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PodSchool Podcast | How to record a podcast with people in different locations

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The art of remote recording your podcast

If your podcast features more than one person, whether it’s a co-host or guest, there’ll be times when you won’t be able to record in the same room.

Recording in the same location will always yield the best audio quality and conversational chemistry.  But the tech is so good these days you can still put together a professional sounding podcast even if your guest is coming to you ‘live’ from the Arctic tundra (provided the Arctic tundra has good internet access…which it probably doesn’t, but you get the point).

So, if you want to broaden your horizons and make your show truly location independent, here’s how to remote record your podcast…

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Remote recording your podcast via video conferencing platform e.g. Skype, Zoom

Skype has been used by podcasters to record guests remotely since the beginning of podcast time however whether you’re using Zoom or Skype these platforms are often best when you’ve got a guest who doesn’t have a good quality microphone.

Benefits

People are familiar with these platforms

Since a lot of people have used Skype or Zoom you probably won’t need to waste time getting your guest up to speed on how to use the tech.

This also means you won’t run the risk of intimidating them or making them nervous because they’re using a program they haven’t used before.  This is great because the more relaxed your guest is the more likely you’ll have a good interview.

How to get the most out of your podcast interviews

Read

You can see each other

Not being in the same room as the person you’re recording with can be difficult because you can lose the natural conversational rhythm that comes from sitting across from someone.

Being able to see each other means you can wrestle some of that chemistry back by using video to communicate visually.

Since this conversational energy is often what keeps an audience engaged in your content it’s important to do whatever you can to ‘fake’ it.  And when you’re not in the same room as someone video is the best way to do that.

Should you use video when remote recording your podcast?

Read

People are used to hearing shows recorded this way

Podcast listeners are used to hearing Skype-quality interviews since it’s been used in podcasts for so long.

That means your show isn’t going to come off as half-baked if you use this method to remote record your podcast but ideally if it’s possible to record people at a higher audio quality you should.

How to get the best quality podcast audio when remote recording

Read

It’s a good option if your guest doesn’t have a microphone

Not everyone you speak to on your podcast is going to have their own podcast microphone so this is where a platform like Skype or Zoom comes in handy.

Some of the newer platforms record audio locally (more on that below) which isn’t great if the quality of your mic is bad because you’ll have a high-quality recording of bad audio.

Video conferencing platforms allow you to chat to someone using the microphone they’ve got and the ‘phone quality’ recording can cover up some of the sins of a crappy mic.

What are the best podcast microphones?

Read

Disadvantages

Mismatched audio quality

Since one person (the host) is being recorded locally and the other person is being recorded down the line (potentially on a microphone that isn’t great) the host will be at a higher audio quality than the guest.

This is why recording via Skype isn’t a great idea if you’re working with a co-host because you want the other person you’re hosting the show with to be at equal audio quality.

How to cover up recording in different locations

Read

These platforms are designed for video conferencing, not audio

While recording your podcast via a video conferencing platform can be convenient it won’t always give you the best quality audio.

These platforms have been designed to video conference rather than record podcasts and while there are tools that give you more control over the audio e.g. eCamm call recorder for Skype, there are other platforms that will give you better audio.

If this is the only way you can get guests on your show that’s fine just make sure you test the audio you’re recording and listen critically to make sure it sounds good enough.

How to record a podcast remotely

Read

How to record the best quality podcast audio when using video conferencing software

In Skype

The best way to record your podcast via Skype is with a call recorder like eCamm Call Recorder (for Mac) or Pamela (for PC).

These platforms are really simple to use and give you much more control over your audio.

For example, if you’re using eCamm a little recorder pops up on your screen when you open Skype and it’s as easy as pressing record.

Ecamm call recorder for Skype

The program then records both audio and video and saves it as a movie file (.mov), which you can convert to audio using the program tools.

Plus you can split tracks which means you end up with one audio file for each voice which is really helpful when you’re editing.

How to record a podcast

Read

In Zoom

You can record audio and video directly on this platform but you want to make sure you’ve configured the settings in a way that enables the best quality audio possible.

Some of those settings include allowing your guests or co-hosts to record their audio locally (if they’ve got a good microphone), recording ‘original sound’ and recording separate audio for each participant.

Should you record your podcast using Zoom?

Read

What can you do with the video recording?

Using vision from your chat can be a great way to promote your podcast either on social media or YouTube.

If you’re going to use the video recording, make sure you’ve checked with your guest first because there’s nothing worse than turning up for a chat in your pyjamas, only to find out you’re supposed to be ‘camera ready.’  Or, heaven forbid, thinking the chat was purely for audio and then seeing your face blasted across someones social media when you never agreed to it.

If your guest has said yes you can use the vision to create video highlights of interesting moments from your conversation.  Or you can ask your guest to record a promo where they tell your audience what’s on the episode and why they should listen.

You can also think about whether there are sections of your content people might be searching for on platforms like YouTube and upload videos that focus on that topic area.

YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google so if you’ve got content that relates to popular keywords it might be worth testing whether it works as video content.

How to promote your podcast

Read

Remote recording your podcast by recording audio locally

As I mentioned above, when you’re recording on Skype or Zoom, one person (the person recording the audio) will always sound better than the other (the person coming down the line).

One way to combat this is for each person to record their audio locally i.e. in the location they are.

Benefits

Better audio quality

Recording this way can yield really high-quality audio.

In fact, if you’ve both got great microphones and have spent time preparing the space you’re recording in you can make it sound like you’re in the same room even if you’re on opposite sides of the planet.

How to make editing easier when you’re recording a podcast

Read

Disadvantages

It’s more complex

Recording this way requires audio experience from both people and it’s best when you’re recording regularly with a co-host rather than interview guests.

If you’re using this method make sure you take some time for trial and error so you can iron out any kinks.

How many people should you have on your podcast?

Read

How to do it…

Record audio locally 

Both parties link up visually via Skype or another video conferencing software but record their audio via a microphone plugged into a portable recorder (e.g. Zoom) or an audio editing program (e.g. Adobe Audition). At the end of this process, you’ll have two separate audio tracks that will need to be synced up before you can edit.

You can also do this using a program like eCamm as long as both people have the program installed locally.  Using this method you just hit record at both ends, split the audio tracks when you’re done and match up the two high-quality recordings.

If you’re new to audio editing and the previous paragraphs give you heart palpitations, don’t worry. This is more of an advanced option and there are plenty of online platforms that have sprung up that give you an easier way to do this (see below).

Just remember when you’re using this method you need a visual marker to sync up the tracks after you record.  The easiest way to do that is for everyone to clap at the beginning of the recording.

This will look like a spike in the .wav or .mp3 file and will give you a way to match up the tracks.

Podcast Equipment: The four things you need to start a podcast

Read

Remote recording your podcast using a remote recording website

There are some amazing websites out there making the process of remote recording your podcast so much easier.

With platforms like Zencastr, Ringr, Riverside.fm and SquadCast you invite guests to join a session and each person’s audio is recorded locally then saved for you to use later.

Benefits

It’s simple

These platforms make it easy to invite guests to your session and some have in-built video which means you can see people while you’re recording without having to run a separate program.

It also records at the exact same time in both locations so you don’t have to waste time matching the audio after you’ve finished recording because the separate tracks are already lined up.

What are the different types of podcast?

Read

Disadvantages

It can be glitchy

If you don’t have rock-solid internet, this method can get a little glitchy.

This won’t affect the final audio because both parties are being recorded locally but it can affect the rhythm of conversation if you or your co-host are cutting in and out, which can be annoying.

Some platforms don’t have built-in video

If the platform you’re using doesn’t have video built-in you’ll need to run Skype at the same time.

Since it’s a good idea to just have the remote recording platform running when you’re recording it’s not ideal to have to open other programs because it can affect the quality of your connection

Different platforms deliver different audio quality

When you test the different remote recording platforms you’ll notice they give you varying degrees of audio quality.

This is because some programs treat the audio they’re recording so make sure you test each platform before you choose the one that’s right for you.

Convenience is great but at the end of the day your audience doesn’t care how convenient your show was to record, they care how good it sounds.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Hello and welcome to the show. One of the questions I get asked more than any other is how do you record an episode of your podcast if the people on the show aren't in the same room. Sometimes your show can just be you as a host but you want to interview a lot of people and often those people will be not in the same city let alone the same country as you. So how do you go about recording that person? Or sometimes you and your co-host might need to do a show from separate locations so how do you actually manage that?

Here are some ways that you can record your show so it sounds good even though you're not in the same room.

Skype

By itself Skype can't record the call so you have to download an additional program which is called Ecamm Call Recorder for Mac and Pamela for a PC. (You can just head to the show notes page at PodSchoolPodcast.com and I'll detail links to all of the things that I refer to in today's episode). So once you install that program it gives you a little record button that pops up every time your call starts on Skype and you can just record that and download it after the call is finished. Ideally, it would be great if your guest had a decent microphone not just their iPhone earbuds because that can be a little bit crappy but if they don't have one you can make do.

The next step up from that, if you want it to sound like you're in the same room, is that you can get them to put recording software on their computer and you can both record your audio "locally," which means - where you're sitting and then you match up that audio after. ECamm gives you the option when you go into the file to split the tracks (one that was recorded locally and one that is the one that sounds like someone coming down a telephone line) and you just put the two local files together so it sounds like you're doing the show in the same room.Obviously having Skype there is great because you can still see each other and put your hand up if you need to talk and try and get as much of the chemistry that you would have if you were in the same room. If you're going to do that it's important to clap at the beginning because you're going to have to match up that audio later.

Record locally on a recording device

If both you and your cohost or you and your guest have a recording device e.g. Zoom or if you just record onto your computer straight into Audition you can both do that at your end, use Skype to look at each other and then send whoever is editing the file that you've recorded either onto your zoom recorder or whatever you use or into audition and then you can match the audio tracks that way. And again with that, you need to clap at the beginning so it's easier to match those files.

Zencastr

I have had good and bad experiences with Zencastr. This should be the absolute solution to all of your problems because essentially all you do is log into a website and it records you at each end so it will record both you and your guest locally and drop those files into a Dropbox folder when you're done. It will sync up the start of those files immediately so you don't have to clap just as soon as you press record from your end it will immediately create the two files starting at exactly the same spot so it is really simple. The problem is you can't see each other. But again you can use Skype to look at each other and then record using Zencastr. Unfortunately, I found in the past that I've either had great experiences with it where it's worked flawlessly or I've had some really bad tries where it's continually dropped out or I've been listening to somebody talking and it's gone silent. Then it sort of caught up really quickly and that can be very jarring. I've had good and bad experiences with it but it's certainly worth trying.

I believe you can get a free trial of it for a short time. So it's definitely worth giving it a try and seeing if you like it. A couple of other suggestions are also put on the show notes page at PodSchoolPodcast.com are Ringr and Cast. I haven't used either of those programs but I've seen them recommended when people are asked about this same situation and usually those programs are recommended by people who haven't had a great experience with Zencastr. See which ones you like and which ones work best for you and then take it from there.

I hope that's helped you get your head a little bit around how to record remotely. As I said I will put all of this in the show notes page so you can see it and read through it and digest it because I know when you're just being spoken at sometimes you think "I can hear words, but I'm not understanding their meaning." So if you want to check out more about that and really get into the nitty gritty please head to PodSchoolPodcast.com. There you'll also find links to my tech guide which will help you set up your own home studio if you haven't done that already and a way to get onto the waitlist for my online podcasting course PodSchool.com.au which takes you step by step through everything from coming up with an idea right through to monetising your show.

If you've been waiting to record your episodes because you didn't know how to do it remotely go out there and start trialling an error-ing. Is that even a word? I don't know. I think it might be time for me to get out of here. I'll see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

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