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How to cover up recording in different locations

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Illustration of different locations

How to make multiple podcast locations sound like one…

Covering up recording in different locations is possible but it depends on how different the locations are.  If one podcast recording was done in a library and the other at a Monster Truck rally it’ll probably be impossible to make those sound like they were in the same place.

But if you want to make it sound like you did everything in one sitting the key is to record some ambient sound.

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What is ambient sound?

It’s just a snazzy way of saying the background noise of the place you’re recording your podcast.

For example, if you were in a park the ambient sound would be the noise of children playing, a plane flying overhead or the wind.

A park is an extreme example because it’s going to be a lot noisier than somewhere you’d record a podcast.   But if you’re anywhere outside your usual podcast recording space, it’s a good idea to get some ambient sound on tape.

I often do this is if I’m interviewing people outside my home studio because things like air-conditioners, noise from the road or a vending machine buzzing in the background can all affect the sound of a podcast recording.

Having tape of this in your back pocket will help cover up the fact you recorded in different locations because you can use it to smooth over edits and other bits of audio you might need to re-record later.

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

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What do you do with the ambient sound you’ve recorded?

In a perfect world, you won’t need it.

But if you’re editing and you notice a change in the background noise makes the edit sound obvious, you can lay the ambient sound under that point, and use it as an audio bandaid.

The other time it’s useful is if you need to re-record a question or anything else you didn’t record properly in the moment.  Because you’ll be doing that in a new environment, laying a longer piece of ambient noise under the recording will help it sound like it was recorded in one sitting.

Do you need to edit your podcast?

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How much ambient sound should you record?

It depends what you’re going to need it for.

If you’re using it to cover up tiny edits, 10-20 seconds will usually be plenty.  But if you’re going to need to re-record questions or longer voice sections you’ll need much more than that.

Problem is, you often won’t know until you’re in the edit so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Ideally, you don’t want to be looping a shorter length of audio because there might be sounds that repeat e.g. cars passing, birds chirping.  If that’s the case people will start to notice those recurring sounds and it’ll get SUPER annoying.

If you think you might need a longer track just sit there for five minutes before your guest arrives or after they leave and roll tape.  If you don’t end up using it you can always delete it but that tiny bit of extra work can come in really handy later.

How to record high-quality audio at home

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What if you’ve tried everything and you can’t make the audio match?

It takes a little bit of tweaking to get a perfect match but if you can’t make that happen just be honest with your audience.

There’s nothing wrong with saying “I recorded this in two different locations so you’ll notice a change in the audio halfway through.”

Sometimes we’re scared of admitting a recording didn’t go to plan but your audience will notice and wonder “WTF is going on?”  So be upfront with them so they know what’s coming.

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What if the audio of one section is terrible?

Sometimes you’ll stuff up a recording and it won’t be salvageable.   In that case, you just need to chuck it out and learn your lesson.

If you’re lucky your guest might be ok with recording again.  But if not you might need to chalk it up to human error and make sure you don’t make the same mistake again.

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.

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WANT TO START A PODCAST BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW? THIS GUIDE TAKES YOU THROUGH ALL THE TOOLS AND TECH YOU NEED TO GET GOING!

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