Greetings, actor friends! After our recent #AskAnExpert – Reels series with Kristina from Latour de Force Productions, I received a question from a reader, and I wanted to share it with you all.
What’s the average cost of a home studio set up – lights, backdrop, stand, etc.? What free editing tools are available to create a rough draft of what I want in order to cut down on the time a reel editor will need to modify my work?
Hi! For a home studio set up, there may only be a few items that you need. For starters, you probably already have a cell phone. The quality of cell phone video cameras has drastically improved in recent years, so, you could go ahead and use that to film your footage! If you are able to set up next to a window, it could be a good source of natural lighting. So all you would need would be a tripod, a backdrop, and an adapter to connect your phone onto the tripod. Cost does vary depending on how fancy you want to get, but all three of these items can be pretty inexpensive on Amazon—less than $100.
Regarding free video editing software, many computers come with something already installed. I am most familiar with iMovie, which comes standard on Mac computers. And if you have a Windows-based machine, take a look and see if there is appropriate software already on it! A Google search for Free Editing Software may offer a few more suggestions. Just keep in mind, while the editing software may be free and user-friendly, there can still be a bit of a learning curve. Hope this is helpful, and best of luck to you!
Good lighting makes a huge difference. If you don’t have great natural light in your apartment (and in case you want to be able to shoot in the evening), you should invest in a ring light. It’s small enough to store in tiny NYC apartments, and lights up your face beautifully. I love mine! You’d use the same tripod as your camera because your camera attaches to the inside of the light and you shoot through it. You can find these in a range of prices, so do your research. Here’s a link to one that includes a stand.
Another thing you can do to elevate your video is invest in a lavalier microphone. Here’s a link to an inexpensive one that attaches to any camera (including your iPhone) and works great.
And for the basic at-home video editing and the learning curve Kristina mentions, remember to check out YouTube for tutorials on the basics you want to accomplish. There’s a wealth of information out there, and you may be able to find a few shortcuts to save you some frustration.
This article also has more helpful tips for shooting footage at home.
Do you have any questions from this series, anything we’ve covered on the Actor-Webs blog, or in general? Comment below or send me a note. I’d love to help!