How to Set Up a Video Studio in Your Basement – A Pastor’s Guide

Over the past few days, I have been working on putting together a makeshift studio that I can use to record videos for the congregation and community. It will also be helpful for the ever-increasing number of video conference calls these days. I want to share with you a bit of the process, in case you find anything that could be useful. I’m going to add links to Amazon, which has been and continues to be my go-to for supplies. If you make a purchase through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission. Alright, so here we go.

This is our basement.

Basement

It’s great! Functional, fun, and admittedly a bit filled with clutter for our family of four. In most seasons of our life, this works just fine. However, it’s not an excellent background for video conference calls or for recording video for many reasons. So, where to start? The backdrop.

Backdrop

I am using a 10’x13′ Hand Painted Tie Dye Muslin Backdrop to cover the remainder of our basement while giving a clean backdrop.

Muslin Backdrop

I picked up a Heavy-Duty Oak Closet Pole from Home Depot to hold the backdrop up. I screwed in some short 2x4s to hold up both ends. This strategy was successful in blocking the background. However, there was some light bleeding through from lights behind the backdrop. So, I found a moving blanket that we had leftover in our basement. You can find something like it here.

Moving Blanket

Some Heavy Duty Muslin Clamps helped hold up the moving blanket.

Muslin Clamp

Of course, you could leave out the closet pole and clamp the backdrop to the wood supporting the floor above.

Lighting

As you could see from the picture above, our basement is pretty dark. Some months ago, I had purchased a set of 60 LED Portable Light Lamps for Table Top Photo Studio. I set these on the desk for use during video conference calls.

Video Conference Lighting

This set up gave plenty of light, but this close they gave some harsh shadows. I was looking around our basement to find something that could soften the light. I found a couple of Sweater Drying Racks. I took them apart and repurposed the fabric to create a makeshift softbox.

Softbox

It works well in the limited space at the desktop. A 4 Foot LED Shop Light hangs from the ceiling and supplements the light. It’s a rough attempt at three-point lighting.

Work Light

Recording Video

When I want to record a video, I find it a bit easier to speak while standing. For this, I move the lights to the top of the desk.

Video Lighting

With a bit more distance from the light, the shadows aren’t nearly as harsh and still provide plenty of light. I use a 4-Section Tripod Kit along with a Universal Smartphone Clamp.

Smartphone Tripod Clamp

Though, I may try out using the Mini Tripod Kit with Universal Smartphone Clamp on the top shelf of the desk. Your space will help determine what works best.

This and That

I added a few pieces of decor to help fill the frame in a video conference call. You can still tell that it is a concrete wall, yet it softens the space a bit. Online video production is all supported with high-speed internet delivered through our eero Pro mesh WiFi system. It provides solid delivery of data from our cable internet connection to devices throughout our house.

WiFi Router and Cable Modem

While the circumstances are not what I would hope for, I have found joy in the creativity that I have discovered. Without the need for social distancing, this desk would have remained stacked with stuff. My occasional video conference call from home would have been from our kitchen table because the light is better, but not fantastic, in that space.

Feel free to use whatever is helpful and make it better in your context.

Take a look at the video below to review post and see some video produced in this space.

Changing the Atmosphere

Nicole and I recently purchased a dehumidifier for our basement. After it’s arrival, I set it up, plugged it in and turned it on. When I checked on it the next day, the water reservoir was full and the atmosphere was noticeably different. I knew that it needed to be dehumidified, but was still surprised at the tangible difference that I felt when I walked back downstairs.

The dehumidifier changed the atmosphere.

I believe that one of the key roles of a pastor is creating an atmosphere in within a local church in which disciples are formed.

There are many actions that could contribute to a change in the atmosphere and one of the most significant is tending to my own spiritual formation. If my soul is not thriving, it is difficult for me to lead others in their journey of faith in a way that can be used by the Holy Spirit to produce fruit.

What are other ways that the atmosphere might be changed in a local church?