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Studio and Set Design Basics for Video Marketing

Sean Peek
Sean Peek
business.com Contributing Writer
Updated Sep 21, 2022

Learn the essentials of studio and set design before hiring a professional for your business's design needs.

Video content is becoming a crucial element of many businesses’ digital marketing strategies, helping them engage with customers and build a stronger brand. To create the best video marketing, educational and promotional materials, companies should invest in professional studio space and set design. 

A well-designed studio serves as the heart of the video content you want to share as well as an excellent place to host video conferences and successful virtual meetings. Here’s what every studio needs and why having one is so valuable. 

What are the basics of studio and set design?

You’ll need four primary elements for your studio and set design: a camera, lighting, audio and a location.

1. A camera is crucial for your studio.

The most important piece of equipment in any studio is the camera. Thanks to advances in camera quality in smartphones, tablets and laptops, anyone can shoot excellent, high-quality footage using devices they already have. 

Using more than one camera makes your content more dynamic and gives you more options when editing. If you plan on having more than one camera source, ensure all of them are the same or can at least shoot in a similar style and video quality. Using two incompatible video sources can make your content look jarring or unusable. 

2. Lighting is essential for high-quality footage.

To capture the best-quality footage, a good studio needs to provide good lighting. Even though most devices can record video, you must light your subjects properly to produce the best-quality final product. Otherwise, your video comes out grainy and desaturated.

Every studio should follow the three-point lighting setup: 

  • The key light is the primary light source that shines directly on the subject.
  • The fill light is a secondary light source that balances the key light.
  • The backlight is the background light source. 

You can find lighting equipment relatively inexpensively through various online retailers. If you’re truly in a pinch, use lamps and existing light sources in your studio to set up your three-point lighting system.

Don’t rely on your overhead lights, which can’t be dimmed or moved. When shooting, use professional lighting techniques with the lights you have on hand, and turn off your overheads.

Did you know?Did you know? Lighting isn’t just a crucial video factor. Office lighting affects productivity and mood as well as employee concentration.

3. Audio quality is critical to your video’s success.

The video you shoot is only as good as the audio you capture. No matter how well shot and lit your content is, if your audience can’t hear or understand it, they’ll tune out. Your studio should be in a quiet, remote location where outside street noise won’t be heard in your recording. Ideally, a studio should be carpeted and have a low ceiling to dampen the sound.

While most devices that capture video also record audio, it’s best to invest in microphones. Camera devices capture all the audio elements audible in a given shot, while a microphone records specifically what it’s pointed at. Having separate audio sources also makes it easier to edit and adjust the balance for optimal audio quality. 

4. The location must be visually appealing.

You should film in locations with minimal interference. Your studio or set should also be visually appealing. Add character and dimension to your set by incorporating plants, desks, ornaments, chairs, books and other design elements into your shots. 

If you’re doing multiple shots promoting your business, incorporate branding elements into your set design. Subtly display your logo and products in the shot to subliminally remind your audience of your brand. 

TipTip: Your studio is the perfect setting for livestreaming on social media, especially if you’re sharing information about your brand and hoping to humanize your company.

Why do studio and set design matter?

Your studio’s set design is critical. The studio is where you’ll shoot all of your videos and potentially host guests to collaborate with. Just as you want your house to be neat and clean when you have guests over, your set design should be inviting and engaging to your audience. 

The two most essential elements of your studio are functionality and visual engagement. 

  • Functionality: Above all else, your studio must be functional. Video production can be hectic. Your studio should be able to accommodate all your talent, crew and the equipment needed to shoot your video. Time is money, and your video can take longer to record and produce if your camera operators can’t move to get their shot or production must continually pause because of noise from outside. 
  • Visual engagement: Aesthetically, your studio must grab viewers’ attention and be visually engaging. Your set should match the tone of your video’s personalities and content. If the colors in your set are dull and muted, it won’t catch the eye of your audience. Likewise, if you don’t have clear branding in your video, your audience may be confused about the video’s purpose or who’s releasing it. Work with a team of design experts to bring your vision to life and help your content tell a visually cohesive story.

TipTip: If you’re investing in studio space, also invest in video-editing software to complete a polished package.

What are the best tips for setting up a studio?

Follow these best practices when setting up your studio, depending on the type you want: 

  1. Choose the perfect space. Some rooms in your home or business office space may be more suited to a studio setup than others. As mentioned above, you want your studio to be a quiet, functional space. Typically, the larger the space, the better. However, ensure your set doesn’t look too sparse or empty. If you’re fortunate to have a big space, design it to look full. Inversely, a crowded set looks cramped and makes the audience feel claustrophobic. Whatever your room’s size, ensure your talent looks comfortable and the crew has the space to move and work. 
  2. Soundproof your room. One of the most infuriating parts of producing a video is when outside sound bleeds into your studio. This interference can be anything from cars driving and birds chirping to an upstairs neighbor walking heavily. To avoid some of these problems, invest in soundproofing your studio. True soundproofing involves installing new windows, adding mass to the walls and closing air gaps in the room. These processes are invasive and expensive, but they’ll help ensure you’ll hear no outside noise while recording. A cheaper, DIY option is to add acoustic treatments to your house. These include placing a rug for your hardwood floor and adding foam panels to the walls to absorb the sound.
  3. Find the best newsroom set designs. A newsroom set design requires some newsroom-specific elements, such as a large news desk, graphics panels for a colorful background, and technology, such as teleprompters, for newscasters to read.
  4. Get the right tools for a weather room studio set. Specific things that a weather room set needs include large screens for shots of regional weather and green screens to display radar map graphics. Many weather rooms also include news desks from which to report.
  5. Achieve the right look for talk show studio set designs. The design of a talk show set depends much on the show’s style. Many are very intimate and reminiscent of a living room, with large, comfortable chairs angled toward one another. Others feature a desk for the host, and some are set up for a roundtable discussion.
  6. Create a fun studio set design for a game show. The set design for a game show is determined by the game’s format. Still, there are some common themes in a game show. Many game shows feature large screens to showcase scores or questions, podiums for game show hosts and podiums for contestants.
  7. Build studio and set design basics for a TV show. Set designs for television sitcoms and dramas vary greatly according to the kind of show, but many simulate the interiors of buildings, whether they are homes, hospitals or offices. Many are quite realistic and function just as a building would, with staircases, elevators, doors and windows. However, most are based on a three-wall setup with an imaginary fourth wall through which the audience is watching.

TipTip: Keep your TV studio design costs down by purchasing standard set pieces that you customize with unique graphics, or buying a used set and rearranging it to be unrecognizable. Pay close attention to details, especially in sitcom and drama sets that simulate a real living area or workspace.

Do you need a home studio? 

With the rise in remote work plans and Zoom meetings and increased demand for video content, professionals should invest in studios in their homes or offices. Video content is key to a modern marketing strategy. Having a well-produced piece of content on your Facebook, Instagram or TikTok page can entice your audience to purchase more and educate new viewers about your company. 

Creating high-quality content requires a strategy and a functional studio. Shooting video in a dimly lit office won’t attract anyone and often will deter viewers from further engaging with your business. Any company serious about creating content as a part of its digital marketing strategy needs a studio. 

Even employees who aren’t directly creating video content should still invest in studio solutions for their homes. Having studio capabilities helps optimize online meetings you host and virtual events you attend. A well-designed, well-lit meeting backdrop will help you stand out from the pack. It also ensures your supervisors that your work-from-home setup is reliable and you can produce results in a remote working environment. 

Nikki Wheeler contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.

Sean Peek
Sean Peek
business.com Contributing Writer
Sean Peek has written more than 100 B2B-focused articles on various subjects including business technology, marketing and business finance. In addition to researching trends, reviewing products and writing articles that help small business owners, Sean runs a content marketing agency that creates high-quality editorial content for both B2B and B2C businesses.