Let’s face it, there have been a few recent events that have disrupted your business model when it comes to delivering on-site training, coaching or educational sessions. When in-person training isn’t an option, what do you do?
The use of webcams and screen-sharing platforms are good for an occasional conference call, but when it comes to delivering high-quality content to your paying audience, you should really be thinking about a viable alternative to fully engaging viewers rather than praying that they aren’t checking email, scrolling Facebook or just not even present during a session.
Fear not as we have put together a DIY guide for delivering high-quality webinars with the help from some relatively inexpensive equipment.
Continue reading below as we explain how to broadcast professional webinars without having to hire a full-scale video production team.
Equipment List and Cost
Let’s start with the equipment. The gear is an important factor to this methodology, and before you break out your calculator to add up the total cost, we’ll just tell you up front: It will cost you $1,000 to set this up.
Before you toss up your hands and stop reading, think clearly about the outcome of this endeavor.
- This setup will last you for life. You won’t have to ever purchase another piece of equipment again, and you’ll be able to pivot your in-person sessions to online, if for whatever reason, you must make accommodations to deliver your education in this format again.
- The equipment you are purchasing can serve so many other purposes besides this deliverable. You’ll now have a professional quality camera, microphone and video broadcasting device to create amazing content outside of educational presentations.
Now that we’ve settled that argument, let’s share the following pieces of gear you’ll need:
- DSLR Camera (MUST have Micro HDMI Input and 3.5mm or XLR Input)
- Wireless Lavalier Microphone
- Tripod + Baseplate
- 4K Cam Link
- Micro HDMI to Full HDMI (Male to Female)
- 50 Foot HDMI Cable (Male to Male)
- Laptop with USB Input
- Zoom Webinar Subscription
- Podium (optional)
Total Cost: $1,005
Let’s break down this equipment and give the “why” behind each item.
The most cost effective camera that provides the performance you’ll need to deliver high-quality webinars is the Canon EOS M50 with 15-45mm Lens Kit.
The modest, compact camera provides full-quality HD video, and also most importantly, a 3.5mm microphone input and Micro HDMI input. We’ll talk more about why those two components are essential, but all you need to know is that this camera is one of the ONLY models that contains both of these features and is under $500 with a lens INCLUDED.
Wireless Lavalier Microphone
A wireless microphone is probably the most important factor here, as without high quality audio, a presentation can sound awful and be difficult to understand.
We recommend using the Audio-Technica PRO 88W-830, as it’s simple to use, reliable and produces excellent sound quality.
Hook this up to your presenter’s shirt, hide the cords as much as possible, and away you’ll go. The benefit of using a wireless microphone that’s attached is that the person speaking will be able to walk around the room if they’d like and there will be no loss of quality as they get further from the podium.
Tripod + Baseplate
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but to keep a stabilized view on the presenter, you’ll need a tripod to balance your camera. This isn’t an expensive piece of equipment by any means, but boy is it necessary.
4K Cam Link
This piece of hardware is the key element to getting your camera feed into your laptop. The 4K Cam Link turns a digital signal from a micro HDMI port into a USB port that you can plug into your laptop. It runs at $260, and is the highest quality option at the lowest cost.
You’ll need to install some free software onto your computer to make this whole system work, but it is quick and easy to install and is only needed once when you purchase the item.
HDMI Cable (50 Foot Male to Male)
The Cam Link is supplied with an HDMI cable, but to enable your presenter the ability to talk at the front of the room, you’ll need a longer cable. This will facilitate proper and hidden camera positioning from plain sight.
Micro HDMI to HDMI (Male to Female)
This is just another cable used to transmit the signal from your DSLR to your laptop. Nothing too sexy here, just a small cable.
Laptop with USB Input
All laptops are pretty much equipped with 2 to 3 USB inputs so this should not be difficult to find. There is no specific model or brand that will work best – all you need to do is make sure that your laptop is in good shape and runs smoothly.
We recommend using laptop that has at least 4 GB of Ram and a processing power of about 2.3 Ghz.
Zoom Webinar Subscription
Having a subscription to Zoom Webinar will enable you to broadcast professional presentations to a group of 100 or less attendees. You can use any platform you’d like, but from our experience, this is the one that works best with our system. Below are the monthly Zoom Webinar prices to give you an idea of cost structure.
You may think the podium is overkill, but it will make the presenter’s life easier, as they’ll have access to their computer at the front of the room, much like during a speech or presentation live in-person.
Believe it or not, but they sell podiums at Lowe’s for pretty cheap. If there are any in stock at your store location, by all means head on out and grab one. If not, you can buy them on Amazon for pretty cheap as well.
The initial setup for this system can be a little daunting. That’s why we offer it as a service to clients so that they can be assured that all cameras, microphones and hardware are installed properly.
Setup can easily be done by a non-video nerd though, too, especially if you continue reading our post!
Equipment Set Up
Below are the six simple steps to effectively setting up your equipment, hardware and software for recording a high-quality webinar.
- Mount and position your camera to your tripod and configure the camera settings
- Connect and test the microphone
- Plug in the HDMI cable to your camera
- Plug in the 4K Cam Link to your laptop
- Install your 4K Capture software
- Open/configure Zoom webinar
Let’s break down some of the key components so you’re ready to broadcast with the best settings.
1. Camera Positioning and Settings
When you position your camera, you’ll want to put it in the back of the room, about 30 feet away. This will give the field of view a wider, yet comfortable distance.
As a disclaimer, don’t be intimidated by camera lingo here. Just know that if it looks good and sounds good, you’re already 10 steps ahead of any normal Zoom webinar presentation. Below are a few specifics that you’ll want to tweak on your camera to give you the best results for your webinar:
- Camera Mode: Shutter Priority
- Shutter Speed: 1/50th
- Aperture: –
- ISO: Auto
- Frame Rate: 24 frames per second
- Audio: Automatic
- White Balance: Auto
2. Microphone Configuration and Settings
Plug in the wireless microphone to the transmitter and turn on. Next, connect the receiver to the 3.5mm microphone jack on your camera and mount it into the hot shoe on top of the camera.
Now you’re all set to receive professional quality audio into your webinars!
Nothing too specific needs to be changed with the microphones, as long as both the transmitter and receiver are in connection. The mics will tune themselves to the correct volume, and the camera will automatically adjust the levels to the correct output level.
3. Plug-in and Configure the 4K Cam Link
Now that your camera and microphone are ready to go, all you’ll have to do is plug in your 4K Cam Link and fire up Zoom.
Use the Micro HDMI cable and plug it into your DSLR output.
Next, connect the Female Micro HDMI Cable to the Male HDMI cable.
After that, plug your Male end of the HDMI cable into the CamLink and then connect to a USB port on your laptop.
Presto! You’re hooked up.
Now you’ll need to download Elgato’s 4K Capture Software. This enables the video signal to show up on your laptop.
The installation guide is included in your package, so follow these directions and you’ll be all set.
Zoom Webinar Set Up
To configure Zoom Webinar, you’ll have to select both the Video and Audio Source as 4K CamLink. Once you see a signal from your DSLR Camera, you’re in good shape. Sometimes it takes a few times for the initial configuration, so be patient and always TEST before you go live.
Recording Your Webinar
Recording your first webinar may be a little scary, so as mentioned, we recommend doing a test run to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Fire up all systems and act like your webinar is actually happening and don’t skip over any little steps. Put your podium in place, and give yourself the freedom to make any adjustments.
Once everything looks good, crack a nice bottle of wine and practice that stand-up routine you’ve been working on your whole life! Just kidding, please do us and your webinar attendees a favor and skip this last step.
Recording webinars professionally doesn’t have to cost you thousands of dollars per session. With this simple DIY guide, you’ll be up and running in no time to effectively engage and educate your audience. Happy webinar-ing!