Many of us are familiar with podcasts, but we tend to think of audio episodes. In recent years, audio podcasts have taken the world by storm, but video podcasts are also growing in popularity. If you’re interested in video podcasting, or you’re not quite sure what they are or how they differ to regular podcasts, here’s a guide that will answer all your questions.
What exactly is a video podcast?
A video podcast is a podcast that combines both visual and audio media. When you stream or download a podcast, you usually plug your earphones in and then listen intently for half an hour or so. With a video podcast, you can see and hear at the same time. Video podcasts are also known as vodcasts, vidcasts, and videocasts. Video podcasting offers opportunities for all kinds of people to connect with an audience. Whether you’re looking for innovative ways to promote your business, you’re a vlogger, or you enjoy making short films, video podcasts offer an excellent medium to get your work, your brand or your interests across.
One of the most prominent examples is TED Talks Daily. TED Talks holds a substantial following, and it offers both audio and video episodes. Covering an expansive range of topics that are designed to inform and inspire you and to encourage you to think and reflect, TED Talks videos usually last between 10 and 25 minutes. Other examples include NASACast, a must for those with interest in all things other-worldly, and MacMost, a podcast that uses visual clips to enable you to get the best out of your Mac.
The advantages of video podcasts
Podcasts have become valuable travel, commuting, and workout buddies in our modern lives, and they’re a great way to connect with an online community. While it may not be possible to watch a video while you’re jogging, video podcasts can be especially valuable because they allow for a deeper connection. When you’ve got both audio and visual content, you’re interacting in different ways, and you’re letting the viewer notice everything from facial expressions and visual cues to colours and landscapes. Consider the difference in listening to a personal trainer describe exercises to tone the abs and watching them do that exercise, or hearing somebody talk about an incredible outfit compared to them showing you every piece.
If you’re using a podcast to promote services or products, there are also significant benefits to providing video and audio content. If you’ve got a video podcast on YouTube, for example, this can open you up to search engine optimisation and social media marketing benefits, which could increase sales and revenue. Even if you’re not trying to make money, and you want to share videos as a hobby, you can improve your subscriber numbers by using platforms like YouTube to share your podcasts.
How to get started: a video podcasting guide
Before you start filming your video, it’s always useful to devote a bit of time to planning and figuring out what kind of content you want to produce and who you want your episodes to attract. Work on a theme, consider the type of subject matter you want to cover and try and work through the format of the video in your head before you move any further. If you’ve got fresh ideas, this will help to clarify the content and ensure you’re connecting with the right audience.
Once you’ve got a plan, it’s time to film your video. You can use a professional camera, but modern smartphones are so advanced that they produce video content that is crisp enough to use in a video podcast. Once you’ve filmed your video, upload it to your computer. It’s unlikely, even if you’ve been practising over and over again, that the film will be flawless, and this is where editing comes in. You can use editing software to eliminate any glitches or pauses and polish your video before you share it. Some computers come with editing software, and there are also programmes you can download either for free or for a fee. Windows Movie Maker is available for Windows while iMovie is designed for Macs. Other options include Adobe Premiere Elements and CyberLink Power Detector. When you’re just starting with a video podcast, you might not want to invest in an expensive kit, and you can produce good quality content without doing this. Use what you’ve got, make use of free software and see how you get on. If your podcast takes off, or you’re enjoying it, and you want to upgrade your technology, you can always do this at a later date.
When your video is ready, the next step is to share it, and you’ll need to decide whether to make the episode streamable or downloadable. You’ll also need to format the file size using a video encoder to make it suitable for mobile consumption. To get your podcast out there, find a host, for example, YouTube or Libsyn. If the site doesn’t give you an RSS feed, create one yourself. It’s also a good idea to think about naming your episodes and providing a very brief description. Once your video is available, you can promote it using social media, your blog, other podcasts or your website.
Video podcasting tips
When you’re filming a video, your focus is likely to be on the visual quality of the content, but sound clarity is also essential. Bear this in mind when you’re filming, and record audio separately. When you’re editing, you can mute the camera audio and add you're recorded, edited audio later. To enhance the aesthetic, think about lighting. Lighting can make all the difference, especially if you’re talking about places and people, or you’re promoting products. If you can’t rely on natural light, it’s worth exploring lighting options, such as using a light kit.
If you’re the star of your video podcast, plan, rehearse and take your time when you’re speaking. Don’t rush through a monologue at a hundred miles per hour. Speak clearly, maintain eye contact, and make sure you know exactly where the camera is at all times. Try and relax, breathe deeply, and enjoy the experience.
It’s very common to start life with video podcasts that look more amateur than Oscar-worthy. Like most things in life, practice makes perfect, so keep going, hone your skills, and learn from podcasters you respect and admire. Engage with your viewers, read comments and take feedback on board, and aim to improve continually. Use reviews and ratings to get an idea of the most popular topics and to gain an insight into what kinds of formats and podcast durations work best.
Most of us are familiar with podcasts, but for some of us, our experience is limited to audio episodes. Video podcasts offer an alternative to audio podcasts, and they enable you to watch, as well as listen. Vodcasts or videocasts are growing in popularity, and they have a range of uses and benefits for hobbyists, business owners and those who are looking to promote their vlogging and filmmaking skills. If you’d like to give video podcasting a go, hopefully, these steps will enable you to get started. Figure out what you want to talk about and what you want to gain from your video podcast, target an audience, and get filming.