Mindfulness & Podcasting
How to Set Yourself Up For Post-Production Success
05.30.19 | Podcasting | By: Adam Townsell
It’s no secret that the world we live in today is extremely fast-paced, demanding multi-tasking at every turn. There are more sources of work, entertainment, news, and information than there have ever been; we always seem to be rushing from one thing to the next. To paraphrase Master Yoda’s admonishment from Empire Strikes Back, our minds are almost never on where we are or what we are doing. Anyone who is trying to squeeze in producing a podcast (or a few!) to their schedules knows how easy it can be to let things slide.
The concept of mindfulness has been gaining steam lately as a reaction to these issues. The basic idea of mindfulness is to really make an effort to slow down and pay attention to what we’re doing. When we succeed at this, we will often find that we get more out of our experiences and just simply feel better about what we are doing. The same thing applies to producing your podcast; by taking the time to get yourself into the right mindset we can work together to bring your content and quality to the next level!
Conversation vs. Recording
One cornerstone idea for getting into the podcasting mindset is understanding that while most podcasts boil down to people talking, and podcast is much different from an actual, in-person conversation. When thinking back on a past conversation, your mind will likely not remember the points where it meandered aimlessly or the time someone struggled to get their point across, but in a recording, those moments will always be there whenever someone listens.
The good news is that we can do a lot to remove mistakes and distractions from your podcast to make it a smoother, more pleasant experience for your listeners, and you can help set us (and your podcast) up for success in post-production!
Take advantage of the fact that you can prepare for a podcast recording: jot down an outline or simple notes to keep yourself on track and send that to your guests ahead of time if possible. Pay attention to your tone and enunciation; we’ve all experienced the situation in a live conversation where you get tongue-tied trying to say a word, and when you finally get it out you put a bit of extra heavy emphasis on it (as if to say to everyone “yeah, I know I messed that up”). Here at Resonate we can edit out those stumbles and tongue-tied moments, but if the following word is overemphasized it may sound strange and unnatural. That situation can leave you with the no-win choice of having an obvious mistake in your show or having a strange sounding section. Rather than trying to rush through a mistake like that and move on, take a second to acknowledge it, gather your thoughts, and start the sentence over. Make sure that your guests are aware that they can start an answer over or ask a clarifying question if they need to. No one will ever know you did and your final result will be much better for it.
One last tip is to try to avoid talking over each other during the recording process. It may be almost instinctive to comment while someone else is talking, but depending on your recording setup, these kinds of interruptions can prevent edits, or in some cases, damage the other speakers’ voice. If you have questions about how to optimize your recording setup to minimize this issue, a Resonate team member will be happy to discuss with you!
Another way that a podcast recording differs from an in person conversation is the environment. When talking with someone in-person, your mind will automatically ignore the echoey room, that AC hum and the people talking in the hallway. Once those things become part of a recording, however, they are much more noticeable.
While there can always be elements that are out of your control, take a minute to make sure you optimize the environment for your recording. Do you have a particularly loud AC unit? If so, try to turn it off while you’re recording. If you have a pet, set them up outside if possible. Take a moment to check out the room where you will be recording; it may seem silly, but clap your hands and listen to how much of an echo there is. If it seems excessive, move to a quieter room if possible. If you are recording in a room that looks out over a road or parking lot, try to orient your microphones so they will pick up less car noise. These kinds of considerations seem minor on their own but add up to make your recording much higher quality. Remember, the best way to remove that echo/dog barking/airplane/humming sound is not to record it in the first place.
According to the FAA, there are over 43,000 flights within the U.S. every single day. For every one of those flights, the pilot goes through a series of pre-flight checks to make sure everything is good to go. It takes a little time, but it can avert a huge disaster; the same principle applies to your podcast recording. Here at Resonate we have seen several instances where someone has purchased a good quality USB mic to record, plugged it in, and forgot to choose that microphone as the input on their computer. This caused the interview to be recorded by their built-in laptop microphone, leaving them sounding much lower quality than their guest. This kind of error can result in a low quality finished product, or even having to re-record. One last quick check of your recording setup before you start can save you a lot of time and stress.
Take Your Time
The last, overarching tip is also the simplest: Take your time! In this day in age, you don’t have to worry about running out of tape if your recording goes on too long. If you and your guest need to pause for a minute to figure out where the interview is going or even start over, that’s totally fine! Don’t try to rush through questions or shorten answers for the sake of getting done faster. Don’t be afraid to ask a question again or revisit an interesting topic once the conversation has concluded. We can cut out or move sections around for you during editing, and that will be much better than sounding rushed or impatient.
Have some additions to our list or got some feedback you’d like for us to hear? If you want to talk to our team to pick our brains on this idea, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to check out our site, drop us an email or set up a call with a team member.
By: Adam Townsell
Adam earned a BA in Economics with a minor in Music from Berry College in 2010. Adam enrolled in graduate school at Middle Tennessee State University in 2013, graduating with a Master’s in Recording Arts & Technologies in 2016.
As an Audio Engineer, Adam focuses on premium editing services & oversees our team of Audio Editors.