I wanted to share with you the equipment that I use now for my video tutorials to show you you don’t need to spend a ton of money. When I update this post in the future, I will keep the “older” stuff in as an inexpensive way to get started.
It is quite common to see people saying that they cannot do this or that because the gear they would need is too expensive. I am a firm believer in only spending as much as you can afford and even if you can afford quite a lot, spending only as much as is required. After all, when you start something, how do you know if you will stick with it and it’ll be worth all that money?
Note: I am using Windows 10 Pro as my OS. I have never touched an Apple PC in my life, so I have no clue what might be available for a Mac.
Screen Capture & Audio Recording Software
I have tested Camtasia in the past and it works great: you can record audio and capture your screen, edit the video and add callouts, text etc. But quite honestly, I find the price (over 250 € for a single license and upgrades to the next version not included) too high for what it can do. Especially now that I will only need the capture function (since that is not implemented in any Adobe Creative Suit product – yes I was shocked at that, too), I am looking for something easy to handle and cheap, preferably free.
So I ended up with FlashBack Recorder Express for screen capture which is the completely free version of FlashBack Recorder Pro. Express will record your screen as well as system sounds. It records audio along with the screen capture and you can record webcams (for example a skype conversation if you like to do interviews). It can output in the most common file formats (MP4, AVI, WMV) and uses no watermarks. It can even highlight the cursor and/or show shortkeys you are using.
The Pro version for 43 € per license (lifetime) in addition lets you edit your video, add text, images, sounds, use video effects and saves in all formats. So if you are looking for a lightweight editor for your tutorials, I would recommend to start with this one. There is a free trial available on the website that I haven’t tested out yet – so don’t just take my word for it, put some time into finding what works for your needs, there are quite a few options out there.
For audio recording, it depends what I want to do: if I record voice together with the screen, I use FlashBack Express. If I need extra audio clips as voice-overs or for the intro and outro, I do this directly in Premiere Pro while editing since it is easier (and FlashBack Express does not support audio recordings without screen capture).
Audio Recording Equipment
I use a 40 € microphone, the Neewer NW-700 (link to amazon.de / link to amazon.com * **) for voice recordings. It is one of those condenser microphones that comes with a scissor arm stand so I can attach it to my desk and just pull it over when I need it. I always record in a room that I have to myself and forbid my boyfriend to shout for me or knock on the door during recordings.
I attach said microphone via an external sound card (8 € / link to amazon.de*) to my desktop computer since the onboard soundcard is rubbish and makes the sound crackle and pop all the time.
* no affiliation — amazon.de links are straight from my buyer’s history
** I have seen the same microphone cheaper as well, for 26 € here, not sure about the difference, probably just a different seller.
Video Editing Software
As described in this blog entry, I just switched to Premiere Pro and After Effects. So far, I am quite overwhelmed with the options these two programs offer – also in combination with the rest of the Creative Suit (Photoshop, Illustrator,…). What I can tell you so far is that the capabilities of Premiere Pro (aside from the fact that it can’t record my screen) far surpass any other editors I have tried over the years.
Of course, the whole Creative Suit comes with a price tag that is not negligible either. You can get single programs (or the “photographer’s bundle” with Photoshop & Lightroom that I had before) for around 12 €/month but the whole power of the Creative Suit comes from being able to use them all together. The whole Suit is priced at around 54 €/month (currently on offer for ~ 35 €/month for the first year; February 2019).
For me, it is my hobby, I have the money and I am just super excited to try all of the Creative Suit to see what tickles my fancy… If I get to the point that I don’t want to spend that amount, I’ll just change my subscription back. I know others will see that differently, but for those who don’t want the Adobe products, cheap / free versions can be found, too, with a little effort / trial & error as described above.
Updates will follow 😉