It was time to upgrade. My desk was bowing, cables everywhere and I looked washed out on calls.
Updated November 2021 with lights and standing desk.
Now I have a much calmer, nicer place to work. I’ve upgrade my webcam to a proper camera and have a solid mic to make things much nicer for the people I work with.
The desk is an Ikea kitchen worktop. It’s beautiful and most importantly solid, so if I’m typing there is very little noise. The smell of the wood makes me happy and being a kitchen work surface it’s tough. In 2021 I added a standing desk. Using the same work surface I opted for a standing desk frame from Alldrei.
The man Snook opened my eyes to the difference a good camera can make.
I use a Sony a5100 DSLR Camera which at £250 is a great option, it’s 8 years old yet it’s far better than my old Logitech c920 webcam. The Sony is HD with some great optics. Colouring is better and depth of field is there meaning the focus is on you.
I use a generic HDMI to USB adapter (a steal at £20) which means that Zoom, Hangouts and others see the camera as a standard webcam. This YouTube video is a great guide to using a DSLR camera as a webcam.
I bought a Rode Pod Mic, it’s a dynamic mic which in retrospect was a mistake as it needs a beefy audio interface to power it. But it does sound fantastic.
For an audio interface, basically to power and convert the analogue mic to digital USB I bought a Focusrite Scarlett Solo, mostly as it looks great, it’s red after all (spot the theme here). The levels were too low so I bought a Fethead to boost the levels. You can use Audio Hijack to the do the same in software. It’s not perfect, but it sounds great and I can adjust the audio levels so that I really have presence.
If I was to do it again I’d buy something like the Elgato USB mic, which is one box (ie no audio interface).
I’ve got a standard, red, mic stand.
This article was written in July, the height of summer, so long, light filled days. When winter hit I realised I need lighting. So I invested in a pair of Daznee lights, which come with stand. I use another monitor arm mentioned below, you can see the lights up there in the photo of the standing desk. The lights have a warm profile that helps reduce blemishes (ie you can’t see my spots!)
Bringing it all together
Thanks to DSLR Video on YouTube I discovered the greatness that is monitor stands. I use a monitor stand for my camera and mic and one for my monitor. They allow me to move everything around. At only £15 plus another £8 for an extra arm I have a really versatile system.
I can move the camera to the side. Move my mic under my monitor for closer, more intimate podcast recording.
Overall I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. It’s a more comfortable, relaxing place to work and much nicer experience for everyone I work with.
Other bits and pieces
LG 34” ultrawide monitor, a great thunderbolt enabled 4K monitor.
Overall it’s a more relaxing place to work and most importantly of all it’s a much nicer experience for people on the other end of my Zoom calls.
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