After shooting a number of vlogs, it began to dawn on me just how hard it was to find a well lit quiet location to record my videos. My kids, passing cars, lawn mowers, and just the business of life always made it noisy and the quiet rooms (usually interior rooms) were always poorly lit. Sure, it’s not too hard to throw some extra lamps into a small room to lite it up, but it was taking time to put it all together every time I needed the room for a video.
Because of this, I knew to build my own semi-permanent video studio with dedicated lights, sound dampening, and a cool look would be extremely helpful in producing high-quality videos more easily. When I searched for video studio ideas, I was shocked to find that there wasn’t a single article that listed a variety of ways this could be accomplished.
On YouTube, there are hundreds of vloggers giving you a behind the scenes look into their own self-made studios, but nobody had put them into one place for inspiration. Most of the photos below are simply screenshots of YouTubers channels of them in their DIY studio space or providing a behind the scenes look into their setup, so we can see the lights and other equipment they are using.
After review reviewing hundreds of channels, I found that there were 8 categories of DIY video studios to be inspired by. This list goes from the simplest to most sophisticated.
1. Halo Light DIY Studio
The simplest solution to creating a full studio is to simply purchase one halo light to put your camera in the middle of, turn off other lights, and press record. I consider this single light to embody a full studio for three reasons:
- It lights the most important subject (you) well and can eliminate the need to light anything else, turning any empty or cluttered dark room into a studio instantly.
- It brings you close enough to the camera that, with a simple shotgun mic, eliminates the need for more technical sound equipment like a lav or boom pole. It also greatly decreases the need for sound dampening.
- It actually looks quite stunning compared to just using ordinary light fixtures or lamps around your home.
There are drawbacks to this setup however. Most notably, the ring light reflection in your eyes creates an unnatural look. It also limits how much set design you can bring in without additional lighting.
Here are some examples of those who have used the Halo light well to create their own Studios:
2. Lights and Backdrop Kit DIY Studio
There are dozens of simple light and backdrop kits on Amazon that many have utilized to up their video production game. They typically come with a black, white, or green screen backdrops and two inexpensive box lights. This is a great way to get started and they are second most convenient to set up. Another advantage is the portability of the studio. You can bring the whole kit with you and set it up in your home, in the office, or in a hotel room while you travel. Your viewers won’t be able to tell the difference.
The drawbacks are that they can be a bit boring. They are better than poorly lit environments to be sure, but they don’t add to the mood or feel of the video. They are simply sterile backgrounds.
Here are a few shots of people who used kits to turn any space into a studio.
3. Home Depot Rigged DIY Studio
There are plenty of ways you can replace professional lighting and sound gear for less expensive construction gear found at your local home depot store. Many DIY studios utilize these home improvement studio hacks or supplement with them to bring more light into a space. It’s a great way to build your video studio on a budget.
Here are a few examples of YouTubers who have put together a video studio with items you can find at a local hardware store:
4. Turning Your Home Into a DIY Studio
Depending on the theme of your videos or YouTube channel, where you choose to shoot your video might be an existing room within your home. If you have a cooking show, your studio is the kitchen. If you produce videos on car repair, you will most likely be in your garage.
There are a number of YouTubers who have built their studios in and around their homes. This allows you to bring your existing decor into your video set, saving you some money. The downside is the work that goes into setting up and taking down the equipment every time you want to shoot a video or having all those things in the way when you want to use the space for its typical use.
Here are a few examples of YouTubers accomplishing this:
5. Office DIY Video Studio
This is one of my personal favorites since so many vloggers out there have put an incredible amount of time designing office spaces that are creative and fun. Like the DIY home studio category above, you would be brining lights, audio, and camera gear into an existing space. This space, however, lends itself better to a studio since work spaces are often more utilitarian in nature. It’s also easier to make an office look professional than a living room.
Below are some of my favorite office DIY video studios that I have seen on YouTube:
6. Closet DIY Video Studio
Closets are rarely large enough to fit everything you need for a studio, but it is possible. If you’re walk in closet is large enough you can squeeze some lights in there and a wide angle lens to turn it into a studio.
It’s more common to build audio studios in closets since they are easier to completely cover with sound dampening foam to create quiet rooms for podcasts, voice-overs, or music recording. So, while a closet is not ideal for video, it still has its advantage in making it easier to capture great audio.
Here are a few closet studios to consider:
7. Traditional Production DIY Studio
Traditional production studios are usually sparse large rooms with white, black, or grey walls. Good ones typically have a track lighting system built into a ceiling to make it easy to hang lights anywhere. They are useful because they can accommodate so many sets. Hollywood video studios need to be able to build and light battleships, space stations, and countryside barns all in the same space right? They are incredibly flexible … and expensive. These are not DIY video studios, but they can be emulated in some ways.
You can carry some of their elements over into your own space if you need more flexibility as well. This would be good if you shoot multiple types of shows in the same room, like to change things up often, or you just enjoy the minimalist studio aesthetic.
The easiest way to create this kind of room is to start with an empty room and paint the walls a completely neutral white, black, or some shade of grey. If grey, I’ve noticed they usually lean toward a light or dark grey. Many YouTubers also let sound dampening foams into the shot, point some colorful lights against a backdrop, and/or have some miscellaneous studio equipment laying around in the shot as well.
Here are a few screenshots from YouTubers that have gone in this direction:
8. Creative DIY Studio
All other DIY studio sets I have seen are difficult to categorize since they are completely unique. They are meticulously designed to bring in a certain look or feel and can range drastically in cost. They are certainly the most fun to look at and you may consider borrowing an element or two from these very creative DIY Studios.
Here are a few creative studios I found on YouTube:
What equipment do I need for a DIY Home Video Studio? At a minimum, you need a camera, a microphone, and a dedicated light source. More likely though, you will want a variety of lights and a backdrop in addition to a camera and microphone.
How do I make a more professional video studio? To build a professional video studio you will want to have a large dedicated room with a permanent track lighting grid to hang equipment from. You will also want to hire a sound engineer to properly install sound dampening devices to record the best audio. A professional studio will also have an arsenal of professional lighting, audio, and camera gear.