Below you will find all of the links to recommended gear and equipment that can drastically improve the quality of your video and audio recordings.
This information coincides with the videos from week 1 in the Business Transformation & Leadership challenge where we cover the power of external webcams, professional microphones and lighting to may you look like a pro!
Microphone Recommendations for Desktop or Laptop Computers
Audio is super important when recording videos for your courses. If you had to choose between good video and good audio, believe it or not, AUDIO is more important. Below are some links to some microphones & accessories that we recommend, or were recommended by other people we trust. Every situation, voice, computer combination is going to be different. If you are looking at investing in a mic, check out one of the ones recommended below. If you want more options, you can view more on Amazon.
This is the all-in-one studio microphone package you saw me test in the video for the Business Transformation & Leadership Challenge. Nice audio for a very reasonable price and comes with everything you need. (Mic, adjustable arm, shock-mount and pop-filter!)
A very inexpensive microphone with excellent reviews. This USB mic does not come with any accessories other than a short stand. Again, these mics work best when they are closer to your face, so you may want to invest in an inexpesive arm, as well as a pop filter. You can find links to these individual items below if you want to check them out.
Podcaster Pat Flynn (Smart Passive Income) recommends this microphone in his podcasting courses. It's a very nice mic if you are looking to invest a little more money. This does not come with any accessories, so you will want to look at the arm stand and pop-filter links above for a full setup.
One of the original high-quality USB microphones on the market. Brian uses this mic, as well as many others you see online createing great sounding videos. If you are looking to spend a bit more, this is a great mic. Due to the weight, shape and size of this mic, you will need a higher-quality arm and shockmount if you wish to use those. You can see an all-in-one package with the Blue Yeti for $149 here.
Microphone Options For Your Smartphones
If you plan on using your phone to record high-quality videos for your courses, it is recommended that you invest in a Lavalier Clip Mic or a Shotgun Mic that can plugin directly into your phone and greatly improve your course videos.
We invested in a Lav Mic specifically made for newer generation iPhones and saw a drastic improvement in audio. There are much cheaper options, and the best option may be different based on your budget and the style of phone you are using. We recommend taking a look at some of the options on amazon and seeing what works best for you.
Mics for your smartphone can range anywhere from $12 to $80 or more so there are options for any budget.
These are handy if you don't like the idea of having a mic clipped to you and tethered to your phone. Slightly more expensive than a lav mic.
This lav mic comes highly recommended form trusted sources as a great intro mic to improve your phones audio. Extremely inespensive and is said to support Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android & Windows Smartphones
A less expensive version of the mic we tested in the video above. IMPORTANT NOTE: For the ANDROID smartphone, While in video mode, It requires to use the 3rd party video Apps. And for iPhone 7 or up, please use the original lightening cable adapter. So this may not be the best option for Android or Windows phones.
This lav mic is designed with Lightning plug compatible with iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, iPad, iPod, iOS Smartphones & Tablets etc. It's on the pricier side however it provides an excellent quality sound and is a massive improvement over the onboard microphone.
Rode is one of the highest quality manufacturers for microphones. And with this, you get what you pay for. It’s expensive, but if you are relying on phone videos it may be worth the investment
Webcam Recommendations to Greatly Improve the Quality of Your Videos!
An external webcam could work wonders for your video quality. One of the biggest pros of an external webcam is their ability to work in 'less than awesome' lighting situations. You can get an extremely powerful webcam that is small, portable and high-quality for less than $70. The options below refer to what is discussed in the video training in the Business Transformation & Leadership Challenge.
A newer version of the C920, this webcam has gotten great reviews so far. The biggest difference here is the focus on HD streaming. This version can actually stream at 1080p. If you plan on using this for webinars, Facebook Lives, etc, this may be a good one to try for you. (UPDATE: I have upgraded from the C920 mentioned below to the C922x and have seen a noticeable difference in streaming quality. While the C920 is still the gold standard, the emphasis on streaming at 1080p in this one is noticeable and for my purposes and great choice.)
This has been the industry standard webcam for years. We’ve been using these exclusively for a long time and the difference between these webcams and our onboard laptop or monitor webcams is clear. This can record at 1080p and stream at 720p
If you're paranoid like me, you may want to go ahead and purchase the shutter that slides over your webcam. This allows you to cover the webcam whenever it’s not in use (cue X-files theme music)
Lighting Recommendations - One of the Most Important Aspects of Quality Video
Lighting, along with audio, is the second piece that can make or break your videos. Bottom line, you are looking for a way to evenly light you as the subject with a nice, soft light. Below are links to the options covered in the video within the Business Transformation & Leadership Challenge.
REMEMBER - there are countless ways to achieve good lighting for your video. You may not even need to buy anything. You may have some lamps laying around that you can put some ‘Daylight’ LED bulbs in and that could make all the difference. Take some time, test some things and see what works best for you!
Extremely Inexpensive Lighting Option
A little while ago, I found an article from the guys at Wistia about a super cheap lighting setup that can really improve the quality of your videos. It was so cheap, I decided to give it a test, and they were right. While this isn't the light setup I personally use right now, it was worth a test to show you guys just how inexpensive it can be to improve your lighting for your recordings. The setup below is covered in the lighting video inside of your Business Transformation & Leadership Challenge.
You can also buy these at Home Depot. If you are looking to potentially use 2 of these, you can buy a 2-pack for a little cheaper here.
I would recommend going to a Lowes or a Home Depot if possible to get a bunch of lightbulbs to test. The color temperature you may want to check out is the Daylight bulbs (around 5000k or higher) as that is typically what looks best on a webcam. These are the bulbs from the video test.
NOTE: These specific ones were 100W which are extremely bright if you are not using a tabletop dimmer like we showed in the video. So, I would recommend getting a few different levels and testing what works best for you, and just return whatever you don’t need.
If you want more control over your lighting, you can make sure you get a dimmable LED light (probably 100W so you have a lot of room to work with) and then get a dimmer you can use to change the brightness of your lights as you see fit
Note: A few things the guys from Wistia mentioned that I did not address here that may help even more. If the light is too harsh, and you can't reflect it off of a wall, you can try 'diffusing' the light. This can be as simple as using some clothespins to clip on some wax paper (in their example they cut up a $6 medium gauge shower curtain) to the front of the light so it covers the bulb. This will soften the light quite a bit for you. Also, if the clip on the reflector isn't strong enough, you can by a couple of 'spring clips' from amazon or home depot to add some more strength.
LED LIGHTS PANELS
LED light panels, while slightly more expensive than the cheaper option above, are my personal favorites in terms of offering great lighting at a convenient price.
Personally, I currently use 2 LED light panels with 2 cheap desktop light stands for my light setup and I love them. They are small, portable, dimmable and they last around 2.5 hours on one battery charge which is more than enough for me when creating content. Let's take a look at the options we covered in the Lighting video.
The great thing about this light is that it is super thin, you can control not only the brightness, but also the color temperature so you can find settings that work best for you. One of these facing at you or being reflected off the wall in front of you should do the trick. (Comes with a battery, but not the AC adaptor if you want to be able to plug it in, you can get one that should work here)
NOTE: I recently purchased 2 of these, as well as 2 backup batteries and they are now my main light source when recording. I'm a huge fan.
You will probably need a Desktop or Floor Light Stand - In order to raise the light to your desired height, you’ll probably want to get a light stand - and based on where you plan on putting the light, you’ll want to get the one that works best for you. You can get one that will allow you to keep the light on your desk, or you can get one that will allow you to keep the stand on the floor and raise the light up high. Examples below:
Ring lights are an excellent option as well for lighting and have become extremely popular in recent years.
There are so many options for ring lights if you are interested in one. They range from different sizes, heights, colors. Some come with clips, some with stans, some even with phone holders. Click here to view a ton of options on amazon.
- Here is the ring light we purchased for use with our phones and our DSLR camera -
Neewer LED Ring Light 14" with Light Stand ($89.99)
- Here is the Ring light/Phone Tripod mentioned in the video -
Selfie Ring Light with Cell Phone Holder Stand ($18.99)
If you are interested in potentially getting Softbox lights for your setup you will have a ton of options to choose from. Click here to see what is available on Amazon.
You can find single lights as well as kits ranging from $30 to over $100.
(NOTE: Softbox lights are amazing, but the take up and require a LOT of space to use correclty)
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, MLSP will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of these products or they come as recommendations from professional relationships. We recommend them because we have found them to be helpful in achieving the goals laid out in the MLSP 30 Day Challenge, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve these goals.