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Course Creation | 6 min read

How to create videos for online courses on a shoestring budget?

Videos are in huge demand. People love to watch and post videos. There’s a reason why Netflix went online instead of their erstwhile VHS Tape distribution business model and why YouTube is the world’s biggest video platform. As per recent reports, on an average a person spends almost 2.5 hours everyday on social media watching video content. This is why Internet professionals and influencer's have already taken note and shifted their marketing strategies to Video-based marketing. Online courses are no different. Courses that have high-quality videos as their content have shown higher completion and satisfaction rates. Contrary to popular beliefs, high-quality videos need not be as good as a music video or a 3D movie. In fact, you can actually make great HD Videos from the comforts of your home. So here are a few steps that teach you how to create videos for online courses for almost free:

  • Set up a DIY Home recording studio

Most people now invest in smartphones with a decent camera. iPhone is already known to have a great camera quality. Many android phones perform awesomely as well if not better. So to set up a DIY(do-it-yourself) home recording studio, the best thing to do is to find a space that has enough lighting, and then use your phone in ‘Widescreen’ mode only, to ensure it captures the best video. Similarly, for optimal light capture via a laptop camera, make sure that the laptop camera is at a 90° angle. Tilting the screen may not capture all the light thereby losing quality.

  • Background

Light screen or green-screen backgrounds known as ‘chroma’ are tough to edit in standard apps, if at all possible. Hence, it is extremely important that you choose a good background as part of your studio setup. Natural setting with couches, books & a decorated shelf in the background is one such great option. You must shoot a 10-second test video to check overall video and audio quality first. If a nice background is not possible, then a simple black sheet pinned to the background can be great as well as it absorbs the light and is not so easily noticed in the video especially with bright lights.

  • Lighting

How to create videos for online courses on a shoestring budget?| Knorish

A 3 point lighting is always required to wash out any shadows. There are multiple ring lighting options available online for under $15 to help you improve the lighting in the room. If nothing else, set up your DIY Home studio where there’s enough natural lighting available.

We had also posted another detailed video about how to set up your own recording zone in your own home. You can read more about those details here.

  • Tripod

Based on the height you need, another piece that may be required is a tripod. There are various options available on e-commerce sites. What you need to ensure is that the camera lens is at face level to ensure the best shot. So any tripod would do as long as it keeps the camera steady. If not a tripod, you could also look online for other commonly available phone accessories as well that help in doing the same without the need for a traditional tripod.

  • Use the in-built apps for Video Editing

How to create videos for online courses on a shoestring budget? | Knorish

Many apps are now available on the Android Play Store or the iPhone App store that have some amazing video editing effects. This completely removes the need to purchase expensive editing software. Not only are the apps user-friendly and easy to master, but the end results are also almost the same as from a high-end video editor. iMovie is the most user-friendly editor out there on Apple’s platform and similarly many apps are available for editing on Android as well.

Remember: Never use the zoom feature in a smartphone camera. Zoom feature in smartphones or laptops pixelates the video and the quality diminishes severely. Instead of zooming, move the phone or the laptop camera closer while maintaining the shooting angles.

  • Audio and Video Sync

How to create videos for online courses on a shoestring budget? | Knorish

You don’t need to buy expensive mics to record audio. One quick method would be to use one smartphone to record the video and another smartphone, hidden from camera view, can be used to record the video. Once done, the video editing apps can be used to sync the audio with the video.

Now, you may not have two smartphones available at the moment. There’s absolutely no need to purchase a new one. You could always borrow one from friends or family for the duration of the shoot. It may not be the most aesthetic solution but it beats purchasing a new one for this purpose.

If budgets do permit, you could always look at acquiring a sound recorder for this purpose. Olympus, Sony and Philips recorders provide some of the best sound recording qualities.

  • Stop the Echo

Closed rooms have one unique issue. Echo. Sound bounces off hard objects creating a slight echo which is captured by recording devices. To avoid this, you could place a few soft objects like cushions, pillows and rugs etc. to absorb the sound. While these objects are great for absorbing sound, they also add to the aesthetic & natural appeal to the video.

Remember: Record a 10-second test video to check for audio & video quality. Listen to the Audio on a large volume to check for echo or sound distortion of any kind.

How to create videos for online courses on a shoestring budget with larger budgets for great video quality

If budgets permit, these are some of the equipment you should invest in for great quality videos.

HD DSLR Camera
How to create videos for online courses on a shoestring budget? Camera | Knorish

A natural progression from smartphones would be to purchase a DSLR camera. There are tons of options out there which can fit the purpose. A simple google search will list the best as per your budget. While smartphones are great, a DSLR Camera’s video quality can be a lot better if you know how to operate one well.

When you buy a camera, a tripod is an accessory which is a natural combination. Many cameras have some basic tripod given for free as an offer so if you time your purchase right, you could get one as a combo deal as well. Just a little research on that end will get you great deals.

Lapel Mic

A lapel mic connects to your shirt and is almost hidden from plain sight. What that does is that it eliminates the need to use another equipment for sound recording and almost all lapel mics have in-built background sound elimination technology which is a great way of naturally removing any unwanted noise.


While natural lights are an easy fix, clamp lights are still a great addition to the DIY studio.
So as a thumb rule, should you choose to pick up clamp lights, pick up three to ensure you have the perfect lighting setup? You will need two lights aimed towards the background to ensure shadows are taken care of. The third light aimed at you to avoid any shadows from any of the moving objects.

Video Size

How to create videos for online courses on a shoestring budget? Video Size | Knorish

Ultimately, what you also need to consider is that HD Videos are large sized. That said since most of the online courses are viewed on smartphones, it then becomes important to compress the videos to a small size so that it does not consume too much internet data. Primarily because the internet quality and costs are not standard across the world. For this reason, Knorish’s online course platform during course delivery automatically optimizes the video quality based on internet strength. However, since all participants may not have data packs available to cover large video sizes, it's important to compress size as much as possible.

This can be easily achieved by converting large size videos to smaller sizes by compressing videos. There are many online and OS software tools available that can easily do that for you for free.

By implementing the advice shared in this post, you should be able to set up a good studio which would help immensely in shooting great quality videos at a bare minimum cost.

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