purse, and clips right onto my phone (or anything else nearby).
I also bought this as a stocking stuffer for my 14 year old daughter and she uses it ALL THE TIME! The natural light makes her selfies look great, her photos at school dances and sleepovers come out better, and now that she started vlogging, her videos look awesome no matter what time of day she’s shooting!
Bluetooth Camera Shutter Remote Control for Smartphones
When shooting with your smartphone, the CamKix Bluetooth Shutter Remote Control gives you the ability to capture shots while standing up to 30 feet from your device. It is compatible with iOS and Android, and the remote can be used with a wide range of devices.
Flexible Webcam Clamp Mount
This affordable webcam clamp mount can swivel and bend any way you need it to and it will stay in position, plus the 360° rotatable head design allows you to take pictures from different directions. The clamp mount is made of high quality metal that is durable enough for daily use and the cushioned jaw will fit a maximum thickness of two inches.
This bendable webcam mount is the perfect size to clamp onto the back of an iMac to hold a webcam for video conferencing and recording video for online courses, YouTube, tutorials, webinars, and more.
Lightweight Travel Tripod
The ZIPPOD 45 Inch Compact Camera Tripod is one of my favorite things! This lightweight tripod expands to 45″ and collapses to 14″ so it fits in my travel and hiking backpack and barely adds any weight. I take this tripod everywhere not only for shooting video, but for grabbing family photos with ALL of us in them. The only time I don’t recommend using this tripod is in the strong wind because it will blow over.
Deploying the tripod seriously takes seconds. All you have to do is drop the legs and they will snap right in place automatically — people around us are always amazed by this tripod and ask for the details/where to buy it. Plus, it comes with a thin bag for storage. It uses a standard 1/4-inch UNC threaded ball mount and works with any camera up to 2.5 pounds, including my iPhone 6+.
Joby GripTight PRO GorillaPod Stand for Smartphones
With a GripTight PRO smartphone mount and a GorillaPod flexible mini-tripod, the Joby GripTight PRO GorillaPod Stand is a flexible smartphone tripod with bendy legs that can be wrapped around table legs, trees, fences, poles, or adjusted for uneven surfaces. It works great with my iPhone 6+ with and without the case and rubber pads hold the phone in place even when turned to portrait mode. Plus, it easily fits in any bag or backpack to take with you.
A cheaper option is the KCOOL Phone Tripod Stand Holder, which came recommended by a friend of mine who uses it and like it, but I’ve never used it myself.