You can learn many ways to edit podcast recordings in post-production. You also can find many tools to help you with podcast editing. Some podcasters go through their material with a fine-toothed comb, removing even minor errors. Others undertake no editing at all and release their recordings raw.
Many choices are accessible for individuals who want to do some editing on their shows. So let’s get this party started! We’ll guide you through the stormy seas of podcast editing and help you find the right strategy and process for you.
How Podcast Editing Works: A Step-by-Step Guide
1. Prepare editing software
A digital audio workstation (DAW) is software for producing music, voice recording, and sounds. You can use it to record audio on users’ computers. This application can work on both Mac and Windows systems, depending on the features.
It functions for audio recording, audio editing, MIDI editing, mixing, and mastering. DAW software can benefit both professional recording and editing facilities and home studios. It is a great tool to power recording sessions. You can record using this program or import a previously recorded audio file.
2. Know the average length of your podcast episode
Before you edit your podcast, first determine how long you want each episode to be. This will help you with the editing process and make extracting relevant parts from chats easier. If you’re just getting started, aim for 20-30 minutes per episode. Don’t make the episodes too long if you’re doing a narrative podcast. Aside from saving time in post-production, you’ll also avoid writing content that your listeners will find tedious.
3. Clean up your audio
Sometimes, the conversation grows interesting or the host and the guest become extraordinarily comfortable with each other. In these cases, it is normal for them to over-talk and touch on some unrelated topics. Side talk and irrelevant chit-chat is also sometimes inevitable under other circumstances during an interview. But worry not, since podcast editing can help you eliminate these parts.
Nothing compares to a podcast with a natural flow. Listen to the audio before editing a podcast. Note whether any areas obstruct smooth transitions and the general flow during chats by time-stamping them. Cleaning up your audio can be challenging. You will have to put in more work to keep your episode sounding natural. Over-editing your recording might sometimes exacerbate the problem rather than solve it.
Here are a few issues that can disrupt a podcast’s natural flow:
- Stuttering (uhms), repetition, and crutch words (‘like, kinda)
- Long pauses or dead air
- Background noises, plosive pops, and other irritating sounds
Be cautious if you’re removing any noisy breathing sounds. It could appear strange if you don’t hear anyone breathing at all while speaking. As much as possible, eliminate any sound distractions that don’t hurt the overall impression of the episode. Listen closely to the audio and search for any significant pauses that can turn a listener off. Note that silence for even a fraction of a second might feel like an eternity to a listener. Silence can also, however, be a very beneficial tool in the right conditions for the same reason.
4. Implement sound design
Insert intro and outro
The podcast’s opening and closing segments are just as crucial as the main content. The introduction serves as a hook to entice the listener to tune in to your show. It also establishes the tone and mood for each episode. As a result, the intro must be appropriate for the genre of your podcast as well as your target audience.
What should you put in your introduction?
- Your given name
- Your podcast’s title
- The intended audience
- The show’s central theme
- The issues that your podcast addresses
- The kind of problem-solving topics each episode covers
The outro functions as a magnet, luring your listeners back to listen to the next episode. It would be best to dedicate each episode’s last minute or two to leave a lasting impression on your listeners’ minds about the podcast.
What should you include in your outro?
- Thank you to everyone who listened in
- A teaser for the next episode
- Your social media profiles and / or website
- A call to action for people to subscribe, share, rate, and / or review your podcast
5. Incorporate background music and sound effects
Music can help to enhance storytelling when it is carefully placed in your presentation. It can help listeners connect with your guest and the tale you’re telling by raising the stakes, adding drama, and allowing them to communicate with your guest and the story you’re telling.
Sounds can change people’s moods and evoke powerful emotions. You can use this feature to make your podcast more engaging for your listeners.
It’s critical to understand when and where to use your sound effects in a particular episode you’re working on. If you’re planning to make a drama or storytelling podcast, you’ll need to discover sounds that go with the overall theme.
You will make a stronger connection between your stories and listeners if you accomplish this stage well. It is also vital not to go overboard with the sound effects, as this can distract listeners and disrupt the podcast’s flow.
Add room tone
You’re not just recording the sound of your voice when you record yourself speaking in a room. The materials and dimensions of your recording location’s walls interact with any underlying background sounds to create an audible ambiance.
The recording captures this atmosphere. Room tone provides the ability to provide realism to a scene—to make it feel real. Room tone refers to the ambient noise in your recording space.
6. Mix and master your audio
Mixing and mastering is the part of the production process where you bring all of your story’s audio elements into harmony, consistency, and clarity. Here are the methods to effectively edit podcast audio recordings:
a. Arrange your tracks and audio clips properly
We recommend arranging your tracks in chronological order and renaming each file appropriately to minimize confusion. You should give each voice its own track. There should be no two individuals on the same track simultaneously. Rename your audio with your guests’ names if you have more than one.
This is how you can organize your audio:
- Ambiance and room tone
- Master track
b. Cascade your tracks
After organizing and labeling your tracks, you can start cascading them. Do this preferably from top to bottom and left to right. When dealing with many files, place the first speaker before the next. This method will aid you in navigating and mixing the audio throughout the project.
A master track connects all the files in the project. You can commonly find it near the bottom of the editing program. To measure all the tracks combined, use the loudness meter in the master track. Adjusting the volume levels of the recordings takes only a few minutes. To serve as a standard, your meter should have a mixing target.
c. Enhance podcast tone through equalization
Determine if any of the voices on your tracks could benefit from equalization (EQ). You’ll need to adjust the settings of your tracks in this phase to ensure that they’re at the same volume. Make sure one track isn’t louder than the other. Keep in mind that our brains interpret louder noises as better, or the ones to pay attention to.
When doing this, use headphones so you can clearly hear the sounds on each track. You can listen to them one by one for greater accuracy. For tone issues, trust your ears. On the individual tracks, use an EQ plug-in. If a voice is overly bassy, use a high-pass filter to alter the frequency and lessen the boominess. For each track, repeat the process.
7. Know if the audio needs compression
You may need compression if a voice is layered over music and doesn’t sound strong. Also, a speaker may emphasize certain syllables and words in such a way that they sound inconsistent or “jumpy” in level. Compression can help with this.
8. Check edits and fades
Checking modifications and fades is a simple procedure. Use the key command in the editing tool to quickly jump from one revision to the next. Make a change if you notice the alterations are too clear or sudden. Proceed to the next edit in your piece if you cannot hear anything odd.
You can avoid the sounds of abrupt transitions, rim tone, and ambient noise by using this method. Make sure each clip starts with a fade and ends with a fade. Then there should be a fade at the beginning and end of each clip. Keep checking your fades throughout the rest of the audio.
9. Fine-tune levels
Fine-tuning is also known as balance. During this phase, make sure that none of the audio clips are overly loud or too soft. Each should be a good match for the others, especially those in the same order.
Always zoom out to make work less frustrating. It’s easy to get caught up in making little tweaks when zooming in on a track. Adjust the top track first, then work your way down. Remember how we spoke about laying out the tracks – the host, the guest, the atmosphere, the music, and the master track? Carry out this procedure in each of the tracks separately.
After balancing the “Host” track, use it as a baseline. It will either act as the foundation for the entire mix or as a point of departure for modifying the subsequent tracks. To understand more about this technique, follow these steps:
a. Balance ambiance and music
Increase the volume on your headphones to halfway and listen to the voice and music in harmony. Remember that if you set them too high, the audio will be too distracting, and if you put them too low, the audio may not be audible in noisy environments like in a car or on the subway.
b. Listen to the mix
You’ll need to muster a lot of focus at this stage. Allowing yourself to get sidetracked is never a good idea. Concentrate your attention on the transitions. This is where your audience will notice discrepancies. You’re OK to upload the finished audio if you listen to the entire length of it and don’t hear any flaws, imbalance, or strange sounds.
After reading this tutorial, you can relate podcast editing to a jigsaw puzzle. There are a lot of intricate elements to keep track of. Regardless, we hope that this post aided you in completing the jigsaw puzzle and seeing the whole picture piece by piece. You should also remember the following essential details of how to edit podcast audio:
- Producing high-quality audio for podcasts necessitates the use of podcast editing software.
- You or your audio editor can use a range of software packages to assist you with the process.
- Don’t provide your listeners with unfiltered or unedited audio.
- Use the proper equipment and operate in a quiet environment.
You may decide to call a podcast production specialist at this stage because you’re already aware of how time-consuming it can be to edit podcast audio. Consider reaching out to Podkick, a full-service podcast production company specializing in the financial, legal, and business sectors.