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.

Rethink Rock vs. Ukrainian Army Ad

I was watching the Al Jazeera Listening Post – Video this week and saw the following as their web video of the week:

I laughed to myself and thought, “What kind of videos are people making these days?”

Then I remembered a clip that I first saw at annual conference:

Is one more effective than the other? Only one of the two videos above has a clear desired outcome and a call to action for the viewer.

What makes an effective video? How can the church produce the best media possible?

Why I use WordPress.com (1 of 6)

I use WordPress.com to blog because it is free and it is open source. It is also the softward that is used to run all the blogs hosted at cor.org. I switched from Blogger a couple years ago because I wanted a little more of an independent feel and appreciated that WordPress can be used as a simple content management system. In other words, it could be used by any church to start a free, simple and well designed website. I continue to appreciate the innovation from WordPress and steady new updates. Thinking about getting started in WordPress? Check out this video.

What platform do you use to blog and why do you like it?

United Methodist Young Clergy – Video Project

I would like to draw your attention to the umc young clergy website where a series of videos have been posted about the issues facing young clergy in The United Methodist Church. Here is one titled, “naming the elephants”

I believe that projects like this can make a positive impact in the renewal of the denomination.

I encourage you to go to umc young clergy and check out each of the videos.