How to Record a Podcast?
The podcast world is thriving. It seems like everyone is putting out podcasts now. Outside, everything is simple: I took my iPhone, sat in the kitchen with a friend, discussed new series with him, uploaded the file to Apple Podcasts, and woke up as a famous podcaster. And what is it really? For those who plan to record a podcast, but still do not understand how to approach it, I have prepared instructions: where to start, what technique to choose, where to get music for a podcast, how to edit, on which platforms to download.
What is my podcast about and for whom? What is the most fashionable genre: narrative, talk shows, interviews?
Think about why you need a podcast, not a YouTube or TikTok video. Are you sure your story is good for audio? Answer the question “why am I doing this?” You will formulate the idea better.
Try to define as accurately as possible the topic you are going to talk about. That is, you have conceived not just a “podcast about music”, but “a podcast about lute music of the 16th century, in which composers of that era talk about their work in the first person.”
Explore the competition, listen to podcasts from the top Apple Podcasts or CastBox so you understand what podcasts on a similar topic already exist and how you can differ from them (and at the same time look at the professional tricks).
Think about which format best reflects your idea: a monologue, a conversation between several hosts and guests, an interview, a narration (for example, a documentary film, only in audio format: with the author’s text, sound inserts, and heroes’ voices). This will determine, among other things, what technology needs to be used, how long it will take to prepare, record, and edit the sequence.
It is also convenient to schedule the frequency of releases in advance. How often are you going to record and publish them? Do you have the time and energy to do it regularly – daily, weekly, or monthly?
Which title to choose?
Surely, you already have several options for the title. Which one to choose? First of all, google and check if there is a podcast of the same name. The title should be original enough so that your project can be easily searched for, and at the same time not too pretentious so that listeners can remember it.
Do you need a script?
Preparation and structure are everything. Listen to your favorite podcasts: you will understand that there is a script even in conversational talk shows, where the hosts seem to just chat about different topics.
It is not necessary to write down every line and questions, but the general plan of the episode should be. Why is all this needed? First, you will spend less time recording (and editing a prepared conversation is much easier and faster), and secondly, you will quickly grab the audience’s attention. Remember how you yourself listen to podcasts: you hardly want to waste your time listening to an abstract conversation of the hosts for five to ten minutes and wait for them to finally tell you what their podcast is about.
How to choose a recording technique? Do I need to buy an expensive microphone?
Good sound deserves respect from the listener. To say “ah, everything here whistles and rattles. but the podcast is interesting, be sure to listen “- it’s like saying” oh, we have a lot of typos in the book and here and there the paint is too pale, but the novel is so interesting, be sure to read it. “
Even an iPhone can record good sound under certain conditions, but for a professional podcast, it’s better to consider additional hardware. You can buy it or rent it if in doubt.
If you do write to an iPhone, pay attention, firstly, to the acoustics of the room (more on this in the next paragraph), and secondly, to how close you are to the phone: both you and your interlocutor should be well heard. Try doing a test, write it down for a couple of minutes, listen, and determine how far from your phone you get the best sound quality.
If you are convinced that the love of podcasts is serious and enduring, then you need to understand professional technology: microphones, external sound cards, mixing consoles, port studios (God, what is this?) And headphones.
What to choose and how to connect it all?
There are several basic configurations.
- USB microphone computer. The file is written directly to the computer.
- Lavalier microphone smartphone/computer. The file is immediately written to your device.
- Studio port with built-in microphones (or you can connect additional external microphones). Sound is usually recorded on an SD card. Essentially, it is a professional digital voice recorder that can be used both in the studio and outdoors.
- Microphone mixing console / external computer sound card. Unlike the first version with a USB microphone, this configuration allows you to simultaneously connect multiple professional microphones (eg radio) and other devices (eg musical instruments). Also, remote control or an external sound card gives the microphone the necessary amplification (so that voices are recorded loudly and voluminously enough).
How to choose a microphone?
Hint: dynamic microphones for unprepared rooms are more practical than condenser microphones. Dynamic microphones are less sensitive, so less background noise gets into the recording, and condenser microphones are more sensitive, so it’s best not to take them outside the room without soundproofing.
What other equipment do you need?
- Microphone stands. It is difficult to hold the microphone in your hands throughout the entire recording; moreover, it will create noise that cannot be removed later during editing. So add the microphone stand to your checklist.
- Windproof membrane. Foam rubber on the microphone or voice recorder will avoid spitting (as they say, when the sounds “p”, “t” or “b” seem to hit the microphone membrane, which sounds like a shot when played back), and when recording outdoors, this will slightly reduce wind noise
- Wires. XLR cables are best for connecting microphones to a studio or mixer; they usually carry a signal without distortion.
What brands should you focus on when choosing equipment?
- Popular microphone manufacturers include AKG, Audio-Technica, Behringer, Boya, Trust, Rode, Blue, Sennheiser, Shure.
- Portal studios are produced by Tascam and Zoom. External sound cards – Behringer, Zoom, Tascam, Roland, Steinberg, Native Instruments.
- The most common mixing consoles on the Russian market: Behringer, Allen & Heath, Yamaha, Mackie, Soundcraft.
Where to record a podcast? Can I write in the kitchen or do I have to go to the studio?
You can go to the studio. There, you pay for the time, and the studio is responsible for everything else: the sound engineer records your conversation and gives you the file.
But many podcast hosts work from home because you can record anywhere, even in the kitchen. The main thing is that the room is prepared.
What does it mean? Your voice bounces off the surfaces of the room, so the key is to keep these reflections to a minimum so that listeners don’t feel like you are sitting in a receiver. Bookcases, heavy curtains, carpets, and upholstered furniture all significantly reduce the volume of a room. In an emergency, a blanket will save you. Cover yourself with a blanket – and immediately studio conditions.
If you are recording interviews outdoors, use a windproof membrane. In strong winds, cover the recorder with a coat or jacket.
And be sure to wear headphones while recording to listen to the sound you get. In headphones, you will immediately understand whether you are deviating from the microphone, whether extraneous noises are included in the recording, whether the sound level is normal. Only headphones really have control over the process.
I wrote everything down, now I need to edit. How to do it?
No podcast exists without editing. Even if you did not hesitate to jot down what you thought was a smooth conversation, you should at least put a splash screen on.
To edit, you need to install a sound editor program on your computer. There are dozens of them, among the most popular are SoundForge, Audacity (this program, by the way, is free), Adobe Audition, SonyVegas, GarageBand. The principle of operation is the same for everyone: on the screen you see a diagram of a sound wave. To delete a fragment, select this time period on the diagram with the mouse and click “Delete”.
Get rid of slips of the tongue, long pauses, loud sighs, and anything else that you think is irrelevant to the podcast. Rearrange sections and create podcast drama.
Editing also adds music and effects, sound design. Mastering all the techniques will take time, so first ask for help from familiar sound engineers, read the recommendations and articles on specialized sites.
Where can I get background music?
There are a lot of nuances about using famous songs in podcasts, but the most common answer is that you can include a short portion of the song as a quote if your podcast refers to that particular song (for example, you have an episode about the history of this song), but you cannot take a track as a splash screen, beat or put it in the background to your conversation.
Where do podcast authors get their music from? Music for your show can be ordered from the composer, or you can get it on sites that have databases of tracks for podcasts and videos. On such audio stocks, you can buy music or often even take it for free on the terms set by the author. For example, there are several types of Creative Commons licenses: one of the types requires you to specify only the name of the author – then you can change, process the music and use it for commercial purposes (for example, for advertising in your podcast), and the other type allows you to use the entire track only and for non-commercial purposes only, and so on.
You can find the answer to where to find and download background music in this article.
Don’t forget that the SoundAudio site provides a library of background music to download and use. You can always find the right music for your project.
Have a good mood!
All podcasts have trailers. What is this for?
A short audio clip is an advertisement for your podcast. A podcast trailer is basically the same as a movie trailer: it shows you what your podcast is about and why you should listen to it. These can be bright, intriguing, or just funny phrases from your episodes; or, if the episodes have not yet been recorded, a short story about what makes your project interesting; or an unusual sound picture (after all, podcasts are primarily sound).
It is also convenient to upload the trailer first to the RSS feed of your podcast so that it is published on all platforms, and by the time the first episode is released, you already have a ready-made channel that has been verified and confirmed in Apple Podcasts and other services.
What needs to be done to get the podcast to appear in apps? Everyone talks about RSS – how does it work?
If you are a video blogger, the first thing you do is go to YouTube. There is no single platform for podcasts yet, so to get the most coverage, you have to be everywhere: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, CastBox, Soundcloud. The good news is that you do not need to upload files to each site separately, you just need to create an RSS feed in one place, which will then serve your podcasts to all platforms with all the information (cover, title, text).
RSS is a special link that broadcasts regularly updated content from a server. Your files are located on one server, and other sites receive data from there via an RSS feed. When you download a new podcast, it is automatically sent to all platforms that access your RSS link.
You need to make such a link once for your podcast – and then you just need to insert it into the specially provided fields on different platforms.
How to make RSS?
- Option 1: Sign up for a podcast service like Soundcloud or Castbox, upload files there, and that service will generate an RSS link for you.
- Option 2: register with one of the paid podcast hosting providers (Lybsin, SimpleCast – read the detailed hosting comparison here), upload everything there – and the system will make the RSS itself and send it to all podcast platforms.
- Option 3 (the most difficult): start a blog (for example, on WordPress), and then insert the link to your page into the form on the Feedburner website (you need a Google account). Feedburner will also need to upload a description and cover for the podcast.
How do I post a podcast to Apple Podcasts?
Log in with your Apple account to the iTunes Connect site, select the podcasts section, and insert a link to the RSS feed in the special field. The podcast is sent for approval and usually becomes available within a few days. By the way, many other applications automatically pull all podcasts that are uploaded to Apple Podcasts into their catalogs.
What else should I know?
All of the above are just the first steps to success. Be patient, try to keep the pace, and post regularly. The audience comes in gradually, and if the first episode has worse statistics than you expected, that’s not a reason to quit. Promote your podcast: encourage listeners to rate, write comments and tell friends, and ask podcast guests to leave a link to the episode on social networks. Meet other podcast authors, negotiate cross-promotions.
And remember: sound, design, headlines are all important, but even more important is the content. Therefore, no matter what microphone you have, whether you have hired a staff of producers and sound engineers, or are working alone, the main thing is that you have something to say!
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