My name is Simone Cioè and I live in Milan where I work as a professional filmmaker and content creator. I specialise in commercial work, product videos and create content on YouTube where I review photography/video gear and create educational content for enthusiast filmmakers.
I've recently been testing the new Sony Alpha 7C and I'd like to share my tips on how to improve your YouTube content in your home studio setup.
First impressions of the Alpha 7C
I've been using an Alpha 7 III for the last 2 years as my main studio camera, but after using the Alpha 7C for a few days I have decided to switch! There are 3 main reasons behind this decision:
On top of that – as I have shown you in the video – I have tested the new Imaging Edge Webcam app from Sony that turns your Alpha camera into a webcam. It is amazing for Twitch/YouTube live streams as it is quick and easy to setup. This free app is also available for the Alpha 7C which makes live streaming very easy if you are looking to have that professional look from full-frame and something easy to record with.
Studio setup and accessories
As I have said, I am now using the Alpha 7C with the FE 35mm F/1.8 as the main gear in my studio. I love this focal length on a full-frame camera – it is just amazing for my kind of shots, and at f/1.8, it gives a smooth background blur. For the B-roll shots I use different lenses such as the FE 20mm f/1.8 G, a standard fast 24-70mm and Macro lenses to give a cinematic feel to the footage. I also use a very simple tripod to keep the camera steady on.
I like to record audio with 2 microphones (the 2nd mic giving an audio backup), so I use the XLR-K3M adaptor which has multi-channel inputs. It's small and easy to use and offers flexibility if you are recording an interview face-to-face. I also often use the ECM-B1M digital microphone which gives extremely crisp results and is compatible with the digital audio interface of the Alpha 7C.
My lighting setup is simple – just two soft-box lights and the occasional modifier to change the colour balance in the frame.
My best advice for video shooters who want to start creating content for YouTube is simple: Learn and understand lighting and audio.
The Alpha 7C will give you an amazing video quality, but it won’t be as great without balanced lighting. Start with one big soft-box at 45 degrees above your head and a second light source behind you to help separate yourself from the background and create some atmosphere in your setup.
For the audio, try to understand your space to find the best solution. For example, I have a lot of echo and reverb in my studio, so a little lavalier microphone (lav mic) is perfect to isolate my voice and give great results. Clear audio is just as important as the visual aspect if you want to create better content.
General advice for great YouTube content
All my videos are scripted and it's essential for me to write everything down before I start to record new content - especially for reviews. There are a lot of facts to remember and I need to make sure I won't forget anything. On top of that, I find rehearsing very useful to appear comfortable on camera and with what you want to say.
For editing, I tried to cover as much possible in the video, but B-roll footage can really improve your video to bring variety. It can be more visually meaningful than explaining some parts with words.
Colour balance is also an important topic. I advise spending time creating the best-looking image in camera as I don’t use s-log profiles personally. I know it is a good option to have, but in my workflow, I don't have time to colour grade for YouTube. I mainly use the HLG 2 profile on all my Sony cameras which makes it easier to expose correctly and the skin tones are already great, especially on the Alpha 7C.