You already know that video adds a tremendous amount of value to a podcast (if not, learn why that’s the case). But budgets are tight so you need a way to get everything set up without breaking the bank. Fortunately, we’ve put our years of experience creating podcasts of all types to show you how to do a podcast setup using a podcast kit for less than $100.
Obviously the core of any podcast, video or not, is good audio - an essential part of your podcast equipment. For a less expensive setup, you’ll want a USB mic. This avoids the need to buy a mixer, and XLR cables to connect it to your computer. It also makes your setup a lot more portable and flexible. Here are some good options:
USB Mic for standard audio podcasts: $49
The Marantz MPM-1000 is a great simple mic for anyone looking to record one-person audio. Just note that it’s better for more static recording when you won’t be moving around too much. It’s even got a built in pop filter.
A lapel mic for easy video recording as well: $78
If you’re planning on recording solo but also want to move around more for dynamic video, consider the Rode smartLav+. It’s moving into higher budget territory but the versatility to be able to straight into a smartphone in your pocket makes this a solid choice, and that's why it's an easy supplement to your video podcast equipment.
A dual lapel mic setup for interviews: $39.95
If you want to record multiple people at once for an interview or just co-hosting, the BOYA BY-M1DM balances an unbeatable price with everything you’ll need. It functions with anything from a DSLR to your smartphone so it can be used with just about any setup.
Now that your mic is set up, you need a way to record some video. The good news is there’s no need to spring for a pricey DSLR. You’ve already got a good option in your pocket or purse, and it can easily become part of your podcast starter kit.
Your smartphone: FREE
Honestly, if your smartphone is less than a few years old, chances are it takes video that will work great for a video podcast. Add in some decent lighting (more on that below) and you’re ready to go.
Your laptop’s webcam: FREE
Chances are the quality isn’t going to be as good as your smartphone, but ultimately it’s the content that’s going to really sell your video podcast. So if you don’t have any other options, this will do in a pinch.
Next, you’ll need some software for recording that audio and video. Good news is that there are plenty of excellent free options out there.
The free software for Windows machines is an excellent place to get all of the basics of editing together. It’s exceptionally user-friendly and easy to find tutorials for.
iMovie may come with macs but it doesn’t perform like it’s free. It offers powerful editing tools and even allows you to create your own greenscreen effects. It also allows you to add music, sound effects, do voice overs, etc. For a video podcast, it has everything you’ll need.
If you want to keep things simple and just record an interview or something similar, even software like Zoom can get the job done. It offers recording options that let you make a podcast with someone on the other side of the world.
The right location
Now that you’ve got a camera, microphone, and the software you need, it’s time to get your setup together.
Choosing a room
There are two major considerations here, one for audio and one for video. For audio, you’ll want a smaller space with plenty of soft sound-absorbing surfaces. For video, you’ll want as much natural light as you can get. If either of those are a challenge, we have suggestions below.
Also consider your format, do you want to sit at a desk? Conduct in-person interviews, or stand in front of a green-screen?
Sound panels: $22
If the only location you have available has problems with echo, consider getting some basic sound panels. Or, there are always DIY options. Fortunately though, for most setups, sound panels aren’t going to be necessary.
Green screen: $16.99
If you want the ability to really let your imagination run wild, a greenscreen is surprisingly easy to set up and use (more on the software you’ll need later). A basic green screen setup costs about as much as going out to lunch and opens up a world of possibilities.
Good lighting can be like… well night and day when it comes to video podcasts. Even if you’ve got big windows where you record, you can’t always rely on the sun shining, so some basic lighting will make a big difference.
A good hosting service
Once you’ve got your microphone, video recorder, recording software, and recording space all setup, there’s one final piece to the puzzle: hosting. Podcasts are built on RSS feeds and you need a service to host the files so subscribers can have access to them. However, these are usually only used for audio, so you’ll want to put an audio-only version up there and then release a video elsewhere.
Libsyn: $5 per month
They’re one of the oldest players in the podcast hosting game and it shows. Libsyn is packed with features, but also offers a basic $5 a month package to get you started. Some of those features make it easier to publish content on social media, or even create a website for your podcast.
Simplecast: $15 a month
Another respected and established player in podcasting, Simplecast has solid analytics and a website building feature to get you started. It also has a built in tool that makes it easy to break your show into smaller audio clips that you can share around on social media.
For video, the biggest player is the obvious choice. You can upload as much video as you want for free and use Youtube’s algorithm to help more people find your show. Just be sure to refer people listening to the audio version to the video version and vice versa.