How To Create an Online Course: Getting Started on a Budget | With Huw Collingbourne

When Huw first started out teaching online with Udemy he mainly produced screen recordings. However with his background in broadcasting and media, he was soon looking for ways to make his videos more engaging.

Huw believed that if he added some talking head video to his online courses it would make them sparkle more. This led him on a quest to find inexpensive equipment that was suitable for the task.

His first investment was a small HD pocket video recorder, costing around US$60-$70.

Finding that the audio from the camera's built in mic wasn't very good, the next item on the list was a microphone. Huw didn't want the mic to be seen on the video so he invested in a Blue Yeti microphone due to versatility it offered.

If you have a camera that has an external microphone jack then you can use a lapel microphone to capture good quality audio.

Once Huw had good quality video and audio setup the next thing that needed attention was lighting. While using natural light was okay it wasn't very controllable, you can't always be guaranteed of a bright sunny day, so purchasing a set of daylight rated video lights is definitely a good investment.

So all in all Huw's initial setup with HD Camera, quality microphone and lighting kit cost around US$350-$450.

People get tied up over what camera to get and believe that they need an expensive digital camera, and that's wrong. You probably already have a camera that is capable of producing good quality HD videos. Just remember it has to be HD.

These days' smartphones, tablets and iPads are capable of producing wonderful HD videos.

Mini digital cameras are still very affordable.

“Anything that produces HD video will do the job and won't cost you a lot. It would be a misuse of your money to invest in a high end camera as a priority.”

What people should invest in is a good quality microphone. People find washed out audio with background static and hiss very difficult to listen to, so don't rely on the built in mic, invest in something like a Blue Yeti or a lapel microphone if your camera allows you to connect an external mic.

If you are filming outside you may even consider a Zoom microphone. Portable audio recorders give top quality audio while you're being filmed from a fair distance away.

Huw uses a Panasonic Lumix camera which is a digital SLR camera. This is quite an expensive camera and Huw only made the investment because there were certain things he wanted to do with his videos and needed the additional features. But high end cameras definitely aren't a requirement.

You will also need to work out a way to hold the camera steady while you record and there are a number of options here from various types of tripods to portable grips.

GoPro cameras are small cameras that can be mounted on your body or anywhere for that matter. If you want to make a video from the first person perspective then these cameras can be mounted to your chest or head. Great for demonstrating manual skills.

The other thing to consider is location. If you don't have a space that you can set up permanently, or the area is cluttered, you may consider purchasing a plain backdrop. These are inexpensive and really give your videos a professional feel.

Huw has acquired various equipment over time and has reinvested what he earned from his courses into upgrading his equipment. Once again, it doesn't have to break the bank.

When it comes to lighting Hew shares a very neat and affordable trick if you're fortunate enough to have a window in the correct position and a sunny day. As we can't control the brightness of any particular day you may have to invest in a lighting kit so you can keep your video production on track.

Lighting kits range in price and quality. A very acceptable and affordable option is a 3 light soft box kit. If you have the money in your budget you may be interested in a video LED lighting kit.

When it comes to screen recording and video editing software Hew uses Camtasia for both Mac and PC. Camtasia has more than enough features for producing online courses. There are a number of software packages on the market all offering very similar functionality. Just start with what you can afford.

You can find out more about Huw through any of his sites including which contains a lot of technical and computing related articles.

You can find Huw's computer programming related courses at

And you can also find Huw's technical and fiction books on Amazon by simply searching for Huw Collingbourne.

You can find out more about Huw's “How To Teach An Online Course” here.

Links to some of the equipment discussed in the course are listed below -

Camtasia - Screen recording and video editing software

GoPro - A very versatile HD video camera

Blue Yeti - this is a good quality desktop microphone.

Audio-Technica ATR3350IS Omni Lavalier Microphone for Smartphones (lapel microphone)

Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone for Smartphones & iPhones (lapel microphone)

Softbox Lighting Kit

LED Lighting Kit

Other products mentioned in this episode

MindMeister - Mind mapping software

If you have a question about any aspect of online course delivery, from concept to market, please feel free to send me an email at I'd love to hear from you and your question would very well feature in a future podcast.

I want to deliver relevant material so keep those emails rolling in.

If you enjoyed this episode please like, share and comment below.

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