Thursday, 9 January 2014

YouTube Lighting, Audio & Editing Set-Up + Watermarking Tutorial

I managed to get myself some new equipment for my YouTube set-up recently, and after sharing it on social media I was asked to show you what I have - well, this is it! This video also includes a tutorial on how to make curved watermarks and shows how I edit my photos for my blog.
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I figured I might as well do a text-summary of this as well, but check the video to get a better idea of what these things are like to work with.

As you may know, I started making nail art tutorials on YouTube about a year ago, and in the last six months I've been uploading more regularly. I have now posted 51 videos - finally a substantial number! I've had two main problems though - one, my lighting set-up didn't exist and two, my microphone left a lot to be desired. I didn't have my own video camera or tripod, either, but they were lower-order concerns as I could borrow them.

First I looked at ways to solve the lighting issue. Until recently I just used natural light - which works fine if you can film during daylight hours and on a sunny day. However, as that does not always work out, I wanted something a bit more flexible. I watched this video by Shaaanxo, which led to me purchasing two lighting umbrellas and a ring light. I love them. I still need to work out something better for lighting my hand when filming (the ring light is too big for that part), but this will do just fine for now. Something I found interesting when buying my ring light is that they're twice as expensive on Ebay than on Trade Me (factoring in shipping costs) - normally it's the other way around! So if you're from another country and are interested in buying one make sure you shop around.

The audio problem was something I tried to solve the cheap way at first; I tried a $40 headset from Dick Smith, then a $20 desktop microphone from the same place, but both were terrible quality and way too quiet. I hunted around, looked up reviews and eventually decided what I wanted.


I also bought a cheap video camera from Harvey Norman - it was down from $400 to $250 so I was pretty happy. As you can see in the photo, it is a Panasonic HC-V110. Sure, it's no Canon 700D but it does the job, and for a fraction of the price. I received a tripod for Christmas, so now I'm pretty sussed ☺.


So, here's what I bought, where I bought them from and the price I paid in New Zealand dollars. Please excuse me if I use the wrong terminology - I'll freely admit my photography knowledge is somewhat limited!

Lighting Umbrellas
"Complete Studio Cool Light Sets" from Trade Me. Included two translucent umbrellas and all the bit to make them work - stand, light bulbs, etc. They cost me $159 + $14 shipping = $173 for both umbrellas, from a seller called photoshack.
If you're from New Zealand you can find similar or the same listings here.
If you're from overseas, check out these Ebay listings.



Ring Light
I bought a 65 watt fluroscent ring light, with an outer diameter of 49cm. I paid $149 + $9 shipping = $158, from a seller called photogear. This was my best buy, as it would have cost about $400 including shipping on Ebay. It is very bright to look at though, so I put baking paper around it as you can see in my video.
Check out Trade Me listings for this light here.
See Ebay ring light listings here.


Microphone
This was my favourite purchase - it made such an immediate improvement to my voiceover quality! You can compare the difference in my videos - skip to the voiceover part in this one to hear the old one, and this one for a more recent one. I bought a Samson Meteor USB Studio microphone (a condenser mike). It's a million times better than any other microphone I've used. I paid $135 + $8 shipping = $143 from a seller called beggsmusic.
You can buy this from Trade Me here.
And Ebay here.


I didn't mention it in the video, but the cameras I use for taking photos are a Sony Cybershot DSC-W110 and a Sony Lumix DMC-TZ20. I take my photos in a light box like these ones. I'll do another post one day on how I actually take my photos and edit them - don't want to completely overload this post, but you can see how I edit in the video, at least.

Note: If any of these links don't work or come up with listings in the future please leave a comment so I know to find new ones!

And that about sums it up. Obviously, I don't go around spending this much money every day - I had been planning this for months and finally had the money. And of course, you don't need all this to make a video, it's just that my YouTube channel will hopefully one day be something of a career for me, alongside whatever I end up doing once I'm trained as a nail technician. So I wanted to give myself the best possible chance, and improving the quality of my videos was an important step. I still have a long way to go before my videos are the way I want them to be, but I'm happy where I'm at in my little journey so far ☺.

I hope this post and video was useful, or at least interesting to you!

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