Talking Head & Video Podcast Setup

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Welcome, video creators and online entrepreneurs! If you’ve ever wished for a personal guide to optimize your talking head video setup, your wish has been granted. I’m Meredith, and I’m excited to share insights from my Crush It On Camera guide, designed to make your video creation process a breeze. In this article, we’ll explore step-by-step recommendations for your camera, microphone, and lighting setup – all aimed at helping you build a professional looking video library to grow your audience and business on YouTube.

Watch the Video: Talking Head & Video Podcast Setup | CRUSH IT ON CAMERA

Some product links in this post are affiliate links, and I will be compensated when you purchase by clicking our links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Setting Up Your YouTubicle: Unlocking the Power of a Set-and-Forget Setup

Creating a “YouTubicle” is the first step to a hassle-free video creation process. Just like a cubicle, it’s your dedicated space with everything ready to roll – camera, microphone, lighting, all set up. The key is to eliminate the need for constant adjustments, allowing you to focus on content creation. So let’s delve into the practicalities of setting up your personalized YouTubicle, making video creation a seamless experience.

Choosing the Right Camera: Navigating the Camera Dilemma

Selecting the perfect camera is crucial for a talking head setup. While the Canon M50 Mark II and the Canon R10 are fantastic choices, the market landscape is ever-evolving. So you’ll see in the Crush It On Camera guide, there are two cameras that I recommend that work perfectly for a talking head style setup like this. One is the Canon M50 Mark II, And the other is the Canon R10. They look like similar cameras, but they’re different. And this is one of the reasons why putting this guide together was so painful because just as I was finishing it, Canon announced that the M50 Mark II is being discontinued. It’s still my favorite camera. You can connect them to your computer effortlessly using the Elgato Cam Link. The goal is to simplify the setup process while ensuring top-notch video quality.

Recording Videos Directly Into the Computer: Avoiding Extra Steps

There are a couple of reasons why I recommend recording your videos directly into your computer.

  1. You can use a good quality broadcast microphone, and record your audio and video together, which is great for talking heads or a video podcast. If you record separately, you’d have to sync your audio and video later, which is possible, but it’s a lot of extra steps.
  2. Even if you have a dummy battery and your camera can go on and on for hours without dying, you’re still recording onto a memory card at that point. This means that every time the memory card gets full or whenever you’re done recording, you have to get to your camera, open up the battery door or the memory card door, take out the card, put the card into your computer, transfer the files. That is not a set it and forget it setup.

And there are several really good easy ways to record into your computer using your Elgato Cam Link. I think Descript is probably the best because you can record into it and then edit. Plus Descript owns SquadCast, so if you want to record remotely with guests for a podcast, for example, you can do that and then edit it with Descript. Ecamm is also really great. Tela or ScreenFlow are good if you’re recording more of a screen recording style video.

Optimizing Audio with the Right Microphone: Why Good Audio Trumps All

Lately I’ve been using a new microphone, the Shure SM7dB, which runs about $500. So it’s a bit on the pricey side, but It is a professional level broadcasting mic. You can also get really good sounding microphones for around $80 or so. I also have the Audio-Technica ATR 2100x.

Anytime you’re using an external microphone, in your input settings, you want to make sure that you have selected the actual the microphone that you’re intending to come through your computer. And then with whatever software you’re using to record, you have to make that selection there as well.

Shure recently came out with this little device, the MVX2U, which allows you to take that chunky XLR cable on professional microphones and plug it directly into your computer through USB. And, again, everything is linked right here in my Crush It On Camera guide.

I also absolutely love the Adobe Mic Check app to check audio levels. They will tell you if you’re too far, too close, adjust your gain. It does a pretty good job of getting you into the right range, but it’s always a good idea to do a test recording first.

Related: Elevate Your Home YouTube Studio: Gear Upgrades and Tips for Online Content Creators

Illuminating Your Space: Bright Ideas for Ideal Lighting

Now let’s talk about lighting because as you probably know, the camera needs light to do its job. But you don’t want direct sunlight. And you also probably don’t want to fill your recording space with a bunch of artificial lights on stands and things like that either. That’s why I recommend the Elgato Key Light. This comes on a Master Mount, which can clamp to your desk or to a shelf on your desk.

And what I love about these lights is they connect to your computer through Wi Fi, and you can adjust all your settings using the Elgato control app. Personally, I just kind of like a warmer vibe to my lights. It feels more like you’re in my house. I have my Elgato light strip that’s behind me in my YouTubicle controlled in the app as well. I believe what I have is one regular set of the strip lights and then three extension sets. And while we’re on the topic of lighting, let me also bring up the Elgato Stream Deck because this is definitely an optional channel device, but you can program your lights into it so that you can control them right from these buttons and not even Have to mess around with your software. So I can turn my main key light off with a click of a button. I can turn my strips off behind me with a click of a button.

Fine-Tuning in Editing: From Rough Cuts to Pro-Quality Videos

So let’s talk about editing, which is actually one of my favorite parts of creating YouTube videos. One of the pieces of software I’ve really been loving for the past year or so is Descript. Not only can you use Descript to record your videos, you can also use it to edit your videos. What I generally do is create a rough cut in Descript and I get rid of all of my mistakes. Then I take that rough cut and I bring it into Adobe Premiere Pro, which is a more advanced piece of editing software. Then I’ll play around with it, add some bells and whistles, get fancy, add my lower thirds, add my background music, and then finesse all of my jump cuts and add B roll and things like that.

But you don’t have to do that to create simple talking head videos. It really isn’t necessary, and I really think Descript is really everything you need to create professional looking talking head videos. And I included some diagrams in this Crush It On Camera guide of some different thoughts and ideas for setting up your YouTubicle space.

Related: Video Editing with Descript


Now if you do have your space set up and you’re wondering, does this look right? Would Meredith approve? You can always come on into one of our meetups inside Thriving Creators Society. We meet up every month at least once or twice a month, and we have a group Zoom call. And it’s really great for getting feedback on things like gear setup. Plus, I talk about what’s working for me now on YouTube, and it’s a good time. It’s a really great community.

Building your ideal YouTubicle setup for talking head videos is about simplifying the process and optimizing each component for maximum efficiency. So be sure to download my Crush It on Camera guide, to help you to create a set-it-and-forget-it YouTubicle. Remember, the key to growing your audience is consistently producing binge-worthy content. So, dive in, explore different setups, and find what works best for you. Happy filming!