Podcast Cameras: The Essential Guide

The essential guide to podcast cameras.

Cameras aren’t required for podcasting, but they’re one of the easiest ways to make your show unique. Whether you’re live-streaming episodes or uploading footage to YouTube, you can stand out from the crowd with a look all your own.

That said, you should consider all the pros and cons before buying a podcast camera. That’s why this guide explores the best podcast cameras on the market, including their features, limitations, and setup processes.

The five best podcast cameras are:

  1. Webcams: Best for live streamers
  2. DSLRs: Best for multipurpose use
  3. Camcorders: Best for dedicated video
  4. Action Cameras: Best for in-the-field video
  5. Smartphones: Best for smaller budgets

Not sure what video accessories to consider? We offer some suggestions at the bottom of this guide. We also explain how to optimize your camera and make the most of your investment in podcast video equipment. Check out our detailed article on podcast analytics to learn more about ways to improve your podcast.

But first, let’s take a closer look at why video quality matters — including the impact it can have on your show.

Why video quality matters in podcasts

Approximately one in five podcasters, or 17%, record video footage alongside their audio. Experts predict this number will increase as demand for video continues to grow — learn more about how podcast video services can enhance your podcast’s reach and engagement.

These podcasters are ahead of the curve. Studies show podcasts with quality video are:

Notice we used the phrase ‘quality video’ here. That’s because only high-quality video will optimize your podcast.

Low-quality footage won’t do you any favors. And the numbers don’t lie:

  • 87% of customers say video quality impacts their trust in a brand.
  • 62% of people say poor-quality video leads to negative opinions of the business
  • Poor quality video and streaming reduces viewer focus by as much as 20%

Is it possible to ‘fix’ bad video in post-production? Only to some degree. There’s only so much you can do to repair bad footage or make problems less noticeable to viewers.

The bottom line is poor resolution and bad frame rates are costly and time-consuming to fix.

This means the best way to record great podcast videos is to buy a great podcast camera.

Let’s take a look at your five options below.

Choosing the best camera for podcasting

What’s the best camera for podcasting?

That largely depends on your needs. 

Below are the five best types of podcast cameras, so you can pick an option that is right for you.

Webcams: Best for live streamers

Why webcams make good podcast cameras.
  • Frame rate: At least 30 fps
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Storage capacity: n/a

Webcams have been a popular video recording tool since the late 1990s. Today, they have built-in features so podcasters can record directly from their computers.

There are many benefits to using webcams for podcasting: they’re simple to use and easy to set up. Considering most modern laptops have a built-in webcam, you may not need to buy outside equipment at all.

Unfortunately, the webcam’s convenience comes at a cost. Some tools feature built-in microphones for basic recording but may not offer the audio clarity you’d like. We recommend purchasing a dedicated podcast microphone so you don’t have to worry about poor-quality sound. 

Webcam features

  • Autofocus tools
  • Automatic retouching and video effects
  • Built into most computers (extremely low-cost solution)

How to use a webcam for podcasting

You can use a webcam for podcasting in three easy steps:

  1. Plug the webcam into your computer (or pull up the software if it’s built into your computer).
  2. Configure the video and audio settings. There should be a settings tab once you launch your in-app tool.
  3. Press record. You’re now ready to capture your video podcast.

Webcam pros and cons


  • Webcams are typically cost-effective.
  • Easy to set up — plug and play within seconds
  • You may not need to purchase equipment at all (there’s likely one built into your laptop).
  • Most webcams have video enhancement features to add basic adjustments like filters or colors.


  • Webcams may not always record crystal-clear video. Even if you have a great webcam model, your non-studio guests may not.
  • Third-party webcams may be incompatible with your computer. It’s a good idea to check the technical specs in advance.
  • Some webcams are ineffective if you have slow or no internet. If you’re recording your podcast off-site, you may need a USB webcam instead.
  • Live streaming with webcams can be grainy, although local recording doesn’t require good internet. You can use Riverside to get around this limitation and record locally so your internet connection is almost secondary.
Download the Podcast Launch Guide by The Podcast Consultant.

Our top picks for webcams

DSLRs: Best for multipurpose use

Why DSLRs make good podcast cameras.
  • Frame rate: Around 24 fps
  • Resolution: 1080p – 4k
  • Storage capacity: 2 GB to 4 GB

The DSLR — or ‘digital single-lens reflex’ camera — is a popular option for podcast recording. Its swappable lenses offer granular adjustments to capture a specific look for your show.

If you already own a DSLR camera for photography, you may be able to use it for podcast video recording as well. If you don’t own one, you may know someone who does — roughly one in three people own digital cameras.

There are a few things to note before opting for a DSLR. First is battery life, which runs between 60 and 90 minutes (depending on the model). Some DSLR cameras have a dummy battery that plugs straight into the wall for infinite power.

You also need to consider storage capacity, since not all DSLR cameras hold files larger than 4 GB. Make sure the SD card is fast enough to record video — we recommend using cards above 150 mb/s read/write speed to capture a reliable and stable video recording.

Don’t neglect your lighting, as expert David Chatziliadis recommends:

“Good lighting plays a huge factor in video recordings,” he says. “DSLR cameras especially can look great if the correct lighting is applied.”

Of course, the price of a DSLR is higher than what you’d pay for a webcam. But for many, the quality boost is more than worth it (as well as the ability to record on the go).

DSLR features

  • Adjustable focus
  • Swappable lenses
  • Portable for offsite recordings

How to use a DSLR camera for podcasting

DSLR cameras are relatively intuitive, even if you haven’t used one before.

It takes six steps to record your podcast with a DSLR:

  1. Attach your camera to a tripod (if owned).
  2. Switch the camera on and set the mode to video.
  3. Use autofocus or manual focus to get your shot in view.
  4. Attach audio equipment such as podcast headphones or microphones.
  5. Set a timer so you know how long you’ve recorded (to avoid exceeding the camera’s limit).
  6. You’re ready to record your video podcast.

DSLR pros and cons


  • DSLR cameras offer higher-quality footage than webcams.
  • Since they don’t require constant cables or wires, you can take them on the go.
  • You can equip DSLRs with many podcast accessories, including microphones, headphones, and adjustable lenses. 


  • DSLRs may be more expensive than other types of podcast cameras. Be prepared to pay between $300 and $3,000 for a higher-quality model.
  • Since DSLRs are bigger, heavier cameras, they may be difficult to move and bulky to transport.
  • Some DSLR cameras have short recording limits. Most models record 29 minutes and 59 seconds per session, with additional limitations for file size (often between 2 GB and 4GB). 
  • Be aware of the extra costs of the different types of lenses.

Our top picks for DSLRs

Camcorders: Best for dedicated video

Why camcorders make good podcast cameras.
  • Frame rate: 30 to 60 fps
  • Resolution: 720p to 6K
  • Storage capacity: 128 GB or more (6 to 20 hours of 4K video)

Unlike DSLRs, which record images and videos, camcorders only capture video files. Most models offer features you can’t get on DSML cameras, including night vision settings and WiFi IR (remote control).

You can also use camcorders to live stream your podcast. They may not necessarily fit on your desk or workstation, but they can still provide coverage if you’re broadcasting a show.

Another great feature is the rotatable touchscreens. You can change your settings and adjust your footage without porting your video to an editor. And since many camcorder models come with a built-in microphone, it’s a one-stop shop for all your recording needs.

Just keep in mind podcast camcorders aren’t cheap — the highest-quality options cost several thousand dollars. Depending on your podcast, however, it may be a useful investment for the future. 

Consider using your camcorder in environments beyond podcasting, such as testimonials, events, trade shows, and more.

Camcorder features

  • Specialty features (such as remote controlling)
  • Longer battery life compared with DSLR cameras
  • More recording space for larger video files

How to use a camcorder for podcasting

You can think of the camcorder as a larger, less customizable DSLR. It takes more time to get up and running, but the result is often higher-quality video.

Here’s how to set up a camcorder for podcasting:

  1. Plug in any headphones or microphones you wish to use.
  2. If you plan on live streaming your podcast, connect the camcorder to your laptop or tablet. If you’re recording your podcast remotely, switch the camera on.
  3. Configure the settings to your liking. If your camera has WiFi IR, consider setting it up.
  4. Switch the camera on and adjust the settings. Change the focus, color, and angle until you’re satisfied with the shot.
  5. Press record.
  6. You’re ready to run your podcast.

Camcorder pros and cons


  • Some camcorders offer remote control features.
  • Camcorders were designed to take videos rather than photos. This means they come with larger storage capacities than DSLR cameras (and aren’t subject to the 29-minute 59-second limit).
  • Many camcorders result in extremely high-quality footage. The most expensive options offer 6K resolution.
  • You can fix camcorders in place with a tripod or camera boom, or carry it around in your hands or with a body rig/caddie. This makes it a terrific option for in-the-field recording (if necessary).
  • The camcorder’s zoom features make it easy to adjust your framing and capture quality footage of hosts and guests. 


  • You can’t swap lenses on most camcorders. This means you have less configurability for your podcast.
  • Some camcorders come with more automatic than manual settings. If you’re an advanced video specialist, the lack of adjustability may be frustrating and restrictive.
  • Camcorders do have a battery life to consider — they won’t last forever in the field. If you can’t set up your podcast near a power outlet, you may have to account for shorter recording increments.

Our top picks for camcorders

Download the Top Tips To Grow Your Podcast PDF from The Podcast Consultant.

Action cameras: Best for in-the-field video

Why action cameras make good podcast cameras.
  • Frame rate: Up to 240 fps
  • Resolution: Up to 5K
  • Storage capacity: 64 GB on average

Action cameras such as GoPros and DJIs are some of the toughest podcast equipment on the market. Most are waterproof, drop-resistant, and capable of withstanding extreme conditions, including the hottest and coldest locations on Earth.

You don’t see these conditions in the average podcast environment, but this extreme ruggedness still benefits in-studio podcasters. For starters, action cameras have some of the highest fps ratings in the industry (although the max you’d need for recording a podcast is 30 fps). They’re also lightweight and transportable for recording on-the-go.

The biggest drawback of an action camera is its limited roster of accessories. You likely need to purchase tripods and mounts directly from the manufacturer; you can’t rely on built-in microphones if you want the highest-quality podcast audio.

You still need to worry about battery life, since the average action camera lasts an hour at 30 fps. There’s also a limitation around low light conditions — most action cameras don’t record well in shadow.

Action camera features

  • Specialty features (light painting, star trails, tail lights, etc.)
  • Rugged cases are often waterproof and drop-resistant
  • Excellent when used for slow-motion shots

How to use an action camera for podcasting

Companies like GoPro pride themselves on offering a grab-and-go recording solution.

You can set up your action camera in a few easy steps:

  1. Mount your camera wherever desired. This could be a coat pocket, a hat/helmet, a shoulder or backpack strap, and more.
  2. Turn the camera on using the power button. Be sure to charge it completely to ensure the longest battery life.
  3. Adjust your settings however necessary.
  4. Connect Bluetooth headphones (if desired).
  5. Connect with the associated live streaming service (if applicable).
  6. Press the record button to begin your recording.
  7. Use the HiLight function to mark notable moments during your podcast.
  8. You’re now ready to edit your first video podcast recording.

Action camera pros and cons


  • The high fps of action cameras are well-suited to recording in the field (but only 30 fps max is appropriate for podcasts).
  • The cost of an action camera is considerably cheaper than other alternatives. Top models cost just a few hundred dollars (compared with several thousand for larger cameras).
  • Some action cameras offer a live streaming service. However, this can be tricky: they may overheat, and they need to have a dedicated HDMI port. You would also need an HDMI to USB adapter to make the connection work.
  • Most action cameras are small and lightweight — you can easily transport them from one location to another.


  • Since most podcasters prefer to record indoors, the unique features of an action camera may be unnecessary.
  • You can connect Bluetooth headphones to some action camera models — keep in mind the built-in mic may not be enough to record a professional-sounding podcast.
  • Some action cameras struggle to record in low-light conditions, as they work best in natural light. Keep this in mind before setting up a moody atmosphere.

Our top picks for action cameras

Smartphones: Best for smaller budgets

Why smartphones make good podcast cameras.
  • Frame rate: 60 fps
  • Resolution: Up to 8K 
  • Storage capacity: 95 GB and 140 GB

Almost 70% of the world owns a smartphone these days — the average person doesn’t have to spend a penny to record quality podcast videos. They also offer plenty of compatibility with software, accessories, and editing tools.

Modern smartphones come with HD cameras and plenty of storage for multi-hour podcast recording sessions. However, some older generations maintain decent quality. 

The iPhone 13 Pro, for example, records 4K video up to 60 fps. The Samsung Galaxy S21 supports 8K at 24 fps. If you don’t want to record lower than 60 fps, you can ‘settle’ for the company’s 4K UHD resolution.

While modern cell phones are a great choice for mobility and convenience, they may not offer much power and convenience. The average phone doesn’t record in 8K at 60 fps, and unless your model is brand new, filming will drain the battery quickly.

Smartphone features

  • Minor video editing tools
  • Built-in camera(s)
  • Compatible with microphones (Bluetooth and TRRS)

How to use a smartphone for podcasting

You probably don’t need us to remind you how to use your phone. 

But if you’re looking for a refresher, here’s how to record podcast video with your smartphone:

  1. Open your phone’s camera app.
  2. Select the video tool.
  3. Position your camera at the desired angle. A tripod may be useful here.
  4. Add filters or adjustments to enhance your video.
  5. Connect a microphone — such as the Zoom iQ6 Stereo X/Y Microphone.
  6. Press record. You’re ready to capture your video podcast.

Smartphone pros and cons


  • Cellphone cameras are extremely convenient and don’t require any special packaging.
  • The setup time for a phone camera is 30 seconds or less (unlike some options on this list).
  • You can purchase several accessories for video recording on your smartphone, including mics, mounts, and clip-on lenses.
  • Whether you own an Android or iOS, you can use mobile-compatible video recording tools (like Riverside.fm) to capture 4K footage anywhere in the world.


  • Not every smartphone is a good choice for podcasting. Some cameras capture blurry or insufficient videos, while others don’t do well in low-light conditions.
  • Storage space for cellphone videos can be a major problem. Most new phones range between 95 GB and 140 GB, although an hour of 1080p video takes up 23 GB of space. An hour of 4K ranges up to 45 GB, which may not fit on your phone’s existing memory.

Our top picks for smartphones

Download the Podcasting 101 Slide Deck by The Podcast Consultant.

Optimizing your podcast camera for video recording

Here’s how to optimize your podcast camera for video recording.

Buying a podcast camera is the first step in creating a successful video podcast. You also need to optimize your camera to ensure you’re capturing quality footage.

There are four things here to keep in mind: your camera setup, your framing setup, your resolution, and your live stream capabilities.

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Single-camera vs multi-camera setup

There are generally two types of podcast recording steps:

  1. Single-camera, which uses one podcast camera to capture a single shot.
  2. Multi-camera, which uses multiple podcast cameras to record several angles or subjects.

Single-camera is by far the simplest and easiest solution. You only need to purchase a single camera to get started, and you only have to edit a single shot per episode.

Multi-camera offers more variety (and higher production value to boot). By purchasing multiple cameras and navigating more complex editing processes, you get a higher-quality product along with more dynamic shots.

The good news is, you don’t need to manage the recording/editing process alone. If you partner with the team at The Podcast Consultant, you can delegate the process and spend more time recording (and less time editing).

Framing and composition

One of the easiest ways to make a professional-looking podcast is to focus on great framing and composition. For context, framing refers to how you align items in the shot. Composition refers to how you assemble these ingredients.

The Rule of Thirds is perhaps the most well-known element of composition. Try to line up your frame so the speaker is to the left or right of the frame. 

For framing, try to surround the subject in question with furniture, paint colors, fence posts, and other makeshift ‘frames.’ The goal is to remove as many distractions as possible so the viewer gets ‘pulled’ into the main subject of the video.

Feeling overwhelmed? Take a deep breath — you don’t have to be a professional to record great-looking podcast videos. 

But there’s nothing wrong with learning from the experts! Here are some framing and composition tips from our video recording specialists David Chatziliadis and Robert Van Vranken:

  • “Focus on the basic foundational aspects for video — framing, controlled lighting, and good audio. Graphics can always be added in post-production, so don’t worry about trying to get any branding in frame.” — David Chatziliadis – Video/Audio Editor, TPC
  • “Choose a filming location with a neutral and simple background. Be strategic about the composition of your shot, avoid a cluttered background, and include only what you want the audience to notice. You want the audience to focus on your words and not your environment so keep it as clean and simple as possible.” — Robert Van Vranken – Launch Specialist, TPC

Resolution and frame rate

Two things impact the quality of your podcast video:

  1. Resolution: The number of pixels added to a screen
  2. Frame rate: How quickly the pixels on said screen get updated

For a podcast camera, you’ll want to remain at or above 24-30 frames per second (fps). You’ll also want a resolution of 1080 pixels (p) or more.

Of course, the higher your resolution and frame rate are, the higher your camera prices will be.

Setting up for live streams

Not all podcasters livestream their episodes. But if you’re part of the 10% who does, or if you’re interested in joining them, it would be a good idea to consider your options.

  • Action cameras typically come with live streaming tools so you don’t need to figure out streaming on your own. But again, you’ll need to purchase HDMI to USB adapters. You also have to worry about cameras overheating.
  • Webcams integrate with streaming platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and more.
  • You can use your phone to broadcast a podcast episode (especially in a remote recording environment).

Keep in mind — this is the tip of the iceberg — there’s much more to live streaming we haven’t covered yet.

Setting up your recording space for video podcasting

There’s an art and science to setting up video podcast recordings — you must balance the needs of your show with the capabilities of your space. You also have to consider your podcast budget, including how much you’re willing to spend on a studio.

Here are some pointers for creating an optimal space:

Natural vs artificial lighting

You should decide in advance how you want your podcast lighting to look. 

Natural light offers a realistic touch to any video podcast. It doesn’t require additional lighting equipment, which could save you thousands of dollars over time.

Artificial lighting requires expensive equipment — although it’s far more controllable than light from the sun. You can even set mood lighting or adjust specific colors to bring out the best in yourself and your guests.

Don’t forget to consider the specs of your podcast camera! Some models (like action cameras) do well in direct natural light. Others, like camcorders, do better with artificial lighting.

Do your homework and adjust accordingly.

Minimizing noise

Noise will be a factor almost anywhere you record. Even ‘sound-proof’ recording studios aren’t immune: podcast mixers and high-end microphones will always have some audio bleed.

Your best bet for a podcast is to minimize noise, not eliminate it.

That’s why we recommend you:

  • Adjust your HVAC to reduce unnecessary noise. Keep an eye out for any running fans, dehumidifiers, or air purifiers. 
  • Set up a dedicated podcast space (if possible) with multiple acoustic treatments. This can include heavy blankets, noise-canceling curtains, foam pads, and more. 
  • Stay away from large, empty rooms. Even if the noise is reduced, you’ll have to contend with a persistent echo.
  • Consider using cardioid pattern dynamic microphones with built-in noise suppression, such as the Shure MV7X

If worse comes to worst, a walk-in closet is a great option. Set your podcast camera to an open wall, then simply record away.

Elevating your podcast camera setup with video accessories

Video accessories aren’t necessary for podcast recording, however, they do come with bells and whistles that enhance your recording process.

Here are a few popular podcast accessories to consider:

  • Tripods
  • Gimbals
  • External hard drives
  • USB cables
  • Video editing software
  • External mics to connect with cameras

Just getting started with podcasting? You may want to begin with a podcast equipment bundle. This ensures you get everything you need at the most affordable price possible.

Best video podcast software

If you’re going to record podcast videos, you’re going to need video software. The right platforms can help you polish the footage and add finishing touches before uploading it to a hosting platform.

You may want to consider software like:

  • Video or post schedulers: These allow you to upload finalized videos as audiograms or podcast video clips.
  • Podcast editing software: Finding the right video editor and digital audio workstation (DAW) is critical for polishing your show.
  • Remote recording platforms: If you’re working with a team like The Podcast Consultant, remote recording platforms let audio engineers work their magic. This includes popular software like Riverside, which can capture 4K footage and uncompressed audio.

The bottom line on podcast cameras

Podcast cameras are much like keys — they unlock your show’s potential so you can make space for new opportunities. As you build up your brand equity and reputation for quality, you’ll create a face-to-face connection with thousands of engaged viewers.

If you’re looking for support along your podcasting journey, just know that The Podcast Consultant is available to help. Our customized support for video podcast production makes it easy to put repetitive tasks on autopilot. And with dozens of experts on our team, it’s never been easier to launch a new podcast.

Why are we trusted by the world’s best podcasts? Find out for yourself by booking a discovery call.