Silence can be golden, especially in fiction podcasts, well-being/self-help podcasts, and some interviews, especially if your topic is very serious. However, silence is not something you want a lot of if your podcast uses a talk-show format. Of course, there will always be some dead air if you record a roundtable debate. Your goal during the editing phase is to get rid of as much dead air as possible. Just be careful not to trim too tightly; your rhythm will end up feeling unnatural if you don’t give your speakers time to breathe.
Beds and Credits
A good intro, beds (sound tracks), and credits are things you can add to your podcast to make it more interesting and dynamic and to help give it some personality. But there are a few things to keep in mind when you edit them in.
Bed/voice balance: be very careful not to drown out the speakers with music or sound effects. You might need to adjust the volume throughout the episode; manually balance out the sections where you have music and speaking at the same time.
Credits: this section can be a little louder than the rest of the episode, but not by much! If your listeners play two of your podcasts back to back, you don’t want to give them an unpleasant surprise when the beginning of the second episode is much louder than the end of the first one. Also, be sure to keep this section fairly short and sweet. You want to entice potential listeners to give your podcast a try, not scare them away with a long-winded opening. We recommend sticking to 20 seconds max.
Mono vs. Stereo Sound?
Unless you’re producing a fiction podcast and want to create an immersive experience for your listener, you don’t need to use stereo sound for podcasting. Think about your listeners who might turn on your podcast before bed, with just one earbud in. It would be a shame for these people to miss out on half of your content, or the answers to your interview questions, all because you chose to separate your tracks. That’s just an example, but in general, remember that people rarely listen to podcasts in optimal environments (while running, driving, or cleaning, to name a few). So, if your podcast’s format doesn’t really need stereo sound, stick with mono.
Audio Post-Production with Auphonic
If you are looking for a program that can do your basic sound processing for you, Auphonic is a great choice. You can do things like add metadata to your podcast and convert it to lots of different formats with whatever sample rate you want. But Auphonic’s nicest features (for podcasters, at least) are its four different audio processing algorithms: Adaptive Leveler, Loudness Normalization, Filtering, and Noise and Hum Reduction.
- Adaptive Leveler: Balances the disparity in sound levels between different speakers, music and voice.
- Loudness Normalization: Creates consistency in the perceived loudness of your podcast by compressing the loudest sounds.
- Filtering: Locates sounds with the lowest signal to eliminate unwanted noise.
- Noise and Hum reduction: Isolates background noise to remove it.
Once you’ve chosen, all you have to do is click “Start Production” and let Auphonic do the rest. You’ll get an email when your file is ready for download. The first two hours of audio each month are free, but if that’s not enough you can sign up for a paid plan (starting from $11/month for 9 hours of audio, and up to 100 hours for $89).
Eliminating Vocal Tics
“Um’s” and “uh’s”—these vocal tics are every audio producer’s biggest enemy and can be quite the challenge to eliminate from your vocabulary. So, why not “cheat” and get rid of them when you edit your podcast? It would be hard to remove every single instance, but cutting a few will make your recording sound much more professional and easier to listen to.
Focus on the ones that appear when someone begins to speak or those that are particularly long and drawn out. To make the most natural removal possible, fade out your clip right before the sound you want to get rid of, cut the “um,” and fade back in right after.
Have you edited your episode to perfection? Now it’s time to share your project with the world! Click ahead to the next lesson, where we’ll explain how to host your podcast and generate an RSS feed.