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Video Email Ninja Tools – Webcam, Lights, Backdrop

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture from my camera phone of my desk and video equipment to my Facebook timeline. The picture got a few likes and I got several emails asking for more specific information (including jiveSYSTEMS members). This post is a follow-up to those questions, and I took a better quality picture of my setup this time (see below).


My Equipment

A – 5 x 7 Collapsible Backdrop by Impact (cost $70)

Folds down to a small one foot circle and comes with a carrying pouch. You just let it pop-out and fold it back down when you are done, or in my case you turn the kitchen table into a near permanent movie studio. For filming, you can either lean it against a wall or purchase a stand. I use the Lastolite 3355 backdrop stand which costs about $70 from the B&H Photo website.

B – MXL .007 USB Condenser Mic (cost $120)

I don’t use this mic for video, I use it when I do screen-recordings and webinars, usually in Camtasia. When recording videos, I just use the Logitech’s built-in mic, as it produces more than adequate sound for 90% of the videos I produce (video emails, YouTube, landing pages, etc.).

C – Logitech C910 and C920 Webcam (cost $80)

I have tested all the major webcams, Logitech has been consistently putting out the best webcams since 2008 (when I first started using video in emails). Logitech has automatic right-light and right-sound technology, and they have it dialed in better than the other manufactures in my opinion. Even in low-light, the new Logitech C920 manages to capture a clear picture which is very impressive!

D – Cheapo Video Lights ($250 for a pair)

As most videographers will tell you, lighting is the key to picture quality. But lighting can get expensive quickly. If you are just creating video emails, the Logitech C920 will be more than enough. When you come to produce videos for your blog and landing pages, you will want to pick-up a couple of fluorescent softbox lights.


You don’t need to sell a kidney to produce good quality video. In fact, with nothing more than a Logitech C920 webcam, which costs about eighty dollars, you can produce surprisingly good video. Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself:

Now that you have watched the video above, watch the test footage I shot on my Logitech C920 webcam without lighting and discover how to turn auto-focus off.


Check out a list of the most important tools I am using to grow the jiveSYSTEMS community by visiting my personal website.

About the Author William Franco

Will is the Managing Director of jiveSYSTEMS and creator of the Digital Handshake™, a digital version of a time-proven tradition that turns tedious follow-up into a closing conversation. Will’s a hands-on guy, with a decade of experience enabling sales teams to leverage video. Will's an instant catalyst for positive change, once you get to know him, you’ll completely understand why.

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  • Brandon says:

    Thanks for posting this. Why did you go with the Collapsible Backdrop by Impact instead of one made by Lastolite (B&H # LABGC56WMG MFR # LL LB56GW)? Did you have trouble making the two products work together since they’re from different manufacturers (i.e. did you need to buy new clips)?

    • Will Franco says:

      Hi Brandon. No particular reason. They’re all very similar. No trouble. Aside from trying to collapse the background (takes a little practice!).

  • Alisha Ross says:

    haha i just didnt have the ATK package installed, it kept telling me it wasnt compatible with the model. working good now 🙂 im surprised at the sensitivity of the mic on this laptop. cudos to the ROG guys 😛

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