Before we launch 26.1, a new podcast about education, we wanted to teach you how to create your own podcast.
Here is some information about podcasting that I've pulled together:
from Jabez LeBret
There are two main types of podcasts - educational and storytelling.
Within educational are interviews, one person narratives, and in-depth reporting.
With storytelling, there are series, investigative, and entertainment.
Here are a couple of examples anyone can do without a whole production crew:
NPR Style with EO Member: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jabezlebret/2016/05/05/why-you-should-be-integrating-behavioral-science-into-your-marketing
Interview Style: http://rainmaker.fm/audio/link/sean-callahan/
I will cover both as there are some differences in your set up.
These interviews work best, if you can, on-site. The more comfortable people are the more genuine they sound. It also helps with the audio by providing some variance to the sound.
Here is Alex Blumberg's course that I referenced: https://www.creativelive.com/courses/power-your-podcast-storytelling-alex-blumberg
For these interviews, you need the right audio set up. I have used the same system the Planet Money team uses (DR100) but recently I've shifted to the smaller DR40. Either device will work for 98% of those of us who are not recording for a national publication like NPR.
Tascam DR40 - http://a.co/jiXOXQw
Tascam DR 100 - http://tascam.com/product/dr-100/
The DR40 device rocks. Uses an SD card (64MB to 2GB), SDHC card (4GB to 32GB), SDXC card (up to 128GB) so don't try to use anything higher because it won't format. The total recording time with 32gb is around 50 hours. I bring two 32gb SD cards with me.
You will need two lengths of XLR cords: around 3 feet and 15 feet. Don't go cheap on your cords, they actually have a huge impact on the audio quality. I spent about $30 on the short and $100 on the long cord. https://www.guitarcenter.com/Livewire/Advantage-XLR-Microphone-Cable.gc
Audio Technica Condensor Microphone (Shotgun Mic):
This is the one I have http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wired_mics/cae8c23cfe000574/index.html
This is the one I wish I had http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wired_mics/0576da91f00c03db/index.html
These mics record best when pointed directly at the audio source. I use a standard foam cover that comes with the mic. You could spend a ton on a mic, but I think the middle range is best for recording a podcast.
There are two kinds of headphones people use: over the ear and in the ear.
For over the ear get something like this: http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/headphones/f6e3988012a67cd1/index.html
Regular headphones won't work because these mics are very sensitive. If you do not have good headphones you will miss background noise that you could avoid.
Recording Interview NPR Style:
Once you've got your equipment it is time to interview someone. I don't do a pre-interview because I like the candid response. For a special three-part series I am doing this summer I will be conducting pre-interview calls.
Plug your headset into the Tascam.
Tascam Settings: Set the Tascam to mono, left side recording, and plug in your XLR cord to the mic and recorder. On the right side of the Tascam, you will see a dial from 1 - 10. This dial controls your intake sound. As you talk into the mic you will see the audio meter on the front show you how loud you are.
Important - the line on the audiometer is not your target. That is your peak or too loud of audio sound. You should be hitting about 2/3 of the way to the line. Anything over that line is too loud and will sound distorted.
Hit record and you will see a blinking red light. Hit record again and the light will go solid. You are now recording. If you hit pause, and then record again, it will keep going on the same track. If you hit the stop button it will stop that track and start a new track when you hit record.
For narration and interview style recording here is my setup:
Yeti Mic - http://www.bluemic.com/yeti/
Another great mic is the Shure SM7B https://www.guitarcenter.com/Shure/SM7B-Cardioid-Dynamic-Microphone.gc
Even though the Yeti Blue has an xlr microphone plugin, I've found the audio quality to be great with the USB. Much easier to use. The USB just plugs right into the computer
Portable Sound Shield - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GR9W1MS?psc=1
Super important. This is enough to dampen the echo and prevent a hollow room sound.
I mounted the sound shield to my tripod. Any stand would work. The audio shield can also rest on a table or standing desk easily.
Pop Filter - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HBN6T1I?psc=1
This helps cut down the "B" and "P" popping sound. I got the filter that fits best with the Yeti stand. For the stand-up version I just clamp it on the sound shield.
The only thing on this list you can't go cheap on is the microphone for your home. Everything else you can down or up in price. I picked mostly middle of the road. This isn't a recording album, just a podcast.
You could use your shotgun mic at home with your Tascam, but the audio will be challenging because you'll have a ton of background noise. For the rich smooth sound, the above equipment works best.
How I Record:
Personally I just open up GarageBand on my Mac, select voice recording, and hit record. Since I'm trying to keep a conversational tone I don't really edit much after the recording.
If you are looking for a sound editing software an audio engineer just told me about a platform-specific to podcasting and journalist called Hindenburg Audio. https://hindenburg.com/
The Yeti microphone is set to Cardioid (directional) it is a nob on the back of the Yeti that looks like a heart. That causes the audio to be best pointed directly at the side of the mic opposite the nob. It took me a little figuring out what side of the mic I was supposed to talk into. Turns out the side with the volume and mute button face towards your mouth. That means you are talking into the side of the mic.
I put the pop filter about 4 inches from the mic. The mic about 4 inches from the back fo the sound shield.
Recording standing up is best. Your intonation and energy will be higher. That's why all voice overs are done standing. Even some radio folks are recording standing up. It's just better.
I've recorded in my home office (about 12 by 10) and in my dining room which is connected to our kitchen. Can't tell a difference.
Interviews Over VOIP:
The best tool for this is Zencastr https://zencastr.com/
Zoom https://zoom.us is another tool that you can use, although I find the sound quality is higher with Zencastr.
Zencastr records the native audio from each computer and turns that into a blended audio file. Way better than skype or even a landline. I use my Yeti set up plugged into my Mac and log into Zencastr. Works like a charm.
Some friends at NPR pointed me to Report-IT as a great solution if someone needs to call in via cell phone for the interview. http://www.tieline.com/products/G5/Report-IT
Similar to Zencastr, it will record on the person's mobile device a native audio file then upload that file to the cloud. That will cut out any latency or garbled sounds from poor cell reception.