You can spend a fortune on podcasting gear. If you’re an audiophile, part of the fun of podcasting is building different rigs for different uses. This can get expensive, though. More importantly, if you spend a lot of time on the road, it can be a logistical nightmare. Lugging around a ton of high-end A/V equipment can eat up valuable luggage space, especially if you want to do both audio and video recording.
When I’m on the road, I rely on my Flip. You can get a Flip UltraHD Camcorder (Affiliate Link) for under $150. I’ve even seen the non-HD ones for under $100 at Walmart and Target. When I compare this to the $500+ I paid for my Marantz recorder, the Flip is a steal.
I love the Flip for a number of reasons:
(1) Compact. You can fit it in your pocket. You can’t say the same for more robust, specialized equipment.
(2) Audio Quality. The Flip has a directional stereo microphone. You record what’s in front of you, and don’t have to worry too much about background noise leaking in from the side or behind.
(3) Ease of Use. The Flip comes with video editing software on it. You don’t need it on your computer. Just pop out the USB port, plug it into your laptop, and you’re good to go.
I especially like the Flip for audio podcasting. When I’m on the road, I record my audio using the Flip, strip the audio into an MP3 using Format Factory (freeware), then add in intros and bumpers using Audacity (freeware). FileZilla (also freeware) is my FTP program of choice, in case you’re wondering how I get the finished audio up to the web.
So there it is: Flip + Format Factory + Audacity + FileZilla. Podcasting that can fit in your pocket, and almost any budget.
As an aside, I’ve also used my iPhone as a mobile podcasting platform. The Voice Memo feature is decent, in a pinch, and you can run the audio through Format Factory and Audacity if you want to pump out MP3s for your podcast. An iPhone is a little more expensive than a Flip, though, so while it qualifies as ‘more compact’ it doesn’t win on price. And… you can’t do video (yet) with your iPhone.