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How to create a Mobile Studio

Is it time to up your video game? Do you need to add to your equipment but also need to make it so it can be transported or taken down easy? I know a lot of small businesses don’t have space for a dedicated studio, so you need equipment that can be easily set up and stored. Here is a lit of equipment that I have that won’t break the bank.

The best thing is you can buy each piece as you needed. I am also going to give you a few options for gear. I hope this does some good

Lights

The first thing you need to invest in is the lighting. Having lighting is one of the most important things you can do to increase the quality of your final product. Lighting can go from affordable to thousands of dollars very quickly. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get good results. The lights I have are the Neewer 3 Packs Dimmable Bi-Color 480 LED Video Light and Stand Lighting Kit. This set retails for $199.99 *. There are three lights that you can adjust the temperature and brightness. It can be plugged in or run off battery power. (Battery is not included and is an extra cost.)

One other thing that I have found helpful are diffusers. The Neewer Collapsible Softbox Diffuser with Red Rim for 480 LED Panel fit the lights I have and fold up for easy transport. These will make a softer light that will not have harsh shadows. Note that I have had so much trouble wrestling these to fit in the provided case. It’s like doing origami. These softboxes retail for $26.99*

Tripods

A tripod is essential to video. You can get some that are on the lower end and then spend up to a few hundred dollars on them. Again, this will depend on what you need.

For a simple tripod, I have the Sunpak – PlatinumPlus 5858D 58″ Tripod – Black. It’s a very basic tripod that is sturdy. It retails for $29.99*. This tripod has surprised me because it has lasted about three-plus years and still is in excellent condition.

If you want to up your game and need different angles or convert to a monopod, I purchased the 65″ DSLR Camera Tripod,HEOYSN Lightweight and Compact Aluminum Alloy Travel Tripod from Amazon during a one day sale. There are several of these on daily special from time to time. It was around $50. Currently, this version is not available for sale*.

If you need something smaller to go on a desk, I recommend the JOBY GripTight GorillaPod Stand. It’s made for modern-day phones. It comes with a phone grip, which is fantastic, not all smaller tripods have them. You can bend this into any shape or angle you need. It retails for 29.99*

If you need something with more substance, then I recommend the iOgrapher Compact Flexible Mini Tripod. This tripod has legs that you can bend and get in the perfect angle or attach it to a column or piece of furniture. This tripod retails for $26.99* and is well worth it

If you don’t get the phone mount, you can get the Neewer Smartphone Holder Vertical Bracket with 1/4-inch Tripod Mount. I like this one because the phone holder is a screw and not spring powered. And you can have this, so the phone is vertical or horizontal. It also fits most tripods big and small. This mount retails for $9.99* https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075R229KH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Gimbal

If you are going to be mobile, a tripod is kind of wonky to move around. One thing that solves this problem is a gimbal. A gimbal allows you to create a steady video on the go. The one I recommend is the DJI Osmo 3. This is a game-changer for your video game. I have a lot of experience with their first-gen gimbal, and this one is as easy to use as the first version. DJI released version 3 in the Summer/fall of 2019. The most significant change is that you can now have access to the port at the bottom of the phone. This can be great for charing or attaching a mic! The cost of the original Osmo was $299. Now this one is $119, which is a fantastic price drop. It’s simple to use with a lot of amazing features. Check out the DJI site. They also have a bundle with a travel case and tripod for $139.99 (which is more than worth it). I bought mine at the Apple Store, but you can get it on Amazon or Best Buy.

Microphones

Like lighting, mics can go from super cheap to super expensive. It depends on what you need. I have used lavalier mics and shotgun. Each has its pros and cons. I prefer Rode mics; it’s just a personal preference.

I love using the Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Condenser Microphone for Smartphones. It’s easy to use and uses a regular headphone jack plug to connect to your phone. If you use an iPhone or another phone without a headphone jack, you will need to use an adapter. One downside is the cord is short, so I opted to get the cord extension. These mics retail for $55.26 on B and H Photo.

If you don’t want the mic on the person but something attached to the phone, I like using the Rode VideoMic Me-L Directional Microphone for iOS Devices. It has a built-in lightning connection and windscreen. I like using this in a quiet location. You can have more than one person talking and still catch their voice. It retails for $79.99.

If you are looking for a less expensive option, the BOYA by M1 Lavalier Microphone for Smartphones, I heard about this mic on a podcast a few years ago and tried it out. It’s $19.99 for the mic and does an excellent job of getting the sound. It can pick up too much sound at times when people talk.

If you want to use more than one lavalier mic, you will need a splitter. They are pretty inexpensive. Just make sure you get the right splitter for recording audio. Check the listing to be sure. If you get the wrong splitter, no sound will be recorded. Rode makes one that fits in the lightning port of the phone/iPad, which takes two mics and a monitor jack.

I have used all over these products I list. So, I recommend them all, and yes, all of this is part of the gear I currently take to video productions. The best thing about this gear is it fits in a large suitcase. This makes it easy to transport and a great way to store the equipment when you aren’t using it.

At publication in December 2019, these were the prices listed on the website linked. If you are viewing this after, the items could have increased or decreased.

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