- Logitech C920 ($80)
- Neewer 2-Pack 700W 24x24in Softbox ($90)
- Foam Board ($3)
- A Window ($0)
- Blue Yeti ($100)
Logitech C920 ($80)
This workhorse has been around for a while, and for good reason. A terrific sensor that squeezes everything you can get out of 1080p, and works well in bright and dim light.
Perhaps most important, the Logi Capture software gives you great control over the video itself. No camera is optimized out of the box, and most don't give you control over settings like white balance, color temperature, and contrast.
While Logi Capture isn't perfect, it at least gives you control. Put your video feed alongside another that you like the look of, turn off all the auto adjustments, and tinker with the settings until you find something you like.
If you aren't a stickler for new hardware, these can be had used for as cheap as $50.
Neewer 2-Pack 700W 24x24in Softbox ($90)
If you recall from the lighting video, the size of your light source rules all. The larger the light, the more smooth & professional your video will look.
This pack comes with two good-sized, 24x24 inch softboxes to provide a smooth, diffused light source. By comparison, my current video setup is a 48" circular softbox - A lighting surface area of 1,800 square inches for around $300. These two Neewer lights combine to offer nearly 1,200 square inches of lighting surface area. Struggle with reflections on your glasses? Never again with this setup.
To take these lights to the next level, mount one on a monitor post on your desk for the flexibility to swing that light in close while you're filming, and push it out of the way when you aren't filming.
Foam Board ($3)
Head down to the local craft store and pick up a 36"x36" foam board. You won't believe me until you try it, but a foam board makes for a great reflector on the cheap. Remember most photographers & videographers rely heavily on reflected light. My main set currently uses a reflector, and a foam board is a nearly-free way to get better light control. My favorite YouTuber DSLR Video Shooter uses foam boards in his videos to nail the fill light.
A Window ($0)
Get creative & shooting from different locations relative to the window. Think of positioning a window the same way you would your key light: not directly head-on, but from the front, 20-30 degrees off-center. Regardless of your budget & other equipment, the light you're letting in (or not letting in) from your window can make your break your shot!
Blue Yeti ($100)
At this budget, you're able to make your first 'lifetime buy'. The Yeti is good enough that you may never have to replace it. If each of these budgets are stepping stones, there's value in having something you can keep using well into the future.
This is the mic I'm currently using, and it offers a good amount of flexibility for the money. Audio quality is decent, though it has always struggled a bit with picking up background noise. The microphone has 4 modes meant to isolate sound around the mic itself, omnidirectional, bidirectional, etc.
It comes with a stand, but as we touched on previously your best bet here is to get the microphone off the desk to prevent sound from being transferred from the desk to the mic. Your best bet is to pick up a boom arm ($15), and a shock mount ($24). People use pop filters, and this may be necessary depending on how close you are to the mic when you record.