Everything you need for a video podcast setup

In a nutshell

  • The type of video podcast equipment you need varies greatly depending on the format and genre of your show, ranging from simple smartphones to advanced studio kits.
  • Essential video podcasting gear includes cameras, microphones, lenses, lights, tripods, headphones and potentially a multi-camera switcher for higher production values.
  • You don’t need the most expensive gear to start a podcast; your smartphone often times is good enough to start with.

If you’re looking to start a video podcast or add visuals to an audio podcast you’re already making, then you’re going to need to figure out the best equipment for the job. But, that might not be as simple as it sounds. Podcasting comes in a range of genres and formats, and the type of show you’re making may require less or more equipment. Some creators can get by just using their cell phones, while others require more state-of-the-art studio kits. Nevertheless, video podcasting equipment is key if you want to create a reputable show. So, whether you’re in-person at a studio or broadcasting from a small room in your house, you have a multitude of great video podcast equipment to choose from that can fit any budget.

What is a video podcast?

A video podcast similar to an audio podcast; it just has video. They can operate just like podcasts, but also incorporate visual elements to the broadcast, such as showing viral video clips or body language of the hosts and the people they’re interviewing.

There are four ways you can record a video podcast:

  • Static image recording — which involves adding a static background image to play over the screen as the user listens
  • In-studio recording — where you set up video equipment inside your recording studio to capture the conversation between the host(s) and guests
  • Remote interview recording — where you capture footage from various guests or speakers like in a Zoom meeting
  • B-rolling recordings — which allow you to mix footage of images, movie clips or visual segments into the video for your audience to see during the broadcast. 

Choosing the perfect video podcast gear

Setting up your video podcast equipment is similar to the traditional, audio-only podcast, but with additional items. Here are the basics of the setup equipment you need to get started producing your video podcast:

  • Camera(s)
  • Microphones
  • Lenses
  • Lights
  • Tripods
  • Headphones

Cameras

Smartphones

If you’re looking for the most affordable, low-cost option, your smartphone camera can often shoot good-quality video. The Apple iPhone 11 Pro and above offers 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, and 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps. The Samsung Galaxy S20 and newer phones give you 8K video recording at 24 fps, 4K UHD video recording at 60 fps and 1080p FHD video recording at 60 fps. Both of these would be perfect for filming a video podcast for a YouTube channel.

Even if you don’t own one of the more upgraded iPhone or Android phones, you can still likely get decent video recording from your phone. 

Webcams built into your computer

The camera built into your computer is one of the most affordable options to record a video podcast — especially for beginners. This option works great if you’re recording a podcast over video call. However, the video quality from your computer’s built-in webcam is less versatile and substandard compared to other cameras available in the market. If you want higher quality, and have the budget for it, we’d recommend getting an external camera.

External webcams

There are many high-quality and affordable external webcams that are suitable for video podcasting. A majority of podcasts filmed over video calls use webcams. Logitech, Insta360, Elgato and Razer all offer numerous webcams that are suitable for video podcasting.

Dedicated cameras

If you have the budget, a dedicated camera, such as a mirrorless camera, gives you professional-level quality video, as well as a ton of versatility and flexibility. For example, many cameras have interchangeable lenses, unlike smartphones and webcams. This means that you can swap out different lenses to achieve different effects and framing. Overall, if image quality is your top priority, we recommend a dedicated camera. You can check out our buyer’s guide for the best mirrorless cameras and DSLRs for video to see our recommendations.

Lenses

If you are using a dedicated camera, you will also have to pick the right lenses. When shooting a podcast, a wide-angle lens captures more of the action within the frame. A 24mm lens has been frequently used for video podcasts, even though many podcasters go as wide as 16 mm to make certain every interviewee and guest is captured in the shot. Keep in mind that when choosing a lens, make sure it is interchangeable with the camera you choose for your video podcast.

If you’re using your smartphone or a webcam, you don’t have to worry about lenses.

Microphones

Audio quality is critical for podcasting, and using a podcasting microphone for your show is better than using your camera’s mic. Microphones like the Samson Q2U (budget mic sub $100), the Sennheiser Profile (mid-range) and the Shure SM7B (premium mic $200 +), capture crisp, clear sound. Lavalier mics, shotgun mics or condenser mics are popular choices for podcasters. Depending on your chosen podcast format, you may need to have extra microphones for each guest. Use a high-quality audio interface if you are using an XLR microphone that you cannot plug into your computer. A good audio interface is equipped with a processor that effectively maintains sound quality. Keep in mind the differences between USB mics and XLR microphones. USB microphones are user-friendly and plug straight into computers, while XLR microphones offer higher audio quality but require connections through audio interfaces or mixers.

Lighting

Lighting makes a big difference when it comes to video quality. What your camera lacks in image quality, you can often make up for it with an excellent lighting setup. Softboxes or LED panels help supply even lighting. The right light source can make a person appear flattering and increase the quality of your video podcast. When choosing lights, there are two main things to keep in mind: color temperature and light positioning. Softbox lights give you the ability to diffuse light evenly, reducing harsh shadows. Ring lights give you uniform lighting from each angle. LED panels allow you to control the intensity and color temperature of the light. Key light (main light), fill light (to reduce shadows) and backlight (to separate you from the background) are conventional setups for video vlogging and podcasting.

If you want more guidance on what lights you should consider, check out our lights buyer’s guide.

Tripod

Tripods and mounts are essential tools to have to get those even, well-framed shots. A tripod frees up your hands so you can focus on hosting or interviewing and other areas of your video podcast production. Tripod stands are the most common type of camera support. The Manfrotto Befree is a solid choice for its durability. Neewer C-Clamp Desktop Mount is a great option for mounting cameras or microphones on tables or desks. The Magnus VT-4000 is nice for those who want a camera tripod, but don’t want to save on production costs.

Headphones

Headphones allow you to supervise your audio on the spot. Wired headphones cut out any interference from other podcasters talking during recording. Some of the most popular headphones used by podcasters are:

  • Shure SRH440A
  • Sony MDR-7506
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M30X
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

Time to get to podcasting

And there you have it. Everything you need to start or advance your video podcast. There are some additional tips to consider, such as a recording space (make sure it blocks out background noise), recording software like Adobe Audition or OBS Studio, pop filters for your mics to eliminate “popping” sounds caused by fast-moving air from speech, like ‘p’s and ‘b’s and a multi-camera switcher that captures all of your footage at once and removes the need for post-production editing if you plan on using multiple cameras. 

With all these equipment tools at your disposal, you’ll be well on your way to creating the best video podcast imaginable. And now’s the perfect time to make it happen. Even with the exciting escalation of video podcasts, the competition is still nominal compared to traditional audio-only podcasts. This means it’s the perfect time to create your video podcast.

Stephen Mandel Joseph
Stephen Mandel Joseph
Stephen Mandel Joseph is a published, professional writer and director of several Sci-Fi 3D animated shorts and a short drama film.

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