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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Podcasting 101

IDEA Lab Workshops

Once you are happy with your writing, it's time to record

This step will require lots of practice, so have patience and make sure you build in enough time to get comfortable with the technology and software

 

The software you use to record your podcast can change depending on the context of the situation. If you find yourself needing to record on the fly, you may even end up using voice memos on your phone. An interview-style podcast may require something different than a storytelling-style. The IDEA Lab has a few recommendations, but we encourage you to check out what's out there and decide which software fits your needs.

  • GarageBand (free on Mac/iOS)
  • Audacity (free download on Windows/PC and Mac/iOS)
  • Adobe Audition (free from UIUC WebStore for anyone with a NetID login)
  • Zoom can be a great platform for recording remote interviews!

What is important to know is that audio editing can often be the most time-consuming part of producing a podcast. The better recording you have, the less work there is to do on the backend to edit. It is good practice to be intentional about where you record and to do what you can to ensure your recording is of good quality from the start.

Things to consider when finding a place to record:

  • A smaller room will be better than a larger room. Smaller rooms are less likely to echo or contain background noise.
  • Find a room that's made of materials that don't reflect sound. Carpet will be better than tile, and try to avoid glass, brick, or stone.
  • Think about the entire building around you. Try to avoid being near anything noisy, like a refrigerator, laundry, dishwasher, traffic, water heater, or HVAC system.

The reflection shield included in the kit should cut down a fair amount of background noise. If you are finding that extra noise is unavoidable in your space, you can try adjusting your distance from the microphone to mitigate the noise some.

Testing Sound

Before you record, you need to test the equipment to ensure it is working properly and delivering the sound you want. Before you test the sound of your own audio, do a quick test recording of the silence in the room. See if there are any of those pesky background noises being caught by the mic that you might have missed because you're used to them. Do what you can to reconfigure your set-up if needed.

Next, you'll want to do a dummy recording of yourself talking. This helps you get used to the microphone and the feel of recording, but it also allows you to check the levels of your volume. If you are entering the red, you need to turn the gain on your mic down. 

For the best sound, your mouth should be about 8 inches away from the microphone. You'll want to place the pop filter about halfway between the mic and your mouth. Be sure to keep a consistent distance throughout the entire recording.

Tips & Tricks

  • Save your recording to a back-up location.
  • Take care of yourself and take breaks when you need to.
  • Make sure you're drinking water.
  • If sitting isn't comfortable for you, try standing while you record.
  • Be mindful of the distance between your mouth and the mic – keep it consistent.
  • Remember, if you're bored, your audience will be bored! Have fun with this!

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