Monday, August 14, 2006

Computers make lousy recorders for podcasting

Webcam on a computer

A computer is a lousy camera and also a lousy tape recorder
If you are planning to do field recording you should have equipment designed for the job. No serious photographer would attach a webcam to a laptop computer and take it outside expecting to do serious photography with it. Will it work? yes. But, quality will suffer and so will usability and reliability. Serious photographers use serious digital cameras to take their pictures and then upload the pictures to do post production using programs like PhotoShop.

Yet folks all the time are doing audio recording right into their computers. Folks kludge mics onto their laptops and use Garageband to grab audio. Will it work? yes. But again I believe quality will suffer and so will usability and reliability. Where computers shine is not in capturing content in the field. By this I mean the recording of good pictures, or the recording of good audio. That type of recording is best left to dedicated devices like digital cameras and digital recording devices. If you do your audio recording direct into a computer and that computer crashes you have lost your whole show!

I have found using a serious recording device has caused the audio quality of my podcasts to take a huge jump forward. Would I take a step backwards? No way! I started off recording into a mic attached to my computer, I moved to a mic attached to an iPod and have graduated to a real quality field recorder. This has worked to me and I am no audiophile.

Here is my field kit list of equipment for doing good quality audio podcasting. Some of this I have, some I am saving up to buy:


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