Friday, November 27, 2020

How To: Set-up Tabletop Video

I've been getting lots of questions about this so I thought I would share! Here's a look at how I set up for the tabletop videos you see on my Facebook, YouTube, and here on my blog. I've included affiliate links to products I use and have purchased on Amazon.

So what does this all break down to? There's basically four components to good video, the audio and the video, which I will break down further into the lighting, the image quality, and the content.

The Audio
This can be as simple or as complex as you want. Audio is important to any video, and small changes can make a huge impact on the watchability of your video. The quickest and easiest thing to do is just make sure the area you're filming in is quiet. Make sure the door is closed, kids are out of the house, cats are fed, etc. You may want to put up a sign or let your family know to stay quiet, wait until after the laundry is done, small things can make a difference in distractions for you as well as your viewers. 

Upgrading from your on board camera microphone to an external microphone can make a huge difference in your intentional audio as well. If you're using a camera that has a built in audio port you can plug in a microphone such as a clip on lavaliere, or if you're using a phone you can consider headphone/microphone combinations to improve the audio quality in your video. I don't have a link for this as I've found the best solution for me is simply to use Air Pods while I'm filming!

The Lighting
This is the place you can have the biggest impact on how professional your video looks. Good lighting is everything for video, and it's easier to achieve than you might think! As with photos, natural light is best, but is not always achievable, especially in northern latitudes. Video is tricky though, shadows become very visible when you move your hands across the table for example, and you want the lighting to be fairly consistent across your work area.

One of the tricks I love to solve these issues is using a right light. These go around your camera and can be mounted on whatever stand you're using. These have been used by beauty photographers for years, and have gained popularity for vloggers in the beauty industry and beyond recently. They'll minimize shadows and give a fairly consistent light even from just one source.

I found that I wanted a little extra light in my set up, so I added a couple desk lights as well. I did find these clip on ring lights, and use those from the sides to add extra light to my workspace. I don't use the 'ring' portion usually, that feature is incidental, though sometimes I do take photos through the ring... but that's another post!


The Image Quality
Here's another sticking point that basically comes down to personal preference. Many people successfully use their phones to stream video to different services, and if that's an option you're happy with then it's ready for you to use! Personally I wasn't happy with the picture quality from my phone, and wanted to have a dedicated camera mounted for video. This frees up my phone for other things, including watching my stream. Here's the camera I ended up getting:

The Content
This is where you will put your personal spin on things! Some people plan everything out with a script, or at least bullet form notes, but I'm partial to just winging it. If you watch my videos you know that I often forget, change the plan, or have to fix a goof up, but that's just my style! Being yourself is always the best strategy in my book. I like to show techniques both simple and complex, how to use tools, and creative ways to put things together. Make sure you have your supplies and tools handy, or at least be ready to vamp your way through finding them like I do!

One piece of my content that I can easily share here is backgrounds. There's many different background strategies you can use, my favourite being vinyl drawer liners! They're easy to wipe down, and if you get too much ink on them they're easy to replace. If you have a table you don't want to stick anything to but isn't 'pretty' enough, you can also use wall or ceiling tiles as long as they're flat enough for stamping on. Here's what I use:

One last thing that ties these last two points together a bit is what is actually holding your camera? A good stable, but out of the way, stand is necessary to filming a video of anything. When you don't need your hands free you may just hold the camera, but for table top crafting videos that doesn't quite work. There's lots of plans out there for camera stands you can make yourself depending on your budget and ability, and that may be a great solution for you (see some ideas on Pinterest here). If you're looking for a ready made solution, here are two that I've used and liked. The Arkon stand is a great option if you want to move around to different surfaces. I found that with the ring light it was a bit tipsy so I ended up just using a clamp to hold the base to the table. Once I had my set up solidified and settled on a spot though, I moved my stand off the table and switched to a wall mount stand.


Anytime you place an order in my online store and use the host code on the right, you will also get a free mail & make class automatically mailed to you! Just place your order with the host code on your right, then join us for the Facebook live near the end of the month on my Facebook group "Creating with The Crafty Medic" where you can also take part in regular creative challenges, complete with prizes!


  1. I don't see the links to any of the products you used.

    1. They're Amazon affiliate links, they may not show if you're not in Canada? I'm not sure.