What do I need to do to make my own podcast (equipment, software, microphones, etc.)?

First you you need to decide if you want to make an audio or a video podcast. That will decide what equipment you need to make that podcast. In general, you’ll need a recording device with a microphone for recording audio or a digital camera for recording video; a computer with audio or video editing software; a site to publish a feed of your podcast (and if this same site does not host audio/video files, a hosting company). Luckily much of this technology is cheap and it doesn’t cost much to produce a basic audio or video podcast.

If you’re doing an audio podcast from your home, this is a quick and easy setup:

  1. any fairly new PC or Mac
  2. a USB microphone, such as the Blue Snowball
  3. audio editing software with Audacity (free download for PC and Mac)
  4. feed publishing and hosting with MyPodcast.com (free)

If you are recording your podcast away from your home computer, substitute a portable recorder instead of the USB microphone — you can then move the audio you record from the mobile recorder to your computer. (I recommend the Zoom H2 for an easy to use, great-sounding, affordable recorder.) Most recorders come with a cable to connect to your computer via USB.

To do a video podcast, the easiest place to start is often with a digital camera that takes video (most of them now do take video), because many of these cameras come with cords to transfer video to your computer via USB, or if your computer has a media card reader you can remove the camera’s media card and transfer the video with the reader. You can also use a traditional video camera if you have a good way to transfer video from it to your computer. Many mobile phones also take video, but the video is often compressed and won’t look sharp when you enlarge it on your computer screen. Beyond that, for a video podcast you also need a good PC or Mac with some video editing software, which come pre-loaded on a PC with Windows Movie Maker and on a Mac with iMovie. We recommend Blip.tv (free) for hosting video podcasts and publishing your feed.

So a simple start for a video podcaster:

  1. any fairly new PC or Mac
  2. a digital camera (that takes videos as well as photos) or a regular video camera
  3. video editing software on a PC with Windows Movie Maker and on a Mac with iMovie (both free and pre-installed on your computer)
  4. feed publishing and hosting with Blip.tv (free)

But before you spend the money on equipment for either an audio or video podcast, make sure you have a concept for your show. It would be in your best interest to lay out the concept of your show in a few paragraphs, then map out how the first few episodes will go. If you have a concept for a show that is sustainable on a regular basis, and you think you can have fun with it, you will feel more comfortable investing in the technology and the time that it takes to podcast.

After you make your first podcast episode, come to Podcast.com and add your feed to our site.

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