Today’s compact and powerful Ultrabook computers make it possible to keep in touch with others on the go through video chatting, yet they’ve got enough muscle to handle audio and video podcasting as well. In this article, we’ll take a look at what these two functions have in common, and how a zippy little Ultrabook computer is an ideal tool for both one-on-one communication—and for reaching a global audience.
The beauty of an Ultrabook is that it’s lightweight, very slim, and much easier to slip into a backpack, briefcase or tote bag without being much of a burden. Because you’re more inspired to bring your computer along for your travels when you can avoid excess weight and bulk, you’ll run into more opportunities to stay in contact with loved ones and business associates through video chatting, and it makes podcasting in the field much easier as well.
There are lots of popular applications and services that make it easy to have a video-enriched conversation with a remote person or a group of people. The most renowned service is Skype. Running as an application that you download and then launch when you want to chat (as opposed to a completely web-based service), Skype is compatible with many different versions of Windows, from XP (with Service Pack 3) to Windows 8.
The greatest thing about using Skype, and most video chat clients and services, is that basic video chatting is free. You need to sign up and create an account (the people that you video chat with need to have Skype accounts as well), but once you’ve done that, you’re free to jabber as much as you like. It’s also possible to make regular phone calls with Skype, as well as send SMS messages, but as of the time of this writing, these features require Skype Credits, for which you must pay.
There’s no need to carry around an external webcam or microphone these days. Most modern portable and all-in-one computers feature built-in cameras, as well as internal microphones, and Ultrabooks are no exception. Even though Ultrabooks have been designed to be as thin as possible, they still offer enough physical space for a camera and microphones (as well as hard drives, batteries, the display, keyboard, trackpad, etc.).
Google Hangouts are another popular way to conduct video chats. They require that you sign up for a Google+ account, but they’re otherwise free. The nice thing about Google Hangouts is that the technology makes it really easy to involve more than two people in a video chat (hence the name, "Hangout").
One thing that every video-chatting option has in common is that they all require an Internet connection to operate. However, public hotspots usually offer enough bandwidth to work just fine, and Wi-Fi is plentiful enough these days that you’re sure to encounter it regularly as you travel. Again, with an up-to-date computer like an Ultrabook, built-in 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi is nearly standard on every model.
A popular trend these days among podcasters is to record video chats, and to use the recording as a podcast. If you’re not familiar with podcasting, think of it as a television show or radio broadcast that anyone can create. You make the show of your choice using a computer, and you distribute it digitally as well. The distribution is usually handled by an RSS feed and a hosting service, and the shows can be promoted on Facebook, and posted on YouTube as well to find a larger audience.
A podcast can be as basic or elaborate as you like. There’s nothing wrong with creating a podcast with a single person speaking, but the magic usually happens when more than one person is involved. This is why video chatting is such a popular element in present day podcasting. Having multiple hosts and guests on a podcast creates an energy and spontaneity that you just don’t get in a show with a single person.
Just as Google Hangouts are a great place to have casual group-video chats, they’re also perfect for recording video podcasts. Another feature that makes this a nice solution is that you can click a button to broadcast your Hangout live, so your audience can stream the show in real time as it’s happening. A video recording of the show can also be posted on YouTube and Google+ as soon as the show ends.
Another nice aspect of video podcasting with a Google Hangout is that you have control over when the show starts filming, and when it stops, so you can have all of the guests chatting and discussing show notes, and making sure that their cameras and microphones are working properly, then when you’re ready, you can start broadcasting by clicking a button, and be ready to introduce the show properly. Likewise, at the end of the show, you can click a button to end the broadcast; however, all of the guests in the Hangout can continue to chat once you’re off air.
Google Hangouts allow you to use external audio interfaces to improve the sound quality of your show. It’s a good idea to utilize an audio interface and a professional microphone, even for video podcasts. The improvement in sound quality will be greatly appreciated by your audience, whether they realize it or not.
Another thing you can do to improve the quality of your show is to make sure that you’re properly lit. Decent lighting goes a long way in video production, even for something as casual as a recorded video chat. Take a look at your surroundings as you get set up to shoot your video podcast. If a window is nearby that features good natural light pouring in, position yourself so that the light comes through the window and illuminates your face. If you only have artificial light, try moving the lights (or yourself) around until the picture looks its best.
A pretty sweet, all-around solid performing Ultrabook to go with is the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13. It features a clever fold-over design, in which the laptop transforms into a Windows 8 tablet when folded over completely. It features a 1.8 GHz Intel® Core™ i5 processor, a 128GB SSD, 4GB of RAM, Integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 and it ships with Windows 8.
If you have any more questions about video chatting or podcasting with an Ultrabook computer, you can visit our SuperStore in New York City and speak to a B&H sales professional, give us a call at 1-800-416-4152, or join us online for a Live Chat.