The current situation in our world forced many spheres to switch to distance work, and the educational sphere isn’t an exclusion. Online courses and webinars start replacing traditional full-time education: they are far more convenient for students and teachers and let people acquire the same knowledge and skills in a convenient atmosphere. However, not all course creators can agree that it’s a convenient and easy way of sharing knowledge. Holding an online lesson or webinar is a very responsible process that requires you to prepare carefully. Each aspect of this process is of paramount importance. Forget about the existence of any details and insignificant little things.
Two things influence the quality of an online course: the educational material you use and the way you present it. The latter aspect is dependent on the equipment and instruments you use. If you are not greedy and purchase high-quality equipment, you may not need to rent a studio or hire an expert because you’ll achieve an outstanding result even without these expenses. This article will be helpful for anyone who thinks about launching a distance course and wants to become a professional in this endeavor. Here we’ll identify what equipment you must buy to hold a webinar.
You need to buy a high-quality microphone for any webinar format: will it be audio lessons, or you decide to overlay a voice on a presentation, stream a live video, or use screen sharing — all these formats presuppose you record your voice using a microphone. Some course creators use headphones or smartphones to record voice because modern devices have a decent recording quality; however, they still concede to microphones. Put yourself in the shoes of an ordinary listener of a course. Would it be interesting to you to listen to a low-quality recording that’s almost inaudible? Of course not. Still, resist buying a microphone? Be ready that students’ attendance and participation will decrease from the very beginning.
That’s why the first piece of equipment you should buy is a microphone: cardioid, shotgun, condenser, or any other type that suits your needs. Nowadays, you can find a microphone to any taste and wallet, and even budget models help sound better. There’s a pattern: the more expensive the device, the higher the quality. The key thing you must keep in mind is to avoid using an in-built smartphone or laptop microphone.
Beginners who haven’t bought microphones earlier may have difficulties with choosing the right model. We understand it and, therefore, offer you to focus on the following details:
- Measure and analyze the room acoustics using special software.
- Define how you will live stream or hold a previously recorded webinar.
- How many speakers do you invite to your webinar?
The more complicated your room is and the worse the acoustics, the more important it is to buy high-quality equipment, especially a microphone. Opt for portable equipment that can be connected via USB.
You should also know that the majority of professional devices are dynamic and condenser microphones. If your recordings have a lot of background noise, use a dynamic microphone. Condenser mics must be used in closed space with minimum background noise.
Our recommendation: Rode NT-USB.
An alternative budget option: Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB.
It is an obligatory accessory for your microphone because your hands should be free; you don’t need to hold a microphone in your hands all the time. We don’t advise you to try to save money here — you’d better purchase adjustable stands that let you change the direction and angle of the microphone so that no one sound is lost.
Our recommendation: Supreme MS25
An alternative budget option: NEEWER
These sets are supposed to be connected to a computer. Such devices perfectly capture your voice, drown the noise and make the sound clear and smooth. If your webinar consists of the presentation and your comments, buy a full set: a microphone, pop filter, shock mount, tripod, and windscreen cap, and your audience will enjoy listening to you.
Our recommendation: Maono AU-A425 Plus
An alternative budget option: Ankuka Studio condenser microphone.
If you don’t want to use a microphone because of its massiveness, but at the same time want people to hear you well, a lavalier microphone will become a perfect solution for this problem. Lavaliers have special clamps you must use to attach this microphone to your clothes so that you won’t need to put a mic near your mouth to say something. Moreover, lavaliers are almost invisible, and it’s the key reason why many bloggers and speakers love using them.
Our recommendation: Rode SmartLav
An alternative budget option: Stony-Edge (Simple-Lav-Mobile)
You’d remember that you’ve forgotten to buy headphones once you start editing your video; that’s why it’s better to take care of everything in advance. If your webinar or online course presupposes interviewing someone, the headphones will be irreplaceable: you’ll listen to this person on headphones and speak to your microphone.
Our recommendation: Otto Engineering Listen-Only Earphone Kit
A budget alternative: MEE audio M6.
Extra ear pads
What makes us purchase a new device? We’ll be right to say that only the problem with our old one. If your headphones get broken, or you lose an ear pad, you won’t consider it a big problem in your ordinary life. However, when it comes to your work, such problems endanger the future process of creating a course or preparing for a webinar, etc. It’s better to purchase another pair of earpads, a cheaper model that’ll save you in an emergency.
Our recommendation: Otto Engineering ear pads.
A budget alternative: any other ear pads that fit your headphones.
Well, you want to hold a webinar, so what is your primary aim? Of course, you try to attract more viewers. And what do they pay attention to besides the information you present? Of course, it’s an image. If you don’t use any lighting appliances, you won’t create a stunning image. Natural light isn’t enough to stream a high-quality video.
Let’s not forget that a professional light can completely change the speaker’s appearance that also plays an important role in the webinar’s success. So, no matter what do you want to achieve — purchase a lighting kit and set it right to see the difference.
Our recommendation: Custom lighting sets by Brightline
A budget alternative: Stellar Diva Desktop or any other ring light.
A green screen
Your studio doesn’t look so attractive to record a webinar there, and you want to change the background? Purchase a green screen because it’s the only possible way to do it professionally. A green screen is also a good way to use your creativity. But don’t overdo it. Viewers’ attention should be focused on you, not on the background.
Our recommendation: Chroma Wall
A budget alternative: Chroma Green
Software for green screen
A green screen isn’t everything you need to be able to change the background. It doesn’t work independently: you need specific software to project the chosen background on this screen and edit the final image.
Our recommendation: SparkoCam video software
A budget alternative: any free software you can download from the Internet.
You’ve purchased and set the audio recording device, professional light and are ready to proceed with the most important stage: choosing a camera. If you think about recording your webinar on a web camera, make sure the chosen model supports HD resolution. Your video should look good on all types of screens, and only an HD web camera lets you achieve it.
Our recommendation: Logitech BRIO
A budget alternative: Xiaomi Xiaovv HD USB 1080p
Many webinar creators record live videos. If you don’t have enough money to purchase a good digital camera, you may do it using your smartphone or web camera, but don’t hope to get a high resolution. It’s better to have at least 300-400 USD and buy a digital camera. But we advise you to do it only when you see your level goes up, and you may call yourself a professional: you have more than ten courses, a huge subscriber base, hold webinars at least once a week, etc.
Our recommendation: Nikon D810 FX
A budget alternative: Canon EOS Rebel T5 with EF-S 18-55mm IS II lens.
It’s not necessary to record and stream live video. Try recording your screen and sharing this recording with your audience. You may create a presentation and demonstrate slides to people using screen recording software. Voice-over the recording to add some information there.
If your webinar format presupposes demonstration of technical tasks and teaches students how to use this or that service or software, opt for a screen sharing function. We recommend you use the following software:
Audio and video editing
It’s impossible to record a video and release it without editing. You’ve probably made some mistakes and need to cut them out of the final version (but you may leave some fine moments to make your audience laugh and relax). People who don’t want to bother about editing prefer holding live webinars or hiring an expert editor. Those course creators who decide to edit their materials for themselves need to consider the following software:
3. Adobe Premiere Pro.
A keyboard stand
If you prefer sitting during your webinar, this accessory isn’t necessary for you. However, some people feel more confident while standing, so they must buy such a stand to have fast access to a keyboard. These stands are usually adjustable; it means you may change the height and incline to feel convenient and confident.
Our recommendation: WorkEz keyboard stand. Its price is affordable enough, so there’s no point in finding an alternative.
A portable stand for laptop or computer
If you want to stand while holding your webinar, you certainly need to buy such a stand to create comfortable conditions for you. This accessory lets you move around the studio in search of a suitable background or lighting.
Our recommendation: Vivo portable vertical stand VIVO
A budget alternative: mobile ergonomic stand Qwork
To sum up
Well, we’ve reviewed the most necessary equipment to hold webinars and design your distance courses. Those who think about starting their business may think they need to purchase only expensive equipment; otherwise, they won’t achieve a good result. However, it’s a big misconception. The budget alternatives we’ve chosen are also successfully used by many course creators.
However, you need to remember that your primary goal is not to buy and set up equipment but to create an interesting, informative, and useful online course. Equipment isn’t the thing that attracts people, and you must know it. If you use outdated information and don’t know how to present it, don’t think that high-quality sound and video can change the situation.
Spend much of your efforts on content preparation, and start purchasing the necessary equipment step by step.