In spite of being an exciting development in social media, there are many video podcasting disadvantages to consider before beginning to produce your own.
More than Just a File
Some people make the mistake of thinking that a podcast is just a sound file. Talk into a recorder, make an MP3, you've got a podcast, right?
Wrong. What you have then is an MP3 file - but there's nothing wrong with that. It's a great medium, and you can put it up online and let people come to your site and download it. Same with a video file - in fact, with YouTube it's amazingly easy to let people find your videos or be notified when you have a new comment posted.
However, what they can't do on YouTube is download your video to play on their own, whenever they want. That's what the "POD" in podcasting stands for: Portable On Demand media. The way you make sure your media is portable and on-demand for your listeners or watchers is to make your media subscribable - that is, they can use various programs and devices to download your podcast.
In fact, the best devices just do it automatically - so, for example, if you create a daily podcast, your viewers would wake up to find your video waiting for them on their computer, iPod, or whatever they use to watch.
However, this involves some fluency with HTML and a form of XML called Really Simple Syndication (RSS). While it's not rocket science, it's also not for the faint of heart. It also involves producing on a regular basis - and that's where some of the real video podcasting disadvantages come into play.
Pressure, Work, and Video Podcasting Disadvantages
There are a few different ways that video podcasting adds a whole new dimension to the difficulties of regular podcasting. Aside from the RSS feeds that need to be created and maintained, along with the necessity of publicity and content-generation, there are the added complications of the video medium itself to consider.
- Video requires more equipment than a microphone. Tapes, specialized digital video cameras, microphones that are compatible, just to name a few.
- Video requires you to consider your environment much more than simple sound-only podcasting. Lighting, background, personal grooming, framing, composition, even patterns on clothing can all make or break a video podcast. In comparison to the requirements of a regular podcast ("QUIET!") it is exponentially more difficult.
- Video podcasting adds a significant amount of bandwidth to your podcast generation. Video files are a lot bigger than sound files - which means you're going to have a smaller audience (as not everyone will want to take the time or bandwidth to get your files) and also the possibility of higher costs from your hosting service as your audience does grow. Remember that every new watcher will not only download your newest episode, but will hopefully go back and download prior episodes.
- Difficulties in playback are also something to consider. There is not a standard format for video files, and the competitors - Quicktime, WMV, RealPlayer, FLV - all have their own advantages and disadvantages. You either have to choose one and eliminate the audience that doesn't like that format or produce in multiple formats, adding time to the production process.
Do It Anyway
While these disadvantages of video podcasting may seem daunting, they aren't insurmountable. Services such as LibSyn and LiveStream have created many ways for people to easily put their video on the web. At the same time, advances in hi-speed Internet, faster processors, larger hard drives, and even advances in cell phone video all give your viewers more powerful tools to find and enjoy your video podcast.If you have something you are passionate about that you can share on video and are willing to put in the work to make it happen, there's no reason not to get your own video podcast on the web.