Heights Platform Best Equipment to Record an Online Course [2024]

Best Equipment to Record an Online Course [2024]

10 minute read

Are you planning to record videos for your online course and unsure about the best gear and equipment to use for your desk setup in 2024?

In this article, we reveal our recording setup and suggest the best solution for online course creators.

You'll discover how to create online course videos that not only look and sound great but are also efficient to produce.

Learn how to choose recording gear that allows you to save your videos and audio directly to your computer, with little to no editing and post-processing needed, so you can create an online course faster.

online course recording equipment

Can you Record Online Course Videos With Your Smartphone?

Yes, you can record online course videos with your smartphone!

In fact, with the advancements in smartphone camera technology, many smartphones are now capable of recording high-quality video, making them a great option for creating content for online courses.

Here are some simple tips that can help you get started with recording high-quality videos on your smartphone:

  • Camera quality: Use a high-quality smartphone camera that can record in HD or 4K resolution.
  • Tripod: If you are recording with your phone, you can keep the video steady by using a tripod or a stable surface to prevent shaky footage.
  • Lighting: Good lighting is essential for quality video recording. Natural light is best, but if that’s not possible, use additional lighting sources to ensure your subject is well-lit.
  • Mic: While smartphones can record decent audio, for professional-quality videos, consider using an external microphone that can connect to your smartphone. This can significantly improve the audio quality of your videos.
  • Budget-friendly setup: investing in a good mic and lighting can have a bigger impact on your video quality rather than spending a lot of money on an expensive camera.
  • Video editing: Use video editing software to polish your videos. There are many mobile apps and desktop programs available that allow you to edit your videos, add titles, music, and transitions to make your content more engaging.
  • Background: A cluttered or distracting background can take away from your content. Consider using a backdrop or filming against a neutral background.

Remember, the content of your course is the most important element.

While high-quality videos can enhance the learning experience, the value comes from the information and how effectively you teach it.

So, if you are on a tight budget, our advice is to start simple and use your smartphone or what you have at your disposal to record your online course videos.

If you are willing to invest in something more advanced, check out our recommendations for the best equipment to record an online course:

Best Online Course Recording Equipment

Creating professional videos for your online course can be a challenge, especially if you are not familiar with video creation or if you lack confidence in speaking on camera.

Keep reading below to learn which gear works best for creating online courses and a few recording tips for creating stunning online course videos.


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If you're planning on recording professional online course videos, you will need a camera.

However, if you're on a tight budget, a smartphone camera will work just fine in most cases. If finding a camera is an issue, it's better to just get started with your phone.

We recommend the Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Camera for course creation. It works great with the Elgato Cam Link 4k, allowing you to record 4k directly into your computer or downsample to 1080p for a crisp image.

The camera is small enough to be mounted above your computer monitor, making it convenient to set up. Additionally, it can be plugged into a power adapter so you don't have to worry about batteries for longer recordings.

If you're willing to splurge, the 18-135mm kit lens package with the Sony a6400 is a great combo and all you need for recording course videos.

It has outstanding low-light performance and the fastest autofocus available. With the a6400's top-of-the-line video autofocus speed, you can achieve great depth-of-field effects without needing a separate camera operator to constantly check focus for you.


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Audio is a crucial element in creating professional videos, especially if you sell online courses.

If you haven't already, consider purchasing a microphone to ensure high-quality audio in your course videos. There are many inexpensive microphones available that can be connected to your computer or clipped onto you.

Here are some tips to help you achieve excellent audio in your course videos:

  • Use a smaller room instead of a larger one.
  • Check for sound reflection by clapping your hands (furniture, rugs, and soundproofing equipment can help reduce this).
  • Keep your microphone very close to you while speaking.
  • Choose a quiet room with no external disturbances.

For the microphone, we recommend the Blue Microphones Yeticaster.

The Blue Yeti microphone is a popular choice among podcasters and online course creators. Although the Yeti comes with a desk stand, it tends to pick up unwanted sounds, such as desk vibrations and keyboard/mouse usage.

While cheaper mic boom arms are unable to support the weight of the Yeti and produce creaking noises when moved around, Blue's Compass boom arm is a high-quality and durable alternative.

Another reason why the Blue Yeti is such a great choice is that it can connect directly to your computer via USB, so you don't have to purchase any kind of separate audio interface or preamp in order to connect the microphone to your computer.

Video Capture Device

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A capture device, also known as a capture card, is a hardware device that converts the video signal from your camera's output into a digital format that your computer can recognize.

In other words, it connects your camera to your computer, so you can start recording videos easily and without the hassle of transferring them from your camera to your laptop.

We recommend using the Corsair Elgato Cam Link 4K, which allows you to connect a compatible camera directly to your PC for recording or streaming.

This means that your high-end camera is treated like a webcam, and videos are recorded directly onto your PC, eliminating the need to import recordings after finishing.

You can use this in combination with the Sony a6400 camera we mentioned earlier.

If you want to get a better idea of how these tools work together, we recorded a video of our founder's course creation gear set up.

Stream Deck

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Do you find it difficult to remember keyboard shortcuts while switching between apps during video recording? A stream deck device can be your solution.

This powerful tool allows you to personalize buttons with icons and actions, enabling you to execute simple to complex tasks with a single press.

We recommend the Corsair Elgato Stream Deck Mini or the Stream Deck +.

These tools can be especially useful if you use software such as OBS to record your videos. OBS is a free video and screen recording software that you can use for recording online courses and videos in general with minimal editing. We made a detailed video on how to use OBS here: How to Use OBS to Record Videos for Your Online Course With Little to No Editing

With the Elgato Stream Deck, you can control record start and stop, scene and camera switching, all from your computer's desk, without awkwardly switching windows or moving your mouse to start and stop recording.

The Stream Deck + is the larger version with more options, but the smaller version provides enough capabilities for online course creators. Although it is not a necessity, it is helpful to make recordings that require less effort.

You can set the buttons on the Stream Deck to perform custom actions as you like, for example, start recording, switch cameras, play an intro animation for your videos, open an application on your computer and much more!

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If you choose to use the Stream Deck, you might also find the Stream Deck Pedal a useful addition to your recording set.

This is a pedal that you place on the floor under your desk, and it is connected to the Stream Deck, giving you instant hands-free control of your apps and tools. For example, you can easily start and stop your recording with your foot or switch between a screen share and your camera-only view while keeping your hands free.

Key Lights

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Elgato offers an excellent lighting solution with the Key Light MK.2. This option is not only ultra-bright but also dimmable, making it perfect for any lighting needs.

The Key Light MK.2 is designed with space-saving in mind. It is app-controlled, so you can easily adjust the lighting to your preference.

It comes with a remote, and you can adjust the color temperature and brightness as per your preference.

These LED lights are easy to set up, cool to the touch and don't heat up the room like traditional lighting.

They are also dimmable and can be used at a low setting even when not recording, unlike traditional lighting which is too bright to keep on in normal situations.

How many key lights do you need to record online course videos?

When it comes to lighting setups, it is common for people to use a three-point lighting system.

For those who want to mount a light on their desk, starting with a single light close to the camera and pointing toward the subject is a good option.

However, if you are unable to achieve the desired lighting, two lights placed on opposite sides of the desk are also recommended.

Understanding your lighting needs before investing in equipment is essential.

Ring Light

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A ring flash is a type of circular light used in photography and videography.

It is often attached to a camera lens and positioned around the optical axis to create even illumination on the subject. A ring light can be used to minimize shadows and produce a more uniform lighting effect.

We recommend the Dazzne 19-inch Ring Light as it is an excellent product. You can mount a camera or a smartphone in the center using the adapters that come with it.

The wireless control feature allows you to adjust the key lights. We have been using this ring light since its release, and we believe it is the best option available.

If you place it close enough and want your face to fill the video, you may not need any additional lighting.


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A teleprompter, also known as an autocue, can be a helpful tool for course creators who aim to deliver content smoothly and professionally.

Essentially, it's a display device that projects a script (or your notes) in front of the camera lens, enabling you to maintain eye contact with the "audience" while reading lines.

This creates a more engaging and direct connection with viewers, as it appears as if you are speaking from memory, rather than reading from a script.

Using a teleprompter offers many benefits to course creators, such as improved delivery and maintaining eye contact. However, it's important to use it effectively by practicing reading naturally with appropriate pauses and intonations.

The problem with most teleprompters though is that they are bulky, not easy to have set up near your desk, and they can be quite expensive.

They also usually require, in the best case scenarios, using a separate device like an iPad or tablet to reflect onto the teleprompter in order to show your notes.

We recommend the Elgato Prompter & Elgato Facecam MK.2.

The Elgato Prompter is a device that can be attached to a camera or webcam, allowing you to maintain eye contact with your audience.

It uses your computer to display scripts, stream chat, or any text and window you drag and drop onto its built-in screen.

Because this teleprompter also acts as a built-in screen, you can treat it like any other screen that you would attach to your computer.

That means not only can you show a script or notes as you're recording, but you can even have a Zoom call or talk with people and have that appear on the teleprompter.

That way, you can make eye contact with the person you are talking to at all times. And this is great for things like podcasting.

The Prompter is highly compatible with other devices we mentioned here, such as the Stream Deck, making it an accessible tool for professional video production.

Background Decorations

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When you record your course videos, it is important to consider your background or backdrop.

The backdrop is what appears behind you in the videos, and it should be clean, organized, and visually pleasing, without distracting the viewers from the content of your video.

If you do not have access to a professional recording setup, you can find a spot in your house or office that has a nice background. Alternatively, a simple white wall can work well too.

Some creators prefer to customize their backdrop to make it unique and in line with their brand.

This can be achieved by adding some decoration to the wall behind you, planting some plants, or even painting the wall in a unique way.

If you have the budget, you can also get a customized object or hanging decoration made that displays your brand's logo. This is a great way to ensure your brand image remains consistent and your videos are easily recognizable.

However, if you do not have any space in your home that would work for this, or you don't want to spend money on decorating your backdrop, you could use a green screen.

With a green screen, you can digitally edit your backgrounds and create a professional-looking backdrop.

Video Editing Software

online course creation software

Now that you have finalized the recording equipment and the location of your home studio, it is time to choose the video editing software that suits you the best.

If you want to record live video without worrying about editing and exporting it later, we often recommend using Open Broadcaster Software (better known as OBS) as a video recording software.

OBS is a tool commonly used by YouTubers and live streamers and is free to use.

The best thing about OBS is its real-time production features. The software can be used for both videos and screen-recording, and you can add effects and transitions to your videos in real-time as you are recording them, avoiding the need for post-production or editing later on.

Check out this tutorial on how to use OBS to record online course videos.

Online Course Creation Software

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We cannot talk about course creation tools without mentioning Heights Platform.

After you have finished setting up your home studio by following the tips in this article, you will need an online course platform where you can upload your videos, organize your course content, and sell it to your audience.

Heights Platform is the all-in-one online course creation and community software that provides complete flexibility to create and market excellent online courses.

online course creation software

If you care about video quality, with Heights, you can upload unlimited videos in HD to your online course and decide whether to use our secure, unlimited video hosting or embed videos from a third-party service.

Plus, Heights gives you all the features you need to build and scale a successful online course business, from creating unlimited online courses and selling digital products to designing your whole website and building a thriving online community.

Creators using Heights Platform can also enjoy AI tools such as an AI chat where you can ask questions about course creation, an AI that creates a course draft for you, recommendations on your course lessons, and even an AI coach that follows your progress and sends you weekly tasks to complete, to reach your marketing goals.

Try Heights Platform for yourself to create online courses and thriving communities!

Create Your Online Course Today