Join communicator expert, Kathi Lipp and tech genius, Matt Troutman as they talk about the design elements of your home video studio. Creating video content can be easy and inexpensive. Be sure to click through to the links and resources shared in this episode. If you missed Part 1 be sure and check it out.


In today’s episode, you will know:

  • How to set up backgrounds.
  • Inexpensive lighting tricks to warm up any space.
  • The importance of staying on brand.
  • Pre-production wardrobe dos and don’ts.
  • Knowing your audience.
  • Platform differences. (YouTube versus Facebook Live)
  • The value of setting appointments with your audience.


A picture of one of Kathi’s directional lights.

Find Genius Lounge on the following platforms:

For more information on “batching” check out these influencers:
Sean Cannell and Benji Travis

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Transcript of this Episode

Read along with the podcast!


Communicator Academy Podcast #169


How to Set Up Your Home Studio – Part Two



Kathi – Well, hey friends! Welcome to Communicator Academy, where our heart is to equip and encourage men and women to become the communicators God created them to be. Today, we’re all about equipping people. We’re actually talking about equipment. I mean, come on. That’s really cool. Back with me is Genius Lounge’s founder…that is really hard to say.


Matt – It is really hard to say.


Kathi – The founder of Genius Lounge. There we go. Matt Troutman.  Matt, welcome back to Communicator Academy.


Matt – Thanks for having me again.


Kathi – Well, we are here talking about all things video studio. Five years ago, this really wasn’t a big deal for a lot of Christian communicators. We were just doing our blog and maybe our publisher paid for a really big video. It was huge if your publisher paid for that. Now, we’re creating videos, and doing Facebook Lives and YouTubes from the comfort of our own home. What did you just tell me about the walls in your house?


Matt – The walls in our house are this awful faded yellow.


Kathi – You said they suck.


Matt – They suck. They’re not flat.


Kathi – You rent, so you don’t have a lot of…


Matt – We can’t do a lot with the walls.


Kathi – Right. So, I want a certain look. For Communicator Academy, it’s great. I can do whatever I want, but for Clutter Free Academy? One, I can’t have clutter. Two: My purple chair is a big theme in that, so I want to be able to get that into video shoots or photos whenever I can. So, we want to talk about making the space look great. You have a really cost effective, easy way to do that, so tell us a little bit about that.


Matt – I do. So, what I’ve been using up until this point – my wife just renovated a section of our house, so that I have a better background. She didn’t realize she was renovating it for me.


Kathi – But it’s nice when a plan comes together.


Matt – Oh yeah. I’m totally going to piggyback on the shelf design she wanted. I’ve been using a background in my living room that I put on some light poles. You can totally hang it from some of those plant hooks, if they’re sturdy enough in the ceiling. It’s about a $60 background, and it pops up. You’ve probably seen those tents where you just throw it and it pops up? It’s very much like that. You’ve got to be a little careful with it because if you don’t unfold it just right, it’ll pop you in the face.


Kathi – Not good. Black eyes show up on videos.


Matt – They do show up on videos. So, this is a great option if you don’t have the best space to record in. So, you make your own space. The set up and tear down of that takes a little while, but it’s also something that, if you’re in a small space, or if you’re in a space that’s not ideal, you can mold it to be your own.


Kathi – I’ve seen some great backgrounds. I was video conferencing with one of my clients and I’m like, “She must be in a different part of her house, because there’s wood paneling (nice wood paneling, not ‘70s wood paneling) behind her.” Then I looked really closely and was like, “That’s fabric.” It was not her actual wall. That’s really clever. So she’s throwing that up there. If your space is not designed for video conferencing, and who buys a house with that in mind? The Lipps do. We just redid our house and we were like, “Okay, where’s our video conferencing section?”


Matt – You guys are a different breed of people.


Kathi – We are a little different. Fortunately, the people who listen to Communicator Academy are just as weird as us.


Matt – That’s awesome.


Kathi – It’s beautiful. So, some other things you may want to consider for that space. Plants always look good and they always bring a bit of fresh air into what you’re doing. But, really understand what your brand is. Now, some people, when I say “understand their brand” and they know that Clutter Free Academy is purple, would have a purple wall. You do not need a purple wall. It just has to be some touch in there that harkens back.


Matt – I have a friend who has recently redone the studio in his house. He just bought a house and he’s getting it ready because he realizes that video is going to be a big piece for him. He blogs. He does self-promotion; self-branding. Efficiency; get-stuff-done kind of messages. He realizes that video is going to be a big part of his brand in the future. So, he recently just bought some $13 LED light strips. A little pop of light behind you, even if your space is not the most ideal? He put a little bit of a blue light on a plant that was behind him and I will tell you, that made the space that much warmer. Now, I will say, you don’t want a spotlight behind you. You don’t want to backlight yourself completely, but at the same time, a little pop of color and a little pop of light, especially if those are blended together, that can really make the space.


Kathi – What we’re talking about here, is a space that has to be multifunctional. When I build my studio, which I talked about. I’m building a studio at my mom’s house. She said I can just leave it up which is brilliant. So, we’re going to be going to Ikea and really splurging on the $90 whatever the name of that piece of furniture is. You do a better fake Swedish accent than I do. We just offended an entire continent, by the way. We just need to sound like the Swedish Chef on The Muppets.


Matt – Bork! Bork!


Kathi – Exactly. I think they actually do have something called the Bork.


Matt – Do they really? Oh my. Okay.


Kathi – Bjork. Anyway. So, I’m going to be able to leave mine up, but most people don’t have that luxury. So, the lights we talked about last time, the backdrops, are all things that can come down and be packed away in a tub. That can be your video tub.


Matt – Yes. I’ve got a video tub that I go from Costco. You’ve probably seen them. They’re the yellow lidded tubs with the black body. I keep 90% of my video recording equipment in there and that stays next to my nightstand.


Kathi – And when you’re not using it, you can just cover it and that can be a lovely coffee table.


Matt – There you go.


Kathi – There you go. So, we’ve talked about how important lighting is. Some of the lighting Roger and I have bought for video studios, we’ve gotten at Ikea. Just little directional lights, just to brighten up some dark spots in the room, that kind of thing. It makes a big difference. Some of the backgrounds you can consider are, if you have a great book collection, using those shelves, or just putting a little something, a pop, there. One of the things I like to do as well, I like to have a statement mug. I’m going to drink coffee as I’m doing this. I’m going to be so much nicer in my videos if I’m drinking coffee. Oh, by the way, there’s one of our directional lights. I’ll take a picture of that so people can see. It can just aim anywhere you need to go. Having a statement mug, or something you always have when you’re shooting a video, can make people really identify with you. Then, when you switch it up, people will notice.


Matt – It becomes part of your brand, almost.


Kathi – So, how do you make shooting videos easier? How do you make it so that it doesn’t feel like such a production each time? I think that’s what people feel like. Now, Facebook Live is different. You want to do that live. You also do some videos that you do a certain amount pre-recorded and then edit it.


Matt – Absolutely. I would say 95% of my videos that I’ve done are pre-recorded. I’ve done one Facebook Live with you. Then I’ve done one Facebook Live individual and that was a total failure, and that’s okay.


Kathi – Tell us why it was a failure. We want to learn.


Matt – It was a failure because I forgot to turn on my microphone. For the first five minutes, I forgot to turn on my microphone. I was sitting there waving my hands around, talking to this non-group of people, which I guess is kind of a blessing that there was nobody actually watching and that’s fine. That’s the beauty of Facebook Live. It will stay up if you want it to, but no one was watching me.


Kathi – It can go away.


Matt – It can go away if I need it to.


Kathi – I feel like we need a redemptive Facebook Live for you.


Matt – Maybe we do.


Kathi – I think so. If you’ve only done one, and that’s the only one you’ve done, I feel like maybe you’re a little scarred.


Matt – I’ll tell you, I’ve neglected both my YouTube channel and my Facebook channel.


Kathi – Well, you’ve had some health things going on, and stuff like that.


Matt – Yeah, and I’m doing okay.


Kathi – You’re doing great.


Matt – I tend to neglect my Facebook group a little bit more, because my content is intended for YouTube.


Kathi – You know your audience.


Matt – I know my audience and I intended my audience to be women over the age of forty who are trying to use their phones.


Kathi – A certain segment of your audience wouldn’t be able to find your Facebook Lives.


Matt – And that’s okay.


Kathi – We’re not mocking them, we just know who your audience is.


Matt – The weird thing is, my audience ends up being people, men, who are 18-35, on YouTube who are finding me. My audience is the exact opposite of what I thought it was going to be. I guess I can infer from those demographics that men don’t like to ask for help, but they’ll search for it online.


Kathi – I was just going to say, their girlfriend asked them how to do something and he says, “I have to go to the bathroom.” and then he goes and finds your video. All your videos are being viewed from the bathroom, Matt.


Matt – I don’t know how I feel about that.


Kathi – I think you should be really proud, actually. So, yeah, people are looking for that information. So, you’re recording a lot ahead of time, so how do you get over the hump of, “Oh this is just such a big thing.”?


Matt – That is the big hurdle for me. I do have to set up a background each time. Hopefully, that will be remedied soon. I do have to set up lights and I have to get my camera set up. ‘Cause I do use a camera, I don’t use my phone. So that is one of the biggest hurdles. However, one thing I do like to do, I like to have a couple of different topics available ahead of time, before I record, so that I can batch process. That’s one of the biggest keys I’ve learned. So, there’s another channel I watch on YouTube. It’s called Video Influencers. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it.


Kathi – I haven’t.


Matt – It’s by a guy named Sean Cannell and Benji Travis.


Kathi – Okay, I know those names.


Matt – They are great guys and they just want to see other people succeed with video. One of the tips they give is “Batch Process everything”.


Kathi – You know what? I love this for YouTube, or if you’re producing videos. That’s what we do with podcasts. We’ve sat down, and we’ve recorded two podcasts today, but they will be split over two weeks. No, for Facebook Live, the accountability you have there, and this is the trick that gets me to do it, is to announce “Thursday at 10:30, I’m going live!”


Matt – That’s true. You’ve got to get your audience engaged.


Kathi – Even if the only person coming to see it is your mom, you have to show up for Mom. You can’t bail on mom. Right. Exactly. So, for YouTube it’s about batching. That’s your process improvement. For Facebook Live, it’s accountability.


Matt – It’s accountability, and it could also be batching, even if you sit down and you hammer out what we’re going to talk about over the next three Facebook Lives, that way, you don’t have to go, “Oh, I shouldn’t do a Facebook Live, because I don’t have a topic to talk about.”


Kathi – You should always do a Facebook Live.


Matt – I think “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is the quote I’ve always heard.


Kathi – For me, who has multiple streams on Facebook, I’ve got Communicator Academy, Clutter Free Academy, Instagram Stories, those kinds of things, to be able to sit down and say, “I’m going to do one right after another. I’m going to do one for Communicator Academy, one for Clutter Free.” So, I’m getting into those places with my people. Okay, so this is something I’ll talk more about than you will.  Wardrobe. Really quickly. You look amazing today. My mom would just die. He’s got this navy shirt on with white polka dots. My mom is a freak for blue and white. She’s your target audience. Well, we don’t know. She’s not a guy sitting in the bathroom, so I don’t know. For women, one thing I know is, keep it very simple. Well, for guys too. You have to keep it simple. You don’t want busy patterns because that can be very distracting. Also, the video gods are not happy with patterns. What’s that about?


Matt – Stripes sometimes turn out weird, because when the video is played on a smaller screen, you get these weird psychedelic lines. I actually recorded some video with a friend not too long ago. I recorded videos for her and she has been in broadcasting before and she taught me a wonderful trick.


Kathi – Do tell!


Matt – She wore a black top and then she added some accessories.


Kathi – That’s awesome.


Matt – She put on a scarf, or she changed out something about her outfit just really quickly. Or she put a blazer over it. She made one outfit work with just a simple costume change.


Kathi – You know what I thought you were going to say? She was wearing a black shirt and she just super-imposed different colors over it.


Matt – That would be a little weird.


Kathi – I was going to say, “No! Don’t do that! That’s wrong!”


Matt – That would be really hard to do in post-production. You don’t want to do that.


Kathi – I was like, “Oh no no!” But I like the idea of just a simple shirt and you can change out the accessories. You would want statement pieces; either a scarf or a shirt over it, or earrings, or something like that, that would make it look amazing.


Matt – Exactly. What I do is, I typically try to wear, as a guy, I want to make my channel seem like a comfortable place for people to come. I’m not in a suit. This is probably overkill for what I would wear in my videos. I wear a t-shirt.


Kathi – Well, you’re from Silicon Valley. That’s the official uniform.


Matt – That’s the dress code.


Kathi – Except for Roger.


Matt – Roger is more respectable than I am in the culture of Silicon Valley.


Kathi – As many of you know, I was married before. When I’d go to my husband’s office, I’d be like, “Oh my goodness, how do they have all these homeless people?” Seriously, Matt, I thought they were all sitting out on the park benches in front. It was at Ford Aerospace. Roger was like, not Roger, my first husband. I won’t mention his name, but he’s like, “No, those are my co-workers.” I’m like, “You’ve got to be kidding!”


Matt – I’ve got a crazy story about that. In the place of my work, that I won’t mention, we wondered, “Why is that intern over there taking a nap?” Well, it turned out that the door was left unlocked overnight and a homeless person had wondered up and fallen asleep in one of our soft-seating areas. So, it’s hard to tell the difference between the interns.


Kathi – And sometimes people who are down on their luck. We are not making fun of the homeless here. Let’s be very clear, friends. I love that you thought it was an intern.


Matt – He got a good meal.


Kathi – He had a good meal.


Matt – He had a warm bed for the night.


Kathi – I was going to say, your company is amazing. You do have to dress a step above the person in their pajamas at home.


Matt – Absolutely.


Kathi – We need to make sure you’re clean shaven. Not clean shaven. If you have a beard, like Matt does, it’s well-trimmed. If you’re a woman and you have a beard, then let’s go clean-shaven. Make it look like you showed up to do some business. That’s all we need to say. Okay, you guys, this has been so great, Matt. You’ve given me some great ideas, not just for our San Jose studio, but our East Studio. My mom’s house, is the East Warehouse for Kathi Lipp LLC. This has been so great. Thank you so much. Where can people find you?


Matt – So, if you want to find out more about Genius Lounge.


Kathi – Which, you should.


Matt – You can find me on Facebook. We’re on Instagram as TheGeinusLounge. If you find a really delicious looking Japanese fusion restaurant, on the big island, I would definitely recommend giving them a try. I haven’t been there, someday hopefully. That’s not the Genius Lounge you’re looking for. Or, maybe it is.


Kathi – No way!


Matt – There is a Genius Lounge on Honolulu.


Kathi – Have you been?


Matt – I haven’t, but I really want to go.


Kathi – You have to go.


Matt – Their food looks delicious.


Kathi – And you’re going to Hawai’i.


Matt – We are. So, maybe someday.


Kathi – Okay, so here’s the other thing I will say, guys. If you have a tech question, and you live with people who are not tech-y enough to answer the tech question, put it in the comments of the show notes. Matt is always looking for questions he can answer.


Matt – Absolutely. You can send me question. I need topics to help people answer. All the time.


Kathi – You don’t want to be answering questions people aren’t asking.


Matt – Absolutely.


Kathi – So, if you have something you would love for him to check out, put it in the comments, or send him a message and he can answer it for you. It’s like having your own tech support right in your back pocket. I think that’s amazing. Matt, thanks for being on Communicator Academy.


Matt – Thanks for having me.


Kathi – Guys, thank you for being here. You are the reason we are here. If this has been helpful to you, would you share this podcast? On Facebook, or Instagram, or wherever your fellow writers show up. We would love for them to get this great information, too.  You’ve been listening to Communicator Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. You’ve been given the best message in the world. Now, go live it.




*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items



Meet Your Hosts

Matt Troutman

Matt Troutman

Tech Genius

Matt Troutman is a tech guru who loves equipping others to do all the tech things. Find him on YouTube or on Facebook.

Kathi Lipp

Kathi Lipp

Author, Speaker, Communicator Academy Creator and CEO

Communicator Academy founder, Leverage: The Speaker Conference creator and master instructor Kathi Lipp, is a national speaker and author of 17 books including “Clutter Free,” “Overwhelmed,” and “The Husband Project.”

She is a frequent guest on radio and TV, and has been named Focus on the Family radio’s “Best of Broadcast.”

She is the host of the popular podcast “Clutter Free Academy with Kathi Lipp.”

Over the past 10 years, Kathi has helped hundreds of people increase their platform through teaching and coaching. She is a frequent teacher at writer’ s conferences and has helped countless authors and speakers find their audiences.

Kathi’s desire to help fellow speakers and authors avoid the mistakes she made, increase their confidence and be the person God made them to be, inspired her creation of Communicator Academy. Her newest adventure, is The Red House where she offers writer’s retreats and Writers in Residence events. Learn more about the Red House at

Michele Cushatt

Michele Cushatt

Author, Speaker, Mastermind Coach

As an experiened keynote speaker and emcee, Michele Cushatt’s speaking experience includes Women of Faith, Compassion International, and various retreats, conferences and events held across the country. She has also led radio, video and audio recording projects.

She co-hosted with Michael Hyatt on the popular This Is Your Life podcast. In addition, Michele serves as part of the Dynamic Communicators International leadership team, led by best-selling author and sought-after speaker Ken Davis.

Michele coaches multiple large-platform speakers in how to craft and deliver powerful presentations.
Michele authored Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life with Zondervan Publishers and I Am: A 60-Day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is. Her third book will be launched in Fall of 2019. She launched her first Mastermind group in January 2017 and is currently taking applications for her 2020 Mastermind.

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