Even if you have no budget for video gear, you can make some great videos with just a sunny room and something to sit your camera on top of or lean your phone against.
You don't need gear to make good videos, but you might still want it, and it can be frustrating when you find you can't do something because you're missing a piece of equipment (i.e., shoot a high-quality video without lighting gear when the sun is down or hidden behind clouds).
Instead of feeling limited because you can't afford professional gear, you can DIY your way around a lot of common equipment issues from lighting to stabilization. The only piece of gear you can't DIY is your camera, and you probably have a decent camera on your phone.
Here are some DIY YouTube equipment ideas to use in your home studio:
Having a lot of light is one of the best things you can do for the quality of your videos. A lot of cameras, particularly smartphone cameras, can record amazing footage with proper lighting but struggle to maintain that quality in low-light situations.
Here are three easy DIY solutions for lighting gear.
How to Make a DIY Reflector
A reflector is a lightweight piece of board or fabric stretched over a screen that you use to bounce light. If your main light source is a window, or if you own one professional lamp, then a problem you might be running into is that when light hits your face from a single source, the opposite side of your face becomes covered by distracting shadows.
You use a reflector to bounce light from one light (i.e., a lamp or a window) back towards the subject (you, if you're doing a ''talking head'' video). This will soften the shadows on your face and allow viewers to focus on what you're saying.
Note: all of these lighting DIYs will mention ''spring clamps''. Spring clamps are an inexpensive type of clamp you can purchase either online or at a hardware store for $5 or less.
Option 1: DIY Reflector using Construction Paper
1 Sheet of white construction paper
1 Spring clamp
There isn't actually a lot of DIY-ing involved in this project. The sheet of construction paper will be able to bounce white light without you needing to modify it at all.
Use the spring clamp to attach your sheet of construction paper to the back of a chair, the edge of a table, or anything else you can find to hold it. You want to set it up at an angle, so the light it reflects is pointed at the shadows you're trying to fill.
Option 2: DIY Reflector Using Foil
1 Sheet of cardboard
1 Spring clamp
Step 1: Cut or tear off enough aluminum foil to cover your cardboard.
Step 2: Tape the foil to the cardboard around the edges.
Use the spring clamp to attach your reflector to the back of a chair, the edge of a table, or anything else you can find to hold it. You want to set it up at an angle, so the light it reflects is pointed at the shadows you're trying to fill.
If you want a bit more precision than you can get from attaching your reflector to a household object with a spring clamp (for either of the options above), consider this DIY reflector holder from Joe Edelman.
How to Make a DIY Diffuser
A diffuser is used to soften the light. The light coming directly from a powerful lamp, or the sun, can be harsh. It casts dark shadows over the side of your face, it isn't hitting, and if it hits your eyes, it could make you squint. Not a great look for vlogging.
1 Rectangular sheet of cardboard
1 Square sheet of tissue paper (the kind you'd use for wrapping a present, not blowing your nose).
Tape or glue
Step 1: Use a pen or pencil to draw a square on your cardboard. The lines of the rectangle should be 1 inch away from the edges of your cardboard on three sides. You'll have more room than that on one side, and that's good because you need that space to clamp your finished diffuser to a stand.
Step 2: Cut out the square. It's been a good idea to use an exact-o-knife.
Step 3: Tape or glue the tissue paper down over your new frame. Depending on how large your tissue is, you may need to cut it down first so that it is larger than the hold in your cardboard by 1 inch on all 4 sides.
Use the spring clamp to fasten your diffuser to your window sill, a door, or anything else you can set up in-between your face and your main light source.
Alternatively, you can use tissue paper alone without building a frame. If you're using an artificial light that doesn't get hot as your main lighting source, you can use clothespins to attach tissue directly to the frame of the light. This works well with clamp lights, which you can get for under $10 (and can attach to almost anything since they come with clamps).
DIY Camera Stabilization
You need something to hold your camera while you're doing your video. If you don't have access to a tripod or something portable like a Gorillapod, then you're stuck propping your camera up on a stack of books or filming vlogs selfie-style.
The thing is, shooting videos selfie-style can result in shaky footage, and you don't always have a readily-available stack of books.
Here are 2 DIY tripods/camera stands and 1 DIY dolly!
DIY Smartphone Camera Stand
Maybe your phone is your main vlogging camera, or maybe you just use it to capture quick clips once in a while. Either way, you've probably run into trouble trying to capture smooth footage with it. You either have to hold it and shoot selfie-style, which can result in camera shake, or you have to find a way to prop it up without having it tilt up at an awkward angle.
Small smartphone tripods are actually very affordable (think $10), but you might not need one because most people already have the supplies for this DIY at home.
2 Binder clips OR 2 hair clips (clip claws or hair jaws)
Step 1: Hold your phone horizontally, so it's wide rather than tall (landscape mode), and clip your clips to the bottom near each corner.
Step 2: Place your phone/clips on a flat surface, so the clips are holding the phone up. Make adjustments if your phone isn't being held exactly strait.
Easy Water Bottle Tripod
The method in the section above is great for when you're at home and have a flat, stable, table, or desk to set it upon. There are a lot of situations where you'll need something a bit more versatile, though - something you can set up easily anywhere. This is especially true if you don't use your phone as your main camera.
This water bottle method is meant for lightweight point-and-shoot cameras. It may work with a DSLR too, but it might be difficult to balance with a heavy lens.
1 1/4" hexagonal bolt, 3/4" long
2 1/4" hexagonal nuts
1 screw-top water bottle with cap
Step 1: Punch a hole in the center of the bottle cap large enough for the bolt. If you have a 1/4" drill, then using that will be easier.
Step 2: Screw one of the nuts onto the bolt, all the way down.
Step 3: Add the bottle cap, so the nut is sitting inside the cap.
Step 4: Screw the second nut on top of the bottle cap.
Step 5: Fill your water bottle with water or sand to weigh it down.
Step 6: Screw the lid onto the bottle.
You'll be able to screw your new water bottle stabilizer into the bottom of your camera, in the threading where you'd normally mount it to a tripod.
Audio quality is just as important as video quality on YouTube. If your video has a lot of dialogue, then it might actually be more important. As long as they can tell what's going on, a viewer will forgive poor picture quality before they forgive, having to struggle to understand what you're saying.
You can't DIY an actual microphone, unfortunately, but you can DIY your way around one of the most common audio issues – wind noise.
If you've seen a film crew on tv, or maybe watched a local broadcaster covering an event live, then you've probably noticed someone standing and holding a big pole with a microphone at the end. That microphone was probably fuzzy.
The fuzz is actually a piece of gear called a ''dead'' (the making of which does not involve hurting any cats, don't worry). You slide it over a microphone and the fuzz keeps out wind noise.
LAV mics, also called lavalier or lapel mics, are one of the most popular audio options for YouTubers because they're inexpensive (often under $20) and can often plug directly into the audio jack of a smartphone.
Here's how you can make a fuzzy windscreen for your LAV mic.
1 Fuzzy glove
Step 1: Use scissors to cut the end off one of the glove's fingers.
Step 2: Turn the edges up into the finger (or it'll fall off easily).
Step 3: Fit your new windscreen onto your LAV.
Since a glove has multiple fingers, you can cover multiple LAVs if you're making videos with friends.
DIY Windscreen for Camera Mic
This DIY is for people relying on their camera's built-in mic. It'll work for DSLR, Mirrorless, or point-and-shoot cameras (so long as the point-and-shoot has a lens that sticks out) so long as the camera's microphone is forward-facing.
Look at the front of your camera for two microphone holes near the top of the lens to make sure that'll work for you. The general idea here is to wrap something fuzzy around your lens so that the fluff will block wind from getting to your mic.
1 fuzzy scarf, craft-store pompom, or another source of fluff
A needle & thread, or a sewing machine
Step 1: Wrap the fuzzy scarf around your lens and then cut the scarf, so you have a piece long enough to wrap around it once.
Step 2: Fold your scarf over, so it's thinner (unless it is already very thin).
Step 3: Sew the two ends of your scarf together.
Step 4: Slide your new windscreen over your camera lens, so it sits at the base, against the body of your camera.
Have you built any DIY camera gear? If you build anything on this list, make sure to let us know how it works for you!
When DIY YouTube gears, you enjoy the fun of making things. When editing with Wondershare Filmora, you will enjoy creating content. It packs with bunches of cool effects, transitions, and titles. Click the button below and have fun with video editing.
Shanoon Cox is a writer and a lover of all things video.
Follow @Shanoon Cox
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