October 8, 2019

How You Can Turn a C-Stand Into a DIY YouTube Studio

This DIY build puts pretty much everything you'll ever need to shoot YouTube videos, including camera, mics, and lights, all on one rolling stand. 

What does the perfect YouTube studio setup consist of?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, namely because my brother has enlisted me to help him take his YouTube channel to the next level. And while my "expertise" (as he calls it) is somewhat limited in terms of real-world practice, there are a few things I've learned over a decade's worth of making one-man-band shorts and videos with limited money, time, and space.

And then, because fate is my friend, I came across this video by Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter, in which he demonstrates how he built an all-in-one "YouTube Studio" that houses pretty much everything you'd need to shoot YouTube videos, complete with camera, audio, and lighting equipment. Check it out below:

Before we dive into how to put Pike's awesome DIY "YouTube Studio" together, let's quickly go back to my initial question.

What does the perfect YouTube studio setup consist of?

Well, that depends on a lot of different factors. Here are just a few questions you might want to ask yourself:

  • Where are you shooting your videos? Are you going to shoot them primarily in front of a desk in your bedroom, out on location, in a studio?
  • What's your budget? How much money are you willing to spend on gear and production tools?
  • What gear are you using? What kind of camera, lenses, audio, lighting do you have, and what advantages and limitations come with using them?
  • What look are you going for? Are you wanting to do talking-head style videos? Are you going more for the "travel vlog" look? Are you primarily filming yourself, and if so, how do you want to be on-camera? Standing? Sitting? Moving around?

Pike's setup is geared more toward higher-end, single-location talking-head videos.

I say "higher-end" because he uses some relatively expensive gear that might be overkill for some YouTubers, namely hobbyists on a limited budget who aren't looking to monetize their videos. His setup is also designed to be highly adjustable and moveable, but not portable whatsoever. This means if you're interested in travel vlogging or filming at multiple locations, this thing is probably not going to be your best option.

However, if you want to film yourself in a single location, talking-head style, which countless YouTubers do, then this might be an ideal setup for you.

As you can see, Pike's DIY YouTube Studio makes reframing your shots easy thanks to the rolling C-stand.

What parts do you need?

This setup is a tad on the expensive side, requiring over $1000 worth of gear to build. I won't go over each item that Pike used specifically since he shares links in the video's description, but here's a general list of the gear you'll need.

  • Rolling C-stand
  • Grip heads (x2)
  • Grip arm (40" or 20" depending on how far away you want to place your light)
  • LED light (large and lightweight are ideal...LED mats are a good option for these reasons)
  • Sandbags (x2)
  • Matthellini clamp (x1)
  • Super clamp (x1)
  • Super clamp extension w/ spigot (x1)
  • Spigot (x1)
  • Microphone arm
  • Ball head (for mic)
  • Extension cable (for mic)
  • Power strip or V-mount battery
  • Tripod head (for camera)
  • Camera (lightweight and good AF a plus)
  • Lens
  • Microphone

One quick note: If the one LED you mount to your C-stand isn't giving you enough light, consider rigging up a couple of other lighting units or moving to a location that has a window or more natural light.

Keep in mind that Pike is not just a YouTuber, he's a filmmaker, so some of the gear he uses might be a little overkill if you're a hobbyist just trying to shoot some basic talking head videos. But if you or your friends already own some of these things -- especially an LED light mat, which is by far the most expensive piece of gear used here (other than the camera) -- then this thing might save you time and take away some of the stress of setting up and recording your videos.     

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