Steven Powers (SMP): Vlog Home Studio Setup for Artists

Vlog Home Studio Setup for Artists


There are many ways to setup a functional home studio for Vlogs and YouTube channels...this is my current set up.

I have been through many iterations of home studios. Using point+shoot hand held cameras, or early iPhones, various lighting setups, or recording digitally with headset microphones.  They were not the best, but I made do with what I had at the time and what was commercially available. There was even compromise with the recording/editing software. Fortunately with more people Vlogging and an increase is budding YouTubers, and with technological advances, we have many more choices available to us.

My Vlog Studio setup is very minimalistic. There are two main ways that I record vlogs.  One is on my PC for digital tutorials and the other is for traditional art projects, predominately for drawing and watercolors. Some of the items that I listed below are used for both types, along with the editing software that is required prior to posting the videos. Below are the main items that are required for any Vlog Studio.


Today this is probably the easiest thing to find and you may already have one...a quality cell phone. In the past my favorite go to camera was a Canon Powershot S95, which I still have today.  It used the same hardware has the Rebel when it first came out...both are antiquated by today's standards, though I still have my S95 and works well as a secondary camera. My favorite camera that I use today is built into my Samsung S10+. It is a great phone, but I am still blown away by the quality of the images and video that it takes especially in low light situations.  This is great improvement for vlogging art tutorials where bright lights that were required to record, also whited out the artwork. This is also helpful when capturing stills of artwork in it's natural state or natural lighting.  In addition, the colors are richer and accurate.  

Note that you do not see my phone in the cradle within the Ring Light because I was using it for the shot.




I have used many of different tripods, boom-arms, and DYI mounts to hold the cameras. When I first started, there were not many commercial options to fit my needs. Again, we are fortunate that things have changed. I settled on a potable desktop microphone stand.  It has a weighted base and boom arm that I attached a microphone adapter and a swivel min-ball head adapter, which enables me to attach either a microphone for recording audio for digital tutorials/voice overs or the S10+-LED Ring Light combination. The base of the stand is 5 lbs, but additional weight can be added if needed be slipping another 2.5-5 lbs plate around the mic pole at the base. I personally haven't needed that, but it is an option. An additional benefit, is that it is completely portable when used the light is powered with a battery pack. This enables me to use it on a counter, the kitchen table, etc.



















Very similar to the one I used. I removed the extension arm since it got in my way of filming. Some don't use easels when creating videos, but I like to have a bit of an angle at me and for washes to flow down the canvas with watercolors and to angle the art work towards me when I am working.  I don't care to work on a flat surface normally.


There is now getting around having a powerful computer to edit and render videos. The good news is that most modern laptops usually are equipped to perform these tasks.  The key components to look for when buying a computer to use for vlogging are:

CPU: When it comes to CPU/Processors we have choices between Intel and AMD. Both have a slew of various versions. We want multi-core processors that support Hyper-threading. This means that for every CPU core, a calculation is completed.  A CPU that has Hyper-threading, we get an additional calculation done for each core. For example, an 8 core processor with Hyper-Threading will perform 16 calculations at a time. Rendering a video requires a lot of calculations.  Probably the hardest task for any processor to perform. So in short, purchase a fast processor, with as many cores that we can afford, along with Hyper-Threading.

Memory/RAM: With memory I suggest a minimum of 8GB, but recommend 16GB. Laptops normally have only two memory slots, with newer ones that support up to 32GB total. Always think about the future requirements. Yes we can do with what we have, but more memory and faster CPUs can get it done quicker.

Hard Drive: We have tow options in hard drives. One is a disk/mechanical drives and the other is Solid State Drives [SSD]. SSD are faster than their mechanical counterpart and these days you can easily get a 1TB SSD. These drives are like running your operating system and programs on RAM/memory. It is the first component that I upgrade to increase performance. I repurposed an old laptop with a SSD and installed Ubuntu operating system [my favorite Linux distro]. It is not my main computer, but can be used for reference and audio recording duties when painting traditionally.

With that said, don't invest in a new laptop that does not have a SSD.  If you are upgrading an existing laptop, then upgrade the drive.

Video Card: When it comes to laptops, they are normally integrated graphics cards, so it is not a component that cam be upgraded.

What I Use: My Main PC is a desktop, which enables me to build my own computer. I run Windows 10, AMD 8 Core Processor; 32gb Ram, and as Solid State Drive where the operating system and programs are installed on.  I use mechanical drives for storage. This system enables me to preform digital painting, 3D modeling and rendering, and Video Editing.

Operating System: I can not talk about Mac OS, but I know a lot of people that use it.  The applications/programs that I use are supported by Windows and Linux. The operating system is determined by the programs and how it is to be used.  Most things can be done on Linux, especially the programs that I use for my art.  This was not the case 10 years ago...but it is today.  It is a great place to save money in your builds by using Linux and Free Open Source Software [FOSS].




Video/Audio Recording Software -OBS Studio with ChromaCam [for use with WebCam, Free or Liftime for $29.99]

OBS: This is a great desktop recorded for digital painting tutorials. It will capture desktop, audio, and webcam. For traditional painting, I use it in conjunction with my Tascam recorder [direct recording] to capture audio. With multiple inputs, additional audio tracks can be recorded at the same time. It is FOSS, and supported on Windows, Mac and Linux.






ChromaCam: I use ChromaCam to drop out my background of the WebCam track.  It is essentially an auto green screen. The free one comes with a watermark so I opted for the lifetime subscription. Now this is not needed if you do not intend to record with your WebCam.




Video Editing Software - Blender VSE: This is far one of my favorite programs. It has come a long way in a very short time. Again it is FOSS and cross-platform supported. Though it is capable of performing all tasks required to produce a full animated film, it is the Video Sequence Editor [VSE] that I used for vlogging/YouTubing. To cover just the VSE portion of Blender, is for a more in depth tutorial. For current tutorials search YouTube for VSE 2.8. 

Image Editing Software - Krita: Once we had only Photoshop to edit images, and I still have CS6 on my system, but Krita is just a beautiful program to use. It is a professional FOSS, Cross-Platform supported application. I have seen Krita gain ground on replacing Photoshop since Adobe thought it was a good option to only sell their products with subscriptions. You can find multiple tutorials on YouTube to get you going.


No comments:

Post a Comment