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Podcasting 102

Recording your show By Stephen Schleicher

Now that you have had some time to explore the world of Podcasting ( see Podcasting 101 ), you are ready to do your own show.  But where do you start?  How do you record your own show?  In this installment, Stephen Schleicher talks about some of the ways you can get your wonderful voice into a file ready for podcasting.

As I discussed in Podcasting 101, there is not magic or mystery involved in podcasting.  If you have a way of recording your voice preferably directly into your computer you can convert it into a MP3 file.

No Computer, No Problem!
Just because you dont have a way of recording your show directly into your computer doesnt mean you cant podcast.  Your best bet in this situation is to get a MP3 recorder.  On the cheap(er) end of the spectrum is the Olympus DM-1 Digital Voice Recorder.  This small recorder is great for note taking and simple voice recording.  Because it records in the MP3 format on a SmartMedia card, when you are done with your show, just transfer the file to your computer and upload it to your web server.  It does have a mini jack for connecting a microphone, but this recorder is best for down and dirty podcasting ala ?Hungry Joes Crack House Ho Down, or for posting interviews youve done at a trade show or convention.  Because the unit is small, whipping it out during a Q&A is easy.

If you want to step up to dedicated recorders, you might want to jump up to the Marantz PMD-670 Digital Recorder.  This unit accepts XLR connects for connecting two mics, records in multiple formats (MP3 being one of them), and does a very good job of reproducing sound.  This type of unit can be found in radio news operations, independent film, and of course in the hands of podcasters.  With the two input jacks, two microphones can be set up for a nice sit down interview.  The Fort Hays State University Podcast uses the Marantz PMD-670 exclusively for the interviews in their show, and it does a very good job.  All audio is recorded to a Compact Flash Card, which can then be transferred to your computer for upload via the USB cable or directly from the card.

Simple Mic, Simple Software
A simple microphone and some audio production software allows you to record directly into your computer, and if you mess up, you can edit it later.

There are many wonderful software applications available for recording, editing, and exporting your podcast on both platforms.

Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/)
Audacity is a free, open source, easy to use application for recording and editing that is available for Windows, MacOS, and GNU/Linux.  With Audacity you can record live audio (your voice), edit sounds (for dropping in those wacky drops), mix sound (add a music bed), and of course export the file as an MP3.  I have only used Audacity a few times, but have been extremely impressed with the capabilities of this application.  Best of all it is free!  While podcasting is breaking into the mainstream, underground guerilla recording methods ensure everyone can partake in this niche medium.

Adobe Audition (www.adobe.com)
Ive been in a lot of radio stations lately that have been using Adobe Audition for recording and editing commercials, news stories, voice tracking and more.  Audition offers advanced mixing and editing capabilities not found in some other applications. 

Ive used Audition for a couple of years and have been pleased with its ease of use.  Within 30 minutes, most people familiar with editing digital audio will be able to figure this program out.  At $300 it may be a little pricey for the low budget podcasting connoisseur, but if you are hoping to do a quality show, it may be worth it to drop the dough for the editing and mixing capabilities.  With the filters and effects you can apply, you can clean up dirty audio in a snap.


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