Should I Make a Video Podcast? No. Yes. Sort of…

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The definition of ‘what is a podcast?’ has become blurry in recent years. On the one side, you’ve got a Youtuber uploading a video saying “hey, welcome to my podcast”, whilst on the other side, you’ve got the veteran purist telling you if you don’t have an RSS feed, you don’t have a podcast.

Does it really matter? Not always, but I suppose it can. For example, if someone hears you have a podcast, yet they can’t find on their listening app of choice, that’s going to cause a bit of confusion and frustration.

But we’ve already contributed to the ins and outs of the “what is a podcast?” discussion, with Colin’s “explanation in plain English”. This time around, I’d like to talk specifically about video podcasts. What exactly is a video podcast, and should you make one? And are they essentially just videos on YouTube?

hitting a home run. video podcasts

Video Podcasts Vs YouTube Videos

I’m not trying to go all “well, actually” here. This is just an attempt at a bit of clarity for folks thinking about doing a video podcast.

A video on YouTube technically isn’t a podcast. It’s a YouTube video.

Of course, you can find loads of videos of podcasts on YouTube – most famously, Joe Rogan. These are video recordings of podcast episodes, but they aren’t the podcast episodes themselves.

Podcasts are overwhelmingly done in audio, and are subscribed to in places like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Overcast. There’s a tiny percentage of actual video podcasts out there too. The most popular place they can be found is Apple/iTunes, but some other directories support them too. Here’s one as an example – Ted Talks Daily, which is a video companion to the audio-only version of the show.

Elsewhere, Spotify announced in mid-2020 that they would be supporting video podcasts on their platform. They launched the feature with a handful of select shows available in both audio and video form. Details have since been vague on what Spotify plan to do with their video content, and how the average podcaster might get involved.

Bottom line? Forget about doing a podcast in this form. At least for the time being. Obviously, things can change in tech, but at the moment, this is all just incredibly obscure.

People Watch Videos on YouTube

Opting not to make a video podcast (in its technical sense) doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing video to accompany your podcast. Far from it.

A lot of content creators film the recording of their podcast and upload it to YouTube. This is far more likely to be watched than trying to find it in video podcast form in a particular listening app.

Better yet, don’t just upload the entire episode. It’s rare to capture someone’s attention with video content on YouTube for more than a few minutes. Instead, use select clips that focus on one particular question or topic, and upload them as ‘micro-content’. This technique is explained in detail in Gavin Bell’s guide to running ads on Facebook.

This way, your podcast is on YouTube (comfortably the biggest video platform on the web), and the fact that it isn’t technically a podcast? Well, nobody really cares. As long as your audience can still get the audio version anywhere podcasts are consumed, then you’re golden.

Podcasting (audio), YouTube (video), and Blogging (shownotes), can all complement each other in a sustainable and effective manner. Check out our series on Content Stacking for a full guide on how to get the best from this approach.

Still Want to Make a Video Podcast?

One final reason not to bother going down this route is download numbers. If you have two versions of your podcast available in supported podcatchers, that’s going to split your audience. This can make it awkward when it comes to something like finding sponsorship.

But if you’ve got your heart set on uploading video content to a podcast hosting platform, then Podbean and Castos are two great services. I’ve linked to our full reviews of both so you can find out a bit more about them.

podcasting in the apocalypse

How to Record Video & Audio

Whether you’re doing a traditional video podcast, or recording videos alongside your podcast, it’s worth checking out Riverside.fm. With Riverside, you can record up to 8 people on both multitrack audio and video. What’s more, your audience can tune in live to episodes being recorded. You can even have them call into the show – or live-stream your interview to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Twitch simultaneously.

Check out our full Riverside.fm review to find out if it’s a good fit for you and your content.

How to Export Audio as Video

Your video doesn’t always need to be “video” in the conventional sense. Some podcasters upload videos that are static images (usually the show’s cover art) with the audio playing alongside it. This means you can get your show onto platforms like YouTube without any additional effort.

You can easily export video in this way if you’re using Alitu to record and edit your podcast, or, if you host with Libsyn or RedCircle.

Alternatively, you can go that extra wee step and create Audiograms for your podcast. These are similar to static images but can include dynamic waveforms and closed captions. Audiograms work better for pulling short shareable clips from an episode, as opposed to being fully-fledged episodes in their own right.

video podcast equipment

Video Podcast Equipment

There may be a technical difference between what is an “actual” video podcast, and what is a repurposed podcast published on YouTube. When it comes to the making of the videos themselves, though, there’s no difference at all. Here’s what you need to make them good.

Video Podcast Equipment Checklist

Our checklist includes affiliate links. We may earn a small commission should you choose to buy through them (never at any extra cost to you!).

A High Definition Camera, or, Multiple Cameras

With the quality of video on iPhones and Androids now, getting multiple cameras together to record should be easy. Many podcasts use a multi-camera approach to their video podcasts. It’s not necessary to use multiple cameras; however, it can make your videos look much more dynamic.

One option here to consider is the Logitech C920x HD Pro Webcam. It’ll give you HD 1080p recording, has built-in lighting adjustment, and costs around $60.

Tripod

You’ll need to be hands-free when recording your podcast, especially if you’re handling all the recording yourself. Most videographers would recommend the use of a tripod to capture your video podcast effectively.

Pro Tip! Be sure to “spike” (put tape on the floor) your tripod position, which means you can replicate the positioning for future episodes. This helps improve the continuity of your videos.

This portable 40″ alloy phone tripod also works as a selfie stick. It’s collapsable for transport and comes with a remote Bluetooth shutter. You can usually pick one up brand new for around $23.

Lighting

The key here is to eliminate shadows on your face and make you or your guests look the best they can. You can do this with lights from the home. You’ll need at least two lights, preferably three. A soft light source for faces is best, a second light for the background to create depth, and a third source to fill the space. The third light can also accent hair, or create a ‘hot or cold’ sidelight for the face. Achieve nice lighting and your audience will keep coming back, time and time again.

This 10″ LED ring light provides face lighting and encircles the camera to add dramatic ‘eyelight’. It has three light temperature settings to align with other lights in the room, as well as a built-in adjustable smartphone Tripod. You can usually buy one for less than $20.

External Microphone

Good audio quality for podcasting is essential in order to record the clearest and cleanest sound. The use of an external microphone should be a focus for any video podcaster too. Additionally, using external microphones doesn’t increase the complexity of video podcasting and is undoubtedly worth every bit of extra effort.

A popular mic amongst video podcasters is the Rode Wireless Go. This gives you a lot of freedom of movement in front of the camera, and – being a Rode mic – offers a great level of audio quality, too.

Also, be sure to check out the Shure MV88+ video kit when organising your shopping list.

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Video Podcasting Case Study: Pocket-Sized Podcasting

Pocket-Sized Podcasting is the ‘how to podcast’ series for busy people. You’ll get one short sharp tip delivered to your feed Monday through Friday, all aimed towards helping you build and grow your own life-changing show.

Episodes of Pocket-Sized Podcasting are recorded as videos for YouTube, and then the audio is used for the main podcasting feed. This gives us two types of content output for the price of one!

Summary & Next Steps

So in summary, your two options for making a video podcast are;

  1. Create a full video version of your show, using Podbean or Castos, and make it available in Apple/iTunes alongside the audio podcast.
  2. Film your recording sessions. Create highly shareable and searchable ‘micro-content’ using short clips. You can optimise both video and static images for different social media channels, too. Post them on YouTube, Instagram, and or Facebook. Make this part of a ‘content stacking‘ approach.

For most people, the second option is going to make infinitely more sense. But everyone is different, and your unique circumstances maybe make option one the most obvious choice. Only you will know for sure!

With that all said, if you’d like more help with your podcast – from launching, to gear and editing, to growth – then be sure to join us in The Podcast Host Academy. In there you’ll find all of our courses, downloadable resources, and we run live Q&A sessions on a weekly basis, too.