Video recording and studio equipment for making YouTube videos and teacher resources

The Magic Crayons YouTube Channel now has over 1,000 subscribers and over 480,000 views. This is amazing. Thank you ! Below are links to all the video camera, photography and software gear that I use to produce the videos, with brief notes on why I chose that item.. Also, a video about how I made my studio and the equipment I chose to install.

My Video Kit

My cupboard to studio conversion

Desk

I was so lucky with this ! The Ikea Bekant Desk is just the lovely birch colour I wanted and was 2cm narrower than the space I had in my cupboard for it. It has nice white trim and adjustable height. If you live near a store then collecting is straight forward, otherwise you will need to order via Amazon.

Accessories

For the record box and printer, on the floor to the left I made custom wire shelving units. I measured the size of the box and printer then bought separate shelving parts to make exactly the size I wanted. I’ve no plans to move house and space is very limited in a Japanese apartment.

I saw how Casey Neistat uses his red boxes to store all his kit, and wondered how I as a more visual learner type could adapt his theology to suit me. I chose to use clear plastic storage boxes that were the same depth as the shelves, and can stack two high. I measured the shelves before buying these boxes.

Super comfy lazy dad chair - the VIVA Reclining Office Chair, High Back Bonded Leather Chair with Footrest (Viva0850).

The hard wheels of the chair began to scratch the floor. I could have bought replacement wheels, but felt better buying a clear plastic floor protector.

Audio and Outboard

The power supply in the US is the same as in Japan, plus they use they same plugs. Coming from England I was surprised and concerned that there was no earth terminal in my apartment. This is fine, so I'm told.

To make sure I or my kids don't send any nasty peaks to my mixer when recording, or to my speakers on playback I have use an Alesis 3630 Compressor Limiter Gate Processor. I like this so much I actually brought it with from England when I moved here some 10 years ago. It has been switched on for almost all that time, so the reliability speaks for itself.

I'm not sure how I will be using my studio in the future exactly, but foreseeably audio recording for YouTube videos, voice overs for animation, my kids playing piano, a friend playing guitar. For something in a 1U space and plenty of options I bought this delicious ART MX822 8-Channel Stereo Mixer. It is sooo nice and clear. I did incorrectly assume that the EFX return would act as a wet / dry dial. It doesn’t. It only controls the volume of the returned signal. Not the end of the world, I've just wired everything else differently to get the control I needed.

Another bargain from the used music stores of Tokyo was this Behringer Virtualizer Pro DSP1000P. No one really wants outboard these days so it is relatively cheap to pick up what you need. I have always wanted one of these to add silly effects to my voice. Sure, I could have bought software but I want shiny lights on my desk. I'm also a fan of using one tool for a specific function. It is also easier for my kids to adjust the settings for the Youtube voices overs than clicking things I’d rather they didn’t in software.

I bought this Behringer Ultravoice Digital VX2496 years back and is no longer available. I could replace with software, but it is a nice stand alone unit set up how I like it and ready to go.

Cables is cables, so I might as well get some XLR Cables in nice colours. Red for left, green for right.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1 MkI DJ Controller (I have the Mk1, Mk2 is awesome). I should use this more.

Native Instruments Audio 8DJ Audio interface part of Traktor Scratch Pro 2 bundle. No longer available, sadly. It does the job it should and sounds fine with my speakers.

Rackshelf x210 and x150. I'm intending to make or buy a 4U rack shelf to keep dust away from from my outboard. All the outboard units above are shallow, so the shelf reflects the maximum depth.

Sounding nice and warm and cosy are these Yamaha HS5 powered speakers. They are about 5cm away from the wall, at head height, and pointing just past my ears. Yes I bought them because of how they looked. And why not . They look lovely. They are about 5cm away from the wall with space either side.

Computer

My 21.5" iMac 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 works a charm. I did look at getting the 27" version, but when I sat in front of it I found it too big, having to move my head side to side to take it all in. The 21.5" is two A4 pages wide so great for writing. iMovie looks fine too. If I was to buy again, I would look closely at getting an Mac Mini with a 4K widescreen monitor. I'm spending a lot of time making videos these days and playing it back on one of those would be awesome. I will upgrade my camera to something with 4K video one day, then I'll need a new TV to watch it on and a 4K iMac to edit movies on, so clearly not this year!

Data storage

Video eats up storage and it all needs to be backed up. I use TimeMachine to look after my iMac. I use external drives for storage and back up, with ChronoSync for scheduling of backups. I’ve always bought Buffalo external hard drives and have 2TB and 3TB versions. I took an old 250GB one apart the other day and see they use Western Digital drives inside. Just recently 5TB drives have started appear at sensible prices so bought the WD HDD 5TB Elements Desktop USB3.0. This will do me nicely until I start getting into 4K Video I’d imagine.

Power

I was so pleased with the Eliminator E107 Control Center S-Switch/ 60 I immediately ordered another one. In my last studio all the power cables where just a mass of spaghetti on the floor. Now there is just one cable from the wall socket to the desk. All the individual cables are hidden by the outboard units. I will make or buy a box to keep dust out. Most of my drives have power blocks, so it got a little cramped trying to plug them all in at once. The short extension cables below sorted that. I've had hard drives fail because they were left on all the time. It is so easy now to turn off what I don't need. Electricity use is down, and hopefully hard drives and all my other kit will last a little longer.

It got a little cramped trying to squeeze all the power bricks into the Eliminator E107 so I bought 10 short extension cables.

It is surprisingly difficult to find USB hubs that are capable of simultaneously charging everything that is plugged into it. The Pluggable Hub has 7 powered desktop USB ports. It did exactly as described and was so good I bought another. At times I am charging and syncing up to 4 iPhones and a camera. Sometimes I over do it, but there is a simple reset button on the unit. That button is on the back of the unit, which is why they face towards me in the video.

Postage

Really nice to get things delivered quickly so I signed up for Amazon Prime! Actually that’s not true. I accidentally clicked join without realising, but I’m so glad I did lol.

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