In this starter series of the first 5 episodes of the podcast, we are covering some of the most frequently asked questions we get as producers for influencer content.
We obviously couldn’t skip over the FAQ of best equipment to use for podcasting since this show is, after all, for people who are producing awesome media content. In this episode we take a little different approach to answering this question.
We make the case that your environment and goals will matter more than your microphone or camera, but we’ll also share with you some of our best tips for getting great audio and video quality regardless of your budget and setup.
“Audio quality is way more impacted by the room you record in than the microphone you use.”Christine Baird
- (0:58) Why the equipment you work with isn’t as important as you may think
- (5:35) How to set up your room for optimal sound quality
- (10:13) How to set up your room for optimal video recording – Tiff’s LAP method
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- Watch the full video of this episode on YouTube!
- Chase Jarvis
- Casey Neistat
- Worthfull Project
- Links to all the equipment we use to record the podcast
- Tiff Tyler
- Christine Baird
- DIY Podcasters – check out the Worthfull Media Podcast Course
- Aspiring Podcast Hosts – check out the Think Like a Producer Membership Group
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Many thanks to our production team
Transcription of this episode:
(auto-generated, please forgive typos)
Welcome to Think Like a Producer podcast. I’m your co-host Christine Baird.
And I’m your co-host Tiff Tyler.
We are here to answer the questions we’ve been getting for years about how to create amazing podcasts, build your brand, great video content.
Now, after five years, being in the podcast industry, being in the content creation industry, this is what we’ve learned, and this is how you can get out of your own way and get started.
You name it, we’ve probably done it. This podcast is about bringing all the wisdom to you. To help you realize that you can think like a producer and you can create the brand of your dreams, but it’s going to take a different level of skills than probably anyone else has told you.
It is time to think like a producer.
Welcome to another episode of our starter series on think like a producer. This is one of five of the answers to your most frequently asked questions. So be sure to check out the other five episodes, the first five episodes of this podcast, we wanted to give you a good bundle to start with. And today’s question is what equipment should I buy? Of course, that’s a frequently asked question and we get these questions all the time we get what video equipment should I buy? What audio equipment should I buy? What’s the best microphone. What’s the best camera. What’s the best light. What’s the best, best, best. Well, we’re going to take a step back and answer this question in a slightly different way than you may have been anticipating. So Tiff, if I’m to ask you, what’s the best camera you should have for media production, what would you say?
Gotta get my throat ready. Best camera is the one that you have with you. Chase Jarvis. Making sure we give credit where credit is due. Uh, I heard this for the first time when I was supposed to be working in my first production job, but I was kind of, I kind of got the work done in four hours for the next four hours. I would watch Chase Jarvis’s Creative Live videos and, um, just watching all of his content obsessing over him because he was the first photographer that taught me entrepreneurship. The first person that had no idea what an entrepreneur was until I was watching his videos and he had this series and he made a point to let people know the best. Camera’s the one you have with you as we are obsessing a little bit, especially in America, but probably around the world.
Just about having the best camera, having the newest, the latest, making sure that you’re spending three times your rent. Let’s be real on some of this equipment that can pretty much sit in a corner because you’re thinking in the wrong order, in my opinion, with love, you’re thinking in the wrong order. So just having that as the initial setup, this the best camera’s the one you have with you by chase Jarvis. I think he either said that or someone else said it to him, but as the first person I heard it from. And so I just want that to kind of sit with you for a moment before we get into some of the details that we’re going to get into, but just understanding whatever you have with you is possible is quality is good enough for you to get started and shouldn’t stop you from creating what you want to create.
And just another example, I mean, Chase is, as we’ve already shown, our, you know, icon teacher in so many things, but also Casey Neistat, one of the most famous YouTube filmmakers of our time, he says the exact same thing. I think the first film project he did with his brother, they were using like a $300 camera. And it was, I mean, you will see this again and again and again, across sort of the iconic media creators, whether they’re cinematographers, videographers, photographers, a podcast series, it’s they all started with cheap equipment. They all started learning their craft on the less than optimal stuff. And that’s how they created some of their best work. And they will tell you time. And again, yeah, now we do have iPhones and we do have like incredible capabilities that weren’t in, you know, common consumer goods 10 years ago, but it is so much more important to get the other pieces of your craft down your equipment will kind of be the least important part of it.
And so in this episode, we’re going to cover some things to think about before you even purchase the equipment, because the equipment purchase will sort of be like the last thing you’re like, Oh yeah, I need to buy a camera. Cool. And you can probably, you know, make it 10 minute decision. And we’ll of course include some links of some of the equipment that we do use just so you don’t have to do a ton of shopping yourself if you just want to buy one. But what we want to talk about is all the other pieces of a good production that aren’t the equipment, but have as much, if not more of an impact on the quality of your finished product. So first off, I’m going to talk about audio because that’s my area of expertise. I have said this so many times and I’ll keep saying it over and over and over again to clients, the audio quality is way more impacted by the room you recording than the microphone you use.
And just to put my money where my mouth is, this microphone that I’m using right now costs $30 on Amazon. It’s like achieving brand. Yes, I’m serious. I use a cheap microphone. Not because I believe in cheap equipment, but because I wanted to test it out for some clients and I just ended up keeping it. I was like, Oh yeah, I could tell you how much my microphone costs. I know Tiff, I get it. And let’s be honest, if you were a real audio file and you’re listening right now, you’ve probably noticed my audio is not as a hundred percent perfect as it could be. And you might’ve been like, why is Christine not sounding as perfect as I know she could. It’s because I’m using a cheap microphone that has worked fine. And I happened to pick up to test out. I was like, that’s pretty easy.
This is fine. But I frequently get complimented on the audio quality of my show, my Worthfull Project show that I’m the single host of, and people don’t realize it’s because of the room I’m recording in. The mic is just a cheap mic. Anyone can pick up. So when we talk about the room, what do I mean, uh, it’s super important that you have the lowest echo materials. And what I mean is you want to avoid hardwood floors, concrete metal. If you were recording in a large open loft that was stunning and had huge windows and it was just like gorgeous on camera, you would have terrible audio. You would have echo-y audio that would be nigh to impossible to make sound good, meaning intimate and close. And like you’re in the same room as the person, because the acoustics of the environment you recording are so dependent on the actual materials that the room is made with the ideal recording scenario.
And we’ll talk about ideals versus reality because we all know none of us working in ideal, but the ideal room to record in would be small carpeted, a pretty low ceiling, meaning, you know, not like a 10, 20, no vaulted ceilings here. It would probably have a lot of textiles. So rugs, curtains, of course it wouldn’t hurt if you put, you know, foam panels on the wall, but most of us are recording things from home studios and we’re not necessarily willing to put ugly foam panels on the walls. If you really do have a room in your home or your studio or your workspace that you can dedicate to recording, then yeah. Throw some panels on the wall. That’s great. But typically you can get amazing audio quality with just a small carpeted room. So a bedroom is usually a good example. Um, if you have a walk-in closet, of course, we all know the stories and we’ve seen during the pandemic pictures of people like I Ira Glass or Brene Brown, literally recording their podcasts in their closets.
But if you’re on video is typical. Explain in a minute, you’ve got to take that in consideration. So on the audio side, the best situation is going to be a smaller room, lower ceilings, carpeted, a good amount of textiles. And that could, you know, you can get artistic with that. You could have like some beautiful pieces on the wall that are maybe canvas, or you could have maybe some planters and things just, you want to kind of have as much noise absorption materials, and you can get creative with how you design that, but you want to avoid the hardwoods and the metals and the glasses and the concretes. And that even goes to the surface that your microphone may be on. So if you choose to do a tabletop microphone like this, you’ve also of course seen plenty of podcast jurors who record with boom microphones that are attached to their table.
You want to be really conscious of the surface that those microphones are sitting on because as you can tell, most people wear jewelry and they often get animated and talk with their hands and hit things. And so you’re not always going to be able to control your guest if you have a guest show and you might just need to think, okay, maybe the table that I put my microphones on is not going to be very accessible to someone’s hands, or maybe I’m going to have some kind of softer something on the top of it. That’s going to kind of mediate the jewelry noise. And this is getting a little more in depth. So don’t worry. You can start anywhere with anything as we’ve talked about, but if you want to think about the environment, those are just some easy tips to consider when you’re looking for the kind of room for the very best audio quality. And then the last thing we’ll say about audio quality, just as kind of a high level tip is it’s really gonna matter where your mouth is in relation to your microphone. So you can see I’ve got my microphone here. It’s about six inches from my mouth. And it’s obviously like right in front of my mouth and Tiff and I spent a lot of time doing our video setups. So yes, we did things strategically. How can our microphones be in front of our mouth, but not, you know, literally blocking our face. So you do
Want to think about that and it is worth it to think about the placement, but ultimately that will always matter way more than the quality of the microphone and how fancy your boom stand is. K Tiff. Tell us about the video. Yeah.
Yes. And just to piggyback off of that first, I’m not sure if we should use that phrase piggyback, I need to google it.
I always get nervous now cause they don’t know the origins of a lot of phrases. And sometimes I learned that they have horrible origins. And so I’m a lot more like nervous now to use.
I’m going to rephrase that to continue off of what you were saying, Christine, uh, when it comes to the environment, looking at that first, I believe the point that she was making, I want to re-emphasize for everyone. She was able to purchase a cheaper mic because she made sure she had the ideal setting. Now, when you guys click on that show notes page later, and you look at what we use, my mic is a lot more expensive because I am in a hardwood floor place. I am in a very open space. I do not have the ideal unless I was in a closet recording. I do not have the ideal situation for good audio. So the mic that I have is actually designed to cut out most of the room noise, most of the things around me and just focus on my voice. So we’ll talk about that in later episodes of when it is time to spend, why you are spending, but really first we want to see what you have around you because you could save not just hundreds, but thousands of dollars when it comes to video equipment.
If you take in consideration what you have around you and what you can use, instead of thinking, the more I spend the better, the video will be just want to make sure I emphasize that. Now here is another thing about me. I run Christine runs. I, for some reason, came up with this, um, during a run lap, L A P I think because I was doing a lap around my neighborhood, but it all made sense. This was on a run late audio preparation. So these are the things that I think about as a producer that Christine thinks about to a certain degree as well. When she works with clients who want to do video, these are the things that we think about before we turn on the camera, before we purchase the camera, before we even turn on the phone and say, this is what I’m going to record myself.
The first thing the L in LAP is light. So Christine has natural light. None of that is artificial. We figured it out that, um, if you’re listening right now, you got to click on the video. But if you’re watching that is all coming from her window, lucky Christine. Tiff. Yes. I’m speaking about myself in the third person, Tiff lives in an interesting area in which natural light is not possible for her to get. So she has put up artificial light that you can see kind of coming from a different, it just looks different, but we still are both very well lit. So if you’re starting with what you have checked your windows check to see if you have some kind of lighting, some people are buying like those $30 ring lights, which are becoming very popular, but just making sure that you’re lit, but also not overexposed.
And that will be a different episode because too much light is also a thing. But identifying the light, just like what Christine said about identifying the room and what is going to absorb the most sound so you can have the best quality look at the light. See what time of day is going to work best like Christina. And I know we can not record in the middle of the night because she will lose all of her late. We have to be very strategic about when we record audio. Christine mentioned way more than I possibly would, but this is something that I think about to some people, if you’re just going to use your phone, you may not have an external mic, right? So making sure that the AC is not, I’m not sure if I’m a great example of that right now, but the AC isn’t on and that there aren’t things around you.
I live in an older building so I can hear literally everything, but there are times of the day when no one else is in this building. And that sometimes when I record or I’ll go outside because visually, you know, that things are going to be passing me by. I might use a headset. I’m always thinking about the sound. And if I’m outside, you know, there’s going to be a little bit of sound. If I’m inside, I got to make sure that I’m in an environment that’s not super noisy. Or if you live with someone and they’re super loud, he had to tell them to be a little quiet cause you’re recording now. But the first two things late and audio, the third letter, our third checklist here, the P I call preparation, prep, whatever you want to call it, but you need to have some pre-production into this.
And what I mean is when I sit with clients, I’m sure when Christine sits with clients, the first thing I ask them is what is the message you are trying to get out? What are you trying to say to people? What do you want people to experience or think about after they’ve watched this video? What do you want them to do next? And that sounds so simple, but I will argue that some people including myself, cause you’ll see how much money I spend on this whole setup. Some people spend a lot of money and don’t think about the message we think about the quality we think about, you know, the lighting. We think about the little ring light showing rings in our eyes. I’m going to look so cool. And then when it’s time to hit the record button blanks, no idea what to say.
No idea, because we’re just thinking about how I’m going to look and not what I’m going to say. And Christine and I, I think we worked so well together because we are always thinking about the message. We’re always thinking about how is this going to support people? Is this something that brings me joy? Because I know if I’m not really joyful when I’m talking about it, people aren’t going to be joyful when they listened to it. We’re all about the message. We’re all about the story that we’re telling. And so I just really encourage you that when you’re thinking about your equipment, when you’re thinking about your lighting, your audio, possibly your camera, after all this, think about the message that you want to say, how do you want to help people? What do you want to educate them on? There’s so many different things we can talk about, but I just think that what holds most people back in this frequently asked question serious.
I think this is a frequently asked question because people haven’t thought about what they want to say. And the equipment is sort of like that surface level, excuse of what’s holding you back from starting. But we all know if we all kind of just kind of dig deep down, we’re not a hundred percent sure about what we want to say. So a quick tip and I’ll expand on this another episode, a quick tip about your message. If you are feeling a little stuck with it, what I tell clients, and this is a expensive tip right now because I get paid to tell people this. So take notes. What I tell, what I ask clients all the time is what is the problem that you want to solve right now with this video? And what was your personal experience with this problem and solution? So I love to tell I’d love to tell people what I think and not what they should do.
For example, if you’re going through a tough time right now, maybe this is not what you talk about. Maybe you talk about the tough time you went through before, because you have the problem, you have the solution and you can talk about your own experience. That is what I would recommend when you’re thinking about your message. If you’re having writer’s block, if you’re stuck. So this is my little quick tip that I came up with L a P light audio and preparation. Before we talk about the expensive camera, which lends you should use what aperture you should set it at, which camera people know what I’m talking about. We don’t need to talk about that. We just need to make sure that you’re prepared everything around you is ready for that recording. And the equipment will always be sort of secondary to the message that you’re telling,
Uh, what a beautiful sermon. Okay? So obviously we’re not going to leave you hanging. We didn’t want to bait and switch on this episode title. We are listing links to the equipment that we’re using for this very podcast. And we’ll include some others. This is going to be obviously something we’re asked frequently. So if you click on the link in the episode description, either the YouTube video, or if you’re listening to the audio version, just check the show notes on the app that you’re listening on. And it’ll send you to the show notes blog post for this episode. And we do have links to kind of the basic equipment that we think is great for home podcasters. And then we’ll also include some links if you need something more robust. So don’t worry. We’re not going to make you do all the research on your own, but know that we will get into equipment in later episodes.
And the truth is there is always going to be a unique answer for your need. And so the more that we talk about equipment and how to get great quality of your finished product, it’s, you’re going to hear us say this again in the can. It depends on your situation. It depends on your priorities. It depends on your budget. And we just wanted to put this out there in the beginning series so that you understood it has way more to do with the other parts of setting up your show than it does with the equipment that you buy. And that is another reason to check out the other five episodes in this while the other four episodes in this five episodes, starter mini series on the show. So check us out, subscribe, leave us a review on Apple podcasts. That’s a huge way for the show to get more growth, get more eyes on it.
Give us more opportunities to answer more of your questions. So be sure to subscribe, leave us a review, leave a comment on the video. Obviously this is an episode you’re going to want to check out the video over on YouTube so that you can see the lighting examples and see my very basic mic set up with your own eyes. And thank you so much for listening. We’ll catch you on the next episode of think like a producer. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of think like a producer.
This has been a Worthfull Media production, massive thanks to our team who makes the show possible. Worthfull Media for audio editing, Jorge and Veronica from Mosaico Productions for video editing and effects and Amela Subasic for our amazing artwork and graphics.
If you are ready to launch your podcast, you can check out the Worthfull Media podcast course at worthfullmedia.com and as a gift to our listeners, we are giving you $50 off the podcast course. All you have to do is use promo code T L A P. If you have launched your podcast or YouTube channel and show, and you are looking for the community to support you as you continue to grow, as well as some Q and A directly from Christina and myself, then please check out our think like a producer channel. The link is in the show notes for more.