Balticon 47 Wrap up – Part 12, Podcast Editing

by Doc Coleman on August 19, 2013 · 4 comments

in Balticon

Time once more for another episode of the Balticon 47 Wrap up. We’re continuing with the theme of narration and voice acting again this week by looking at the art of Podcast Editing. This is the art of transforming raw audio into podcast gold. Or, how not to sound like you’re working from a home studio, even though you are. This panel was moderated by Chris Snelgrove, and features panelists Hugh O’Donnell, P.C. Haring, P.G. Holyfield, and Chris Lester.

Chris starts us out with our panelists talking about their biggest podcasting pitfalls and how they dealt with them. We then look at the panelists’ history with audio, from those who were completely self-taught all the way up to a panelist who was formally educated in communications and broadcast media, but then turned to podcasting when he couldn’t get a job in the field. But no matter where or how you got your start, it is possible to get a professional sound at a consumer price.

There are many different audio tools available, from Apple’s Garage Band, to Audacity, all the way up to semi-pro applications like Reaper and Ardor, and professional-grade applications such as Apple’s Logic. And if you’re having trouble getting started, there are plenty of tutorials out there, including those available from a 7 day free trial at Lynda.com.

Whichever tool you choose, make sure you’ve chosen a non-destructive tool that does not actually change your original audio files. In any case, be sure to back up your original audio in case of unforeseen disasters. It is always good to have a backup of your raw audio, and multiple backups are preferred.

When you’re recording, be sure to record more takes than you think you’ll need. This will give you much more to work with if you discover that you have mistakes or sound artifacts in your original recording that make a particular take unusable. With multiple takes you can pick and choose among the best of what you’ve recorded. While some things can be fixed in post-production, there is no substitute for getting the recording right and having that take to work with.

Another important consideration is balancing levels between different voices. While you can balance things by hand in your digital audio workstation, there are some handy tools that will help balance those sounds across your entire track. One of these tools is Levelator, another is Auphonic. These each give you different amounts of control, and sometimes result in files that are worse than the original, but they can also save problem audio.

There is a ton of useful information in this episode, as well as anecdotes from the panelists on how they’ve dealt with various problems in the past. You’ll probably want to listen to this panel multiple times to get the most out of the information presented.

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