Awesome audio for perfect podcasting
Unsurprisingly the number of questions we have been asked recently around how to make good quality podcasts and video from home have gone through the roof.
We thought it would be helpful to put together responses to some of the most common questions we receive into one place for our clients and contacts to use as needed. This guide focuses on audio for use in podcasts, but look out for our second guide dedicated to creating good quality video assets from home too.
In an ideal world we’d all be doing our audio recording in a properly fitted out sound studio. Or if pushed, then maybe from a meeting room in the office. Of course, Covid-19 has seen an end to that for a little while at least. Lots of our clients are putting out podcasts from their home offices, living rooms and kitchen tables, so if you are thinking of doing the same, here are some of the most common questions we are being asked together with some top tips from our resident AV expert Dave Harpham:
CAN I RECORD GOOD QUALITY AUDIO FROM MY iPHONE/MOBILE HANDSET?
Of course you can. Mobile devices are a great tool for recording audio and while you can use them in isolation, a little extra technology can make a real difference if you are looking to create high quality audio. See below...
DO I NEED ANY SPECIAL TECHNOLOGY TO DO THIS PROPERLY?
No, but it might help. If you are looking to produce good quality audio then we would recommend you invest in a simple microphone to attach to your handset. Even using the earphones supplied with the phone (as they usually have a built-in mic) will make a difference, but something like this good lapel mic, this low cost option or this slightly different version that attaches directly to your phone (also available for Android devices) will have a big impact. You may need an adaptor too depending on your handset.
WHAT APP SHOULD I USE TO RECORD THE AUDIO?
Most mobile phones are sold with an audio recorder already installed for example Voice Memo comes as standard on an iPhone. There are better quality audio recording apps available for most devices such as ASR Voice Recorder (Android) and Auphonic Recorder (IOS). Just be aware that higher quality audio files tend to be uncompressed resulting in some pretty hefty file sizes. So be sure you have a way to transfer the files from your phone as they may be too big to email. We like to use WeTransfer.
CAN YOU "STITCH TOGETHER" AUDIO FROM MYSELF AND OTHER COLLEAGUES WHO ARE IN DIFFERENT LOCATIONS?
Yes and there are a few ways to do this. You don’t all need to record at the same time as part of the same session (see below regarding using online meetings to record), it all depends on how you would like the finished piece to sound. You can record multiple participants in isolation and edit them together as a finished piece, you can host a group discussion as detailed below or simply just use one voice.
CAN I USE ZOOM/TEAMS TO RECORD DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN COLLEAGUES AND TURN THIS INTO A PODCAST?
Yes you can, although this can present some challenges. If you are hosting a group discussion then online meetings can be a good tool, however if you aren’t really discussing as a group then individual recordings (see above) work well. If you are looking to achieve a more discussion based result, these work best as more of a “radio” format with a dedicated host recorded well (remotely under direction) with a script - with intercut conversations. Think “Grounded” with Louis Theroux.
DO I NEED TO HAVE A FULLY PREPARED SCRIPT BEFORE I START RECORDING?
No. Don’t you find that conversations sound best when they are un-scripted? We certainly do. That’s why we recommend you don’t prepare a full script. Instead, consider making a list of the key points or topics you want to cover in your podcast and keep them in front of you during the recording. If you are hosting a discussion, it’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions in advance and share them with your colleagues who in turn can prepare bullet points of the comments they want to include in their answers.
DOES MY RECORDING HAVE TO BE WORD PERFECT OR IS IT OK TO MAKE MISTAKES?
It’s absolutely fine to make mistakes! No one needs the pressure of trying to be word perfect and the good news is that you don’t have to be. That’s what the editing process is for. If you make a mistake, simply stop and restart at the beginning of your last sentence. Leave a few seconds gap between stopping and starting, this will really help in the editing process.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO EDIT AUDIO AND TURN IT INTO A PODCAST I CAN SHARE WITH MY NETWORK?
It will depend on the length of your recording, but typically half a day or less is all we need to turn your audio files into a fully polished podcast.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST FOR ME TO HAVE A PODCAST EDITED?
Based on the principle that it will take around half a day to edit the files, the cost will be around £300. There are factors that affect this such as the length and quality of the supplied audio and any requirements you might have about how you want the finished piece to sound, so it could be more or less depending on your needs.