MODPOD

Show Me Your Setup

Show Me Your Setup

Do you like to spend time tinkering with your audio/video equipment and your computer or workstation?

Both Dan and Josh are part of ModPod's Production team. And part of our fun is learning about microphones, headphones, and video equipment - sometimes even lighting - and various tools and tricks to manipulate all these elements in the digital realm. So we need a workstation, a place that we can come and digitally hone our craft. We call this a "studio" or a "setup." In this episode, we look at Josh’s audio/video recording and editing setup.

In the simplest of terms, a creative work/production setup is a section of your living space that you put some thought into. You think about sound quality. You might think about video. It doesn't have to be professional, but you've put some thought into it.

As Creative Director, Josh’s setup is different from Dan's, our Production Manager. You may have a set up at home, and yours probably differs as well. But we have some things in common. We have aspects to take care of audio, video, and the lighting that the video requires.

In this episode, you’ll learn about the specific gear in Josh’s setup. We’ll also provide general thoughts about microphones, audio interfaces, headphones, cameras, and lighting for video.

Microphone - MXL V67i

Whether you have a dynamic microphone, a large-diaphragm condenser, or something else, you should love the way it sounds. Specifically, you should love how you sound on your mic.

Mic placement is key. You need to find your microphone's pickup location and speak close to it, adjusting the gain for optimal sound. Microphones have a sweet spot, and finding it can be fun!

If your room isn't treated as a recording booth, then your microphone's ability to reject noise from around the rest of the room is a key feature.

Headphones – Audio Technica ATH-M50

When we record, we like to monitor ourselves with headphones. When choosing what type to use in a recording environment, an important question to ask yourself is: Should I buy open-back or closed-back headphones?

With closed-back headphones, sounds from outside the room don't disturb your listening as much because you have a nice seal all the way around. Therefore, you hear what's coming through the headphones and not as much from the space (and distractions) around you.

Open-back headphones are susceptible to more sounds of the outside world making it to your ears. Even more problematic is during recording, sound may escape (or "bleed") from the headphone housing, reach your microphone, and even onto the recording itself.

Speakers – Edifier R1280T

For critical listening and editing, our Production department uses headphones. But for less critical listening, we’re happy to listen through speakers. This releases the pressure on our ears that can build up from hours of headphone use.

If you're in a small space, like say an average bedroom, you're going to want a smaller monitor like this pair.

Speaker Stands – Gator Frameworks Clamp-On Studio Monitor Stand

To free up some desk space and position the speakers at ear level, Josh has his speakers mounted on stands that clamp to the back of his desk.

USB Audio Interface – Motu M2

USB audio interfaces convert analog signals from your microphone, headphones, and musical instruments into a digital signal that goes straight into the computer via a USB cable. It's a great way to work with a computer while recording and listening. It can eliminate ground loop hum and electrostatic noise.

By taking the digital audio conversion out of the computer and putting it into a box that plugs in by USB, you can eliminate extra noise that happens from within the computer. USB audio interfaces do the heavy lifting of converting the analog into digital, and on the way back the digital into analog as it feeds your headphones or your speakers. So rather than plugging your microphone and headphones into your computer, consider using a USB audio interface, instead.

Video Recording & Lighting

When we first learned about podcasting and became engaged with different podcasts, it was only something one listened to. But now it's also something you can watch, which is kind of fascinating. If you're a content creator, video changes the game in that suddenly, you need to have a camera and lighting.

With a studio setup, now you can record everything in a video environment. You can release that full conversation as a full-length YouTube video. You can also take snippets of it and release shorter clips with titles that home in on exactly what that segment is about. An audience for one particular segment might not necessarily sit through a long podcast, but they will watch a short YouTube video. So you can grow an audience by sharing your content on both YouTube and traditional audio podcast distributors.

Camera – NexiGo N660P

If you use your laptop's built in camera, your viewers will likely see you from an unflattering angle - from below. They'll get a really close view of the underside of your face, including every hair inside your nose. We have yet to see anybody using a laptop webcam that looks decent for very long. Now if you're specifically looking for a horror movie monster/up-the-nose angle, then go with a webcam. But we recommend an external camera for your computer. That way the camera is connected to a cable, allowing you to mount the camera in a more flattering position, like at eye level or slightly above.

Lighting – Savage RGB Light Painter Pro LED Wand

Lighting plays a couple of important roles in a video recording setup. All cameras respond well to good lighting. You'll see an increase in your camera's recording quality if you add lighting to your setup. Good, soft lighting - light with a diffusion panel - can also make you look better. It can fill in shadows and wrap light around you, hiding wrinkles. The position of your lights is also important, but that topic deserves its own article.

If you have any feedback on Josh’s setup, or you'd like to show us your set up, please get in touch with us via our Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, or contact us via our web site. Our goal is to not only showcase our own setups but to also talk to you about yours!

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