The $1,000 Church Video Studio Setup

You do not need expensive gear to shoot a great looking video. Here’s how to build a video studio for $1,000.

September 13th, 2017

Do you want to shoot video announcements? Are you interested in creating a video studio for your church? Are you curious to know what equipment you will need?

You do not need expensive gear to shoot a great looking video. And to prove it, we are going to compare two videos to prove our point. We will shoot one video in our $20,000 studio, and we will shoot the second video in a studio we build for nearly $1,000.

Recently, we gave you a behind the scenes look into our $20,000 video studio. In this video, we showed you every piece of gear we use and how it all works together.

We understand most churches and ministries cannot afford $20,000 to set up a video studio. In this article and video, we will show you how you can set up a video studio for just $1,000. In the end, we will compare videos shot in both studios to show you the difference.

1. Pick your camera and lens

Let’s face it: Cameras can be expensive. But you do not have to break the bank to purchase a nice camera that shoots quality videos.

If you are just getting started, we recommend the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR Camera. This camera will run you around $550, and it will meet the vast majority of your video needs with professional quality.

Another great camera option you can choose is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7. This camera is slightly more, coming in at $597. It can shoot crystal clear videos with its 4k format, and it takes stunning pictures, too. We don’t have this camera in our office, so we cannot shoot a video with it for our test. But, if you have a budget for the right lens, I think this camera is a better option than the SL2.

Regarding cameras, the industry is releasing new models at a crazy-fast pace. The Canon SL2 was recently released, and we don’t even have it yet. We use the Canon SL1. So, if you want to save even more money than what I’m suggesting, you could buy a pre-owned Canon SL1 or find a new model at a discount since the SL1 was discontinued.

Now, one of the reasons I love shooting with a Canon is its functionality. You can pair it with what the camera world calls the “nifty fifty.” The nifty fifty is a 50mm lens, and the one we recommend is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens. This lens costs around $120 and comes with an f-stop of 1.8, which is important for creating the shallow depth look in your videos. In other words, it can create a blurred background.

Other factors come into play when it comes to the depth of field, such as the sensor size of the camera, the proximity between your subject and background, and the distance between your lens and subject. However, your lens f-stop does play a major role in the depth you can create with your video.

If you are going to purchase the Panasonic G7, make sure you pair it with a lens that is going to give you a similar depth of field as the Canon EF. A great lens option for this camera is the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 Lens. This lens will help you produce selective focus effects, it can work in a variety of lighting situations, and it takes a sharp picture. However, at $399, it is nearly three times as expensive as the “nifty fifty.”

2. Stabilize your camera

To stabilize your camera and lens, we recommend using the Manfrotto BeFree Tripod, which is a great fit for both of the cameras we recommended above.

3. Purchase quality audio equipment

When it comes to setting up your video studio, you will feel compelled to skimp on audio products to save money. But this is one of the worst decisions you can make.

Many people are surprised when I tell them they cannot skimp on audio equipment, but the quality of your sound is more important than your video quality. You can shoot a high-quality video that looks like real life, but if no one can hear what you are saying, then your video doesn’t matter.

Since we are working with a modest budget, we suggest purchasing the Audio-Technica AT8035 – Shotgun Condenser Mic, which comes in at $269. For the price, this mic provides an exceptional audio quality.

To capture the audio, we plug this mic into the Tascam DR-60Dmkll Portable Recorder. This audio recorder will run you $199, but it works wonders.

If you want to save money, I suggest choosing a less expensive mic, such as the VidPro XM-55 Shotgun Microphone Kit. This mic costs only $78, which is a huge price saving compared to the Audio-Technica Mic.

Now, for most churches, you probably have a mic stand lying around somewhere, so throw your mic on whatever stand you have, and you are ready to go!

The $1,000 studio versus the $20,000 studio

Okay, if you add up all of the gear above, you are right in the $1,000 range to set up your video studio. Now that you know what equipment you need to purchase to build your video studio, let’s see what videos look like shot in the different studios. Are you ready to see what a video looks like shot with this equipment? If so, then watch the accompanying video at the top of this post.

I know I am biased, but, as you’ll see, the video quality is not bad at all for a little more than $1,000.

The key for every great video is the lighting, and, truthfully, we have excellent lighting in our office. If you are new to shooting videos, I encourage you to experiment with different locations in and around your church facilities, different depths, and with different angles and lighting to see what works best.


So there you have it: The $1,000 video studio versus the $20,000 studio.

I know the differences are real, but the $1,000 setup is not 20X worse than the $20,000 installation. Not even close.

For recording videos, the equipment you use and the lighting you have are valuable, but your gear or lighting does not make a great video. It is the man or woman behind the camera who makes the difference. So make sure you have someone with a trained eye or a person who is willing and able to learn to shoot your video announcements.

Do you have a video studio setup for $1,000 or less? What equipment did you use to build your studio? Share what you use in the comments below. We’d love to learn from you!