Why Should Paid To Play Become a Video Podcast?

Every now and again, a mate forwards me a link to a website which is advertising for video-bloggers to come on board. My first reaction is usually, “Thanks for the thought, but for crying out loud – I’m a podcaster, not a video blogger!”

Yet, I’ve started getting curious about the idea. I’ve played with video recordings a few times, and creating video versions of Paid to Play has lurked at the back of my mind for a good while.

Is video the next logical step for Paid to Play?

Right now, I’m not sure. I am thinking of creating a few videos for the About and Be My Guest pages, but that’s not the same as shifting the podcast as a whole to a video format.

Video: The Pros

  • YouTube is big. Say what you will about the convenience of audio podcasts, people still don’t “get” them as much as they do YouTube. The most common reaction I get when I tell folks I record a podcast is a blank look; even “Internet radio show” still leaves folks a little puzzled. Say you’re on YouTube, on the other hand, and people’s eyes light up and they start asking for links immediately.
  • I have some decent kit already; a high-def Logitech webcam, a Vickie’s high-def-video-capable digital camera and my existing sound kit.
  • I can do things in video that I can’t do in audio, like:
    • Link directly to things outside YouTube during the video.
    • Include images or clips of other videos.
  • Fans of my guests will probably dig watching them as much as listening to them.

Video: The Cons

  • It’s a bugger to get it looking right. I struggle enough with ensuring my audio recordings are clean adding in proper lighting complicates it even further. Then there’s making sure I look presentable on camera. Take a look at the videos I’ve already done; you’ll see me struggled with eye contact and the like.
  • It’s also a bugger to edit. One thing I can do with audio is juggle it around, add in chunks of conversations that come up after the interview proper is done with. It’s also easier to record a quick top-and-tail intro and outro. Video edits, on the other hand, are obvious. That’s not so bad if you’re doing a solo v-log or a semi-serious two-plus person chat, but if you want to do something that has a decent flow to it, any editing must be executed extremely well. Which means more work.
  • It chews bandwidth. I have a bi-weekly get together with a friend in the States about the freelance voice work I’m doing for her; attempting to chat with video resulted in horrendous amounts of lag, so we gave up on the webcams and went audio only (which still results in the odd vanishing of signal).
  • It’s not as portable as audio. I mean this in two ways:
    • Recording kit. if I want to record on location, it’s fairly easy for me to take my sound kit and my netbook and set them up on location. As log as the mic is pointed in the right direction, I’m gold. Adding a camera involves more work, not to mention making sure that both my guest and I are in frame.
    • Audience. Sure, smartphones and mobile broadband are ubiquitous, but they’re not everywhere.  An audio podcast takes less time to download or stream, and there’s the added benefit that listeners only need lend it their ears, so they can enjoy an episode whilst driving, jogging, doing housework, etc. While people can probably do the same if I made the episodes video, they’d tend to put it off until near a computer or web-enabled TV; the expectation is still that you sit and watch video.

The final call… ?

… is still out at the moment. Large as that “cons” list is, the idea of going video still tempts, especially as it may mean more chance of this podcast earning a larger audience.

It’s tempting, though, to take a compromise position – reserve video work for certain guests (maybe make it a once a month thing) and post an audio version for the fortnightly podcast. Still, that can mean double the work for minimal return.

On the other hand I have no real idea just how much work going video entails, and it seems the best thing to do is find out.

So, another mate of mine in the States and I have set a date for a test session and I’ll see what the results are like before I make any firm decision (even when I do, I still reserve the right to change my mind).

What’s your play?

  • What are your favourite video podcasts / v-logs? What’s awesome about them
  • How have you fared with your own efforts at YouTubery? What have you learned?
  • Just why should Paid to Play become a video podcast? Why shouldn’t it?