Podcast Hardware for Capturing Content

A number of devices are available for capturing audio and video content for podcasts. A few suggestions are offered here.

Audio Devices

These are some recording devices that can be used to capture audio for podcasts.  Click on the hyperlinks for more information on each device.

RevoLabs Xtag

The RevoLabs Xtag is an easy-to-use, wireless microphone that recharges quickly. This microphone can provide up to eight hours of talk with each full charge. It connects and charges via a USB port, which is the box that comes along with the microphone. There are no wires involved, and the USB is instantly recognized by all operating systems, thus ridding the need to install any software. The Xtag can be clipped onto the lapel, or any part of the speaker’s clothes so that the speaker is not stuck behind the podium throughout the entire lecture. It can also be used for personal and desktop use. Cost: ~$250.

Blue Snowball

The Blue Snowball is also a USB microphone that can connect on either a Mac or a PC. Like the Xtag, the Snowball requires no additional software to be installed – just plug in and begin recording. Its design and capabilities allow the Snowball to capture everything from soft vocals to the loudest garage band, which is ideal for podcasting. It is very easy to use; you can use it on your desktop (the Snowball stands on a tripod), but still produce sound that seems like it came from a professional recording studio. Cost: ~$90-100.

Blue Snowflake

The Blue Snowflake is similar to the Snowball in many ways: it connects to a Mac or a PC via a USB port, requires no additional software, and provides high-quality sound. But, the Snowflake can be used anywhere, not just a desktop. It can be used on any flat surface near a computer or can be mounted to the screen of most laptops. Basically, the Snowflake is the Snowball on-the-go. Cost: ~$60-70.

Logitech Headsets

Logitech headphone-headsets are inexpensive and perfect for recording low-fidelity audio podcasts. There are a variety of models. One example is the ClearChat Pro USB. Cost: ~$40-50.

ClearChat PC Wireless

Though the name clearly indicates “PC,” this wireless headset can also be used with Macs. A USB input allows the headset to be connected to the computer easily. Installation takes a few seconds, and no software is required. The microphone cancels background noise so that conversations and lectures can be heard clearly. It can be bent so that the microphone is placed optimally from the mouth. Volume can be controlled using the buttons on the left earpiece. Cost: ~$90-100.

Zoom Handy Recorders

These easy-to-use hand-held recorders from Zoom are perfect for audio recording of lectures or interviews.

The Zoom H2 has four high-quality condenser mics on-board, which you can use to make a 2-channel or 4-channel, 360┬░ recording. It connects to a computer via a standard USB cable and captures audio to a removable SD memory card (512 MB SD memory card included, but you can add cards up to 16 GB).

The Zoom H4 is ideal for recording live musical performances, interviews, podcasts, meetings, classes, and seminars. The H4 allows you to record 24-bit/96 kHz digital audio as well as in MP3 format with bitrates up to 320kbps.The H4 features two studio-quality electret condenser microphones configured in an X/Y pattern for true stereo recording. It also includes 2 combination XLR-1/4-inch input jacks with phantom power for use with any external microphones of your choice.

B&H has a podcasting kit that includes the Zoom H4 along with related audio gear: Zoom H4 Podcasting Everywhere Kit

Video Devices

A good camera is the single most important piece of equipment for creating video for podcasts. The camera records the incoming light, digitizes it, and stores it as a digital video signal. Choosing a good camera is therefore of paramount importance for developing high-quality podcasts that will include motion video footage or recordings.

Here are some helpful blogs on the subject:

  • Video Recording Equipment. The DVs suggested on this forum are Sony HDR Z1U, Canon XL2, Panasonic AG-DVC30 and Panasonic DVX100A.

Low-End Consumer Models

This is a blog that discusses how to choose the right equipment for vidcasting.

Blue Microphone Eyeball

A brand new low cast webcam with HD-quality audio and video. The Blue Eyeball has a custom-designed monitor adapter to attach it to virtually any laptop or desktop monitor.

High-End Prosumer Models

Sony HDR-FX1 HDV Handycam® Camcorder

Canon Model ??

Panasonic DVX100A

JVC Model ??

Tripods and Other Useful Video Accessories

A good tripod is an essential tool to have for producing digital video. The smaller the video camera the more you need a tripod to avoid camera shake and blurry video.

Tutorials and References

How to create a Video Podcast using Apple Quicktime Pro