The Gear for Recording Your Online Course Content

Course creators, let's talk gear

We're stepping into the gear part of course creation – what you'll need when it comes to recording your online course content. And if you've not read the first five parts of this series, here they are:

  1. Who should build an online course
  2. How do come up with an idea for your online course
  3. How to structure your online course
  4. All the pre-requisites before you launch
  5. How do you price your online course

The one item everyone needs

Everyone has an opinion about gear. I get it. But there's one thing I need to be super clear about because if you get this wrong, nothing else matters. We're talking about an online video course – so you'll think about lighting and video cameras and all that.

But no.

The most important piece of gear you need is a microphone. You know what makes great video? Great audio, that's what.

You don't realize it until you see a fantastic video where you can barely hear the speaker (because of background noise or wind across the mic) and you quit watching.

If you've never purchased a microphone before, and are using your laptop's microphone, just shifting to a USB microphone will be 100x better.

Check out the Shure Mv7 USB microphone.

If you get a good microphone, the rest of the gear you need can come over time.

Recording your online course means it's time for lights

Let's start with lights. My favorite and recommended lighting gear is by Elgato.

The product is called the Elgato Key Light Air. I own two of them and have them placed like the photo you see here.

But that's not all. I also have a regular multi-bulb Target lamp – any will do – that I use to send light to the wall behind me (which is 10 feet away).

Depending on how much light I send, my background can be darker or brighter. You can control that light with any set of smart bulbs. I use TP-Link multi-color smart bulbs.

The point of all of that is that I determine what I look like on camera. Not washed out. No bright spots on my face. No weirdness in my background that distracts from the message I'm recording.

What about Cameras?

We've talked about lights. We should probably get to cameras.

To get started, a camera that isn't one that came with your computer is going to be an upgrade.

The Logitech BRIO is where a lot of my friends start.

As I wrote in a different post about office upgrades, I upgraded to a mirrorless camera and used another Elgato device to connect it to my computer. But the investment is a lot – by the time you buy a mirrorless camera, a great lens, and the gear to connect it, you'll have spent thousands of dollars.

So what else might you do?

Well, let me show you this video first. It's from Masterclass and I think I'm not breaking any laws because it's only 20 seconds. But check it out.

Did you see what I saw? What did you notice?

It's the multi-camera changes that make it interesting. And they happen quickly, right? Three changes in 20 seconds. To keep your attention.

The days of single camera angles may only exist for incredible talent that have a trained knack for keeping people's attention. The rest of us may need multi-camera content.

And how much does that cost?

It turns out it could be cheaper than a single great camera and lens. Mevo is selling a 3-camera pack for under $1,000. I know because I just bought it. It cost a bit more when I added a stand or two.

But you get my point. You may want to dig into a multi-camera setup simply because it produces more engaging content. And in the end, that's what you're going for when you're recording your online course content.

Check out my sample

Here is what it looks like – set to auto-change every 30 seconds. I would probably adjust it. But my two-camera first shot from Mevo is here.

Recording Your Screen?

I could write you a lot of words about how to record your screen, but my buddy and expert Shawn Hesketh has already written about it. His course site,, has taught millions of people about WordPress.

Here's his take on creating screen recordings. It's fantastic and thorough.

Wrapping Up: The Gear You Need

I know I am finishing up an entire post on gear. But there's a reason why this is part 6 and not part 2. Don't let the gear get in your way. I have tried to give you some options so you can get started for under $500, which is still a good amount of money. But it's a worthwhile investment.

Don't let the gear get in the way of you recording your online course content.

But beware. The moment you step into the gear game, you'll likely get pulled in – wanting each video you produce to sound and look better and better. And just remember that I warned you.

Good luck!