This is not a ‘how to edit a podcast’ post.
I have written this from the perspective of what are your expectations from podcast editing.
Do you expect miracles?
Whether you are editing your own audio (is that a wise use of your time?) or someone else edits your audio, there are a few things that can make the process a whole lot simpler and quicker.
I am also writing this from the perspective of a ‘typical’ podcast created by a solopreneur, or a couple of friends or business partners, on a niche subject, usually as part of an overall platform building, social media, marketing content creation tool. I am NOT talking about those high production podcasts produced by the major broadcasting networks, and the BBC, or ‘famous’ content creators. They have teams of audio engineers and experts working on those types of podcasts. So let’s set our expectations accordingly, OK?
Firstly what is the ‘right’ level of audio quality for your podcast?
The best guide is that it needs to be good enough that your listeners are not thinking about the audio quality. If the host sounds better than the guests then that’s fine. As a host you should make your sound quality as best as you can – it’s your show, and you have to make the effort to get the best results. Guests however, may well have varied equipment, and varied experience in having their audio recorded, and most listeners will be tolerant of those facts.
Ums and Ahs and Silences
It really isn’t necessary to remove every single um and ah. In fact the more bits and pieces that are taken out, the less ‘normal’ it sounds. Our brains are really skilled at making sense of the stuff that we hear. Think about how odd a word for word transcription sounds when you read it yet it makes sense whilst listening to it. If there are long pauses then yes that can be annoying, but they can be quickly shortened by a function in audio editing software. Be aware that gaps in speech make it sound normal, and if you remove them entirely then the speech begins to sound stilted and automatic – unnatural.
What if a mistake is made while speaking?
By planning ahead, even mistakes can be made easier to remove. If you or a guest makes an error in what is being said, and want to correct it, it is easier to stop and be silent for a second or two and then to repeat the whole phrase or sentence. It’s easier and therefore quicker to cut out a sentence rather than having to cut up a sentence to remove the mistake and then add in the corrected word(s). The less editing there is to do, the quicker it is and typically it will cost you less money! If you can make a quick note of the time stamp when potential problems occurred, it makes it much quicker for the editor to find them and check them out.
Be aware of background noise
Sound levels can be leveled out and some background noise can be quickly removed in the editing process but again don’t expect miracles. Thinking ahead before you and your guest begins the recording can greatly improve the general audio quality, and greatly reduce the amount of editing needed to TRY and improve the audio quality if there are problems. Traffic, barking dogs, air conditioning, garden machinery, hoovering, and so on and so on, are the daily annoyances of the podcast host and podcast editor alike. We can’t always do much about them but at least shut windows and plan around regular noise hazards as best you can. It might not always be possible to remove sounds like that afterwards.
Oh and that annoying echo in Skype caused by feedback between speakers and microphone – that is almost impossible to remove. Wearing a headset or earbuds and microphone is always the best idea.
How long should it take to edit a podcast episode?
Well firstly how long is it and what are your expectations for what needs editing. A half hour episode should not have hours spent editing it. Do a quick tidy up of annoyances, fix the obvious problems (if you can), and add in the ‘standard’ pieces that are included with each episode – your intro & outro, your music, any other items such as a reminder of something, or a call to action – whatever you have included within your show in addition to the recorded audio.
Trying to do it yourself?
If you are trying to edit your audio yourself, then if you Google ‘how to edit a podcast’ beware that there are a whole range of resources from very basic to highly complex. It is easy to get bogged down if you expect that audio editing will perform miracles, and if you don’t set your editing expectations clearly at the start . A small amount of forethought and preparation can reduce a massive amount of editing and angst.
Want someone else to do it?
If you want to outsource your podcast editing, there are similar considerations. You need to clearly establish your expectations, plan how much editing you want to be done, and to what standard, so that you know what type of resource you are going to employ, and how much you want to, or need to, budget to get it done to your levels of expectation. Again, it’s worth saying that the more you plan and get organised, typically the less audio editing will be required.
If this all sounds like detail driven nightmares for you…
Then why not just pass it all over to me to deal with. I will support you to improve your audio quality, leaving you to just ‘Turn Up & Talk!’ Contact me to arrange a no-strings discovery chat to find out how I can help you make progress with your podcast.