A minimal audio and video production setup for lecturing

Views and opinions expressed are solely my own.


When I taught at Normandale Community College from Fall 2019 through Spring 2021, I transitioned the course I taught from an in-person to online mode of instruction in Spring 2020. I am not a professional producer or video editor, and had to go through many iterations to find an optimal setup for delivering high-quality sound alongside reading PowerPoint-like files, with video edits and captions. Here, I describe the equipment that was necessary to execute these goals.


A minimal setup for the above consists of:

  • a decent microphone
  • an audio interface
  • a pre-amp
  • audio and screen capturing software
  • video editing and captioning software

I was not interested in spending a lot of money and went through many iterations of the above equipment until I was satisfied. I am not compensated for any links that I’ve provided here; the links are solely provided for your convenience.

The equipment that worked out best for me were

Why the expense?

I tried at least 4-5 different microphones before I pursued the RE20.1 In testing each microphone, I recorded myself using OBS Studio and wanted to make sure that, using my headphones, I could clearly hear myself and my voice was sufficiently resonant. One problem that came up frequently was that no matter how close I was to some of these microphones or how I set up the microphones, I would sound very distant in the recording.

A pre-amp is necessary to filter out ambient noise. However, pre-amps use XLR cables, which cannot be directly connected to laptops. Since I needed to record both my computer screen and myself talking simultaneously, I needed the audio interface to taken in the XLR input to a USB output, which my laptop would take in.

I tried quite a few software products before landing on Premiere Pro, but none of them offered the sort of flexibility I needed when it came to cutting out audio and video, as well as captioning.

If you have very long videos (30 minutes or more) that have to be processed, like I did, I would strongly recommend having a laptop with a decent amount of power. My laptop doesn’t have a great GPU, but it has a GPU nevertheless, which helped speed up Premiere Pro substantially.

An example

You may find an example of a recorded lecture here.

  1. I cannot recall the specific microphones at the moment, but I know the Blue Yeti was one of them.↩︎

Yeng Miller-Chang
Yeng Miller-Chang

I am a Senior Data Scientist - Global Knowledge Solutions with General Mills, Inc. and a student in the M.S. Computer Science program at Georgia Tech. Views and opinions expressed are solely my own.