Equipment

Okay, so let’s dive into gear. Yeah, as part of the preparation. And sometimes it might feel a little bit like this when you’re starting to assess gear and trying to put the gear together. But don’t worry, that won’t happen to you. Now, basically, gear tends to be a function of budget. But you don’t have to spend megabanks to have the right kit to do an online course, you can spend more and more to get a better and better result. But as you spend more money, it tends to be the Law of Diminishing Returns, you know, more money means slightly better results, rather than hugely better results. The important thing is to get the right gear. So we’re going to dive into that. I’m going to give you the essentials first. Okay, first off a computer, a Mac or PC. You can try to make online courses with a device with a smartphone with a tablet or what have you. But honestly, it’s going to be so much easier if you do have a computer. Now the computer doesn’t I have to be super modern. I’m teaching you right now. Now on an iMac, which I think is a 2015 iMac. My laptop is a 2016 MacBook. You know, these are not like state of the art latest computers. But what they are, what they do have. And what I took the cantor put in was solid state drives. I think it was about two or 300 pounds to install one of those, which is massively quieter than the internal drives that rotate. Yeah. When you set a computer up, one of the things to be aware of is fan noise, particularly if you’re in a hot environment. And I’m teaching you right now it’s literally 31 degrees. It’s the hottest day of the year here in Britain right now. And you know, the computers are quiet. Now that’s partly because I’m in a cool part of the house. It’s partly because I’ve got these solid state drives. But if I had to run something to control the fans of the computers, I could actually do that. I could use SMC fan control for Mac, for example, or other stuff like that. Use those things, Kevin. Don’t My advice would be don’t take the ramps below 2000 in terms of the in terms of the fan speed in your computer, otherwise you could fry the CPU. But you know, it is possible to take the fan down a bit. Some people use blocks of ice behind their computer, research it online, many different ways to take the heat down basically. So you don’t have a hugely noisy computer and fan kicking off, which will actually destroy the results of your course making. One thing you might be able to do as well, if you have a tower computer is to actually put the tower away from where the monitor is. So actually put it down on the ground, maybe muffle it a bit if you’re in a cold place and you can you can put a bit of baffling or muffling there and various tricks again just to try to have an awareness of the impact of noise of a computer on your course making Yeah, but basically most computers will be able to hack it whether Mac or PC. And there are software solutions and and other solutions for different different types. computers. So I’ll assume that you’ve got a computer already. Microphone. Basically, this boils down to two choices for cause making, in my opinion, you can either have a lavalier microphone, which has a little lead plugs directly into the computer clips onto your chest and use that. And the one I tend to recommend is the Roeder smart lab Plus, it’s about 50 bucks $50 or you’re into us usually into USB microphone land. And the one I’m using right now is the rotor NT USB. It’s about $100. But things like the Blue Yeti are fine. There’s Audio Technica 2020 I think it is. You’ll find quite a few options around about the hundred dollar range. In USB microphones, which basically sit on the desk, you plug a USB connector into your computer, and away you go. Yeah, the important thing about microphones is how you actually use a microphone and where you position the microphone. We’ll get into that later on in the course, yeah, a webcam, chances are, you’re going to need an extra webcam, most of the internal webcams on computers, unless it’s really quite a modern computer, they tend to be a bit below par. And if your webcam is not recording, so called 720 p, which is high definition, at a minimum, then then probably the results are not going to really be good enough to actually do the kinds of things we want to do in our course making quite a lot of our course making will involve you going on camera, at least at some point in the teaching, even if it’s only at the very top of the course just to introduce the course so people see a real human being and then you know, you kind of off camera for the rest of course, that’s alright. But you’re going to need to have some way of actually capturing yourself right? And a webcam is by far the simplest way to do it. You know, as I say, I’m I’m a film director. I have, you know, all sorts of cameras and film cameras and photo cameras and DSLRs and what have you available to me, but I choose to use a simple Logitech 920 webcam cost about $100. It’s actually one of the best on the market, even though it’s actually one of the cheapest. And this particular webcam is trusted by many, many people who make online courses who do live streaming and so forth. Because simply the frame rate is good. It doesn’t stutter, it doesn’t lag. You know, it processes the video signal faithfully into most computers in most situations. So this is this is definitely a webcam i would i would recommend, okay, if you’re super tight on budget, yeah, you have a computer but you don’t want to invest in a microphone, for example, one option open to you would be to use headset microphones. So the kinds of headsets that have a little microphone here, right, that you would plug into your smartphone, you probably could get away with using that. You probably won’t won’t get away with using the internal microphones of your computer. Normally, that wouldn’t deliver a good enough result. You know, and if if you’re super pressed for money and you simply can’t spend on an external webcam or can’t find one, you could use internal webcam even if it’s not high definition. But what you would have to do is start to play tricks in terms of, you know, putting yourself in a much smaller box on the screen. I shall just turn notifications off would be a really good idea. Excuse me. So yeah, you could play around with some of the positioning of yourself on the screen to get around you know, a poor quality webcam. But if you can stretch to a Logitech 920 honestly I would do that. And finally the screen recorder software’s that the budget options I would recommend, the one that I’ve used that is cheap is screencast o Matic and you want to get one of their paid plans, not the free one. And they have a $16 a year, so $16 per year. I mean basically nothing gives you a level of screencast o Matic that’s absolutely usable. Or they have another version, which is at, I think $48 a year, which has a few more bells and whistles, and you can drop clips in. Yeah. So that would be one of the simplest and cheapest approaches to a screen recorder that will also capture you at the same time and allow you to build the kind of course experience that you’re seeing right now. Yeah. Going up in budget, we have things like ScreenFlow and Camtasia. In fact, that’s probably coming into the desired list. Let’s just dive into that. And this list really, is where, you know you’ve got a bit more cash or you’re prepared to invest a bit more in the equipment and and you know, where where the budget might be, say 500 $600 rather than perhaps say $100 right. And so with the microphone, absolutely, definitely get a road NT USB microphone if you can find one or get something very close to that. definitely get a Logitech 920 camera. And then screen recorder software, Mac would be ScreenFlow PC would be Camtasia. Yeah, that would be the obvious choices, an external hard drive because the files from these softwares from these apps become huge. A one hour course you’re probably talking something like that we think probably about 100 megabytes perhaps in terms of a project file. So really large project files potentially. And you need basically what’s called a scratch disk, an external drive onto which your project can be because you, you certainly don’t want to have that huge project clogging up the internal drive of your computer. Then if you start to get really finicky and really Pro, you can start looking into backdrops so some people go down to green screen roots. Honestly, that’s quite finicky and difficult to pull off. Because you have to have the right green screen it has to be super smooth, no wrinkles. Ideally you have to light to the green screen separately from you not have shadows from you going on the green screen. Otherwise you can’t Chroma keys, etc, etc, etc. Yeah, so green screen. I mean, I’ve used them, you know, that can be an option. Sometimes it can be quite nice. But for most scenarios and online course making, honestly you don’t need it. Yeah, if you have a crappy background behind you, and you really couldn’t stand having that background on an online course, then you could get something like a photography backdrop, these are really great. You can get pop up ones, they they’re a bit like a reflector, they sort of unfold. There are two meters by two meters, flyover tank is one brand I’d recommend, I think about $50. And you can get sort of muddled gray one photography backdrop or mottled green, you know, it’ll go behind you. It’ll take out the kind of super nasty bank background that you don’t want to show in your online courses. And it’ll just sit there and serve. Yeah, and be super simple and you don’t have to light it particularly. You don’t have to worry about it. Yeah, you just get on with the teacher. Okay, so that’s with bank drops, lights, you might need to kick some extra light into yourself. I’m actually just in daylight here, which is totally fine. But you might want to start getting things like ring lights, or soft lights, dimmable dimmable LED lights, things like that. A cheaper option on lights would be to get a cold halogen bulb inside something like an angle poise, you put some Muslim over the light, and you actually soften the light source. Or what you can also do is to actually bounce light off a ceiling, bounce light off a wall so you can soften the light down before it hits your face. Yeah, and that can actually help the quality of the light. And yeah, and basically that’s own an aspect ratio. If you’ve got a Mac, you probably want to get switch resurrects. Now switch transacts is something that allows allows you to manipulate the resolution of your monitor into what’s called 16 nine aspect ratio A widescreen aspect ratio, and that can be very, very helpful. not expensive. I think switcher as x is $16 there’s probably an equivalent for PC. Alright, so yeah, that will be I mean, that would be my desired list. So microphone 100 bucks webcam 100 that’s 200 screen recorder software, say $100 that’s 300 external hard drive, another hundred that’s $400 backdrop. 5450. Light another say 50 to 100 or so 505 50. Call it about $600 for a really, you know, nice setup that’s going to serve you for many years to come. Yeah. All of these things will you know they keep us they’re going to last a microphone will last you 20 years a webcam. Okay. Standards may change but you know, certainly going to be good for several years. The screen recorder software, chances are there’ll be an update plan. So you’ll pay a bit every year but you know, it’s not that big a deal. I mean, this is a consumable, the backdrop will last you for many years. The to last you for many years, you know, half of that kid is going to be engineering. So yeah, that those are my thoughts about basically equipment. Now, if you aren’t doing a demonstration course, so you’re teaching cooking or teaching horse riding, or you’re teaching martial arts, then you probably will need to have a camera, you know, kind of on a tripod or something like that. So your costs do start to go up go up a little bit, yeah, that that may be an inexorable component of actually teaching that kind, of course. But if you’re teaching courses that are basically conceptual, where you might be illustrating what’s called B roll footage. So in other words, you’re going through a series of concepts, and then actually showing you actually practicing something like a, you know, a particular way of playing the violin, or particular martial arts move or something like that, then certainly, the kid list I’ve just described will actually be very useful for you, because you’ll be able to teach the structure and the architecture of the course. And then use the bureau. footage to cut into the structure that you’ve actually done at the desktop. Yeah, that’s a very valid way of putting courses together and delivering structured experiences. Where if you like, the educational structure goes along with the more entertaining and dynamic, you know, kind of in the field stuff. And the combination of those two things of concepts and principles. And actually demonstration and practical demonstration works can work really, really well. But if you’re teaching conceptual style courses or anything like you know, marketing, for example, or how to run a Facebook ad, or how to, for example, how to you think about certain aspects of personal development and stuff like this, then actually teaching the screen teaching of the computer with the kind of kid I’ve described, will absolutely work really, really well?