We recently had to record a podcast as part of my MA studies. Considering I’ve already spent a bit of time thinking about gamification I decided to delve a little deeper into the subject during the podcast and have included it here. The rest of this post discusses the trials and tribulations of the podcast recording process.
I listen to hundreds of hours of podcasts each year on a broad range of subjects, from politics and history, to mixed martial arts and pro-wrestling. One common quality they all share however, is a high production quality. When trying out a new podcast, if I can tell that the podcast has been recorded over Skype on cheap microphones or hear any awkward dead air, I will have lost interest before the opening credits have finished. While I’m no audio engineer, the huge amounts of podcasting content freely available has made it possible to be quite snobby about audio quality. Audio recording equipment has, in general, become more accessible with cheaper entry points and simpler software so lower quality becomes less forgivable.
That said, recording my own podcast provided a tiny glimpse into the feats of audio engineering that go into good quality productions. I used Adobe Premiere to create my podcast even though it is primarily geared towards video creation as I am more familiar with the interface. Using it to normalise peak audio levels and adjust gain across different audio clips to avoid loud bursts of volume took more time than imagined, and highlights the kind of work required to create multi-participant podcasts interspersed with audio effects into sharp relief!
Creating a script and recording my own voice also brought back memories of the French audio recordings I had to organise when I previously worked in Gill as managing editor for secondary school titles. 2 CDs worth of tracks with roughly eight French speakers had to be recorded all in one day. Speaker selection, script creation, adjustments on the day and track title and number recordings made for a hectic schedule. Managing speaker performance, providing regular breaks and attempting to defuse fits of giggles in the recording booth also meant that there was quite a lot of conducting required.
This project reminded me of the elements I really enjoyed about the process. I don’t have the budget to start purchasing microphone stands, pop screens and pre-mixers, but there are budget microphones for under €100 that can go quite a long way. As soon as I find a willing recording partner, I may start recording a regular podcast myself!