How to build a video podcast in 24 hours

12 September 2008

On the very last day of the New Media Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada this year I had decided that I wanted to produce a podcast. The idea was simple.  Interview as many NME attendees as we could, each episode being only 2 minutes in length, asking each person the same three questions.  But I needed help, so I asked Kyle Slattery and Brandice, both of whom work with me at Viddler, to join in the fun.

What resulted was around 30 episodes of a podcast that turned out pretty well!  How was this done?  How can you do it with your own podcast?

Keeping it simple

The first obvious thing when you want to do something in a short period of time is to keep your idea as simple as you can.  Our podcast "theme" was dead simple. Two minutes, three questions.  The format of the podcast made it really, really easy to shoot.  Second, we were at an event where we had a few thousand people to interview at our disposal.  Had we each come up with this idea at our respective homes, it would have been a long time before we could have produced 30 episodes.

In one of the best sessions at the New Media Expo, Shane Robinson and Roxanne Darling of Barefeet Studios, walked through "How to produce a low cost, high quality daily Internet TV show".  On the third slide of their slideshow presentation, you will see the "Daily Show Ingredients".  The first two ingredients are "Simple Concept" and "Simple Execution".

In other words, if the idea for the podcast is too difficult to pull off, you'll probably not be able to do it.

Ask for help

I couldn't have produced a single episode of 2 Minutes at New Media Expo without Kyle and Brandice's help.

First, Kyle recorded each of the episodes with Brandice's digital camera's video feature.  He also gave us hand signals when our time was almost up (remember, our goal was 2 minutes or less).  Brandice and I took turns interviewing each attendee.  We did this for a variety of reasons. The first reason was because we thought it'd be a good thing to have two different hosts.  The fact that she and I are male and female I think added something to the show.  We also had different people that we wanted to interview, so it helped that while one of us was recording an episode, the other was taking notes.

Just a small aside about taking notes.  You have to take notes if you are doing interview-style podcasting.  And don't be shy about taking lots of notes if you can.  Brandice, Kyle, and I shared a Moleskine (which Brandice lovingly referred to as my hippy notebook) and each of us made sure to jot down all of the information we could about the person.  Name, URL, title, etc.

The equipment doesn't matter

I can hear the video and audiophiles storming my apartment's front door right now!  When it comes down to it though, you just have to start making video.  Even if in the beginning you're using your digital camera's video mode, as we were.  Or maybe a Flip video, or the new Zi6, which aren't too expensive.

The point is; you can always upgrade video equipment later, you can never get back time.

Dead simple video editing

To be honest, shooting the videos was by far the easiest part of the process.  The cost of time really comes in production.  Editing, titling, tagging, clipping, etc. can really become quite a process.  The key here is to keep your edits simple.

For NME2Min we simply added a 16-second title at the beginning of each video with the name, title, and URL of the attendee.  When we imported the videos into our Macbooks, we opened up iMovie '08, dropped the videos in, added the titles, exported, and uploaded to Viddler.  The process was very simple and required only a few minutes per episode.

Publishing with Viddler

Viddler had the privilege of powering the official New Media Expo Videos Web site. We thought, "what better place to share our videos of the New Media Expo than right on that page".  We did toy with the idea of building a brand new site, but again we wanted to keep this idea as simple as possible.

So we setup a new profile with the Viddler username of nme2min, which meant it gave us an official New Media Expo URL to send people to for updates.  This gave us a feed, flash videos for easy viewing, and an instant community of viewers in one move.

Here is an example episode of Brandice interviewing C.C. Chapman.

NME2Min: C.C. Chapman.

Be sure to watch all of the episode of 2 Minutes at New Media Expo.

Conclusion, have fun!

In just a single day we were able to produce about 30-episodes, get them uploaded and ready to share with the world.  Many podcasts have a schedule for new episodes; daily, weekly, monthly, etc.  We could have easily made NME2Min last 6 months worth of episodes if we wanted to.  In one day!

The most important thing about this process was that we had a lot of fun doing it.  We got to interview some really great people and help them to advertise themselves, their companies, and their products to the world in a fun way.

So, do you have an idea for a video podcast? Get out there tomorrow and build one.

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