Ever wondered what’s involved when being a guest on a podcast? Below are a few key points that I tend to mention to each guest. I thought I’d consolidate them here for quick reference…
The podcast is not live!
I do a lot of editing afterwards, and it’s easy to chop bits out whilst editing. If you need to pause and think about how you’re going to answer a question - that’s fine - I chop that pause out. If you need to stop and Google something because you can’t remember the name - that’s fine too, I chop that out. If you need to cough, sneeze, have a drink, or go to the loo - that’s also fine. Also, if you say something that you then want to rephrase, or say more clearly - just say so, pause, and try again. I can cut out the first attempt.
The finished podcast will always be much more seamless than during recording. Knowing this up-front, should hopefully make it a much more relaxing and less stressful experience.
How do we record?
I normally use a combination of a Zoom call for video (which isn’t recorded, it’s just so we can see each other), and a platform called Zencastr for recording the audio. Beforehand, I’ll send you both a Zoom invite and a Zencastr URL. Zencastr is just a webapp, and there’s nothing to install. It’ll automatically record high-quality wav files locally for each person, and upload it in the background. I can then download those wav files later for editing. I get a wav file per person, so I can edit each person’s audio as a separate audio channel - which makes a huge difference to my ability to edit. So basically, at the time we plan the recording - join both Zoom and the Zencastr link, and we can take it from there. It might be worth joining the Zencastr link beforehand to ensure that your system passes all the health-checks.
What planning is involved before hand?
I normally create a shared Google Doc and share with the guest(s). This is basically a brain-dump, where both myself and guest(s) can dump ideas into it. This’ll form a rough structure to the show. But given the shows are very conversational, we don’t need to stick with that structure, and we can go off-piste. The doc is just a rough guide.
Do I need a super-duper microphone?
A microphone that isn’t your built-in laptop microphone is definitely preferred. This doesn’t have to be a super-duper few-hundred-pound microphone though! If you have a headset with a directional mic - that’ll be much better than a built-in laptop mic. Or even those Apple earbuds with built-in mic are surprisingly good quality.
Also aim to limit background noise. I can cut this out when myself or another guest is talking - but I can’t cut out noises in the background when you’re talking (as it’ll be part of the same wav recording). Perhaps do a few test recordings beforehand using a tool like Audacity and listen back through headphones. Also listen out for echo from your voice bouncing off the walls.
When it comes down to it - if you’re concerned about your audio quality - just ask me, and we can discuss different ideas together beforehand to get the most of of your setup. And we can also do a test recording beforehand if you’re still unsure.
Anything else I need to know?
- Please try to use headphones or earphones instead of a speaker - this limits your microphone also picking up your speakers.
- I normally do “dev-tips” at the end - where both myself and the guest does a dev-tip. This is completely optional - but if you’re happy doing one, then time to get your thinking cap on! :) Basically, a short tip - anything you like - doesn’t just have to be dev-related - for example, I’ve done productivity tips on past shows.
- Have fun!