5 tips for aspiring podcasters
At In Two the Dungeon we began our podcast adventure just over a year ago. Despite both of us having experience in the music industry, recording albums and playing live gigs, we had never attempted to record a podcast. Before we began, we read articles and did some research which helped us hit the ground running. Still, there are somethings we wish we would have known when we started. These 5 tips are a mix of things we learned from others, and things we learned the hard way by making mistakes.
1.More to gain with less gain The hardest lesson we learned was the issue of mic bleed. Whilst we both have experience in the music industry, we both play guitar and bass and had no prior experience of working with mics. Mic bleed is essentially when sound is picked up by a microphone from a source other than the one intended. For us it was a case of both mics picking up both our voices. This made vocals sound "echoey" and it was hard to make them sound good post recording. Unfortunately we only realised this after we had recorded 10 episodes. This meant we had to go in and manually remove the unwanted mic bleed from both tracks which was a significantly time consuming endeavour, and one that is easily avoided with three simple measures.
If you are experiencing mic bleed make sure that the gain on your recording interface (the volume at which the mic records) is not set too high. If it is, turn it down and get closer to the mic when you record.
Good mic technique goes hand in hand with the above. By speaking clearly and purposefully in to the mic you can afford setting the gain lower on your mic input resulting in a cleaner and crisper sound.
If room space is not an issue try to separate the mics you are using as much as possible to help prevent mic bleed. You might need to do some test recordings to find your perfect levels, and when you do, take note to always use the same setup. This will really help with the sound of your vocals by giving you a consistent sound and saving you a lot of painful post recording editing in the process.
2.Learn to use your audio editing software before you edit We use Audacity a free cross platform audio editing software to edit our podcast. When we started we had a general grasp of how the program worked as we had used it to record but never to edit or master audio. As a result we spent far too many hours manually cutting out long silences between vocals for the first 10 episodes only to realise after watching a video on audacity's top plugins, that there is a inbuilt way in audacity to cut all silences using a plug in called truncate silence. This helped reduce our editing time substantially and we still kick ourselves to this day for not having realised earlier. Just make sure you select all mic tracks together before running truncate so that you get a consistent result. The above is just one personal example of why we think it is important to at least learn the basics of the editing software you intend to use by watching YouTube tutorials or reading blogs such as this one. We are sure you will learn a trick or two that will save you a lot of time down the road. 3.Soften your recording space A recurring piece of advice we came across was to "soften," the room you are recording in. This will help with the natural reverb of the room and will ensure that the audio from your recording is of a better quality. In turn this will make it easier to get to the sound you desire when editing and mastering your vocals. We all dream of having a professional studio setup with proper soundproofing and softening but if your budget is small there are other ways you can achieve the same result. Here is a list of some ideas for you to try:
Curtains covering windows.
Suitcases full of clothes placed around the room.
Carpets / rugs to prevent sound reflection from the floor.
Clothes racks with clothes, quilts or blankets hanging off them.
Soft toys / plushies places around the room.
Empty egg cartons on walls to dampen sound.
With the exception of the egg cartons, all the above are solutions that are easy to set up and clear away after your recording session if you don’t have a permanent space to record in. At In Two the Dungeon, we record in Nich's laundry room which we set up on recording days and clear up after. We soften the room by using a rug under the table we use; fill the washer and dryer with cloths; place cushions and large plushies around the room; place table cloths on the tables we use; and hang a yoga mat from the laundry cupboard. We've noticed a great difference in the audio quality of our recordings since employing these simple everyday items in our recording space, and are confident you will too. If you think of any others let us know in the comments below. 4.Build a cushion for when life gets pushing. This is especially important if you intend to stick to a weekly release schedule whilst also recording weekly. It is generally recommended that you record and edit a good amount of episodes before you launch your podcast; We recorded 10 and launched 3 from the get go which gave us a cushion of 7 weeks; ultimately it is up to you to determine how much of a cushion you would like or are comfortable with. Having a good number of episodes ready to go prior to launching will help you keep to your weekly release schedule when life's inevitable obstacles get in the way. This allows you to miss a week or two of recording / editing if you are ill, have a family event, or work commitments. If you ever cut too much into your cushion you can always rebuild it by recording twice a week to get back up to a healthy number which will afford you some much needed assistance when life throws you a curve ball. 5.A good plan today is better than a perfect one tomorrow. This is true to a lot of aspects of life and it is something that both of us at In Two the Dungeon struggle with as at times we can be too perfectionist. The bad news is that your podcast, especially the first episodes, will never be perfect; the good news is that it does not have to be. Don't put off launching your podcast because you are not 100% happy with it. We learn best by doing and learning as we go along; the more we practice recording, editing and podcasting in general the better we become at it. Therefore if your podcast has a good sound and you are happy with the content release and keep growing. We never stop learning, and with time and experience your show can always get better. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ So there you have them, 5 of our best tips from a long list of lessons we have learned along the way. Hope these help you in your podcasting journey. If you’ve enjoyed this article, please give us a listen on your podcaster player of choice, and consider supporting us on www.buymeacoffee.com/i2td. Here you can make a one-off donation by buying us a potion which will appear in game along with a shout-out, or you can join the adventure and influence the stories we tell by purchasing a magical item which will also appear in game. If you don’t already, we’d also love for you to follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again soon as we delve in two the dungeon! – Nich and Al