What Is a Video Podcast?
A video podcast incorporates a visual element into the traditional podcast format, which is a digital audio file available for streaming or downloading, usually as part of a series, with new installments that are automatically updated for subscribers. The advantage of using video as well as audio is building a deeper connection with your audience, as well as obtaining more content for repurposing across other platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.
Different Ways To Record A Video Podcast
A video podcast can be recorded in person, whether in a studio or elsewhere. If you’re recording in a studio, you can set up a couple of chairs around a desk, with a camera recording each desk, like the Lewis Howes School of Greatness Podcast. If you host a more dynamic podcast that involves being out in public and perhaps interviewing passersby, like the One Minute Podcast by Sneako, you could set up a small desk and a handheld mic with a camera on a tripod.
Online with remote guests
Video podcasts can also be recorded online, which is especially useful if you want to record from 2 different locations with a co-host or a guest, like the Gonna Geek podcast. This means that your podcast guests and co-hosts aren’t limited by your physical vicinity.
You could also record a video podcast through a live stream to various platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch. This gives your listeners the ability to interact with you in real-time, developing a more connected and loyal community and creating a more dynamic show. On most platforms, live streams can then be uploaded permanently for anyone who missed them or who prefers to watch in their own time.
In a solo podcast, you are addressing your audience, rather than speaking with a co-host or a guest. It’ll feel like you’re talking directly to them, creating a personal connection, and video can enhance this experience, too. You can record a captivating solo video podcast by setting up a camera, looking directly into the viewfinder while recording, and simply uploading it to YouTube. The Jenna+Julien Podcast has started using this format lately.
A webinar-style podcast establishes you as the authority on whatever topic you are discussing. The video could be of significant advantage in explaining various concepts, especially if you want to show certain tools or display any graphs or data - certain remote recording software, like Riverside, allow you to share your screen, which you could even use to do a presentation.
What do you need to record a video podcast?
In order to hit the ground running with the best video podcast, you’ll want to make sure you have all your various pieces of equipment on hand. You could have the most riveting content in the world, but if your audience can barely hear it or see you, it won’t matter.
First and foremost, pick a microphone that’s best suited to your needs. Research has shown that audio quality is significantly more important than video quality. The most suitable mic will vary according to what type of podcast you’re recording.
For example, if you are recording remotely using your laptop, a USB mic with a cardioid pattern (sensitive to sound coming from the front, but not the sides or back) would be a good fit. The Rode NT-USB and the Blue Yeti are popular options, and the Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB also has an XLR plug, should you move on to using a mixer down the line.
On the other hand, if you’re recording a two-person podcast in a studio with your co-host, you’ll need two XLR microphones. It’s not easy to have more than one USB microphone into one computer, so you’ll need a USB audio interface or mixer with as many XLR inputs as you have hosts - ideally more to account for any guests you may have. Try the Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500 Microphones or the Rode Procaster for a more advanced option, paired with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface for 2 XLR inputs, or for 4 XLR inputs, the Behringer Xenyx Q1202USB mixer or the Tascam US-4×4 USB interface.
Note: a mixer doesn’t have multi-track output to your computer, meaning you won’t be able to edit each person’s audio separately. If you want this, use a USB interface.
Ideally, you should invest in a mic stand, shock-mount, and windscreen/pop filter for each mic, too.
Next, decide how you will record the video element.
If you’re recording remotely, the easiest option is to use your built-in webcam. Most modern webcams are relatively high-quality, and if you use recording software that records locally, it won’t be subject to any pixelation due to glitches on the internet, anyway.
If you’re recording in person, be sure to choose a camera that’s compatible with a tripod - the vast majority are, but you don’t want to be taken by surprise. If you already have a camera with video recording capabilities of 1080p - 4K, you could start with that. Otherwise, consider investing in a camcorder specifically for your podcast.
The Sony FDR-AX53 is a great semi-professional option with a high bit rate of 100Mbps at 4K. It has a powerful zoom lens and incredibly fast auto-focus, which will save half you from having half your show be a blurry mess. It also has a Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound Microphone, so that if anything goes wrong with your audio, you could likely use the camcorder audio without impacting the quality too much.
For a more entry-level option, consider the Panasonic HC-V770, and comes in two quality options - Full HD or 4K resolution.
Remember that the audio quality of the camera you choose doesn’t matter so much as you’ll be using the audio from your microphone. If you’re a beginner podcaster you could even use your iPhone on a tripod.
A good pair of headphones allows you to pick up on any sounds affecting your audio, and to hear the podcast’s audio the way your audience will. There would be nothing worse than recording the whole episode, only to find out the audio was muffled, but you didn’t know because you weren’t listening to your own recording. Over-the-head headphones tend to be the best option, as they are better at canceling out noise and generally provide better sound quality. They are also more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
For a budget-friendly yet high-quality option, try the Audio-Technica ATH-M30X. They’re astonishingly similar to their much higher-price-point counterpart, the M50X. For a more professional option, go for the Bose QuietComfort 25. The noise-canceling technology is impressive and the lightweight, comfortable design makes them wearable for long periods of time.
Lighting can make a huge difference to the quality of video and helps to control the outcome in spite of location, weather, and other external factors. If you are recording a solo podcast or a remote podcast through webcams, the most budget-friendly solution is to make sure you are sitting with a light source in front of you, be it the window or a lamp, and never behind you.
For more advanced studio setups, invest in some lighting equipment. A 3-point CFL Lighting kit is a good budget option. Place the two large softboxes in front and the overhead softbox above and slightly behind for professional 3-point lighting.
Alternatively, invest in remote-controllable, LED lighting. The Aputure Amaran HR672 LED lighting kit has a high CRI, producing great color, plus a wireless remote control that adjusts brightness and power, batteries included and chargeable whilst in use, as well as a compact design.
If you’re in need of mobile lighting set up, try the Aputure AL-F7. This portable LED light offers temperature-adjustable, flicker-free lighting that can be used on the go.
Recording Software (Audio & Video for Remote)
Firstly, you’ll need software to record your audio. This best option will, again, depend on what type of podcast you’re recording.
If you are recording a solo podcast from a home studio, then you can take your pick from a host of good recording software that you install on your computer. If you’re using a mac, the native GarageBand app will do the job for simple edits, while PC/Windows users can download Audacity for free for a similar experience. If you’re looking for a more advanced audio recording software, try Reaper, with a one-time payment of $60, or Adobe Audition at $20.99/month.
If you’re recording a remote podcast interview or a video podcast from 2 locations with your co-host, you’ll need remote podcast recording software that still offers high-quality audio.
You could record a conferencing app and record a Zoom or Skype call, but this leaves you at the mercy of your internet connection, which could mean pixelated visuals and robotic audio, if not total cut-offs.
Moreover, every participant will have to download and/or update the app, which is generally an inconvenience and might not leave the best impression if you’re inviting big-shot guests to your show.
A more reliable alternative is Riverside.fm, the only podcast-specific software that records audio and video locally, plus lets you live stream across social media platforms. Your recordings with Riverside will be unaffected by any connectivity issues you may encounter. Audio is uploaded in WAV format, with each participant’s track uploaded as a separate file for easy and customizable editing. Not to mention that inviting guests is as easy as sending them a link to join the show.
Video Editing Software
Whether you’re going for high-production-value visuals or a straightforward video podcast, you’ll need video editing software at the very least to attach your audio file to your visual files, and to cut out any dead time or mishaps. iMovie on Mac or Da Vinci Resolve for Mac and PC are totally free options that’ll do the job for cuts, transitions, and aligning your audio with your visuals. If you’re looking to invest more into your video content, purchase Final Cut Pro (Mac only) or Adobe Premiere Pro (Mac and Windows).
Audio editing software
Many audio-recording software solutions also have editing features, including GarageBand and Audacity. Both are simple, intuitive options for editing alone, too, should you have recorded your audio elsewhere, for example on Riverside for a remote interview. These basic tools should do the trick for any nips and cuts before you upload your podcast episodes.
How Do I Record The Video Podcast?
Setting Up Your “Studio”
- Set up cameras for your video podcast
Setting up for success involves more than just sticking your camera on a tripod and hitting record. You have to think in advance about what type of experience you want your audience to have.
You could use one camera and film from a wider perspective to include yourself and your co-host. Or, set up multiple cameras to get different angles for a more dynamic experience.
Then, you’ll also want to charge your batteries ahead of your show, and ideally a couple of backup batteries too. Wipe your SD cards (after you’ve backed them up, of course), and make sure you choose a size that’s big enough to record your whole episode without cutting off in the middle.
Then, set the camera(s) upon a tripod, and ideally have someone sitting in the podcasting seat so you can see what it’ll look like and ensure the framing and angle are correct.
If you’re recording remotely, wipe a dry cloth over your webcam to remove any fingerprints or marks that could affect the quality.
- Arrange lights for your video podcast
Whichever lighting you choose to go with, the most important factor is maximizing lighting in front of you, and minimizing any lighting behind you. Close your curtains to avoid outside weather causing fluctuations in the image, and be selective about any lights you keep on in the room.
If you do choose to use 3 point lighting, follow this structure:
Place the key light at four o’clock. This should be on the brightest setting, providing the bulk of light.
Place the fill light at eight o’clock. This should be set at half the intensity of the key light, to eliminate shadows without producing a flat-looking shot.
Place the backlight somewhere between the two, and ideally a bit above, separating the subject from the background - this is what adds depth to the show. The backlight can be hard (i.e. no diffusion) since it won’t create any shadows on the subject’s face that are visible to the camera.
Related article: A Complete Guide For How to Create Professional Video Lighting
- Hook up your podcast microphones and/or audio mixer
If you’re using a mixer, follow these steps:
- Firstly, think about the placement of your mixer. You’ll want it a short reach away, so make sure you have space nearby on your desk.
- Next, shut down your computer, connect the power supply to the back of the mixer, and plug it into a wall socket or power strip.
- Plug the mixer into your computer via a USB or FireWire cable (depending on what you’re using).
- Connect all your input devices to the mixer (mainly microphones and headphones).
- Switch on your mixer using the Main Power and Phantom Power switches.
- Start your computer.
If you’re recording remotely, ensure that your external mic is selected as the input, and plug in your headphones to test the audio and adjust the gain accordingly.
- Decorate your video podcast set
Decorating your set will not only create a more pleasant ambiance and a more engaging experience for the viewer, but it is also an opportunity to involve some powerful branding elements that signal the legitimacy of your podcast.
For example, you could have a custom neon sign made with your podcast’s name, and have it hanging between your two podcasting chairs. You could also hang up fan artwork to create a greater sense of community with your audience. Plants are also a classic way to make a space seem more lively, although it will all depend on the nature of your podcast.
If your show involves reviewing WWF fights, then it would be fitting to hang up pictures of boxing legends. If your podcast is all about baking, then having a little cart stacked with classic baking gear in the frame would be fitting.
If you’re feeling stuck, try this exercise: imagine your show was on mute, and someone had to gauge the content of your podcast, would it be more or less conveyed by your set?
Recording The Podcast
Once your equipment is all set up, open up your recording software. Double-check the input to be sure it’s connected to your external microphone. Record a 10-second clip to double-check the audio, video, and lighting. Once you’re sure everything is in place, then hit record on your camera, then your microphone, and get going!
If you’re recording your podcast remotely with guests or co-hosts in separate locations, your process will be a bit different.
Desktop (Mac or PC)
Should you choose to use a podcast-specific software like Riverside.fm, you’ll need to have Google Chrome installed, but it’ll work across Mac and PC/Windows. Besides that, you won’t have to download any software. Open your browser and log in to your Riverside.fm account and create the show. To invite other participants you’ll simply send them a link that will take them to the podcast.
You’ll be able to see which inputs everyone is using, so give them a little reminder if they’ve forgotten to switch from their in-built microphone to their external one. Before you get going, double-check that everyone can hear one another and review the quality of the video - you can manually select which frame rate and quality you want, up to 4K. You can also invite a producer to monitor the audio throughout the show so that you can focus on the conversation.
Then, you’re good to go!
If you’d rather record your remote video podcast from your mobile, consider using the Riverside.fm iOS app. Your audio and video quality will be independent of the internet connection, so the quality of the recording will be top-notch.
Tips for Recording Successful Podcasts
Before you start your show, have a rough outline of how you’d like it to go. Ahead of interview podcasts, be sure to prepare a flattering intro for your guest, and brush up on who they are so that you can ask targeted and insightful questions. If your show dives deep into certain topics, research them beforehand so that you can have a meaningful, unique conversation that engages your audience beyond the surface level.
Get Your Guests Comfortable
If you have a guest on your show, especially if they are a stranger to you, consider meeting - whether virtually or IRL - 15 minutes early to put them at ease. Offer them a drink and just get to know them, and give them the low down on what to expect from the show. The more comfortable they are, the more they will open up in conversation.
Allow The Show To Go Where It Goes
Although doing preparation and having a guiding structure prevents your show from being messy and hard-to-follow, don’t be too attached to your preconceived idea of what will happen when you start recording. If you encounter a topic that’s super interesting but unexpected, don’t be afraid of exploring it. Your audience will be able to tell if you’re trying to force the conversation to go a certain way, and it will sound contrived and off-putting. Likewise, if you are interviewing a guest, be open enough to pick up on small details in what they’re saying and build on them, even if they weren’t part of your original plan.