YouTube Workshops: Production on a Shoestring

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Welcome to our third and final post in the YouTube workshop series!

This session deals with the dirty stuff: actually making and shooting the video, the equipment and tools needed, which can cost an arm and leg.

But for us who can’t afford to spend a few thousand quid, here are some basic gadgets and softwares you need to produce more than decent videos.


Image from

Get a DSLR for superb, high-quality HD images. YouTube Space runs on Canon, but Nikon and Sony are also decent brands to go for. Amongst the recommendations are Canon’s ‘nifty fifty’  lens, which is a nice, affordable lens. The Canon EOS 600D has a flip screen, which is great for individuals working on their own. This allows them to face the camera and actually see how it comes out.


Image from Visual Science Lab

Lighting is important to produce a clearer footage. Some of the lights you can use:

  • 1st light – lights the best side (diffused)
  • 2nd light – dimmer on the other side (diffused)
  • 3rd light – aimed at back of the head to lift subject off the background (hard light)

All lights should be high up. Cheaper alternatives to lightings are:

  • Windows
  • Reflectors
  • Chinese lanterns lampshade (ikea Regolit)

Make use of what you have if you can’t afford to spend money on proper equipment!


Always use an external mic especially for DSLRs

Rode camera mic is the best for close ups

Or alternatively invest in:

  • Zoom h1
  • Zoom h4n
  • Omnidirectional condenser mic


After you’ve produced the raw footage, it’s time to edit you videos. Invest in a good editing software, which can range from cheap to really expensive:

  • Adobe premier (£18/month)
  • Adobe Creative Suite (£46/month)
  • Final cut pro (£200)


Another tip is to add colour effects to black to create moods and make your video more appealing. They also recommend nice round S curves for colour and contrast

So there you go, the more economical basics of video production! We must say mobile film making is the most economical of all, though of course the result does not compare. Check out our mobile film making journey and the finished product!



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