17 5 / 2013
Here’s what it looks like when it comes to editing my (semi-badly recorded) Podcast episodes.
When I first heard 5by5/Mule’s podcasts, i was really impressed by the audio quality of their shows, since like many of you, i had a feeling that “Podcast is by amateurs and audio is mediocre at best”. I was blown away.
So I did a little bit of research before starting my show, because I wanted to make it sound good too. Jason Snell’s article on MacWorld explains the current method of my recording.
Skype, Everyone Records, GarageBand
The tl;dr for that is, I use Skype Call Recorder to record both my audio and guest(s) on Skype, on separate tracks. It’s great that it records my audio locally, not via Skype, so it’s a direct input from my Mic.
I ask guests to record their local audio using QuickTime too and send files after recording. Then I synchronize them with Skype’s recorded audio, then discard the Skype audio file.
Now I get everyone’s locally recorded audio, on separate tracks on GarageBand, and I only need to edit when there’re murmuring or conflicts, etc. In Theory.
I’m often asked how long it takes to edit the show - if the show is one hour, it usually takes 2 to 3 hours.
Microphone and Headphones
Recent episodes needed a little bit more of my editing work than previously - this is not to particularly blame anyone but the technologies/hardware, because it’s a mere audio leak on other’s ends.
Basically when I speak, my voice leaks on the guest’s track because their mic picks up the audio from the earpiece, and makes an echo/delay sound effect that I need to cancel out. That leads to the chaotic GarageBand editing shown earlier. Noise gate works to cancel that, but it also cancels the valid voice and i avoid doing it.
I ask everyone to use headphone/earphone, but sometimes the microphone is too close to them, or the headphone is not solid enough and leak audio from there. It doesn’t seem to happen to everyone (which is good), so it should definitely be related to the combination/setup of the microphone and headphones.
In terms of not leaking audio, Over-the-ear Headphones should be the best, but unless you have a microphone with monitoring capabilities (like Yeti :D), it might be difficult to hear what you speak while speaking.
I guess this is one of the difficulties of doing the show with irregular guests, since we can’t ask guests to invest some money on microphones/headphones, which I would if I do recurring/fixed guests :)
Here’s a simple thing: don’t use Apple’s iPhone headset. Its audio isn’t bad, but it picks up a lot from its earpiece, and makes a big noise when touched with your clothes. Speaking of Apple, Macbook Pro Retina’s dual USB microphone is fantastic, assuming you don’t have a big ambient noise.
Also, some of the Japanese podcast shows I listen to have severe audio quality issues (although I’m not sure if they read this in English ;p) - Just don’t record the show in a cafe/restaurant with big ambient noise. Also, double your bitrate and make a mono MP3, rather than low bitrate stereo files.
Anyway this was my current setup. For the latest episode 11 where we talked about Google I/O, we also experimented with the live streaming with Mixlr. I will explain the setup about it (pretty simple if you have a spare Mac mini) later if you’re interested :)