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The Technical Setup Behind My Videos on ProBlogger

Posted By Darren Rowse 7th of December 2011 Video Posts 0 Comments

In my last video post I spoke about the benefits of using talking head video posts on a blog. Today in this video I want to respond to many questions I get about the technical setup that I use for my videos here on ProBlogger.

My set up is very basic (and I’m sure it can be improved), but the results seem to work well. I get a lot of comments on them, and questions about factors like which camera I use, what lighting I have, whether I use a microphone, and so on. As I say, I’m no tech-head so I go with the basics, but I hope you find it useful.

I’d love to hear what setup you use for your talking head videos too!

Related video: What Camera Am I Using for My Videos?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Thank you Darren!

    The information you’ve shared is really useful.

    I had to shot a video recently of myself and I used my iPhone on a pile of books as a tripod. :)

    Really inexpensive, effective and I also received some great feedback for the video.

    However, I am planning to get a good camera and a tripod for my next videos.


  2. I just invested in a nice camera, so I’m hoping to produce some great videos for my site.

  3. very nice darren.

  4. I saw a similar post on Lifehacker last week and thought it was very informative as well, just like this one, which might be of help to some people – http://lifehacker.com/5862840/make-a-web-video-how-to-choose-your-gear-shoot-and-edit-video-and-master-youtube

    Can I ask who created the animated intro’s, their in a way simple but very elegant?!

  5. Darren,

    Good stuff. One thing a lot of folks forget is to try for great audio. It really matters more than picture quality, in the end.

    Your video sounds pretty good. It sounds like you are using the camera’s mic and that you are standing close to it. Proximity is the #1 trick to getting good audio. #2 is to record in a quiet space. #3 is don’t record in an echoey room. This video has a slight echo, but I can understand you very well.

    Most point and shoot cameras don’t come with external mic inputs, so a good metric to follow is…

    “For good audio, think close and quiet”.

    Thanks again for the great tips!


  6. I definitely want to start experimenting with video. I need to figure out what content will work well, both in video format, but also in staying true to the nature of my blog.

    • I mean to say, I’m not entirely sure the talking head approach would work. I think I’d need something a bit more active. Also, I don’t want videos to compete with my writing. I think talking head-style videos would compete with, rather than compliment, my writing.

  7. Hi Darren
    What a beautifully simple approach to video! I’ve seen a ton of “expertise” on this topic and you boil it down to essentials. Natural light, a decent camera and focus on the message.

  8. Michelle says: 12/07/2011 at 1:33 pm

    Wonderful! Very nice.

  9. Jason Cox says: 12/07/2011 at 2:42 pm

    Camcorder, in the smallest room possible so that the light inside shows a nice even lighting, and I use Adobe Premiere for video editing.

  10. vlog, difficult, interesting and beautiful

  11. I usually don’t have time to shoot my talking head videos during the day, but when I do I make the most of the natural light. When I can’t I have construction lights I use to create better lighting in my office. As for my camera I have a Vixia HFS10 and also just a simple flipcam. As far as sound goes I usually use a digital recorder then upload the sound file to my macbook pro. After I upload I sync the sound and edit the video in imovie.

  12. I think I will just use my webcam for the time being. I know I won’t get very good quality, though.

    I have noticed quite a few people doing videos lately, and there are some really well produced ones out there. On the other hand, some of those you-tube videos are terrible quality, with really poor audio and the visual standard is just as bad.

  13. In think the background is actually a very good choice. It makes the videos more personal. And at least I try to spot familiar books (so far I’ve only recognized the Harry Potter ;)

    In the description you mention microphones. You use the one in the camera right? I assume that because of the room sound. Again I think it’s better (at least in your case) to create that intimate feeling. You could create a feeling of closeness with an external microphone, but you’d lose the realism.

    Thanks for sharing. It made me think about creating videos from another perspective :)

  14. Thanks for the inside look at what you’re using to shoot. I have a Sony NEX5, that I plan on utilizing for video.

  15. Darren,

    would you happen to have any experience with special effects video editing software? :-)

  16. Thanks Darren for the simple input. Sometimes I am trying to overthink my own setup. When the picture is sharp, simple background, and good audio, it is certainly a good place to start.

  17. Hi Darren, thanks for the insight into your video setup. I use an iPad 2 ballanced on some cardboard boxes and a 500 watt flood light for lighting as my office has zero natural light.

  18. I think the best thing to take from this video was the reflecting mirror you have on your right side! Very cool idea! I’ve often found myself moving my body in order to take a video where one side of my face wasn’t dark anymore. Thanks for the tip I will 100% invest in one of these.

  19. I love seeing what other people use to create stuff. I’ve been using my old flip video camera to record my product reviews for http://www.campingeek.com which I think does a ripper job. Sad the company has gone under it’s a really cool little unit. Definitely think I’ll get something to bounce the light around with after watching this.


  20. Thanks Darren. I’m planning on starting to film some more videos for my site and this is helpful.

    I need a tripod. It’s probably more professional than my current setup or trying to balance my camera on top of boxes. :)

  21. Thanks Darren! I’ve just recently started to foray into videos for the blog and I’m running to the ‘writing’ wall as far as what readers will want to hear me TALK about instead of READ about… thoughts?

  22. Great video quality, looked up the camera and will have to save some $$$ :D

    Used a Sony z1 for filming a live stage performance, ofc this a HD video camera, but i’m after a decent stills camera thats also good for video. The Lumix GF1 / 2 or 3 look great :)

    I’m going to look around your blog for other videos to see the performance in different situations, could you provide any extra links to action or videos outside / free moving camera shots?

    Thanks for this helpful video and i followed you on twitter, I’m @01systems,


  23. what software do you use for editing

  24. It is funny that you mentioned the busy background and how it may not be the best. I LOVE IT!

    I have been taking notice of what I like and dont like about people’s vlogs as I about to start a series of them myself. And I have noticed that anyone who has books anywhere in the background instantly gains more of my attention. I can’t explain why exactly I have just noticed it to be true for me.

    Thanks for the tips! Great vlog.

  25. Awesome. I just thinking about videos post for my site and i got good tips from here. Thanks a lot.

  26. Great Stuff Darren, thanks for sharing. I’ve been using my built-in iMac’s camera and a cheapo headset with a mic.

    I am using the built-in camera because I’m also using Screenflow to record what I’m doing on-screen so it just seemed like that was the easiest way to do it all quickly. I might get a more robust camera and use that instead. I’d like to also get a more discrete mic so that I dont’ look like I’m about to take your order at the drivethru.
    You can see the end result here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL033D14E497F178AC&feature=plcp

    As always, thanks again for sharing your tips & tricks.

  27. Very helpful video blog! I’m starting to experiment with video. I am using my iPhone 4s for the video as it actually has great video and you can edit on the phone. I also bought a lavaliere mic (and adaptor) – it really enhances the sound quality – there is no echo.

    My biggest challenge is light. I live in Seattle and natural light is hard to come by but I am working on it. Thanks for the great tips!

  28. Well believe it or not when I first started recording video online I used a web cam, then moved to an HD Webcam, but what I have found brilliant especially if you want to record an impromptu video then the iPhone4 / ipad/ ipod touch have a brilliant HD lens on them. I brough a mini tripod to grip the phone off ebay and it does produce some brilliant quality video and the sound is not to be sniffed at either. Ok, not highly professional but good enough. For professional looking videos I use a Panasonic GF2 and also a pod casting mic. I find that Camtasia studio is excellent for editing the videos.

    Thats my 2 cents :)


  29. Hi Darren, that’s the information i was actually looking for.

    Thank you!

  30. Enjoy the videos so please keep them coming!

    I’m looking to shoot outdoors on my own blog, and was wondering can anyone recommend a lapel mic I can hook up to my camera?? Needn’t be too flash…. Much appreciated..


  31. I use the kodak Zi8 for 2 years, and am very happy with it. The only problem it has is that it records in mov format, and the camtasia software doesn’t use this.
    So I cannot edit my HD videos.

    Darren, you didn’t talk about audio…..do you use any mic?

  32. I use a Canon 7D and I list my technical set up on my blog http://www.chipdizard.com/pages/my-gear. I also use a tascam dr-100 to record my audio and it has worked very well.

  33. I am just using the in built webcam on my macbook for now but want to move to something more professional and better quality and thinking of moving to Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910 and Flip HD. Any suggestions.

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