MEMO 2007: Podcasting Nuts and Bolts

6 Oct 2007

I did a 45-minute podcasting presentation at MEMO yesterday which focused on some of the practical aspects of podcasting. One of the things we talked a bit about was equipment for video podcasting. (I really don’t like the “vodcasting” or “vlogging” name.) I’m thinking about starting a video podcast, so I picked up the following gear to enable me to use my high-quality microphones with a low-end camera.

  • Canon ZR800 ($200) is low-cost camcorder that records onto DV tape. Canon has always provided a low-end camera with an audio input primarily intended for the education market. The audio input is key. Without it, you’re stuck using the relatively sucky built-in mic.
  • Studio 1 Productions XLR-BP Pro ($180) XLR microphone adaptor. The Canon ZR800 audio input is a 3.5-mm miniplug which means that it will be almost impossible to find a decent microphone to plug in directly. This adaptor makes it possible to use standard XLR microphones with the ZR800’s audio input. It has two XLR inputs plus a miniplug and a ¼" plug. You can mix and match any two of these input simultaneously. It’s got a clip on the back that makes it easy to hang it from your belt or attach it to a tripod.
  • ARTcessories Phantom II ($60) phantom power supply will deliver the phantom power you need to use condenser mics. I got this model because it’s battery powered and thus more friendly to mobile applications. If you’re using dynamic mics then you wouldn’t need this box. Most good lavalier microphones (aka lapel mics) are condenser mics that need the 48V phantom power.

We talked about microphones, and I recommended USB headset microphones like this Logitech model for student use. The beauty of a headset microphone is that once the proper levels are set, the student can move around and not change the distance to the mic. You’ll get much more even sound levels than with a microphone on a stand.

2 responses to MEMO 2007: Podcasting Nuts and Bolts

  1. Woot! I’ve been itching to write up a $500 mini grant before the deadline. In one fell swoop, this posting just launched a great idea and spent the $500. That’s what I love about the blogosphere. It jumpstarts my brain!

  2. I cannot agree more with you on the Logitech USB mics and an external mic attached to your camcorder! I’ve had nothing but problems with the analog headsets – get the USB versions! They are givens for good results.

    Good audio can make or break your video. No one will watch good video with lousy audio, but look what folks will put up with on Youtube as long as the audio is good!

    Right on!