I get a number of people asking what I use for audio and video equipment. I don't know all there is to know and I have managed to piece together the items to make for good sound, good video, and good lighting.
Here we go: for my home office I use the Logitech Brio Ultra HD Camera. This is a great little camera, easy to use and if you also install the Logitech Gaming software (free). You can tweak the quality of the image with brightness, contrast, sharpness, and zoom.
Sound is super important and I will stop listening if it sounds bad, (drummer, rock band, toured, recorded CDs). I do not use a USB mic, I prefer mics that plugin via an XLR cable (industry standard three point connector), along with a separate device that will connect via USB to my computer. I will share what I use and offer some alternatives to save your budget.
My main workhorse for this is the Zoom H-6 portable 6-track Portable Recorder, of course, you can do this for much cheaper. I wanted the flexibility of multiple microphones, stereo, and the ability for Going Mobile, (a great song by the Who). You can also check out the Zoom H4 as well. A great mic to accompany this is the Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone. If you do not want the Zoom portable recorder option you can use this Neewer 1-Channel 48V Phantom Power Supply with 5 feet USB Cable. This is great to plug in any one XLR microphone. I highly recommend a pop filter between you and the microphone.
**Pro-tip, careful of mounting your mic or swinging arm stand on your desk. Mics will pickup desk tapping etc, very easily.
The mic I use is the Aston Spirit Multi-Pattern Condenser mic.
If you are looking for quick, easy, low cost, and want to plug into your USB computer jack and hit go, then here is your best option; the Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone (ATR Series). The great thing about this mic is that it's inexpensive, sounds great, has USB and XLR capability and you can plug your headphones right into the mic.
My lighting package is two softbox light casings, on stands, and each contains a 4 lamp (bulb) holder for1600 watts. I swapped out the fluorescent bulbs for LED bulbs: 100-watt, 5000K, 1600 lumens.
For podcasting, I record in my home studio, typically over Zoom, and then edit the audio in Garage Band. I have also heard good things about Audacity, which is free software. I edit my video on Camtasia and have looked at switching to DaVinci Resolve, although I am not there yet.
Here is an early video recording that I produced and uploaded to youtube. This is before I knew what I know now. The sound is good and the video is sketchy... thanks agent 99 for getting the tapes across the border (for all you Get Smart fans out there).
If you want to use a podcast recording service, I have guested on shows that use Zencastr, and I thought the quality was excellent. They will actually record, edit, and master your podcast for upload to your podcast host. There are others that do this, so check around.
For hosting, I have been using BuzzSprout, for my longest-running show, The Bloom Living podcast. I use their paid service because I like their advanced data and find it is helpful. I use Anchor for a second podcast show that I have, Conscious Cache. Their service is free to use and does not eliminate episodes after 90 or 120 days as other free sites. The penalty if you do not upgrade to a paid plan.
Okay, I think that covers it for now. You can leave comments and questions here.