Beginner Podcasters: Use What You Have Until You Can Afford What You Need (or Want)

I don’t know what your situation is or what your plans are for the future, but if you are planning on starting a video or audio podcast, or, audio or video productions to get your point across (or sell your products), then what I have to tell you could help you get started with your plans.

Now, you may say, Rusty, I do want to get started with video or audio productions of some sort but I just don’t have the best equipment or software at the moment and can’t really afford to go out and purchase what I really need or want.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you can use what you have until you can afford what you need or want…

When I started podcasting over four years ago, I didn’t have a lot of special equipment and I decided that I could get started with what I had until I could get what I wanted.  That’s also when I kinda decided to start sharing what I was learning about a new thing called “podcasting” and that it could be done “On The Cheap.”

Podcasting has sure come a long way since the days that it started and there is new equipment and software arriving on the scene all the time… some of it is free but some of it costs from a little to a lot if you want to invest in it.

I experimented with several things to get started because I really didn’t have any money to invest in new equipment or special equipment to get the job done.  I did have some older style analog equipment and knew there was free software available that I could use to edit with while I experimented and learned more about podcasting until I could get something else. Now, I won’t say that I used everything I tried but I did use what I had laying around and didn’t have to invest any money to get started.

The first thing I tried was an old hand-held, full-sized cassette recorder just to see if it would work. (Some of you probably don’t even know what those are…)  It did work but I found I had some other things that worked a just little better.

You have to remember, I didn’t even have a decent microphone for recording directly to my computer at the time and that was my first challenge; how to get my recordings entered into my computer so I could edit them and upload them so that people could access them from the internet.

I remembered in the past I had bought some little hand-held digital recorders for taking verbal notes from customers as I answered their phone calls while driving down the road in my service business.  I decided to give them a try with varying degrees of success.  The first two hand reasonably small memories built-in and they only sounded good if used in the high quality mode.  That in itself was a challenge but was easily overcome by not rambling on for extended periods of time.  Of course they were real time and to enter them into the computer had to play them back in real time plugged into my line input jack, (or mic jack) via an 1/8” mini plug.  That made the process work but was quite a bit more time consuming.

Next I had a hand-held little digital recorder that had a USB connection and could plug it directly into my USB ports on my computer after I had recorded my script or talk for my podcast.  This worked really well except that I didn’t like the voice quality of the recordings.  I did put up with it for a while though and looked forward to the day I would be able to get the type of equipment that I really wanted.

Actually, it was the same when it came to making my video productions.  I had a Kodak DX6490 still camera that could also do reasonably good quality video and stored the information on SD media cards.  That worked OK, but although the camera takes great still pictures, the video quality does leave something to be desired. To be honest, I still use that today when I do a video simply because I haven’t been able to see a reason to purchase a camera yet, (although I do look forward to the day that I can have the camera that I really want.) For right now I’m using what I have until I can afford what I need (or want).

You see, I spent my money on Sony Vegas Movie Studio software so that I could more easily edit my video, (or audio), files and do it more quickly.  I also invested in Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio simply because it works easily with movie studio when you need to edit audio on the fly.  When I first started, I used the open source program named, “Audacity” which worked quite well and I still use it some today but I graduated to the Sony programs quickly.

I know this is a bit long winded article but I also know that if you can’t afford what you want or need right now, you can probably use what you have and turn out a pretty darn good production.  I like the software that I use, but I also keep my eyes and ears open to possible new software or equipment to make the job even easier and possibly quicker.  Some things come with free trials but have certain limitations while other things don’t have limitations but may have files inserted that keep it from being used other than a demo.

So what am I actually saying here?  I think it is important, especially for beginners, to know that you don’t have to spend a lot of money turn out video or audio productions at least in a reasonable quality to get started.  You probably have something laying around that you can use to accomplish your desired goals until you can afford to get what you need or want.

Yes, it is true, the quality may not be as good as some have, but, you can get started and turn out a pretty darn good production by just paying attention to some small details that can make your not so good equipment look and sound better than it really does; (which we talk more about right here at, Podcasting Resources…)

Well, we’ll talk more about “Podcasting On The Cheap”, next time… right here on Podcasting Resources…

See ya next time… Rusty

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© April 9, 2010 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman and

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Rusty Norman

I've been doing live sound, recording, editing for over thirty-five years and also I am a songwriter and author/writer. My first book, "Living Life Notes" by Rusty Norman is available on Kindle and at (Follow this Link >>>Living Life Notes by Rusty Norman