You might think of podcasts as a purely listening activity that you do in your car or on a walk, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg––podcasts are making the jump to the visual world. Not only can you increasingly find podcast episodes on YouTube, but podcasts are even inspiring TV shows with Hollywood actors. Not bad for a medium just shy of 20 years old. But how do you start a video podcast, and what are the benefits of adding video to your audio? In this post, we’ll compare audio and video podcasts, explain why YouTube is a podcaster’s friend, and tell you how to make your own video podcast.
WHAT IS A VIDEO PODCAST?
For context, podcasts started in 2004 with iPodder, a tool to download online radio broadcasts as audio files for listening on the then-new iPod music player. Eventually, podcasters moved away from downloading radio broadcasts and into producing original content, and the rest is history.
All of that is to say that podcasts were an audible medium from the get-go. But as the internet and online content evolved, podcasts followed suit. Today, it’s increasingly common for podcasts to be available on video platforms like YouTube in addition to audio platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
For the majority of podcasts, the video version of a given episode contains the exact same content, but with visuals. Oftentimes, the video component is a simple static camera setup, but some podcasts utilize dedicated sets or even a live audience. Some podcasts, like “Podcast But Outside” and “Drawfee,” are even built around video, and wouldn’t have the same impact without the visual component.
PROS AND CONS TO VIDEO PODCASTS
As with everything, there are pros and cons to starting a video podcast or adding video to your current podcast. We’ll go over some of the main ones to consider before diving head-first into the world of video podcasts.
Pro: More Eyes, More Ears
Lots of people listen to podcasts, but even more people watch YouTube. In fact, the website garners around five billion views per day. That number is intimidating, but that also means that you’re bound to find an audience on YouTube that could take your podcast to the next level. Plus, YouTube’s algorithm favors longer videos, meaning that they are more likely to be recommended to viewers. Since the average podcast episode is anywhere between 25 minutes to an hour, your podcast might actually be perfect for YouTube.
Con: More Gear, More Money
Adding video gear to your podcast budget along with audio gear can quickly balloon your podcast budget––especially if you’re starting from scratch. What started as a streamlined setup with a microphone and computer becomes a full production with cameras, lights and editing software. Before committing to video podcasting, it’s important to assess your budget and see if you can find ways to fund the setup you want, like starting a Patreon or setting up automatic tips via Streamlabs.
If you do decide to add video to your podcast, there are ways to build your setup on a budget. HD webcams like StreamCam and the 4K Pro are easy to use and record straight to your computer, making them great starting points.
Pro: Better Content for Social Media
If you open up any given social media app, the most prominent thing you’ll see are images and videos. Social media platforms and algorithms are built around visuals, especially video. TikTok, the newest (and incredibly popular) major app on the block, is exclusively about video content, and even Instagram has started to emphasize video content over photos. Having videos of your podcasts to post on your social media pages will give you a much better shot at landing in peoples’ discovery feeds.
Con: Lots of Moving Parts
Making content for two mediums, even if it’s just two versions of the same thing, will inevitably increase the workload. Video is a particularly large task since it involves finding a location, setting up cameras, adjusting lighting, and recording––all while also handling all of the audio-related tasks. All of this isn’t even mentioning video editing, which has an especially steep learning curve if you’re new to it. Hiring a tech person or a camera crew is a possible solution, although it will increase your budget significantly. (Luckily, Mevo is an all-in-one solution to this issue, so more on that below).
ESSENTIAL GEAR (AND HOW TO USE IT)
The bottom line is that there are real benefits to adding video to your podcast, but there are also risks. It’s up to you to calculate whether you have the right following, resources and budget to take that leap of faith, but if you do feel ready, then here’s what you’ll need to make it happen:
You probably have an idea of the audio stuff you need for podcasting, so we won’t get into that here. For a refresher, check out our comprehensive guide for audio podcasting.
Setting up a single camera is often good enough, but a multicamera setup gives your podcast a top-tier production look. If you want to record multiple vantage points easily, then the Mevo ecosystem is for you.
Set up and control up to three Mevo Start streaming cameras at once using the Mevo Multicam app (no computer required) for a powerful boost in production value. Plus, along with up to six hours of battery life when shooting HD video, Mevo can also wirelessly stream to all major platforms, giving you the freedom to record or live stream your podcast from pretty much anywhere.
Plus, having all of these features with so little gear involved opens up a lot of creative opportunities. Use the Auto Director mode to have the cameras intuitively switch, zoom, cut and pan for you; live stream an “uncut” version of your podcast and then use the raw footage to post an edited version later; record an episode in the middle of a cornfield––the possibilities are truly up to you.
The phrase “Lights, camera, action!” exists for a reason. Lights are mainstays on TV or film sets because they add so much to the look and tone of a scene. Even a single light source, like Logitech’s Litra Glow, is a worthy investment that will bring a lot to your video’s overall quality.
Your closet may be a good vocal recording space, but you’re going to need a more visually appealing location for video. You can shoot your podcast anywhere as long as it fits your brand and feels comfortable to work in—whether that be in a studio, your living room, or even outside.
Video Editing Software
Finally, you’ll need an editing software like iMovie or Adobe Premier to edit video footage and sync your audio. Depending on the type of podcast, you may or may not need to do a lot of editing: Long-form, conversational podcasts are typically candid and mostly uncut, while story-driven or narrative podcasts need more work. Either way, getting a handle on video editing will likely be the biggest hurdle to jump.
The one thing you’ll want to do regardless of the type of podcast is to sync up the audio from your mics with your video, which you can do in a video editing software. Just remember to clap or announce your take at the beginning of recording to use as a reference for lining up your audio and video (future you will thank you!).
Now that you have everything you need, all that’s left is to get podcasting! There’s a whole new set of creative possibilities now that you’re working with video, so just try things out and learn as you go. For more info on the best mics for podcasting, building a YouTube fanbase and more, check out the rest of our blog.