Podcasts and vlogs have become some of the most popular forms of entertainment in the modern era. These uniquely formatted pieces of colorful narrative have swept both viewers and listeners off their feet, delivering bite-sized chunks of storytelling that fulfill any niche hankering for comedy, crime, politics, or pop culture. Vloggers and podcasters have created communities of avid fans who regularly tune in to daily, weekly, and monthly bits of verbal life, inspiring thousands to create and share, too.
Starting a podcast or vlog begins with a story. You have a narrative to tell and a keen understanding of how to engage your eclectic audience. Now all you need is the proper technology to translate your spoken story into digital content.
No matter what your experience level with audio equipment and camera gear, and no matter how big or small your budget may be, suiting up with the right tech is likely more straightforward than you assume. With this guide, we’ll walk you through the tech tools you’ll need to transform your podcast or vlog visions into clickable, listenable, and watchable life. But first a brief overview.
What is a vlog?
Short for video blog, a vlog is defined as a video recording of a person’s life, experiences, and opinions, uploaded to the internet for audience consumption. The rise of the “vlogger” watched web bloggers turn their written slices of life into live-action streams of independent media. In its earliest days, the vlog was most widely consumed on YouTube. Today, this still remains true.
YouTube has become a burgeoning hub for vlogs. Big-name vloggers like Liza Koshy, Casey Neistat, the Vlog Brothers, and Lilly Singh have millions of subscribers who regularly tune in to their uploads. These video series are loosely reminiscent of the conventional episodic television show but effectively move away from tired tropes and professional performance. Vlogs are about authentic experiences, engaging storytelling, and fostering a genuine connection with the man or woman behind the camera.
Much like blogging, vlogging covers plenty of different topics and carries many different labels. Some of the most popular types of vlogs include:
1. Tutorials, DIY, and how-tos
Whether you’re looking to learn how to build your own computer or need a quick visual walkthrough on how to change a tire, YouTube is likely your number one resource. Educational vloggers create with intent to teach.
For those short on vacation days or cash to make their tropical travel dreams come true, the travel vlog allows you to live vicariously through the experience of someone who goes. The travel vlogger records their adventures abroad.
3. Pop culture and gossip
Gossip blogs have taken on a new form, and have just as big of a following as they did in the pre-vlogging era. Celebrity gossip and pop culture commentary vloggers share their opinions on the latest trends and entertainment news.
Comedy vlogs tend to take form as skits and pranks. Comedy vloggers typically take on different characters, use scripts, and involve other people to create content that makes people laugh.
5. Beauty and fashion
Beauty and fashion vloggers tend to dip into a number of genres. From makeup tutorials to clothing reviews, these creators share their unique skill sets and opinions with their audiences.
The daily trials and tribulations of human life are exemplified best in lifestyle vlogs. Lifestyle vloggers take you through their day to day happenings and create an interesting narrative through their intriguing personalities.
7. Tech unboxings and reviews
Before buying a product, consumers want to know how the device will perform. Tech vloggers give viewers the rundown on what the product looks like, how it performs, and whether it’s worth purchasing. You can see one example on HP Tech Takes by clicking here
Tech and vlogs
The push toward developing higher-tech devices has worked in the vlog’s favor. Camera quality has played a big part in the vlogger’s pathway toward success. Today, YouTube supports video qualities of up to 7680 x 4320 resolution. Not only should the aspiring vlogger budget for a camera, but the output quality plays a significant role in how well the videos are received by audiences.
What is a podcast?
A podcast is a series of spoken audio stories that have an episodic structure focused on a particular topic or recurring theme. Podcasts are generally accessed via mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. In essence, the podcast is a modern spin on talk radio.
Much like vlogs, podcasts typically fall into a specific niche and sprout communities around them. They generally feature a recurring host or cast of personalities, and follow daily, weekly, or monthly schedules that listeners can subscribe to. Apps like Spotify, Castbox, and Pocket Casts
are all bountiful platforms for creators and listeners to explore and inspire.
Though video podcasts do exist, audio podcasts are far more popular and accessible for those who want to listen on-the-go or without any visual distraction.
What equipment do I need to start a vlog?
Kickstarting your vlog channel begins with a compelling narrative, a platform, a quality camera, and a trusty computer to bring it all together. Let’s take a more detailed walk through the equipment you’ll need to get your vlog on its feet.
Starting a video blog is an exciting venture to embark on. On a professional and recreational level, diving into the world of vlogging means gearing up with the appropriate vlog equipment. You’ve got a story. Now you need the tech.
Take a step back from your aspiring vlogger visions and think about what you value most from your favorite vloggers. Without realizing it, high-definition quality is likely among your most important make-or-break features. The reality of the modern digital age is that no one likes to settle for less when they know faster, more impressive quality is just a click away. Don’t scare away potential subscribers by settling for a mediocre camera.
The vast majority of HP laptop computers
are designed with integrated webcams that are capable of shooting Full High Definition video. These integrated webcams are a great option for vloggers on a budget and for first-timers.
For desktop PC users in need of a webcam, the Logitech C290 webcam
is an excellent option. Offering 30 frames per second (fps) and an impressive maximum video resolution of 1920 x 1080, this tiny camera shows big results. Measuring only 1.1 inches tall and 3.7 inches wide, the Logitech C290 is an affordable, easy-to-use webcam for vloggers of all expertise levels.
If you’re an iPhone owner, you won’t have to look very far for a high-quality camera. All iPhone models after the iPhone 6s are capable of shooting crisp 4K quality videos. What are iPhone camera quality specs? Let’s break them down:
- 1080p HD at 30 FPS: iPhone 4s, iPhone 5 family (C,S), iPhone 6 family (Plus, S), iPhone 7 family (Plus), iPhone 8 family (Plus), iPhone X family (XR, XS)
- 1080p HD at 60 FPS: iPhone 6 family, iPhone 7 family, iPhone 8 family, iPhone X family
- 4K at 24 FPS: iPhone 8 family, iPhone X family
- 4K at 30 FPS: iPhone 6 family, iPhone 7 family, iPhone 8 family, iPhone X family
- 4K at 60 FPS: iPhone 8 family, iPhone X family
If you’re looking for even higher quality videos, getting your hands on a powerful DSLR camera will be your first big step toward your first vlog upload. Better suited for eager learners or expert camera techies, DSLR cameras offer plenty of freedom through manual settings. Being able to adjust focus, aperture, ISO, shutter speed, and white balance are all advanced options that a webcam or iPhone camera may not be capable of changing.
During your vlog purchase hauls, it’s incredibly important to remember just how crucial camera usability and performance is. If you plan to venture into the travel blogging niche, an integrated laptop camera won’t be the best option to tote around on your adventures. Or perhaps you want to start beauty blogging. If so, you’ll want a high-quality camera that can zoom in on your most vogue eyeshadow looks. Survey your needs, then purchase accordingly.
With a camera, your audience can see you, but can they hear you? Though many cameras with video capability come equipped with integrated microphones, the quality of the microphone may not be up to par with your vlogging expectations.
The Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB microphone
is an excellent option for vloggers looking to dive into the ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) or gossip genres. You’ll want your voice to be heard loud and clear and this microphone delivers.
Unless you’re using an integrated laptop camera or docking an external webcam on top of your PC monitor, you’ll need a way to station your camera in a steady position. The heavier the camera, the sturdier the support you’ll need. Tripods are an excellent way to configure the height and positioning of your camera. Whether you’re making your vlog debut on a smartphone or on a DSLR, there is a tripod out there engineered to fit your needs.
Your vlog equipment haul doesn't end with the camera and its necessary accessories. Lighting is an important element to keep in mind when creating content for your channel. The lighting in your home, office, or outdoor habitat is a completely different story from the eye to the camera lens. A good vlogger makes certain that their faces are well lit. To nail the perfect lights, camera, action moment, gear up with a ring light or a photography lighting kit.
5. Video editing computer
Editing is another feature of vlogging that is often overlooked until it’s time to transform an hour-long stream of consciousness into a concise, engaging piece of vlog content. The vast majority of video editing software are demanding media-intensive programs that require plenty of processing power and speed for full functionality.
HP manufactures a number of desktops and laptops best suited for video editing
. These PCs are designed to handle the work capacity of video-editing without ever missing a beat. Seamless performance is a key factor when choosing a computer to jumpstart your vlogging.
Our top HP PC picks for video editing are:
- HP OMEN laptops
- HP ENVY desktops
- HP ZBook workstations
- HP EliteBook convertible laptops
What do I need to start a podcast?
Getting your genius podcast idea off the ground is a lot simpler than the equipment-heavy vlog. In fact, you’ll only need three key items to turn that idea into a clickable reality. The focus of your content ultimately lies in the quality of audio. No matter how unique, outlandish, or inspiring your story may be, if listeners are unable to understand, they’ll immediately feel detached, and worse, turned off. Gear up with these podcast equipment must-haves.
Unless you’re venturing into the world of video-podcasting, the most essential piece of equipment to starting your series is a high-quality microphone. While it’s true that the vast majority of smartphones and tablets have integrated microphones, the quality likely won’t fit the bill for such an audio-intensive task.
The Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB microphone listed above offers a USB output for digital recording and an XLR output that can be used for sound system plug-in if your vlogging career ever takes you to a live stage. This cardioid polar pattern microphone effectively reduces the noise from unwanted sounds while offering supreme quality analog-to-digital conversion quality that ensures seamless headphone playback.
Hearing your own voice and the voices of your guests or co-hosts is an important piece of the podcasting game. Though earbuds may serve the purpose you need them to, a pair of on-ear or over-the-ear headphones
offer a more immersive soundscape. Headphones prove most essential when surveying the quality of your audio file. You’ll be able to hear any background sounds that leaked in or quickly catch moments where the audio may have cut out.
Tune into your narrative by tuning out any extra noise. Bose SoundLink Around-ear Wireless Headphones
are an excellent choice for both first-time or seasoned podcasters. These Bluetooth headphones offer unparalleled sound bolstered by TriPort technology - truly transforming audio into a vivid story.
3. Audio editing software
Before final publication, your podcast needs to be edited to absolute perfection. There are a number of audio editing software programs on the consumer market that podcasters swear by. These powerful programs include:
- Adobe Audition CC
Each of these programs allows you to modify everything from frequencies and peak limits to sound mixing and file conversions. Post-production is a key part of the process that should be handled with plenty of precise care and thoughtful deliberation. These expert-level programs allow you to do it all.
Summing it up
Starting a vlog or podcast is an exciting entertainment pathway to travel down. With the proper tools, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the next big thing in the vlogging or podcasting world. No matter what your tech needs may be, you can count on HP® for industry-leading products boasting infallible performance.