Instead of settling with what they might have on hand, sending your guest video and podcast equipment is an easy way to instantly improve how they look and sound on your podcast. But sending guests microphones and video equipment involves some budgetary and logistical considerations that you may not have thought about.
In this guide, we’ll break down how to send equipment to your guests, why it’s worth it, and what to include in your package.
- Why send equipment to podcast guests? It’s is the best way to maximize their recording quality.
- At a minimum, you should send a mic, camera (for video podcasts), and headphones.
- Key considerations include shipping (plus a return label), set-up instructions, and insurance.
- Riverside gives you and your producers detailed control over your remote guests' recordings
Why is your guest’s equipment setup important?
Recording with remote guests opens up a whole world of possibilities. Since you’re no longer constrained by physical location, you can include participants from all over the world wherever they are. But just because your guests’ recording setup is out of sight, doesn’t mean it should be out of mind.
Since you’re the one in the know, optimizing and perfecting your guests’ recording environment (as far as possible) is on you. Since chances are your guest doesn’t know that much about recording a podcast, taking matters into your own hands is the best way to maximize the quality of your overall recording.
Is it worth sending your guest equipment?
The short answer is yes, it’s definitely worth sending your guest equipment. Here’s why:
First and foremost, sending your guest equipment is the best way to ensure you capture the best-quality audio and video possible. If you don’t send them the required equipment, you could end up with a sub-par recording that lets the rest of your podcast down.
Set the tone
Sending your guest equipment will help to set the tone. Opening a package of professional equipment will help the guest get into the right mindset to join you on your show. Compared to jumping on a casual call from their mobile, for instance, sitting down in front of a proper mic and camera will help them show up as their best self for your recording.
You know what you’re working with
Sending equipment to your guest also means you’re in control. You know exactly what hardware you’re working with and what results to expect. This also means you can more effectively troubleshoot if your guests need help with their setup during recording.
How to effectively send equipment to guests
Before you bundle some equipment into a package and run to the post office, here are a few tips on how to effectively send equipment to your guests:
Sending equipment to your guests doesn’t necessarily mean physically packaging things up yourself and sending a box their way. You could consider renting a podcast equipment package from a dedicated company that’ll ship directly to your guest.
Although if you already have spare pieces of kit, it’s probably more economical to send them your own.
You don’t want to lose track of your package when it’s en route. It’s definitely worth paying for tracked shipping to ensure you can monitor its progress and check when it’s arrived. It’s worth shopping around to see which shipping companies offer the best rate for the type and weight of the package you’re sending.
Another worthwhile cost is insurance. Sending equipment to guests is not risk-free, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Covering yourself for potential equipment loss or damage will make sure you don’t end up out of pocket.
Include a return label
Make sure you include a pre-paid return label in your package. You don’t want your guest to have to front the shipping cost when they return your equipment.
What should a Guest Equipment Kit include:
Every podcast setup looks different, so there’s no standard formula. You may decide you only want to send your guest a mic or that you want to provide a full-on podcast kit. Here’s our guide to a fully-loaded guest equipment kit:
A mic is a must for maximized audio quality. You don’t even need to break the bank to get your hands on a professional-grade mic. For ease of use, we’d recommend sending a USB mic to your guest. Since these ‘plug and play’ models don’t require a DAW, they will be far more accessible for someone who’s new to podcasting.
Read more: Best Podcast Microphones For Every Need and Budget
Podcast Headphones are essential for high-quality recording. Not only do they prevent audio echo and bleed, but they’re also key to improving mic technique. Your guest probably has a pair, but for good measure, it’s good to include your own.
If you’re recording a video podcast, you may want to send your guest a podcast camera to capture them in the highest quality possible.
Though don’t fret if you don’t have a spare camera. Some mobile phones can act as great (and high-quality) substitutes. Using Riverside, connecting a phone up in place of (or in addition to) an external camera or webcam is easy and simple. We have a whole guide on turning your phone into a webcam to get started.
You may also want to include some extra accessories like a pop filter, lighting equipment, or soundproofing materials. These small items can go a long way to taking a recording from great to superb. Plus, they won’t add too much bulk or weight to your package, so why not?
Don’t forget the cables and connectors. It’s too easy to pack up the mic and forget to provide the USB cable.
Instructions & a thank you!
It’s always best to presume your guests don’t know how to use the equipment you’ve sent over. That’s why we recommend including a brief and clear set of instructions on setting up and using the equipment you’ve included.
This should also mean that your guests are able to get themselves set up and ready to record independently - saving you time on the day. Though you can, of course, supplement these instructions with live (remote) support if they need it.
As an extra touch, it’s also nice to include a little thank you note.
Tips on Improving your Guest set up from afar
A common concern when recording remotely is that you won’t be able to help or support your guests with their recording technique or setup. But there are actually a few ways you can help your guest even from afar.
Include brief instructions in your equipment package
As we mentioned earlier, it’s definitely worth providing your guests with a written brief or instructions about the equipment you’ve sent over. This empowers them to navigate the various pieces of kit and should deal with any small or preliminary hiccups.
Brief your guests
Another important step in the general preparation process is to take the time to brief your guests ahead of time. This means explaining what they should expect, how the recording will work, and what you’ll be talking about. This also gives your guests the chance to ask questions or raise concerns ahead of the actual recording day.
Riverside has specific tools that are set up to help you help your guests during your recording. Riverside’s producer mode means you can designate a producer who can deal with guests, control and toggle guests’ volume settings, and optimize all the technical settings for your recording. Producers can also share their screen and control the content, freeing up the hosts' hands.
A Producer also has the ability to control the color temperature and light exposure for any guests that join your session using the Riverside iOS app (more on this below).
Crucially, whatever they get up to, their audio and video won’t show up on the recording, so they’ll be hard at work behind the scenes. This frees up your attention to focus on the most important part: recording your podcast!
Producers and hosts now have full control over their remote guests’ color and exposure - as long as they tune in from the latest version of the Riverside iOS (iPhone or iPad) app. Note, this feature is only available if you have a Teams account on Riverside.
Riverside: Remote Recording with Professional Studio Tools
Sending equipment to your guests may seem like an unnecessary hassle. But when you’ve pulled it off once and seen the results, you probably won’t turn back. But to capitalize on your remote guests having access to proper equipment and to maximize your control over their recordings, you need a tool like Riverside. Riverside is designed to produce studio-quality remote recordings wherever your guests are. And even though you may be continents apart, with Riverside, you still have that granular level of control and direction that you do in a real-life studio.
Learn more about Riverside here, or start recording remotely today.