4 Pieces of Tech Independent Podcasters Need for Video

For independent podcasters, maximizing your creative output with a limited budget is key.

When you are the one in charge of planning, producing, editing, and publishing your episodes, it’s vital to do more with less. This need for efficiency makes video a logical next step for many podcasters who want to extend their reach and engage new audiences.

But video can be a daunting endeavor, especially when you’re working alone. The learning curve for video production can seem steep, and the gear required can be expensive. However, there are ways to produce high-quality video content without breaking the bank – or your will.

Here are the four essential pieces of technology that every independent podcaster needs for producing video.

Making the Case for Video Podcasts

Before we get into the tech, let’s take a step back and look at why you might want to add video to your podcasting repertoire.

There are a number of reasons why adding video could be a good move for your show. For one, it can help you stand out in a crowded field. The last few years have seen an incredible explosion of new shows, and the competition for attention is only going to intensify.

In 2020 alone, over 900,000 new shows were added to streaming platforms. The landscape is incredibly saturated, and simply producing a high-quality audio show is no longer enough to ensure that people will find and listen to your episodes.

If you want to grow your audience, you need to find ways to make your show stand out. Video can help you do that.

A well-produced video podcast can also be a powerful marketing tool. It can be used to promote your show on social media, generate interest from potential new listeners, and even secure sponsorships and other forms of funding.

The Four Essential Pieces of Tech for Video Podcasts

So, you’re ready for the challenge of adding video to your podcast? Great! Let’s take a look at the four essential pieces of technology that you’ll need to get started.

1. A Camera

The first piece of tech you’ll need is a camera. When it comes to choosing a camera for your podcast, there are two main things to consider: image quality and price.

Obviously, you want your episodes to look as good as possible. But unless you’re planning to generate income from your show, there’s no need to invest in the highest-end gear on the market.

The Budget Option

Chances are your laptop already has a camera built-in. Or you can use the same camera you use for Zoom meetings and conference calls for work.

The Mid-Range Option

If you want to upgrade your image quality without spending too much money, you can pick up a dedicated webcam for around $100. The Logitech C920 is a popular option that offers decent image quality and HD video recording.

The High-End Option

If you want to step up your game a little bit, you can invest in a mirrorless or DSLR camera. These will give you much better image quality than a webcam, but they’re also more expensive. A camera body and lens kit can range greatly in price. You can find some decent entry-level options for around $1,000.

2. A Lighting System

The second piece of technology you’ll need is a good quality lighting system.

We’ll be honest, video lighting can be a bit of a rabbit hole. A simple search for the best options will yield thousands of tips, tricks, and recommendations. But to cut through the noise and get you what you need, here are a few general rules of thumb.

First, you want to make sure you have enough light to illuminate your face. For video podcasts, your face is the most important element on the screen. If people can’t see you clearly, they’re not going to want to watch your show.

Second, you want to avoid harsh shadows and glares. Softer, diffused light is much more flattering on camera than direct light.

The Budget Option

Use natural light. If you are recording in a spare bedroom or bonus room, position yourself facing a window. The light from outside will give you a nice even illumination. Most lighting systems are attempting to replicate the effects of natural light. So if you are fortunate enough to have a window in the right position you’ll be ahead of the game.

The Mid-Range Option

One of the simplest and most affordable ways to achieve soft, diffused light is with a ring light. These lights mount on top of your camera and emit a circular glow around your head. You can find decent ring lights for around $50.

Before making a purchase, do a little research on ring lights. Try to find example videos with the one you are considering to see how it affects the look of the person on camera. We’ve found that some are harsher than others, and you want the softest, most even light possible.

The High-End Option

If you want to get a little more creative with your lighting, you can invest in a three-point lighting system. This involves using three separate lights to illuminate your face from different angles.

The key light is the main light that illuminates your face. It should be placed at a 45-degree angle from the camera, on the opposite side of the frame from where the sun is coming in the window.

The fill light is placed on the same side of the frame as the key light but at a lower position. This light helps to fill in any shadows that the key light creates.

The backlight or hair light is placed behind you, pointing towards your head. This separates you from the background and gives your face a nice glow.

A high-end lighting system isn’t for the faint of heart and can be a real pain to set up. But the results speak for themselves – especially if you are looking to create a moody atmosphere for your show (true crime podcasters take note!)

3. Adequate Storage

The third piece of technology you will need for video podcasting is adequate storage. Video files are large, and if you plan on recording in HD quality you’re going to need a lot of space.

The Budget Option

If you’re just getting started, you may be able to use the internal storage on your laptop or desktop. But as your podcast grows you’re going to want to move your files off of your computer’s hard drive.

The Mid-Range Option

An external hard drive is an affordable way to increase the storage on your computer. You can find decent 1TB hard drives for around $50. Just be sure to back up your files regularly.

The High-End Option

If you are recording video podcasts on a regular basis, you’re going to want a more robust storage solution. Network Attached Storage (NAS) drives are designed for just this purpose.

A NAS drive is essentially an external hard drive that can be accessed by multiple devices on your network. This means that you can have your video files stored in one central location that can be accessed by your laptop, desktop, and even your phone or tablet.

4. Recording Solution

The fourth piece of technology you need for video podcasting is a recording solution. This is the software or hardware that you will use to record your audio and video.

The Budget Option

If you are just getting started, you may be able to get away with using a call recorder like Zoom or GoToMeeting. These solutions will record both your audio and video, which you can then edit and post to your podcast feed.

However, these conferencing platforms weren’t designed for video podcasts. They are call recorders first and foremost. This means that the audio quality isn’t always great, and the video can be choppy. For a little more money you can get a dedicated recording solution that will produce much better results.

The Mid-Range Option

The next step up in terms of quality is a podcasting platform that records audio and video simultaneously. Look for a recording platform that captures audio and video locally on each participant’s device.

By cutting out network speed you can eliminate many of the audio and video issues that plague conference call recorders. This results in a higher-quality recording that is more likely to sound good on your podcast.

The High-End Option

Standalone recorders are a viable option for podcasts that record interviews with all participants in the same room. However, if you’re looking to record a video podcast with multiple co-hosts or guests in different locations, stick with a cloud-based recorder.

Getting Started with a Video Podcast

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when setting up a video podcast. But with the right technology in place, you can produce a high-quality show that will engage and entertain your audience.

You don’t need to max out your credit cards or blow your entire budget. Finding the right platform and piecing together technology will go a long way in helping you produce a great video podcast.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start planning your show!