Before you spend money on expensive podcasting gear, you may already have things in your home or office that can improve the quality of your podcast. Add you own suggestions and stories in the comments!
1. Carpet and furniture
Look at what's around and under you in your “studio.” Carpet and furniture can help your podcasting.
- Comfort—If you'll be sitting or standing and talking for long amounts of time, make sure you're comfortable.
- Organization—Furniture can help you organize your cables and equipment better.
- Noise-reduction—More soft things and furniture in your room will reduce the reverb.
- Props—For video, furniture can make great props, so consider showing some things instead of trying to hide them.
2. Sheets and blankets
Playing with sheets is no longer just for child-superheroes!
- Backdrops—Hang a sheet from the ceiling, pin it to the wall, flatten it or let the it look like a curtain. These can be clear and professional looking backdrops.
- Noise-reduction—Hung sheets and blankets can reduce room reverb. This is especially good when you're somewhere that you can't change the furniture or walls.
- Light-diffusing—Hang a white sheet (or shower curtain) in front of a window to soften the direct sunlight coming in.
3. Lamps and other lights
You may not need professional lighting to look professional!
- Window and sunlight—Use the natural, pure light of the sun for your videos. Experiment with different positions to see what looks the best in your videos.
- Lighting—With some consistent lightbulbs, you can use any available lamp to control your room lighting. I have previously balanced an open window's sunlight with daylight-colored CFLs in regular house lamps. For example, look at my Electro-Voice RE320 video.
- Special lighting effects—When you have different-temperature bulbs (such as fluorescent, daylight, and incandescent), you can get some cool lighting effects by white-balancing to one light source and then adding the second. Incandescent bulbs and “soft white” CFLs will usually be a warmer, yellow color. Daylight and daylight bulbs will be more blue. Regular fluorescent will be more green. Watch Ray Ortega's great video about mixing light temperatures.
- Background effects (like Christmas lights)—Use lamps, Christmas lights, or anything that glows for attractive background effects and look great when you have a shallow depth of focus (where you're in sharp focus and your background is blurred).
- Props—Lights, on or off, can look great as problems. Have a weird-looking lampshape? Something with high-tech-looking blue LEDs? See how it looks for your video.
“When I started podcasting, I was so poor, …” “How poor were you?” “… I had to ask my coworkers if I could have used pantyhose for my podcasting.”
- Mic pop filter—The classic DIY podcasting gear! Everyone should make one, at least once. Make a self-standing loop out of a metal hanger and stretch the pantyhose over it. You'll get a cheap and decent pop filter that could last for years!
- Light-coloring (with caution)—With colored pantyhose, you may be able to stretch it in front of a light to color or diffuse the light. Be careful that you don't create a fire hazard.
- Camera effects—Stretch pantyhose over a camera lens for soft focus and starlight effects.
5. Random “junk”
One man's junk could be your own podcasting treasure!
- Props—It may not look good by itself, but will it look interesting in your video?
- Recycled furniture—Use old lumber or other broken furniture to make into something new for your podcast.
6. Car or closet
The best sounding recording studio may be your car or a closet with clothes.
- Noise reduction—Because these places have few flat surfaces and plenty of soft things, you may be able to record with no reverb at all.
Smart mobile devices can easily replace computers. Think about your Android or iOS phone, a tablet, or even an iPod Touch.
- Video camera—Video podcasting, remote recording (especially with optical image stabilization in iPhone 6 Plus), or Hangouts broadcasting.
- Audio recorder—Use the mic on your device, run your equipment into your mobile device, or get a specialized microphone.
- Sound cart—Play sound effects into your podcast from the convenience of your mobile device.
- Live-streaming—Offload the live-streaming processing to a mobile device. This works best for audio-only, but can sometimes work for video, too.
- Phone/VoIP interface—Bring guests or remote cohosts into your podcast through a dedicated mobile device and save money buying an extra PC.
Paper? Yes, that's right!
- Posters and infographics—Make your studio more artist and personalized with interesting color prints. You could also print out fan creations.
- Props—Cue cards, paper art, and others things can look great as props.
- Cheatsheets—Keyboard shortcuts, workflow, or my podcast preflight checklist.
What are your household ideas for podcasting?
Do you use a random household item for podcasting? Have you found a way to save money and use something you already have? Share in the comments below!
- Send your questions for me to ask John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire in my upcoming 200th episode!
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