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Making video work for your podcast

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Podcasts are huge. Many are audio only, but 13% of podcast fans prefer pictures over sound only. By recording video alongside your audio podcast, you provide content that engages your audience no matter what their preference.

 

Added to that, video content is more suitable for platforms like YouTube, which is actually one of the most popular platforms to find and listen to podcasts, and YouTube videos rank higher than audio podcasts on search results. Also, advertising is often cheaper on YouTube than on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

 

In fact, even previously audio-focussed Spotify has recognised the popularity of video content and added video for the precise purpose of podcast functionality.

 

So, if you are recording a podcast and are not shooting video for it, you are missing out on a huge potential audience. But making the transition from audio-only podcasts to shooting video episodes can be tricky. Here are some top tips to get you started.

 

Lighting is important

Effective lighting is paramount for high-quality video, and in video production, colour temperature refers to the characteristic colour of light—measured in degrees Kelvin (K)—emitted by a light source. It is a way of describing the warmth or coolness of light, with lower colour temperatures indicating warmer (more yellow or orange) light and higher colour temperatures indicating cooler (more blue) light.

 

Mimicking daylight or natural light is ideal, with a colour temperature around 5500K considered optimal. Film lights offer superior control and consistency over natural light sources, ensuring proper illumination for both subjects and backgrounds. Considering the diversity of guests’ skin tones is crucial, necessitating adjustments to lighting intensity and positioning for optimal visual appeal.

 

Use 4k for more editing capability  

When shooting video for your podcast, it is recommended to use a camera that can capture footage in 4k resolution. This higher resolution provides more editing flexibility and allows you to crop or zoom in on specific parts of the frame without sacrificing quality. However, it’s important to note that shooting in 4k will result in larger file sizes, so be prepared to have enough storage space and a computer with sufficient processing power to handle the editing.

 

In terms of camera settings, it is usually best to set the white balance to a neutral value to ensure accurate colours. It’s also important to use a fixed focus, rather than relying on autofocus, and large/deep depth of field to keep everyone sharp, clear and in focus, even if they move around. Then, if you shoot in high resolution with a good camera, you can fix any issues in post-production, such as adjusting exposure or colour grading, as well as adding depth-of-field effects.

 

Consider your appearance and clothing

When appearing on camera for your video podcast, it’s essential to consider your appearance and clothing. If you wear glasses, for example, you will need to be aware of potential reflections caused by the lighting setup. Adjusting the angle of the lights or using anti-reflective coatings on your glasses can help minimise this issue.

 

In terms of clothing, it’s best to avoid wearing stripes or patterns that may cause distortion or distractions on camera. If you are using a green or blue screen for background replacement, avoid wearing clothes that match those colours, to prevent blending into the background. It’s also a good idea to choose colours that contrast well with your skin tone and consider coordinating with your guests to create an appealing visual contrast between the host and the guests (or, at least, not clashing!)

 

Use a separate microphone and camera for better audio quality  

To ensure the best audio quality for your video podcast, use a separate microphone and camera setup. While some cameras have built-in microphones, they may not capture audio with the same clarity and depth as dedicated microphones. By using separate audio and video devices, you can achieve higher-quality sound and sync them together during the editing process.

 

To ensure accurate synchronisation between the audio and video tracks, it’s helpful to create a reference point during the recording. Before starting the podcast, have everyone involved remain silent for about five seconds, then clap their hands. This creates a distinct audio spike that can be easily identified during the editing process, making it easier to align the audio and video tracks.

 

Frame your video podcast for visual appeal  

When framing your video podcast, consider the composition and placement of your subjects within the frame. For a two-person setup, it is generally recommended to have close-up shots of each person from shoulder level and above. This allows the audience to see facial expressions and emotions clearly. You should also include one or two wide-angle shots that capture both individuals in the frame to show reactions as well as to help with editing.

 

Rather than adding dynamism by using camera movement or zoom during the recording, focus on capturing the footage in 4k resolution or higher so you have the option of adding movement during the editing process.

 

If you have remote guests participating in your podcast, you have the advantage of choosing where to position their video within the frame. This allows you to keep the video engaging while minimising any potential issues with video quality or poor lighting. Experiment with different arrangements to find the most visually appealing setup that enhances the overall viewing experience.

 

Create an appealing set

While you don’t need to blow your budget on an extravagant background setting, it’s important to consider the aesthetics of your podcast’s set. This element plays a significant role in branding and creating a visually engaging experience for your audience. Take some time to think about the look and feel you want to achieve, considering elements such as colours, props and background visuals.

 

Leverage video segments and teasers for engagement  

One effective strategy for engaging your audience is to break up your podcast episodes into parts or segments. By releasing teasers or shorter clips from each episode, you can build anticipation and tap into shorter attention spans.

 

This approach allows you to cater to different audiences who may prefer shorter, bite-sized content. Additionally, having a separate clips channel where you showcase the best moments from your podcast can attract new viewers and improve your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts, as you can target different keywords in each clip’s description.

 

What’s more, video clips are already the most popular form of content on social platforms, like X (Twitter) and Facebook, making these clips an essential tool for reaching your social media audience.

 

Leave enough time to edit

It is important to note that editing video podcasts takes much longer than you might expect. Even experienced editors can spend up to three hours editing just one hour of video footage.

 

The editing process involves tasks such as trimming unnecessary content, adding transitions, colour grading, and synchronising audio and video tracks. You can also start adding effects to create a unique look and feel for your content. You could add zooms for reactions or shallow depth of field for a more intimate effect.

 

Make sure you allocate enough time for editing and have a clear plan for the final result you want to achieve, in order to develop a clear and consistent visual style.

 

Incorporating video into your podcast can significantly expand your audience reach and engagement. But it is not as simple as setting up a camera or webcam to record while you talk; video content needs to be considered and high-quality if it is going to truly engage your audience.

 

By following these tips, you can create visually engaging video podcasts that resonate with your audience and elevate your podcasting experience. If you are worried that you don’t have the skills or resources to get it right, you can always hire a professional studio to do it for you.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Olatunji is co-founder of Outset Studio, a full-service podcast and video production studio in London and Manchester. Outset specialises in pod- and vlog- casts, live streams and live shopping. The team works collaboratively with the client to make high-quality content that attracts an audience and increases engagement. Recording can be done at their studios in London or on location. Whether a client simply wants studio space or would prefer someone to manage the full production, Outset’s experienced teams have it covered.

Web: www.outsetstudio.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/outsetstudiogroup/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/outsetstudio/ [@OutsetStudio]

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/company/outset-studio

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@outsetstudio [@OutsetStudio]

Photo by C D-X on Unsplash

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