Music and Video Production Spaces on a Budget

A friend and colleague Kent Barnard, currently working on his MLIS (focusing on youth and children's services) at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, recently shared some great tips with me for libraries who are interested in creating a music and video production space on a budget. Here's what he has to say:

- Depending on the budget, there are lots of ways to do this inexpensively. The most important element is to be able to eliminate background noise for the audio. In this respect, it would be best to have a separate room, or a way to separate the area from noise. In many instances, a meeting room could double as this space.

- In order to use a green screen for video production, the subject needs to be at least 4' in front, and there needs to be room for lighting. One solution for lighting, if an area is under construction, would be to install a couple of sets of track lighting spots, one to illuminate the green screen, and one set to illuminate the subject. If only one track is used, it should be to light the green screen, to prevent shadows.

- Another way to illuminate is through simple work lights (the kind on stands at any hardware store). Inexpensive cloth can be used to soften the light, but these have the advantage of being portable, and only about $40 apiece.

- For the green screen itself, there are several inexpensive ways to do it. The important thing to remember is that the green (or blue) needs to be a flat color, it cannot be glossy. Dark Lime green is the color of choice.
Here are some options:
1. special chroma key paint @$30 gallon
2. special chroma key fabrics (lots of choices, lots of websites)
3. green bed sheets
4. green flat paint
5. a pull down, or portable screen can be purchased or made

Other components:
- A computer (Mac would probably be the best choice, but a PC can be used with the right software. A laptop set up with the right software could also be used elsewhere in the library.)

- A microphone (USB is the new technology)

- A video camera (If you get one with a microphone, that much the better for video production.)

- Software (There are a lot. Adobe may already be available in the library.)

Feel free to contact Kent with questions. Visit him at Large Librarian-at-Large. Thanks, Kent!


  1. This is helpful, Kim--thanks for posting it! :)

  2. Thanks again Kim for posting my thoughts. I have a brand new homepage!
    It has a link to contact me if anyone has questions.


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