Part 3: My First Course – WHAT TOOLS?

Welcome to the third installment of my five part series where I’m talking about he ins and outs of Launching My First Course

Today, Part three is all about WHAT KINDS OF EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS TO think about PURCHASING. I say “think about” simply because, this is not meant to break the bank. I have looked at EVERY SINGLE Youtube video I can find and at the end of this post, I list my 10 Pet peeves about the videos I’ve seen. I took notes and read product reviews on the products I and others used and I found out two things:

  1. there are usually cheaper and FREE options that people use to do the trick, don’t always purchase what they recommend
  2. See if they have an affiliate link, which you are supporting them but it doesn’t cost you anything to do that AND they  may have a discount code, or be running a limited time special, as part of their affiliation
  3. As a beginner, it’s really a waste of time and money if you’re not advanced, you don’t need all the bells and whistles as you want to make sure you get the basic functions you need regardless 
  4. There’s no guarantee that the videos you make will make back what you have invested so why not try to do things on a dime, low costs until you see what you returns will be

Total BUDGET * Under 60 bucks to get started. Let’s take a look at what I purchased to get this all done. 

Note, these are NOT affiliate links. I don’t yet have an affiliate links account but am exploring options around it. But I will disclose as anyone should, when I get to that point and all items listed are from Amazon, unless otherwise noted, and ALWAYS remember to shop around!! 

Total costs $ 57.46 – note, in this total amount, I’m not counting my phone.

SELFIE RIGHT LIGHT –  I love this little light, the only issue is I wear glasses and the reflection of the light makes me look like a zombie with lighted circle rings that appear on and around my eyeballs in the glass reflection. So read my Pet Peeves below and I share how to fix this. Last check, it’s $12.99

TENERGY 11 WATT DIMMABLE LED DESK LAMP Lighting – I bought this simple desk lamp that has three settings. I bought it simply because as I get older, I want task lighting but as I was fooling around with filming, it worked great. Also, I bought it in the 2017, (LAST year’s) Amazon Prime Day for $ 13.99, it’s still relatively cheap now without the prime day, it’s currently selling for $ 21.99  

Honestly, I think any lamp that you use that’s somewhat positionable and that you change out with a daytime bulb will work. Day time bulbs are key in this.

I have an Iphone and it’s a 6s, I think. Any phone with quality recording, a Samsung will do. It does NOT have to be an Apple phone and if you have another kind of smartphone, you could download just about any quality recording app. 

UNIVERSAL ADJUSTABLE TRIPOD W/ WIRELESS BLUETOOTH REMOTE  $ 9.49 I love this little thing because it’s easy to carry in a small bag or purse AND I have not actually used the bluetooth remote or have need of it, and finally, a 

MICROPHONE  $ 12.99  This microphone is corded but the cord is long enough for you to be able to sit just a little distance from your phone in order to record. When you get into wireless stuff, you then will also need to download an app, and use bluetooth or wifi in order to make it work 

Items you really DO NOT need to PURCHASE:

I did recently purchase a real camera, but I have not had the time to get into playing with it and using it and my first course was done ALL with my Mac or my Iphone, but I do look forward to the enhanced picture quality I think it, it might not be any better honestly, than my phone.

I do have a Mac which includes IMovie BUT there is both cloud based IMovie or you can get the app to edit/cut the recording on your phone. I do not know how the cloud based versions or the app version runs, I’m sure there are pros and cons to it like everything else.

In order to be able to cut and edit your recording, look at other video programs and Youtube Studio, as well as my favorite Animoto, I have found all of them comparable to one another so I don’t have a brand or app I’ll recommend. Be sure to also look at the length of time that some apps permit you to record. The longer the run time, the better the app needs to be.  I don’t think any video should be over 25 minutes because viewers will loose interest, but that’s up to you.

That is about it, there is no need to complicate matters to get the job done. Whatever you will use, have fun with it. That is the most important thing.  

As a bonus, here, below are my video recording pet peeves that will help you AND I’m not a video viewing snob, okay maybe I am, but one consideration for you to think about;  having watched so many videos both for free and many, I have paid for in order to learn from the pros, so think about this: What is your own end goals, ASK YOURSELF: are you going to be uploading stuff for FREE (no paid distribution channels to show and share your content) AND allowing any viewer at all, watch all this that you’ve taken the time to put together. They don’t have to subscribe or do anything to view. IF that’s the case, by all means compromise on your quality, film something, don’t edit and just, as I like to put it, “throw it up there on the internet”.

BUT, IF you’re asking people to eventually pay for something, what would you be willing to pay, for the quality of the content you’ve watched, and as you post? Even the free content you do, should make people want to PAY to see more. I’m just saying, it’s something to think about. 


If you want to make quality content, try to keep in mind these things, below. 

  • 1. LIGHTING – I mentioned the glasses reflection is always an issue for those of us that wear glass, the light in your eyes, the reflection can make you look like a scary monster 


A. I place the lighting high – e.g. the ring light, just try to lift it a little, by “high” I mean positioned above my sight line so it’s not right in your glasses 

B. IF you can wear contacts, great, but I cannot

C. Try putting a thin film over the light to mute it, e.g a coffee filter or cheese cloth may work

D. For the BEST LIGHTING, to me the most important thing next to audio – simply use lots of lamps AND change out the bulbs to day-time lighting – it is better than yellow light and as close to natural sunlight that you are going to get

  • 2. SOUND AND NOISES  -Coughing in the background and it’s not you, children going crazy, an ambulance. I’m sorry don’t just talk through it.


A. Many of these issues will be over if you wait a minute or come back later. 

B. There is no reason at all, you can get a study room at the library. I mean is every other  place really noisy too. Even outside, mid day, backyard, okay if you live in the suburbs but make the effort is the point, think outside the box, a closet that you can fit in and close the door?

  • 3. BACKGROUND / ROOM CLUTTER – Not sure what to say about it, except



B. Position the camera so it doesn’t get these things in the shot. Something as simple as closing closet doors or put a CLEAN white sheet over it can make a difference. It’s not that we care how you are, its that it’s distracting and cheapens your brand. You could also purchase a plastic table cloth of any color from the dollar store. Simple. Here’s a short video, ignore the cat thing, I talk about that below. 

  • 4. POOR EDITING I realize you may have to learn some things but tons of people on Youtube are SELF TAUGHT, just trying it out and teaching themselves and others, how to do this stuff in style


A. Take time to edit the umms and ahhs, it’s crazy ridiculous that it’s just full of all this stuff, when with some simple tutorials on, you guessed it, YOUTUBE , you can learn to edit all of this out, and,

B. Hire someone on Fiverr to edit for  you, or a teenager could figure it out for you, not to mention they are cheap

  • 5. TIME SPENT WITH FIDO and other random distractions  So sorry, I realize more than probably half the entire world has some kind of house pet, whether cute or precious, you love him/her, I know. But also remember that some people don’t care, don’t have pets. Yes, surely showing viewers your “furry children” can give you a bit of quirky, humanize you, give some of your personality and make us go awww… for sure. But it’s the prolonged time that can annoy people and make them click that X button. 


A. Mention your fur ball Scruffy, show a silly still shot and keep it moving with the great content. IF folks are paying a LOT, don’t show them at all and just think of how many more pics you’ll have for Instagram

B. Ignore this bullet point altogether because I like animals too, I’ll just keep clicking the X

  • 6. SOUND QUALITY – Even if the content is good, sound makes all the difference, if I’ve turned it all the way up on my device and done what I could IN the actual program volume and still cannot hear, bye=bye I go.


A. Two things that I think most people are not aware of, ensure that all the volumes are turned all the way up. If you do record something and the volume is low, in IMOVIE for instance, you can fix this after the fact. Remember to think about little things such as background noise, a humming machine, a fan whirring, even a clock ticking can be picked up and think about other items that you really don’t think about. Also use a noise-cancelling microphone. You can get this for under 20 bucks (see my list above)

  • 7. IMAGE QUALITY – ensure that your image is good, crisp, clean. Now, I have dropped my phone so many times I’m still surprised when it records quality video. Pictures are a different story but video quality seems relatively unaffected, I’m sure a tech person could explain this

So, that’s it and I’m so excited to share my first course with you. It is coming in just another few weeks to my website, right here. Below is a pic of me taping one of the four modules I’ll have to go along with my Publishing Action Guide Course. 

See you in Part 3 of this blog series where I’ll be talking about testing it all out and the final post, WHAT platforms to use! 

I am no expert, I’m simply sharing what I did and how I got it done. I figured someone just starting out would also want to know. 

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