Currently I’m tasked with creating a TV studio for the company I work for (Quipment). It has to be similar to a studio that’s used for the six-o-clock news for example. It’s one of those challenges you come across a few times a year. Something new to learn and some new skills I can get acquainted with. I can tell you it isn’t easy to build something like this from scratch. There are a lot of things to think about. In this article I’ll try to give you a heads-up on what to think about.
It’s always important to research the Internet for the right gear. It’s not always needed to get the most expensive stuff in my opinion. On the contrary, you can find perfectly good gear for a lower price or even fix it yourself. Keep in mind though that this sort of hobby doesn’t come cheap anyway.
To shoot video you’ll need a camera (thanks captain obvious). There are tons of cameras. You’ve got the low end camcorders, high end camcorders, dslr’s and pro cameras. I don’t think you’ll need a pro camera when doing a low budget production. Of course it offers a lot of interesting features for a videographer but it’ll cost you!
We looked at an entry level pro camera. Soon we figured out a high end camcorder offers the same on a smaller scale. We choose the Panasonic HC-X900, a full hd camera with a Leica lens. It offers great footage for you to edit at a reasonable price.
You don’t want to hold your camera all the time. You’ll need a monopod, tripod or something similar. Personally I prefer a tripod. It’s a bit more stable and comes with some handy functions. Just like cameras there are a lot of different tripods available. Again, this will depend on your budget, but try not to fall for the cheapest ones. They’re cheap for a reason!
I chose a mid range tripod, the Benro KH25. It’s a strong and easy to use tripod which operates smoothly.
Building a TV / News like studio you can basically do what you want. Everything is possible as long as it fits into your budget. You can choose to hire someone to build the studio but it’s also possible to build one yourself. Of course hiring a professional will get you the best results. On the other hand, you can easily mask disruptions on your studio yourself… by using a green screen for example.
A green screen is really easy to make. There are a lot of products around that work like an out of the box green screen but you’ll pay for that. You can just as easily create one yourself by painting a wall or using green cloth. I used the latter, bought some new green cloth and stretched around some slats.
The only thing to look at is the colour green. Don’t use a light one or a dark green. Somehow it’s harder to key it later on. In my opinion the grassy green, like the grass at your neighbour’s, is the right one.
Lighting is one of the most important parts when creating a studio. Your setting needs to be lit perfectly. Especially when using a green screen. You’ll need to make sure it’s perfectly lit and there are no shadows on it. You’ll also need some lighting to put on your subjects. Make sure it looks very natural and not to yellow (check the white balance on the camera too!).
Just like with the cameras and tripods lighting comes in many forms. The cheap lighting sets are again not the best available. So when you want to achieve a professional result, pull your wallet. You can also use construction lights to light the background and your subjects. Put a piece of white cloth in front of it and you’ll have something similar to a soft box. Don’t put the cloth to close to the light though, they’ll get hot and you don’t want to burn down the office.
The only problem with using construction lights is that it will give you very yellow light. It’s wise to get the white balance right when starting to film and double check it when working on the raw footage. Don’t be lazy and think it’s not that bad to have a lot of yellow, it is!
So that’s basically it. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well it isn’t. There’s a lot of time involved in creating a studio. Make sure you have enough of it. Hopefully this article will help out a bit and save you some time. It sure helped me out . Our studio is ready and we can start shooting. The only things left are setting up the right shots and start to work on the content (Intro movie, items, etc).