Audio Podcasting 101 (Part 2)

Featured | Mac | pc | Software
November 30, 2010

… Continued from Part One.  As I mentioned, I have been working on a youth ministry training podcast, 10-Minute Training, and after publishing about a dozen, feel ready to share the process here.  This post wil look at the recording process itself, and the final post in the series will cover editing and publishing.

Now that you’ve got your gear set and scheduled some recording time, you’re ready to go!  I am a mac guy, so I use the great multi-track recording software that comes bundled with every mac: GarageBand.  If you aren’t a mac fanboy, you can opt for a great free open source option:  Audacity.

The way it works with my setup is I open wiretap and select my inputs: Shure X2u to record my voice and Skype audio to record its audio.  It then creates a virtual audio card with four channels that can be selected in the audio preferences of GarageBand.  After doing that, I select which audio goes to which track and I’m ready to test the audio levels.  The one thing that I dislike about GarageBand is its audio meters.  They are small and not extremely accurate.  Instead of trusting them, I test record audio from both sources a couple of times until they are as loud as possible without distorting.

The reason for doing all this work to get the different audio sources on different tracks is simple.  Though I want to be able to get a podcast that is pretty much ready to chop into 10-minute pieces and publish, I want to be able to go back and fix problems like if the audio levels are too different, the guest wants to edit something out , or if a cell phone goes off in the guest’s office, etc.

A cheaper, but more time consuming, solution for this is to buy Call Recorder from Ecamm.  With this method, you record the skype call in one file and your audio in another.  After it’s all over you import the two files into the editor and move them around until they are synced (tip:  make a loud noise at the beginning that can be heard in both audio files… then you match those sounds together… much faster!)

I generally shoot for recording about 30-45 minutes of audio in each interview that I can then chop down into three episodes after it’s all over.  While doing the interview, I watch the clock and when we come to a stopping point at about ten minutes, I make a break and start over as if it was a new episode (which it will be).

After it’s recorded, I go through the effects to get a good sound on the voices, I generally use male narrator for both the Skype audio and my own.  I save the file, open another and get my next guest on the line.  Over and over again until they are all recorded and saved!


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