Equipment Needed to Set Up a Simple Video Studio

Imagine the possibilities!

Are you struggling to compete in a crowded online niche? Set-up a simple TV-video studio in your house or office and dazzle your fans with videos that show off your products or services.

video studio qith green screen

Set up your own shopping network.  Seriously, you could with a simple, but well organized video production studio.

Look at QVC with the mind of a TV producer and what do you see? A couple of people sitting on a simple set, holding up products, and chit-chatting non-stop. How easy is that?

Reasonably easy.

Setting up a studio allows you to crank out lots of videos quickly.  Studio production method uses multiple cameras and microphones at once.  It’s all edited live, on the fly like a live TV show.  This saves TONS of time in editing. Post production editing is incredibly time consuming and studio production eliminates it.

LIVE TO TAPE

“Live-to-tape,” or “as-live,” is an expression in TV production that means it is done in a live manner but recorded for playback later.  If you make minor mistakes, you keep going, just like you would if it were live.   Live-to-tape is a great method.

All studio production, even if you do tweak it some later, is MUCH faster and cheaper than standard field production, which is one-camera technique and editing.

WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED TO SET UP A VIDEO STUDIO?

Today, an entire video studio can be run using one high-powered computer.  The process can be referred to as desktop video production and the possibilities are incredible!
Here is a video tutorial demonstrating such a system.  This video profiles a small country government TV production department that uses a NewTek VT5 to create finished programs that rival what it used to require a much larger operation to produce. 

One of the most popular programs created by this small gov’t station (Williamson County TV, or WC TV. I used to work there!) is high school football. The small crew of high school video production students is able to produce broadcast quality shows! Watch the video and you’ll be so impressed at the quality of this high school football game video!

Below the video, there is a long post and many comments about more tradition video studios that require a multitude of components, such as a video switcher, an audio board,and video record devices. 

You can learn more about the NewTekVT5 on this post here at Video Production Tips.

Traditional Video Studio Set-up, Equipment and Operation

Even though the methods themselves are very different, much of the equipment needed to set up a studio is the exact same needed for field production, you just need more of it. If you want to do both studio and field work but don’t want to buy two sets of equipment, you don’t have to. Much can be the same. You’ll just have to get used to putting your studio together and tearing it apart again.  Think of all the great exercise!


Typically, a TV studio has at least three cameras and some way to switch between the cameras live as the show is happening. Of course if all you have is one camera, that won’t stop you from producing great videos.

Using multiple cameras and a video switcher (or computer software) to edit your show on the fly was originally invented in Hollywood when TV came along as a cheaper and faster way to produce shows.  Movies had traditionally been made using one-camera technique and still are today.  If you are going for meticulous high art, one-camera technique allows you more precise control.  Studio technique is primarily done for budgetary reasons.

video studio layout

Although many variations are possible, every video studio follows this basic layout.

LAYOUT OF A TYPICAL TV AND VIDEO STUDIO
Usually, a TV studio is divided into at least two rooms. The studio where the lights, camera, and action take place is next to a separate “control room” where the director and technicians are.  It  helps for the control room people to be able to see into the studio so a window is usually built in.   Keep sound proofing in mind; you don’t want the control room noise to be picked up by the mics in the studio.

The audio and video switchers, the heart of any video production studio, are both in the control room along with lots of monitors, all the graphics generators and other various pieces of equipment.  (Note.  As computers get faster and more powerful, they are replacing video and audio switchers.)  click this link to a post about computer powered remote video production.)

If you are a lower budget operation, the biggest concern you should have is locating in a quiet place where you have as much room as possible.  You also need to have control over the lighting and sound.  Rooms that are built for the purpose of a video studio would be built without windows to maximize lighting control.

Usually, a video studio will have lights mounted on a heavy metal ceiling grid. That way you can easily put them wherever they’re needed.  If you do not have a full grid, you can hang lights to some types of ceiling using c-clamp-like mounts.  

Lights hung from the ceiling give an angle to the light that seems natural.  Plus, hanging lights from the ceiling keeps them out of the way.  Run your cords along the ceiling and then tack them down the wall.

light kit for video production

Lights hung from the ceiling is the best way to do it, but is not 100% necessary.  You can use portables.   Portable lights on stands take up more room than those mounted on the ceiling but your shot will still look OK and that’s all that matters.

HOW DOES A TYPICAL VIDEO STUDIO OPERATE?

The director or technical director operates the video switcher, going from shot to shot when appropriate. The director also adds graphics when appropriate. All video sources are plugged into the video switcher and are under control of the director. A large operation will have separate components and operators for graphics, pre-recorded tapes and other sources of video such as satellites. A small operation can get by with one director and all the cameras locked down on tripods.

Today, powerful computers can take the place of all the video and audio switchers and graphics components, which makes it even easier to set up a portable studio. You can do it either way.

Here’s a list of the video production equipment you need to set up a fully functional yet simple TV studio

  • Multiple Cameras
  • Tripod for each camera
  • A video switcher that can handle every single video source you have (or computer system)
  • Multiple microphones
  • An audio switcher that can handle every audio source you have (or computer system)
  • Graphics generator
  • Multiple TV Monitors, minimum of one per video source
  • Video tape/DVD decks
  • CD/audio tape players
  • Cables and connectors to piece it all together
  • Lights
  • Set furniture- usually something homey. Avoid detailed patterns. Go for solid colors that blend.
  • Making your videos in a studio will save tons of time.  Switching a show live saves hours and hours of editing time.  There are many practical reasons for setting up a studio if you are serious about video production

video equipment

WORK-A-ROUND TIP!

If you don’t have a video switcher of some kind, and still want a studio show look, run multiple cameras simultaneously and record the show in its entirety from each of the cameras. You could have different priority audio going to each camera but it would be easier to mix the priority audio and input into one of the cameras.  (Make sure the other cameras record audio because it’s essential in order to find your place in editing.  But you do not have to use that audio in the final mix.)

Synch up all the video during editing and choose the best shot.  You can do this easily by stacking the synched video lines on top of each other.  Then just chop out the video shots you do not want, leaving whichever one of the three is best on top.

If you do this correctly, it’s actually very fast, not at all time-consuming like the old cut and splice method or the analogue methods used for editing years ago but now obsolete.

 

If you want even more detailed information on the equipment you need to set up a functional video studio, see this post. It contains an even greater amount of information specifically about the equipment needed than this post.

Thanks for reading Video Production Tips.  I always recommend shopping and researching video equipment at B&H Photo.  They carry absolutely everything and have great prices too.



If you are searching for Home Audio Equipment, that link will take you to a trustworthy site with awesome products.   I want them ALL!  :)

Lorraine Grula

Internet Video Gal

Comments

  1. Zaidan says:

    Wayne
    Is the transmitter and full tv studio equipment still available?
    Regards

  2. I do not sell equipment off this blog. You can purchase the equipment from B&H Photo Supply.

    Thanks
    Lorraine

  3. hilton says:

    Hie
    I am making a research on the marketing of cultural documentaries mainly focusing on southern africa .I would like your help to identify broadcasters or stations which are interested in such themes

  4. Hi Hilton.
    Thanks for your comment, but honestly, I do not have any idea which broadcasters would be interested in documentaries about S. Africa. Sorry.
    Lorraine

  5. Kenneth Wade says:

    Good Morning,
    As you’ve heard before great article and information. I’ll begin my question by giving a little background info. I’m an electronics engineer with extensive professional audio background novice professional video (Broadcast) background. With that being said, I was contracted at the finishing stage of a towns new public safety building to install a broadcast sound system (the original contractor defaulted at the last minute) that will be used for their town meetings and capable of tying into their broadcast video system. That was completed with no issues. They have since contracted me to complete the video portion (video contractor defaulted). My issue is interconnecting their existing equipment with the remaining equipment needed. The existing video equipment they have(all Panasonic)is: AW-HE50H HDMI Camera’s(5), AG-HMX100 A/V mixer/switcher (All of the camera’s are wired, both video and Cat6 control lines, back to the control room and ready for connection). Do I need to interconnect the PTZ controller with the A/V mixer? If so, then I can’t use the 50 series controller (AW-RP50) as it is only compatible with the AW-HS50. Panasonic does show that their AW-RP555N and AW-RP655 are compatible with the AW-HE50H cameras, but I can’t find how either of these would interconnect with the AG-HMX100 or if they need to. I hope I have not confused this too much but I am really at a loss as to where to go from here.
    Thanks,
    Ken

  6. Hi Kenneth.
    Sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you! I always hate to say this kind of thing, but honestly, I do not know for sure. You need to ask Panasonic. I do not think the PTZ controller needs to be hooked up to the video switcher but I am not 100% sure. Without being there, it is hard for me to say. Sorry.
    Lorraine

  7. Felix Ben says:

    Hello
    I am happy for this site.All that I’v heard ve inspires me.All I’v being hearing is about video I need something about photography.

  8. NordenHeim2012 says:

    I have a question i have been involved in the audio industry for years and have the best of the best for audio and the equipment for every format for audio from lp, cd, minidisc, cassette, 8 track reel,dat, adat..

    My question is i am looking to do a online broadcast station with our own servers, dedicated fiber also, but with cameras this is were its getting tricky, was looking at JVC or Sony HD cameras also i been checking out the gopro 2 and am wondering may be we should try the gopro2 hero`s, since they are 200.00 and get a black magic intensity pro card. Also were a a partner with adobe and Sony Creative, i like mainly to use sony vegas HD but also use adobes premier and other video tools. so i am stuck a little were what type of switchers to use for 3 cameras. and i had a theory of using the go pro units for this as a experiment. I need to know what switchers, to use, if the blackmagic card will work or do we need something more advanced for streaming and editing we will have 2 video stations 1 for streaming live system and another for editing and other internal mastering works

  9. Hi Nordenhelm.

    Instead of using a standard switcher, maybe you should try BoinxTV, the computer software that so many people use for live web streaming.
    Lorraine

  10. NordenHeim2012 says:

    thanks for the reply, were looking to do live broadcasts hd and eventually do syndicated TV, also, not just web based.. so that’s what i am trying to figure out and also if the cameras i listed and software’s would work for this along with either a avid card or black-magic. but our plan is to start with audio streaming first what i already have the required equipment for and beyond and then stage two go to video, and were working on the equipment lines for the video part now and trying to see what we need for totals, so far i am guessing the following configurations.

    M-Audio-Delta 1010 10 channel
    Blackmagic Intensity Pro Card
    3 Gopro HD cameras, or may use Sony HD HAD Cameras
    M-Audio Sound Card
    Switcher for switching behind desk for multi preset view cameras, for camera 1, close up, camera 2 for default setting and camera 3 for alternate view.

    Right now we have everything from Tascam, Denon, Fostex, Alesis, Sony, HP Servers, Laptop style servers with xeon 3.2 and 3.4 ghz processors. Genetner phone unit for on air callers,

  11. NordenHeim2012 says:

    also would like to state we dont use mac or anything associated with apple. because the processors in mac today are still slower then what are int he custom HP servers we have next step higher would be generation 2 HT and they are 2500.00 a processor alown. so for now has to be pc based windows- linux, but prefer windows,

  12. Hi NordenHeim
    Maybe this datavideo switcher would be work for you without breaking the bank.

  13. NordenHeim2012 says:

    thanks., ill check more in to this a little bit more and contact the distributors also if i come up with a better solution ill post it here for your readers, example like hdmi and firewire switchers i found already. so im still looking more in to it

  14. Great! I would appreciate that.

  15. we are founding the company for tv and production house please we need every equipment needed to run this buiness.

    thank you
    France

  16. Hi,
    I want to setup a video recording studio and streem live on the internet. Any idea how i can do this.

  17. Suzanne says:

    I work at a high school and we are trying to start student broadcasts. We are starting from scratch. We have a small room with an adjacent control room. We are looking into Globecaster software. If we have this software, do we still need video and audio switchers? I wish you could just flat out tell me what we need. My list currently consists of 2 cameras, dollys, video and audio switchers, 2 pin-on mics, 1 handheld mic, teleprompter and I’m totally lost on the lighting. If you have an itemized list of atual products that I should get I would be so grateful. Im sure you know what a high school budget is like so it’s not like we can spend millions. ANy help would be appreciated.
    Thanks!

  18. Hi Suzanne
    I certainly do know how a high school video budget is so let’s see what we can do to help you stay low on costs. I do not have an itemized list but in addition to the equipment you mentioned, have you thought about computer editing systems? You could certainly just keep your class doing studio production and not field production but field production can open up a lot of possibilities. Don’t forget both audio and video cables.

    To keep lighting simple,you should probably just get two portable lights on stands with umbrellas. Either one of these would do. One is a tungsten so it is less expensive, the other is LED which does not get hot and might be safer around kids.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/831876-REG/Bescor_LED_200K_LED_200K_Dual_200W_Kit.html/BI3242/KBID4250

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/621490-REG/Interfit_INT160_EZ_Lite_2_Light_Kit.html/BI3242/KBID4250

    I have personally never used the Globecaster software, but I checked out their website and demo videos and I would say you would certainly not need a video switcher, but you might need an audio switcher. Even if the system will handle audio, it is usually easier, especially with multiple crew members, to have a separate audio switcher. It can be too squished together to have both on one.

    Good luck. I hope this information helps you.
    Lorraine

  19. Suzanne says:

    Thanks so much for getting back to me so soon. That is a big help. One more thing, do y recommend a certain camera or mic?
    Thanks!

  20. Hi Suzanne.
    There are so many cameras and mics on the market it is hard to say without knowing more about what your budget is and so forth. Make sure that all your inputs and outputs match. In other words, if you have a microphone that has an XLR output, make sure you have an XLR cable and if your camera only has a stereo plug audio input you’ll need the appropriate adapter cable.

  21. Suzanne says:

    Great, thanks!

  22. cool site and wonderful tips.. i have been able to research and gather equipment at a very low cost. thanks for the tips guys. our latest project may even get a commissioning in the states. paranormal Detroit its on YouTube.. low cost software/ inexpensive cameras snf the will to take your time and learn . and trust me the learning part is well fun… anyway.. great site and wonderful tips.. i will tell as many as i can about this place

  23. Hialan
    Glad to hear you like my blog! Sounds like you have entered the world of video production in a very efficient way! Good job. :) Keep it up and thanks for your comment!

  24. Ellen says:

    WRT to the following text from your article, what would your equipment list look like? Thank you for an awesome blog.

    “WORK-A-ROUND TIP!

    If you don’t have a video switcher of some kind, and still want a studio show look, run multiple cameras simultaneously and record the show in its entirety from each of the cameras. You could have different priority audio going to each camera but it would be easier to mix the priority audio and input into one of the cameras. (Make sure the other cameras record audio because it’s essential in order to find your place in editing. But you do not have to use that audio in the final mix.)

    Synch up all the video during editing and choose the best shot. You can do this easily by stacking the synched video lines on top of each other. Then just chop out the video shots you do not want, leaving whichever one of the three is best on top.

    If you do this correctly, it’s actually very fast, not at all time-consuming like the old cut and splice method or the analogue methods used for editing years ago but now obsolete.”

  25. Hi
    I need your help please.
    I am about starting a mini (low cost) television station here in England. Please advice me on the equipment I need to buy. I intent to play clients recordings/tapes and have a small studio for some live broadcast.
    thanking you for your help.

  26. To outfit a video studio you have many choices and indeed it can be terribly confusing. The information in this post gives you the basic types of equipment you need. Because there are so many variables and options, it is impossible for me (or anyone) to just hand you a list without knowing much more about your specific needs. If you would like to hire me for some personal consulting, please use the form on the Contact Us page to reach me. Thanks.

    Lorraine

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  5. […] if you want to learn more about the pros and cons of studio video production, click this link.  In short, studio production is a much faster way of cranking out major quantities of video […]

  6. […] readers of Video Production Tips want advice on setting up a simple video studio.  Once you get the studio set-up, you can crank out a huge quantity of professional-looking videos […]

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