OK, you’ve got your podcasting equipment together and you are raring to go. In this installment, I’ll be talking about some odds and ends of show production and expanding on some of the comments I made in yesterday’s post. More after the jump.


In response to Dave’s questions yesterday, I wrote two things that I promised to expand on.

1) What do I mean by different channels? Dave is thinking about doing an interview style show. He needs to put his voice in one channel (L or R) and the other person in the other channel. Why? It will keep the echo of Dave’s voice to a minimum on the original recording, in case of cross talk (both speaking at the same time), and it makes it easier to edit. When the interview is over and saved, you can copy each of the tracks to separate files, clean up noise between the parts where the people are speaking, and then do a mix paste that brings it all back together again into a single stereo file. The actual mechanics of how to do this depends on the editing software you use.

2) Pre-interviews. I am lucky. When I interview someone, I have a copy of the book they have just read and, occasionally, material from their publicist. In Dave’s example, he might not be so lucky. I suggested a pre-interview, which is what shows like The Tonight Show or Letterman do, where they send someone to speak to the guest before the show to find out what they have been up to and to feed the host the questions that will bring out the most entertaining responses. In Dave’s case, interviewing alums could be challenging because they aren’t really there to promote anything, so, if he had time, I would suggest a conversation before the interview to catch up and uncover what they’ve been up to, and then to let them know ahead of the interview what you’ll be asking about, so they can collect their thoughts. This doesn’t mean you have to stay strictly to the script, but it is often easier for people to wing it once their confidence in answering questions is higher by their smooth responses. Of course, if you don’t have the time, just do the interview without the pre-interview.

And now, about editing.

I only interview for sound, eliminating the long pauses, the coughs, the occasional barking dog, etc. I don’t cut for content, which is OK because I don’t have a strict time to keep the show to (though I have some mental numbers that I try to hit). However, you may only want 15 minutes and have a very chatty person who gives you 30. Editing sound is just like editing a paper, but remember your first responsibility is to accuracy, not to convenience.

If the volume is a little soft, you can always boost it in post production. This may also increase background noise, so that’s when you filter. If you are trying to get rid of phone static, use a low pass filter, but you will never get studio level clarity unless you are in a studio, so don’t think you’ll sound just like NPR or the BBC without spending some money.

Also, if you are going to err, err on the side of loudness. I did a quick survey of some of my listeners, and most listen on their computers and not on their mp3 players. Assume their computer speakers aren’t very good, so make it loud. If they are using an mp3 player, they can always turn it down.

Next time, I’ll talk a little about enhanced shows and the storage/bandwidth issues.

Questions? As always, I will answer them in the comments section.

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