I read a very helpful web page this last week. I wanted to share with you just a bit of what you will see at the site. Here are eleven tips for putting together a podcast as found at KunaLand Productions.
1. A recording made with average quality equipment in a quiet environment will sound better that a recording made with great equipment in a noisy environment.
This will also help in final processing and production. The less extraneous noise you have to work out the more you will enjoy post production and the listeners will be less distracted. I have one podcast that I listen to that sounds like the interviewer is constantly banging the mic around. The interviewee sounds great, but the “controlled environment” of the interviewer needs some work.
2. Try to use a structured format when creating a Podcast. Listeners don’t like bizarre surprises.
Though you don’t have to be totally strict on this, it does really help. There is always the argument that you are not restricted by time nor format in podcasting. While that is true, rarely will you keep your listeners if you start out as a 20 minute structured show and eventually fade into a 1 hour blab fest.
3. Keep your microphone 6-9” away from your mouth and slightly off to one side and you probably won’t need to use a pop-filter. However, if you are using a studio-type condenser microphone you will probably need a pop-filter.
Learn your mic setup. Take some time and get things working well. At the site where these tips come from there are many other instructional type articles that will help you get started in controlling your mic.
4. Recording wav files at greater than a 16-bit depth is a waste of disk drive space. Remember that your show will eventually will be a compressed MP3 file.
Remember that wav files can be huge. While it is true that the better the quality of the original recording will result in a better final MP3, you can hit a point of diminishing returns.
5. Everyone knows that high quality microphone cables are best. However, consider trying the lost cost house brands. You may find that they work well enough and you will save a chunk of money in the process.
There is a reason good cables cost more, but there is also a point where they can become ridiculously expensive. The best thing to do when looking for a cable is take your microphone and recorder to the store with you and test the cable before you buy it. Not all cables are created equal.
6. Compressing your Podcast to 64 Kbps, joint stereo offers the best compromise between file size and sound quality.
Play around with this and experiment on your own. You will be able to hear a poor quality MP3 compression after editing your show. You start to know how the file should sound. If the quality is bad, back off of the compression. If it is still pretty good, then experiment with higher compression rates. There is no reason to put out a 192 kbps stereo MP3 when your show is a single person talking about the joys of living in the Yucatán.
7. Theme music will make your Podcast sound more professional but don’t forget to only use royalty free music.
There are some great places to get theme music. Or you can create your own with tools like Garage Band.
8. Professional broadcasters always edit their pre-recorded shows. If you want to sound professional, do the same.
Edit. Please. Listen to your content and try to decide if it moves the podcast along, or if the information is un-necessary. If it can be cut…cut it. Good audio is just like good writing. Rarely is the first draft the best you can do. Judiciously cut out fluff.
9. Whenever possible, use a microphone stand or boom to hold your microphone.
Try not to touch your mic. If you are doing an interview, hold the mic yourself, do not pass it to the interview subject. You can introduce too much noise. You can also control where the mic is placed in relationship to the speaker.
10. Edit your program using headphones, ear buds or monitor type speakers. Computer speakers are notoriously inaccurate when it comes to sound reproduction.
You will be better able to hear noises that need to be edited out. If you assume that many of your listeners are using headphones/ear buds while listening to your show, you will want to make sure it sounds good in that environment.
11. Compelling content trumps fancy equipment every time.
If you are excited about your content, your audience will be too. If you are not interested in what you have to say, neither will they.
Again, check out Dr. Mike’s site. There are many other good tips and tricks for putting together your own show.