Introduction and Purpose
The idea of this wiki is to collect and archive advice, techniques, and tips for creating and producing podcasts and other audio programming in today's Internet, utilizing modern audio capture and editing software, and contemporary podcast publishing platforms.
Malcolm Gin, a budding producer, is helping compile these data and information for public use, along with other contributors.
At the very beginning you must have a computer or access to a computer on which you can install software to capture and edit audio, and to process, convert, and publish the final form of your podcast to some server or podcast hosting service on the Internet.
So you will need a computer you can install and use applications on, and some kind of Internet connection. It doesn't have to be an always on Internet connection, but that would probably make your work easier.
It would be great if you could obtain a good microphone for capturing voice. You might also need a quiet space in which to record your podcasts. Or you might need to provide your podcasting hosts and guests with cheap but decent microphones by mail. Or send them a gift card and have them buy one and have it delivered to them, or however you handle your money.
If you don't have money, you may be able to apply for a grant to get money. It's not a promise, but a possibility.
More about specifics of these considerations to follow.
Your overall process to get podcasts to publication should roughly follow this track:
- Gather expertise
- Develop theme/conceit for podcast
- Figure out pay or profit sharing model
- Articulate it somewhere everyone can see
- Recruit (A producer or host may be able to cover more than one role, especially if your publishing frequency is low or slow):
- Producer (logistics and/or money)
- Grant Application Writer (obtaining money - OPTIONAL - depending on money Producer brings)
- Sound Engineer (sets up audio capture, captures audio, edits audio)
- Director (sets and enforces standards for show)
- Obtain resources you need to record a podcast (computer(s), microphone(s), noise management, people, other sounds and cues, etc.)
- Use resources to record a podcast
- Edit/combine any separate audio tracks and sound cues (if any) into a single podcast audio file
- Upload the podcast file to its hosting service on the Internet, and list it in various podcast subscription services (Google Play, iTunes, etc.)
Checklists and Questionnaires
Consider promoting through as many social networks (real, face-to-face, as well as Internet-based) as you've got and are comfortable using.
Don't forget to leverage the social networks your interviewees have as well.
Possible approach (provided by way of example, and to help provide ideas for your efforts):
- Plan to send out 3 emails - you can schedule these with mailmerge chrome extensions in Gmail:
- 1 week ahead of time, send a detailed email about the show. Include:
- A link to a teaser
- Language for use in Social Media
- Links to various podcast URLs (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, etc.)
- 2 days ahead of time, a short reminder
- day of, congratulations, your episode is out!
- 1 week ahead of time, send a detailed email about the show. Include:
- (To be continued)
Your technical goal with microphones and recordings should be to record either the entire studio or individual contributors with each microphone (each microphone representing an audio track) that you or another editor can later combine into a single audio track to publish as the podcast. Professionals manage this by having a single microphone adjusted to each person in the podcast, and by live-combining them into an output audio that goes to headphones that are monitors for each of the participants. You or your sound engineer should endeavor to make sure that the lulls in conversation are truly silent, so there's not a layer of noise on top of any music or other track you choose to run during the interview when combining all the audio tracks.
To achieve this goal, your microphones have to be decent, your recording studio or room should not be made of sound-reflective walls, and you should be wearing (if you are) noise cancelling, or at least noise isolating headphones, to reduce or eliminate microphone-headphone feedback, which further distorts the recording(s).
One podcaster suggested a $100 microphone, the Blue Yeti USB Microphone (Amazon link).
Another podcaster suggested another $100 microphone, the Blue Nessie USB Microphone (Amazon link)
Assuming you are interviewing them remotely, you probably don't need to send expensive microphones to your interviewees to record their part. Audiences are tolerant of some poor sound quality and digital cellular networks and internet connections can often, in conjunction with normal headsets for cell phones can do an adequate job in a pinch.
Some have suggested Lavalier or clip-on microphones, some of which can be had for under $10 on Amazon.Here's an example of a homemade sound shield made of cardboard and foam acoustic tiles:
You should also consider using headphones or a headset of some kind to monitor your audio recording. Most computers can be set up to take input from your microphone and output to your headphones. Some microphones, like the Blue Nessie have a built-in audio out jack for monitoring the recording. Set your output gain/volume so it's slightly louder than the voice you hear in your head, so you'll know if it cuts out and you can investigate the reason.
Wired headphones are probably going to be cheaper. You want the kind with the big headband and over-ear noise isolating cups. You could splurge on noise cancelling, but you want to avoid a situation where your headphones could possibly feed back into the microphone and cause that high pitched feedback screeching. Some have suggested using noise-isolating ear plug microphones. Look for 10 dB or more isolation or noise cancellation. Malcolm has purchased these $16 headphones from Monoprice and they seem to work well (Monoprice link).
Traditionally, audio interview recorders would provide a directional microphone and monitoring headphone headset to each participant, and record each audio track separately for each participant, being able to mix and remix the tracks before publishing them. Monitor headphones would be jacked into a feed mixing all the separate tracks into one channel so everyone could hear everyone else. A good sound engineer would mix those well so the balances would sound good to everyone. Lower budget studios would record the entire interview and only be able to tweak the single recording as a whole.
In that spirit, with one or many microphones, you could potentially do the same thing with audio recording and editing software, including using directional microphones and separate channels for each participant. A free option for software to do that is Audacity.
When asked about software, one podcaster mentioned using Zencastr. Zencastr is a web-based service that records each participant separately and transmits the recordings to the sound engineer using Zencastr. It has a free model, for low output podcasting, which may be good to use to start. Recording parties may need to have always on Internet while recording. More info as we have it.
Setup and Help Links
Old Main Page with notes on getting started.