Gear Added to the Studio: Lights, Camera, Action

Christmas of 2013 was good to Jim and my tech setup at home for Podcasting!  A couple of gifts from Santa (you know who you are) and some great hardware upgrades from the family and the home studio has improved by 100%  Let me share them with you.

c920First off, after a camera debacle on Surface Geeks and  the Home Server Show two weeks in a row, both (  and ( highlights just how bad it was. I think even Santa must have noticed.

I received a box from Amazon on Christmas Eve with no note, no return address and no invoice.  In the box was a perfectly packaged Logitech C920!  (  What once was a $99 webcam has now made its way down to $69 and is worth every penny!  Sporting elements like:

  • H.264 HW encoding for faster, smoother HD experiences
  • Carl Zeiss optics with premium 20-step AutoFocus
  • Full HD 1080p video calling on Skype
  • Full HD 1080p recordings and Fast upload to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
  • High quality dual mic for stereo audio

Hard to beat for what I do for podcasting!  Working well with both low and high lighting (more on lighting later!) it might be the perfect webcam for any aspiring broadcaster.  I took a couple photos for your reference.

Picture 1Picture 2Low Light
Picture 4Picture 3Studio Light

lightsAbout on hour later, still Christmas Eve, the doorbell rang again.  Another box, again, missing any markings and a complete surprise.  I never saw this one coming.  A CowboyStudio Photography/Video Portrait Umbrella Continuous Triple Lighting Kit. (  I know my lighting has always been bad, I didn’t know just how bad.  Again, see the photos above.

At just about $70, this is a totally affordable lighting setup for the Average Guy.  I always thought lighting was going to cost me a couple hundred dollars or more and that thought kept me from even looking.  Now I will tell everyone just how inexpensive it can be.

The set up on this rig is simple and fast.  It’s meant to be portable and comes with an travel bag to take it on the road.  With only 3 parts to assemble, it’s drop dead simple and could be setup and removed from any room very quickly if you didn’t have a dedicated place to record from.  In my case, they can stay set up for the couple podcasts that I do a week.  The added light now makes a huge difference.

With everything set up at the desk it totally changed my set up.  Then came Christmas!

monitor mountsThat morning, my family set me up with a very nice VIVO Dual LCD Monitor Desk Mount Stand. Loaded with heavy duty and fully adjustable arm brackets, this mount fits 2 monitors up to 27″ (  It’s a great deal at less than $50!

Install took about an hour (ended up moving monitors around based on setup) and the design and build of this mount is solid.  With two brackets holding the mount to the desk and a very thick metal design, this unit feels durable and solid.  It’s heavy too!  Adjustments are easy to make and one wrench tightens everything!  I will buy a second one when the time comes!

By noon on Christmas, I had it all installed.  Took a few pictures so you can see how I set it up.  Of course, any questions you have about how it has faired here at the Studios, email me at or leave a comment here!

Happy New Year