Cali Lewis presented at SMU’s Macdayz event today about Making a Living with Podcasting. If you are unfamiliar with Cali Lewis, she is the host of geekbrief tv. The show is branded as “Shiny, Happy, Tech News” and is a small 5 minute podcast. The show first aired December 23rd 2005 and quickly crashed the bandwidth cap that her web host was providing her. Within five months Cali quit her day job and started podcasting professionally. Cali talked about the start of geekbrief, and gave advice to people who wish to start podcasting.
Cali explained how the drive to podcasting was the freedom of it. People wanted to be informed on their passions, and people who wish to talk and discuss their passion. The internet has given people free reign over content and you no longer are required to go through a gatekeeper like the cable networks. Software like iTunes has really helped bring the podcast into the main stream and has created a demand for the content. This blessing is also a curse because the medium has become cluttered with people trying to get a piece of the market share. Cali’s presentation gave a ton of information on how to break through that clutter and push ahead to the top.
Another topic she went over was the start of her show and the experiences she had bringing it to the position it is now. “When we started the show sucked.” Calie was not ashamed at all to speak about her humble beginnings, which was a fresh idea compared to most speakers who wish to forget the rough start time. She went over how the lighting and format were not perfect, and even joked about how the show still needs better visuals. This was a nice change because it shows that even when a show is famous, it can still upgrade and improve, which was her next topic.
Cali went over the basic gear for creating a web show, and what to look for in cameras and lights. She showed off different levels of cameras from the entry Kodak Zi8 all the way to the high end Canon Vixia HF S10. The importance of image stabilization and external mic was clearly presented and highly encouraged. While talking about cameras Cali also said that “I don’t think 3d is going to last for a while, I think it is a fad” which I couldn’t agree more with.
Not only did Cali give advice on what to buy, but also how to use your equipment. Cameras should not be held to your face or shoulders because that can quickly cause your arms to tire our and make your shot look shaky. Instead, hold the camera at your waist and brace your arms against your ribs. This will give you a much studier shot while still being able to move the camera. She also suggested staying far away from the zoom function on your camera. It is better to shoot closer to the subject instead of reducing the image quality with zoom. Also, when shooting on a budget, wired mics are almost always a better value than wireless. This will help you save money to spend on other production equipment.
Not only did she give advice on how to shoot your show, but also how to publish and market it after it is done being edited. Websites like Mevio, Libsyn, Tubemogul and others were discussed as possible outlets to host your content online. Woopra and google analytics were talked about for ways to watch your user base and find out how to improve your website. Like most social media enthusiast, Calie discussed the potential of free marketing through Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs. The bonus of this marketing strategy is that you pay in time, not in money. This is great for budget podcasters who are available to spend time networking online, as opposed to paying for ads to drive watchers to their site.
The event was really informative and helpful, with a great host to pull it all together. I feel like the advice she gave really helped show how video podcast can be started and how to manage them effectively. I am looking forward to seeing if anyone in the crowd was inspired and what comes from this. Leave a comment if you know of any other good tips for podcasting beginners or if you would like more info on any of the topics in the post