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Making a TV studio at home: Do's and Don'ts

One year ago broadcast journalism was brought to a complete standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Studios were closed. People were working from home. New technology had to be invented and used to connect us to our main hubs. Most stations from the large networks to the small local stations had to adjust. Quickly.

As a college student, I did not have the technology or team to equip me with a state-of-the-art studio, so my family and I got creative. This is the most important part of the entire story. Sometimes when life throws you lemons you have to make lemonade, even when it looks like you are out of the ingredients for it.

At first, I was stacking an old tripod from Radio Shack (yes, Radio Shack) on top of my dining room table because the stand was not tall enough to reach my standing height. Then, I boosted a smaller table in the room with books to make it hip height and decorated it with other items from around my house (Think a Home Goods shopping spree from home). Finally, I purchased a Rode shotgun microphone for the Canon DSLR camera my family had. Boom, I had a studio!

I did all of this for my Instagram show The Next Big Thing, which you can read more about here.

For interviews with live guests, I propped my laptop adjacent to my set up, warning my guests I would be looking at the camera the entire time instead of them. I had to fix this in post, but it was worth it to get a clear shot of me through my actual camera.

As I continued with this show, I knew I needed to make some changes. I bought a real tripod, a Rode’s lavalier microphone, a microphone extender, and a ring light (best. investment.). My mom found a new desk for my remote schooling, so that became the backdrop. Now, we had an entirely new setup.

If you are working from home, there are a few easy steps to make your area look great! At my new apartment, I did an interview with News Nation recently. Using the same gear, I set up this shot, adding my station background behind me and a ladder with decorations. Whatever you have in your home can be a great backdrop! Just make it clean. If you don’t have a ring light, try to sit near a window to get natural light. Microphones are great, but if not, try to be in an area with soft things to absorb some of the sound bouncing around.

With these tips, you are well on your way to at-home reporting. Have questions or more tips to share, drop them below!

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