Recording audio and podcasts
Podcasts are audio or video files available on the internet and usually involving a series of episodes. They are an increasingly popular way to tell stories, and share people’s experiences, events and opinions. You can listen to them any time – cooking, walking, resting.
Podcasts are great for people who are blind or have low vision. They can provide entertainment, education, marketing and advocacy. It’s cheap to create and you don’t need many tools or equipment to get started.
Podcasts come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some examples of different podcast formats.
The interview: A formal interview with prepared questions that the guest answers. It can involve a lot of preparation to organise.
The conversation: There’s less pre-planning as the format is relaxed. The conversational chemistry is important so choose your guest/s wisely.
The educational podcast: this requires research and is generally more scripted. It can help you build authority for your organisation though some topics may be hard to grasp without visuals.
The solo podcast: Where you have to carry the entire conversation but you can work on your own schedule and timeline.
Some podcasting tips
- Use specialist equipment: you can record a podcast with your laptop microphone but the sound will be poor. You’ll need a few pieces of equipment to record professional and clear audio. Read about podcast equipment
- Remember to warm up. Practise your script or try saying a few tongue twisters. A good warm-up will improve your dictation and keep you from stumbling over your words. It’s also a good idea to stay hydrated as this will lessen mouth sounds being recorded by the microphone.
- Record in a small, quiet room. This will reduce outside noise and echoes. Shut your windows and doors and turn off any machines or devices that produce constant noise. Fill the room with soft items (e.g. couches, pillows, carpet) that absorb sound.
- Use proper microphone techniques. Place the microphone at the same height as your mouth and then sit a few inches back from the pop filter (read about the pop filter). If you don’t have a pop filter, you can fix a pencil to the microphone with a rubber band. This will reduce the chance of the microphone picking up any plosives and sibilance.
- Watch your recording levels. Keep your microphone distance consistent and monitor the volume levels while you record. Most recording software displays your levels as a scale from green, yellow to red. Keep your volume in the green section. Stay out of the red section or your sound will be distorted.
- Don’t forget about the content. The cleanest, most professional sounding recording is all for nothing if it doesn’t contain engaging content. In addition to focusing on your technique, don’t forget to spend time on understanding what makes a podcast episode interesting. Read about creating engaging content
- Make sure you provide transcripts of each episode for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. You can use software such as Descript to help speed up the transcription process.