Podcast Setup For Authors With Video (High Quality, Affordable, & Portable)

by Accessory To Success June 01, 2021

Podcast Set Up For Authors That Includes Video

We have created a podcast setup that includes video. It is perfect for traveling to new locations to do interviews or podcast episodes, vlogs, whatever. This setup takes 20 minutes to put together and 10 minutes to take down. It fits in a carryon travel bag and works with a computer or without. You can go live with it or not. It costs a total of $2,948.17 and we’ve eliminated everything that could potentially cause an issue. It is the simplest, most foolproof, podcasting setup with video that you can buy.

The idea for this setup is based off of Black Magic's image below. In exploring how to put this audio system together we want to avoid any potential problems. Like wireless audio might cause an issue if it disconnects and how are you going to verify that it is working mid podcast? You're not. So this setup is all wired. Buy all the items below and thank us later because you will have a bullet proof podcasting setup.

As you read you may have questions come up. For example: Does each camera needs its own SD card? Just keep reading. This article is extremely thorough and will answer all your questions. If it doesn't comment below or email us.

the perfect podcast setup for traveling shows

Podcast Video

Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder

There are a bunch of people online talking how about this camera doesn’t live stream or doesn’t have “clean HDMI out”. That is wrong. It most definitely HAS clean HDMI out. 100% certain about that as we use it. It is the most cost effective, 1080p 30 frames camera for live streaming on the market. If you choose this camera like we did, you can buy 3 or 4 of them and make a more entertaining show for your viewers.

4 canon r800 for podcast

If you’re going for one really nice 4k camera there is no point in using this setup. This is for people that want multiple cameras. The people that buy this podcasting setup want the most cost effective, highest quality, portable podcasting setup on the market.

Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder (Black)
There are 5 settings that need to be changed before filming. So before you get frustrated: increase to quality, set up for live, and remove the on screen displays.

Active HDMI Cable

The key term here is “Active” HDMI. There are a couple kinds of HDMI cables: Passive and Active. We bought Active cables because they are best for Live. This setup is perfect for Live or not Live. We bought Active cables so we were prepared for Live if we wanted to go live at any time. The downside here is that these cables are bigger, thicker, and bulkier, but we literally could not find a cable that was less than 25 feet that said “ACTIVE” HDMI in it besides this one. We bought it at 15 feet. 10 feet is also offered and probably would have been fine too. We literally cannot find an Active HDMI cable shorter than 10 feet though. Sure they say 4k or 8k, but does that mean they are active? We don't know. All we know is that we are 100% sure that these are Active HDMI cables, so that's why we're recommending them.

Monoprice Select Series Active High Speed HDMI Cable, 4K @ 24Hz, 10.2Gbps, 28AWG, CL2, 25ft, Black

HDMI Mini Converter 2 Pack

This is required to connect the HDMI cable to the Canon R800. It has a HDMI mini connection, so you have to buy a little adapter. It does not affect quality. Found this little two pack and it works great.

VCE 2-Pack HDMI Mini Adapter Gold Plated Mini HDMI to Standard HDMI Connector 4K Compatible for Camera, Camcorder, DSLR, Tablet, Video Card.jpg

Floor Tripods

These are the most affordable, sleekest, and best reviewed tripods on Amazon. They are made for projectors, but we're repurposing them for the podcast. This pole tripod is low cost and low profile. Small base, single pole sticks up. It looks clean and works perfectly. Will they last 20 years? Not likely. But they are lightweight, compact, just what you need. I’m not trying to spend $150 for one extremely well built and heavy tripod. If this $30 item breaks in 3 years, just buy another one. Remember portability is a major component to this podcasting setup.

To be clear, this tripod is sturdy, the rotating mount on top works great, and you can trust your equipment will not fall over.

Projector Stand, Thustar Lightweight Adjustable Tripod Floor Stand Holder

JOBY Gorillapod 3K Stand

This table top tripod is very useful in many situations. This is another item where we chose to buy something that can be reused in multiple situations and multiple locations. The other table top tripods we bought were too short and would not sit high enough if on a table. These tripods are 17 inches high and make the camera sit at the perfect eye level. They are smaller than the other floor tripods and travel really well too. Really happy with these sturdy camera tripods, because they can hold a massive camera, so when/if you decide to upgrade you won’t need to replace these.

JOBY GorillaPod 5K Kit. Professional Tripod 5K Stand and Ballhead 5K for DSLR Cameras

2-Pack 10’ Extension Cords

The power cords on the r800 are very short and not at all helpful. You must have these extension power cords to avoid a stressful moment where you’re not close enough to a wall socket. Otherwise you’ll have all your cameras huddled around the wall power socket.

Cable Matters 2-Pack 16 AWG Heavy Duty Power Extension Cord 10 ft,

Extension Cord Power Strip with USB

This plug has wide spacing for larger plugs, which this podcast setup has (I told you this blog post was detailed). It also offers USB plugs which are huge if the microphones run out of battery mid podcast, you can just plug them right in. You're welcome. That said, this is the power unit you keep right by you. Use it for the Blackmagic Video Assist, ATEM Mini, and two of the cameras when they’re on the table top. If you would rather have 6 plugs, get this one instead.

Power Strip with USB, TESSAN Mountable Flat Plug Extension Cord with 4 Widely Spaced Outlets, 3 USB Charger, 5 FT Power Cord

Removable Cable Ties

These are a must have item and they are used in two ways. The first use case is keeping the HDMI cords and extension cords, neatly packed and avoid tangling or damaging them. The second use case is very important: Since the HDMI connection on the Canon Vixia R800 is “mini” HDMI, we need to convert our HDMI to mini with the converters mentioned earlier. But the converter makes the cable stick out of the camera like 3 inches. Without the cable ties holding the HDMI cord firmly to the tripod it seems that the mini HDMI connection would bend or break off. So buy these to stabilize the cords.

Removable Cable ties Helping Hand.jpg

You want to buy “releasable” cable ties. You’re going to use these a lot and you don’t want to be cutting them off all the time. There are a lot of different kinds of releasable cable ties. We’ve tried many over the years. This is by far the best brand and design. The release tab sits out of the way so it can be tied down completely. Hard to find this particular brand on Amazon, but here it is.

Production & Recording

Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini HDMI Live Switcher

This video switcher is the piece that started it all for us. With the ATEM Mini you can switch between 4 HDMI inputs. This could be video cameras, computer screens, PowerPoint slides, or a gaming console. Anything you can plugin with HDMI. This blog post is about the podcasting setup and how to use the ATEM Mini, but you can use it for church services, live conferences, sporting events, and any other event you might want to record. It’s made for independent creators that don’t have an enormous budget, but still want high production value and reliability. Just like the rest of the setup.

ATEM Mini for podcast setup
If you are looking for multi camera production that you can use live or not, this is an amazing plug and play product that crushes its competitors. And you can’t beat the price at $295. The closest comparable product is $1,200 and that’s why the ATEM Mini is blowing up right now.

Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini HDMI Live Switcher
There is a ton you can do with this product like picture in picture ultra key green screening, video effects, fade to black, there are microphone jacks and ways to choose the audio inputs used, video out for projectors, built in capture card for plug and play live streaming. The list goes on, but remember the entire ATEM line comes with the Software Control Panel, which is basically a mixer you access on your laptop. Not buying a mixer is a huge savings.

Blackmagic Design Video Assist 5"

This is called a capture card. This particular model happens to have a video display. It does not require a computer to operate. We bought this for two reasons. One, using it during live streaming a podcast and it would double as a second recorder. Two, using it without a computer and without recording on a laptop and without being live. This includes a video display, but that is for your peace of mind. We just want to be able to look down and see that everything is recording and working properly. Video solves that problem. But remember we're not mechanically inclined, so this lowers our stress level and reminds us that everything is working.

blackmagic video assist

Now, if you don’t need that peace of mind and all you want to see is that little red light showing you that you’re recording then you should buy the Hauppauge Capture Card. It works perfectly. So if you want to spend an extra $340 for video display, buy the Blackmagic. We think you'll be happy you did, but both do the same job.

Blackmagic Design Video Assist 3G SDI HDMI 5 inch Recorder Monitor
This comes with a short HDMI-to-HDMI cable you can plug into the ATEM Mini.

You could buy the 7” version which will record in 4k and 6fps, but that is not needed for this setup. 1080p and 30 frames per second is all this needs.

SD Memory Card

This is very important and easily bought incorrectly. We had to buy three of these things before getting it right. Mostly because we weren't paying incredibly close attention to the details. You only need one of these, but only buy the one listed below or in the approved list on Blackmagic's website. If it’s not on the approved list you will stop recording after 2 minutes or it won’t work at all. Yes they are all expensive.

Lexar Professional 2000x 128GB SDXC UHS-II Card (LSD128CBNA2000R)
No, you do not need one SD card for each camera, you only need one for the capture card. This took us too long to figure out. Everything flows through the HDMI cables, then to the ATEM Mini which has a built in capture card, then goes to the Blackmagic Video assist.

Podcast Audio

RODE VideoMic Pro+

This is what's called a shotgun microphone. When you think of some guy with his arms up holding a microphone over someone on camera, what he is holding is a shotgun microphone. Since this is something you will be able to travel with, shotguns are great. They are perfect for when you’re on location or when you want to reject a lot of ambient noise (background noise). Which is just what we need. This is because they are “directional” microphones. This means they point in one direction and block noise not coming from that direction.

Rode VideoMic Pro+ Compact Directional On-Camera Shotgun Condenser Microphone

The opposite of this is called "omni directional". You don’t want that for a podcast because it picks up everything in the room. If you don’t want a shotgun mic you need a cardioid mic. But good luck finding one that has plugin power, like this mic. If you buy a cardioid condenser mic, you will have to buy a preamp with phantom power. That just means another $200 per mic in additional equipment per mic, just so you can power the microphone. You can do it though and it would work great. In our experience, the more equipment you plug in the better chance that you have a problem or feedback though.

Rode Microphones for podcast

Chose this shotgun microphone for many reasons. It is the highest quality battery powered (plug-in power or bias) camera mounted microphone with 3.5mm audio cable connection on the market (what the cameras & ATEM Mini accept). This is a clean and simple, straight forward microphone that comes with a rechargeable battery and also takes AA batteries. Trust us this is the perfect plug and play microphone setup for a podcaster on the go because it does not require a preamp which typically costs $150+/- per person. The biggest deal with this mic is that because this setup comes with the ATEM Mini software you can use that as your mixer and since it has plug-in power you don’t need to buy a preamp. This took us a ridiculous amount of time and several amazon returned products to learn. Take our advice, save yourself hours reading other blogs and making purchase mistakes and buy this mic.

Lastly, remember we use this mic with a tri pod on a table top while podcasting (next item listed below), but this microphone mounts on your camera too, so it can be used in a run and gun situation to create videos, commercials, on-location scenes like vlogs, family videos, interviews or whatever. It is multipurpose item, not single purpose like so many podcast mics.

AmazonBasics Camera Mini Tripod

These tripods are needed to mount the microphones on the table. These, or something like them are mandatory. You can’t just lay the microphone on the table... As far as this particular Amazonbasics tabletop tripod, no complaints. Seems like it will last and is lightweight. One thing we do like about these is they can convert from tabletop to handheld. Which is cool if I just want to have them hold the mic and talk into it in some unique situation. But the mic can also be used for selfies, vlogging, cameras, and many other purposes really. RODE’s Vidmic Pro+ doesn't really weigh anything, so you could get a much smaller tripod if you want, but it would likely be a single purpose tripod if you go smaller.

Amazon Basics Camera Mini Tripod

An alternative to table top mic stands would be a shotgun mic stand or hip high mic stand. If there is no table and you don’t want people to hold the mic, this is your best bet. But it will make your travel bag much bulkier.

Convert Screw Adapter for Tripod

The screw hole on RODE’s Vidmic Pro+ is too big for the Amazonbasics tripod mentioned above or any standard tripod you’ll find. These screw converters are required to bring the tripod’s 1/4" screw size to the 3/8" size that the mic requires. This is the perfect screw converter to get and yes they fit.

Foto&Tech 5 Pieces Metal 1.4 to 3.8 Convert Screw Adapter for Tripod Monopod Ballhead DSLR SLR.jpg

It was difficult to find this particular converter because we wanted it to be very low profile and not noticeable. All the others on amazon were way overpriced and enormous. They would have made the mic sit way higher. You can’t even tell you’re using this one once it’s on. The easiest way to screw them in is to start with the microphone and then screw in the tripod.

Excellines 3.5 Millimeters Stereo Cables

These are the audio cables needed to connect the microphone and the camera. Why these specific cords? Because these cables are “balanced TRS stereo” cables. All three of these words are important and mean different things: “balanced”, “TRS”, and “stereo”. There is a BIG difference between TRS and TRRS. One has three black lines and one has two. TRRS cables work on your phone, but not on a system that requires TRS, like this. TRS cables, two lines, like these can be stereo or mono. What you need depends on the hardware requirements of your setup. This setup needs “stereo” cables. That brings us to TRS stereo cables. You can plug these into the camera, or the ATEM Mini.Perfect.

Pro Co BPMBMB-5 Excellines 3.5 Millimeters TRS Male to 3.5 Millimeters TRS Male Cable - 5 Feet

Now, what does “balanced” mean? A balanced cable has three different conductors inside and within the connector. Unbalanced cables have two. You’re thinking: Huh? Basically it just blocks interference better than an unbalanced cable. That's it. Yes, unbalanced cables are more affordable. No, we have no idea if they actually make a difference. But the last thing you want when sitting down with someone to record an episode of your podcast, is to have a bunch of interference from a cell phone and the audio ruined because you tried to go cheap on low cost but important items like these. So, spend the extra $8, or whatever it is, and get balanced cables like these.

Dual Camera Mount Flash Bracket

This is to hold the microphone and video assist on one tripod. That is to say they both can be on the same tripod and not separated. Definitely a personal choice on this item, but you’ll want something to hold the video assist. We’ve tried it just laying on the table, but it's inconvenient tilting it up all the time to confirm that it's working. This really is a nice solution for both in a compact way.

There are shorter versions you will see of this item and many variations, but this is the right choice for the Blackmagic Video Assist and Rode Vidmic Pro+. The video assist requires power and HDMI when in use in this setup. These cords come out both sides of the video assist making it much wider than the original size. This mount fits both perfect.

ChromLives 1.4'' Dual Camera Mount Flash Bracket Extension Bar 10.6'' Straight Flash Bracket Tripod Mount Bracket for DSLR Camera LED Light Flash Light Microphone and More.jpg

Travel & Storage

Portable Podcast Setup travel bag

AmazonBasics Lightweight Travel Suitcase

So this is a standard carryon suitcase. This purchase is something that can be repurposed. Plus the equivalent of this same thing as a “camera” bag is three times the money. Plus this particular setup has a great deal of space needed for HDMI cords, so a camera bag wasn’t really worth it, because we need too much space for the HDMI cables. If you ever want to go anywhere to do a podcast this bag is perfect. It is the right size to fit everything, you can fly with it, and it has a lock. If you’re debating it, just buy it. The thing is only $50, but trust us you’ll need somewhere to store all this stuff when you’re not using it.

Amazon Basics Lightweight Softside Spinner Suitcase Luggage with Wheels.jpg

Microphone Hard Travel Case

This is a hard case for a virtual reality headset, but it fits two Vidmic Pro+ mics perfectly. These mics are very nice and need to be protected. Fifteen dollars to protect $600 in microphones is a no brainer. Also it can fit the 3.5mm balanced stereo cords in the case. This can hold everything for your mic setup.

co2crea Hard Travel Case for Samsung Gear VR Controller 2017/2018 SM-R325 Virtual Reality Headset

Electronic Accessories Bag

This is the one item that is a bit too big, but it’s very effective. You'll really need this in order to have all the smaller cords in one place. Otherwise they are floating around all over the place.

Electronics Organizer, OrgaWise Electronic Accessories Bag Travel Cable Organizer Three-Layer

ATEM Mini Zipper Big

This is a padded bag for the ATEM Mini. We searched high and low for a padded bag this size and it is exactly what is needed. Snug at first, but it stretched a bit and fits perfectly now. Since you're buying a standard carryon rolling suitcase to store all this stuff you’ll want to protect your equipment with padded bags like this.

Rough Enough Small Tool Bag Pouch Parts Organizer Art Supply Storage for Kids Boys Heavy Duty Black Cordura

Travel Bags for Canon R800 Cameras

I personally think that Canon makes the most well built camera bags on the market. That is probably not what you were expecting to hear, but it's the truth. They fit perfectly, are affordable, and last forever. Buy these to protect your Canon Vixia R800s. We’ve made the mistake of not protecting equipment and things just happen. Without protection, they will break. Guaranteed.

Canon 200V Nylon Bag

Blackmagic Video Assist 5” Hard Carrying Case

This is a hard case originally made for the Nintendo 3DS XL, but it fits perfectly and is affordable. Grab this little case and protect your $500 video assist.

AKWOX Carrying Case Compatible with for Nintendo New 3DS XL,3DS XL, Hard Travel Protective Shell for Console& Game (Black)

Price List & Quick Links

Portable Podcast Setup Price List
Accessory To Success
Accessory To Success

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