Shop Talk: ‘Two Guys’ on cheap video podcast production

Two city tech scene leaders star in a web series on a passion with tech you could use too.

Johnny Bilotta and David Martorana produce Two Guys On Beer on the cheap. (Screenshot)
It ain’t a bad week to be a beer lover in Philadelphia.

For Johnny Bilotta and David Martorana of the Old City-based Two Guys On Beer video podcast, Philly Beer Week is sure to be a busy one.
The show, which demands deliciousness from the brews it tests, is coming up on its 60th episode, which is no small feat for a low-to-no budget production released twice per week. According to the duo, the podcast has grown a steady national viewership of 700 to 2,000 viewers per episode, and they’ve been considering syndication models that could end up planting it on the face of news Web sites anywhere.
Now that we’re half through the city’s week-long hoppy, malty escape from all things mixed-drink, Technically Philly has a confession. Last week during an interview for Shop Talk, when we told the show’s co-host and co-producer Dave Martorona to take it easy on the suds, we didn’t mean a word of it. We’re expecting Two Guys to make it their day job. Fortunately, Martorona proved that the show can afford a break from worrying about the production back-end, when he shared with Technically Philly some tips for aspiring vid-casters.
Read their advice on production and distribution, and check out Two Guys’ shooting rig, which includes a steal of a deal from EBay, after the jump.

Two Guys' rig is gleefully simple. A Flip Mino digital video camera, a $35 boom mic from EBay, tripod, and mic stand is all it takes.

Two Guys’ rig is gleefully simple. A Flip Mino digital video camera, a $35 boom mic from EBay, tripod, and mic stand is all it takes.

Martorana revealed that the pair has no experience producing and editing video�their first 15 episodes were shot with an old mini-DV camcorder set atop a step ladder. Two Guys on Beer decided to upgrade to a pocket-sized, inexpensive Flip Mino video camera, which Mortorana says performs better in low light situations than its big brother, the Flip Mino HD. And they now proudly prop their cam on a real, three-legged, gosh darn sturdy tripod.
But Bilotta and Martorana quickly found that their camera’s audio quality wasn’t meeting expectations. They wanted a boom mic to improve audio, but with the high-quality condenser microphones starting at $150 per pop, decent quality audio seemed beyond their out-of-pocket budget.
Two Guys decided to take a chance with EBay, settling on a no-name $35 boom mic straight from Hong Kong: the HTDZ HT-81 Super Uni-directional Electret Condenser Microphone. It was a gamble worth taking, says Martorana. “The boom mic was the best thing we ever got.”
They import the audio and video tracks into Final Cut Express, Apple’s cheapest professional-level video editing suite, and use two sync points to match-up the external audio. A few cuts later, the show is ready to make LCDs scream.
Martorana says that video distribution is a crux for the show, and their experimentation has led to a solid model that we’re sure others would be keen to borrow. Bilotta and Martorana rely on Viddler to power video on the show’s Web site but turned to Tube Mogul to reach as many video sharing outlets as possible. Mogul is a free service that allows sharers to upload content that is then automatically distributed to a dozen video platforms such as MySpace, YouTube, DailyMotion, and Revver. Users can then track video metrics across its aggregated sites.
Two Guys utilizes Blip.TV to aggregate iTunes and RSS feeds, which Martorona says handles the complicated video podcast submission process with ease. With the help of Viddler, Tube Mogul, and Blip.TV, the show has been able to chip away from the painstaking hours it once took to export in multiple video formats. Now, they cut just one final lock-and-load MP4 video.
Saving time means more to spend with their liquid inspiration. This week, the pair will be headed to Beer Week events all over the city, with plans to attend more than 20. They’ll be interviewing famous brewmasters whom they wouldn’t divulge, and probably tasting more beers each day than you’ve had in a lifetime of St. Patty’s Days. Be sure to check up on the Two Guys on Beer Web site, but don’t be concerned when checking their BAC. These guys are professionals.
Shop Talk is a weekly feature devoted to what goes on behind-the-scenes with tech throughout Philadelphia. It’s just like Dirty Jobs, except without Mike Rowe and with shiny electronics instead of dirt.

Companies: Indy Hall / IndyHall Labs
People: Indy Hall / IndyHall Labs / Dave Martorana / Johnny Bilotta
Projects: Indy Hall / IndyHall Labs / Dave Martorana / Johnny Bilotta / Two Guys On Beer

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