How to Produce a Webcast… part 3

Microphones

We move from video devices in part 2 to audio devices in part 3.  Audio is a very important piece to the webcasting puzzle.  Without the proper equipment, your webcasts will have no sync, poor quality sound, or worse.  Just look at our first Episode of Week in Review.  We had two microphones, one was 7 years old and no longer provided the quality our show demanded.  In Episode 2 we used one microphone for David and I used the older microphone due to the limited amount of talking I would be doing; we had a guest linked in via Skype.  I’ll show you more about that in part 4 when I discuss the audio mixer.

imageLike with our other equipment, we are on a very limited budget.  So I dropped by my local RadioShack for a low cost microphone.  I found the Wireless Lapel Microphone System at the wonderfully low price of $49.99 each.  I quickly purchased one to add to the one I already had.  The quality is perfect and being wireless, I could position the host anywhere in my home office studio:  main desk, couch, walking into the room, etc… This ability was important to me for this project and others.

After our first show I quickly learned that the older Wireless Lapel Microphone I already had degraded far enough that it was unusable.  So I dropped back by my local RadioShack for a second Wireless Lapel Microphone System.  One caution to remember is that wireless microphones transmit on frequencies.  It was important to get the second mic that transmits on a different frequency.

These wireless microphones are perfect for different scenarios.  However I’m looking for high quality or the HD audio version of microphones.  Once our show takes off, we’ll be looking at upgrading these wireless microphones to something else.

imageWhile researching I came across the microphones I’d like to use with our show.  The Heil PR-30 has a wonderful reputation for high quality audio with a dynamic range.  David and I can use all the help we can get when it comes to audio quality.  I found this microphone over at Amazon for only $249.  That’s not bad for the quality I’m looking for.

Along with the microphone, I’m looking to utilize a Heil Sound PL-2T Microphone Boom for $120, a Shockmount for $99 to reduce table vibrations and lastly an XLR male to XLR femail microphone cable for $8.85.

The current microphones work very well and we’re likely to continue using them for a while… unless anybody wants to donate the upgrade costs?

Cost Sheet

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In the next part of my How to Produce a Webcast series, we’ll talk about how to mix audio from multiple sources:  2x Lapel microphones, Skype, Computer, and an MP3 player.

7 Technology Must Have’s!

Ever wonder what technology you really need these days?  Check out this list:

iStock_000017044605XSmall1. The most important thing to spend your money on, far and above more important than cell phones, is your internet connection!  Drop your cable TV, you don’t need it, what you will need as a replacement is a very strong high speed internet connection.  If you live within Northwest Arkansas, I’d recommend Cox Cable over AT&T DSL, but AT&T Uverse takes the cake (if it’s available in your area).

2. Setup that wireless router for your fast internet connection!  This way when your within your home you can take advantage of the faster speeds for all your devices.  (don’t forget to encrypt it!)

3. Splurge on a 3g iPad!  Pay the $650 plus $30/month for unlimited access, you’ll have entertainment in the palms of your hands.  Reading, gaming, navigation, weather, the list of values goes on and on.  Oh, and remember to hook it up to your wireless router while at home.

iStock_DiskArray4. Buy a good computer with tons of hard drive space… and I mean terabytes worth.  This could be a Windows Home Server, or just a standard Dell computer you’ve augmented with additional hard drives.  This will give you plenty of space for your media which leads into step 5.

5. Convert all of your DVD’s to digital mp4 files which can be linked into iTunes.  This lets you sync with your iPad or other devices to watch your collection of movies anywhere.

6. Buy one of those $99 AppleTV’s!  This will give you access to your newly digitized DVD collection on your television set.  It also provides you with access to pictures and other media.  Even the internet is accessible along with NetFlix.

7. NetFlix.  This will give you access to a wide variety of movies and television shows which you do not have in your personal collection.  As an added bonus, you can access NetFlix on your iPad, AppleTV, and your computer!

These 7 things are all you need to have a technologically well rounded life, enjoy!