Podcast Editing Tricks
Part 1 – Tips & Tricks for Editing Your Podcast
09.13.17 | Podcasting | By: Dayton Cole
Podcast editing can be a grueling, tedious task, especially if you or your guest are not comfortable as public speakers. Getting tongue tied, long pauses, stutters, and false starts are just a few of the things that cause distractions and interruptions to the listener. Some people prefer to not edit their podcast because they prefer a more “authentic feeling podcast” but it is really hard–if not painful–for the listener for the reasons stated above. But you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater! When editing is done correctly, you won’t even notice that a podcast has been edited. The goal of editing is to remove the things that may be distracting for your listeners, not to make you sound like a robot.
In this post, we’ll help you identify several common editing mistakes and also provide some tips for how to make sure your editing goes unnoticed and you are left with an authentic and quality sounding podcast.
Podcast Editing Trick 1: Watch your tone!
One of the biggest editing mistakes is when there is a sudden shift in tone of the voice. Editing together two different segments of audio or merging different sentences together can be tricky. Not only can there be a change in the tone of the voice, but also a change in volume and a change in background noise or room tone. Another thing to listen for is room reverberation and echo. Sudden cuts at the end of phrases can prevent the natural room reverberation, so it’s best to listen for the end of the room decay before making an edit or cut.
Podcast Editing Trick 2: Spatial Awareness
Pacing and space are crucial for the overall feel of a podcast. Too much space can sound awkward and unnatural, which can easily disengage the listener. Too little space can make the dialogue sound too choppy and confusing to follow. Finding a natural flow and feel to the conversation is extremely important in creating a well-edited podcast. Space can be utilized to create a pause between different segments to help the listener digest what they just heard. Adding space or a breath between edit points can be beneficial to making a smoother edit and transition.
Podcast Editing Trick 3: Just Breathe
Another common mistake is cutting off breaths too abruptly or missing breaths altogether when making an edit. Cut off breaths occur when a breath is chopped off or incomplete. Missing breaths occur when a breath is edited out due to two different segments being put together. Double breaths can also be a problem when editing. This happens when there are two breaths back to back. All of these errors cause the dialogue to sound unnatural and choppy. When looking at audio waveforms, breaths can be difficult to spot because they are so much lower in volume compared to other parts of dialogue. To make it easier to spot breaths we recommend increasing the size of the waveforms in your DAW.
Podcast Editing Trick 4: Mind your F’s and H’s
In addition to clipped breaths, cutting off consonants can be an audio editing mistake. Common consonants include ‘S’ ‘F’ and ‘H.’ ‘S’ consonants on a waveform can be easy to spot because they look like little footballs. However, the consonants ‘F’ and ‘H’ can be more difficult to see and are often more subtle. When editing different takes together, a consonant can be a great place to make your edit because there is typically minimal tonal differences between consonants.
Podcast Editing Trick 5: Music to one’s ears
Even though dialogue makes up over 90% of podcast content, it is also important to pay attention to editing music. Music in podcasts typically serves as an intro/outro and as a transitional element within podcasts to give the listeners a break. However, bad music edits can be very noticeable and distracting. One of the most common mistakes in music editing is when the tempo and flow of the music fluctuates due to a bad edit. This can be avoided by finding a good loop point in the music where the elements are fairly static and lining up two transient points in the waveform. The best transient points to use in music are often percussive elements such as kick drum and snare. Be careful not to cut other musical phrases short like guitar parts, piano, synth, vocals, etc. Long fades can also be useful for music transitions to give the listener a heads up as to what is about to come.
Check out part 2 of this series Podcast Editing Tips here.
If you have questions about editing or would like us to professionally edit your podcast, contact us through the form below:
- How to Record a Podcast
- Podcast Editing: Part 2 – Tips & Tricks
- Planning Your Podcast
- Creating Podcast Cover Art
By: Dayton Cole
As Lead Mixing Engineer at Resonate Recordings, Dayton oversees the audio editing and mixing process for many entertaining podcasts. When Dayton is not mixing and mastering audio he enjoys making tacos with his wife in their home in Louisville, KY.