Podcasting Guide

This guide is designed to give users a background on podcasting, and information on upcoming workshops. Information here supports what is learned in the workshops.

Preparing to Record

Environmental considerations:
  • Room size: the smaller the better (less echoes and possibility for background noise)
  • Environment: find rooms made of materials that don't reflect sound (carpet vs. tile or stone, avoid glass/brick as well).
  • Environmental sounds: think about the space in proximity to noisy things like refrigerators, HVAC systems, laundry, dishwashers, traffic, and your own laptop's computer cooling system.
Tips for working with ambient noise:
  • Do a test recording of the silence in your room before you record audio, so you can hear what noises are there that you may just be used to.
  • To mitigate ambient noise, try using a reflection filter or adjusting your mouth's distance from the microphone.
Testing your Equipment:
  • Microphone should be about 8 inches away from your mouth.
  • Place the pop filter (if you are using one) about halfway between the mic and your mouth.
  • Set your sound levels. If you test and the levels shoot to the red, adjust.
  • Do a dummy recording. This will help you get used to the feeling of speaking into the mic and what dampens your volume or amplifies it.

Use this time to become familiar with the recording equipment and software before bringing in guests!

General recording tips:
  • Take breaks!
  • Drink water.
  • Stand to help prevent sounding breathless.
  • Don't interject sounds while your guest is speaking.
  • Keep your mouth a consistent distance from the microphone.

Now it's time to record! Have fun!

Preparation for interview podcasts

Will there be guests?
  • Don't have too many, as it can be hard for the listener to track who is talking.
  • Multiple guests can also make scheduling a recording challenging.
Decide whether you are going to send questions to the guests ahead of time.
  • Note that doing this may lead to rehearsed answers.
  • Consider sharing an outline instead of specific questions for a more natural sounding interview.
Have a topic or theme so guests can prepare.
  • Often your guests will be experts so they're likely expecting to talk about that area of expertise, but a topic/theme is still a general courtesy to provide.
  • You can ask them to bring talking points as well, in case they have specific facts, ideas, or thoughts they want to share with your listeners.
Make sure your guests know you'll be editing the recording.
  • Later, you can share with them which questions or answers had to be cut for time.
  • You can also let them know, if you'd like, that you'll be editing out ticks like "um" and "uh."
  • In general, try to edit for time rather than content, so as to not take their statements out of context.
  • Allow your guests to hear the recording before publication in case you misinterpret something they said in your editing process.

Keep your outline on hand! A little rambling and traveling off topic is okay, but remember to steer back -- that'll make less for you to edit out in the later steps!

Preparation for storytelling podcasts

Have at least one other person edit the script.
  • Sometimes what sounds good in your head doesn't translate to other readers/listeners.
  • This can also catch any plot holes, flow problems, or other storytelling hiccups.
Do a table read.
  • This allows everyone to read their parts as they would record them. You may make edits at this point as well depending on how things sound coming from the actors' mouths.
  • You can also adjust for flow, tone, timing, and other issues that your actors or yourself may notice.
  • Use this time to make sure your script fits within the limits of how long your episode will be.
Make notes about sound effects or foley work.
  • Often, storytelling podcasts need sound effects to supplement the words. Consider whether or not you need to record these sound effects yourself ("foley" work), or if you can find recordings online.
  • Take notes as you go through the script so you can find or later record these effects in the editing stages.

Remember to have fun! If you're enjoying yourself, it'll show in your work and your listeners will enjoy themselves, too.

Last Updated: Nov 29, 2023 3:06 PM