These guidelines include some useful tips for recording and editing podcasts or audio lectures with a single presenter.
- Think about the room you’re recording in. Can you go somewhere quieter?
- Will you be reading from a script, notes, or talking freely?
- Use Apple Earpods/a headset/clip on mic over an integrated laptop mic.
- Use Adobe Audition to record and edit audio.
- If you stumble, go back and repeat the sentence. It is easy to cut out mistakes as long as you have a good take.
- Everybody hates the sound of their own voice.
Take a minute to listen to the sounds in the room that you’re recording in. Is there a bad echo? Is the door open? Can you hear other people’s voices? Is there machinery? All of these things will affect the sound of your recording.
Ideally find a small, comfortable, quiet room with the doors and windows closed to record in.
If you’re reading from a script, make sure it’s comfortable for you to read it whilst talking into the microphone.
Remember that any mouse clicks or shuffling papers will be picked up by the microphone, especially if they are closer to the mic than your mouth is. Consider stopping speaking while you turn pages and editing it out in the mix.
From home, I recommend wearing Apple Earpods or some other headset or clip on mic to record. They’re not super high quality, but they are designed for recording voices and they hang close to your mouth. This will reduce room noise/echo and make background noise much less audible than if you use the built-in mic in your computer.
Adobe Audition can look intimidating to start with, but actually for single voice speech it is very simple to record and edit. This video demonstrates how to simplify the view, make sure you’re recording from the right source, and start your recording.
Cutting is how you remove the bits of audio that you don’t want, and it’s really easy to do.
- [spacebar] plays and stops playback
- Drag and drop time envelopes using the mouse
- [delete] or [backspace] deletes the selected envelope
- [ctrl]+[Z] or [command]+[Z] is the undo function
Don’t be afraid to delete sections to see how it sounds. You can always undo mistakes, and the original unedited recording will exist no-matter what you do. This video demonstrates navigating and cutting your audio file, and exporting your edited project.
Don’t over edit
Once you understand how to edit it’s easy to obsess over removing every “um” or pause, but remember that this is just the way you speak, and keeping some of it can help the recording sound natural.
A good rule of thumb is to only cut out audio that interrupts the flow and makes what you’re saying more difficult to understand.
Also, everyone hates the sound of their own voice. Just try not to worry about it.
You can export audio as .wav or .mp3 depending on how you want to use it. For podcasting, mp3 will be good enough quality and a manageable file size. Wav files have lossless quality, but they take up approximately 30 megabytes per minute of audio which can quickly become huge.
Further thoughts for podcasts
These guidelines specifically refer to a podcast with only one speaker. If you want to record an interview or a conversation, you need to start thinking much more carefully about mic position, and whether you need multiple microphones to make the recording sound natural.
A good example of the challenges of this is recording a phone or online conversation. Although it’s possible to record audio directly from a web chat, in practise this audio might cut out at random, it will have varying quality, a lot of background noise and could present problems in editing.
A good solution to this is for each person to record themselves separately from the call, for example on their phones, and to mix those audio files together. This is more complicated than mixing a single source, but it’s something that Audition can handle easily, and the Digital Learning team can help with at firstname.lastname@example.org.