Video Podcasting – what, why and how

 

Some of your favorite audio podcasts may have a video component as well. Is it a good idea to add video to your own podcasting efforts and if so how would you go about it?

 

When should you be doing a video podcast?

 

One of many purposes for running my two shows is to build trust with subject matter experts (artists in my case), with a public audience, and with current and future clients. Video accomplishes these in a powerful way and builds trust much more quickly than only hearing someone’s voice. I interview artists and we talk about their unique visual style. Showing their artworks as we talk is a key benefit for the artist. Some guests are not comfortable talking to a camera even in front of a computer and webcam in the comfort of their own home so I always let them choose to do a video interview or audio only. When I record an audio only interview I still make a video showing the artist’s website or images of their artworks that we are discussing to add visuals to the conversation. I strongly encourage the artists to be on camera during our interviews because I believe people want to know the artist just as much as their artworks.

 

Using video to build trust doesn’t only apply to interviews. A few video podcasting friends tell me they get more views, visits and downloads on five and ten minute self-address episodes where they are simply talking to the camera giving tips and tricks on a specific topic. Admittedly, that format does take some practice in order to look natural talking to a camera without another person on the other end of the conversation.

 

Equipment

 

You need a lot less equipment for video podcasting than you might think and minimal is best at least to get started. The following assumes you’re doing all interviews or self-address recordings in front of a computer which will cover 95% of all video podcasting needs.

 

 

Simple setup: laptop with webcam, maybe some wired or wireless headphones.

 

Next level: laptop, 4K webcam like a Logitech Brio, advanced microphone like a Blue Yeti or Rode Podcaster, an audio interface like iTrack Solo if you have an XLR microphone connection.

 

Advanced: I use this setup when I have the good fortune to sit down with someone for an in person interview.

 

Pro camera and lens like a Panasonic GH5 with 12-60mm f2.8 lens, second camera (I use iPhones), ElGato Camlink if you think you’ll want to stream from camera to computer, a couple of led video lights preferably run on batteries, lav mic to record to a phone or wireless lav mic packs such as Rode Wireless Go. Personally I record audio using a $30 lav mic plugged into an iPhone and use voice record pro app to capture the audio on a phone.

 

Even for video podcasting; capturing good audio is more important than having great video. Start simple and spend first on good audio. Going to extreme lengths on home studio equipment will leave your wallet a lot lighter for only minor improvement in quality.

 

I usually see show hosts chase production quality for a while only to return to a “simple is best” approach.  My personal rule is that I want to tell a good story and make it feel like a natural conversation between friends. For example, I prefer to have the microphone out of sight rather than shoved in front of my face. Too much focus on gear or software can get in the way of telling the story.

 

Software

 

Editing down your videos does not have to be difficult but it is necessary. At the very least you want to add bumpers to the beginning and end of your video to introduce a guest or to add closing comments. These are my recommendations for lightweight video recording and editing.

 

For working with video only check out Hitfilm Express. It’s a free video editing tool with a lot of special effects for transitions, text and animations if you do want to do something fun and fancy. This is the software to use if you record conversations on Skype and do not need to record or share a computer screen.

 

To record a computer screen, attached cameras, and audio inputs all at one time; Screenflow is my personal favorite. It’s a powerful multi-track editor, easy to learn, and you can do all of the basic text, transitions and animations with a very minimal learning curve.

 

Video Output Format

 

It took me a while to figure out the best settings to output a video that would display crisply without being too large and slow down buffering speed. These settings give me the best results across nearly every platform.

 

These are my preferred export settings from Screenflow:

Video : 30 frames per second, 1920×1080 at 3,500 Kbps

Audio: 44.1 kHz at 128 Kbps

Motion Blur medium and No letterboxing

 

If you find that your video doesn’t look crisp after export, increase the Kbps to 5000. That will encode more detail in your video export. It will also make the final video file size larger. Depending where you host your videos they may have a file size limit and that’s why I normally export at 3,500 Kbps.

 

Distribution

 

The best place to distribute your videos is on your own website or YouTube; both if possible. It is possible to show video on an Apple podcast episode. Hosting the videos and then creating an RSS feed to submit to podcast directories is a doable. However; audiences on a podcast platform want listening material – something to fill time and learn from while in the car, while cleaning the house, or out for a bike ride. They’re not looking at the screen when listening to a podcast. The video format will appeal to a different audience altogether or will draw in casual listeners to connect with you more deeply.

 

What strategy will be best for you?

 

Interviews with artists work best to draw people in to my websites. Will that work for your business model? Is a simple self-address style video podcast more your style to present your own expertise in a video format? How do you think you will use video podcasting to strengthen your brand or personal positioning?

 

By Kevin Wenning

 

Kevin is a veteran of business spanning small startups, midsize companies and enterprise environments. He wore multiple hats in those spaces launching new product lines, leading sales teams, directing photography, and delivering software serving hundreds of thousands of both internal and external customers.

 

In those years as a photographer in studio & commercial projects Kevin discovered travel photography. A couple of years into travel photography, he founded Intentionally Lost to help other people immerse themselves in travel locations through photography.

 

Through the lens of both business and creative endeavors Kevin saw that creative thinking and making work personally meaningful were the challenges his skills were best suited for.

 

His professional focus is now on making artistic photos and consulting with corporate clients to decorate their spaces with artworks from their own employees. Kevin writes about things that both inspire and irritate him with photography at IntentionallyLost.com, works with his corporate clients through EmployeeArtProgram.com, and interviews and promotes visual creators through VisualLiteracyProject.com




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