Choosing a Podcast Recording Location
Tips for Choosing a Podcast Recording Location
- Have a place setup (probably wherever your computer is) with your podcasting gear ready to go when you are.
- Choose a spot that is quiet and free from distraction.
- Make sure the room doesn't have too many echoes or too much reverberation when you record. (Like what it sounds like when you sing in the shower. Come on, I know you have done it.)
- If you really want to get close to a studio vocal booth sound without having to build one, then try recording in your closet. Your clothes will make a great audience as well as dampen the sound. I've used this trick to record vocals for a CD. Of course, your family might wonder why you disappear into the closet so much.
Your podcast will sound better if you cut down on the noise that is picked up by your mic. Noise is distracting and makes it hard to listen to your podcast if there is too much of it.
In most cases, minimize the background noise. Sometimes it’s out of your control (such as in public places). On the other hand, there will be times when you want to record the surrounding noise.
Soundseeing tours (recording the sounds of your surroundings) have become popular with podcasters. This is an example of when you want to pickup the sounds of your environment. I like to record the sounds of New York City and use the clips in my GothamCast podcast.
Here are some tips for reducing background noise at home:
- Find a quiet room where you can record in private. Shut the door.
- Let your family, roommates or whoever else is around know that you will be recording.
- Be aware of the noise going on outside.
- Turn off fans, A/C, & extra computers that generate noise.
- Does your chair squeak when you shift in it? Mine does. This will get picked up by the mic. That reminds me. I need to buy some WD-40.
Here are some tips for recording in public (or other noisy places):
- Be sure to talk as closely to the mic as you can (without distorting the sound) to make sure your voice is above the noise being picked up by the mic.
- Do a test recording to make sure the surrounding noise isn't too loud or distracting. Record 30 seconds or so and listen to it. It would stink to record an hour of audio just to find out you can't be understood over the jackhammer in the background.
Tips for Recording on the Go or Away From Home
Recording “on the go” can make for an exciting show. Here are some ideas of interesting things to record remotely (i.e. away from your studio):
- A live music performance
- A meeting, convention or class
- A get-together of friends
- A festival or other cultural event
- An interview
You can also record on the go to save time. Sometimes I like to record my podcast while I take a walk. I get exercise and create my podcast at the same time.
To do this you will need a portable recorder. Here are some ideas of what other podcasters use to record on the go:
iRiver or Creative MP3 Players: These are MP3 player brands that often come with a built-in microphone. You can record your podcast into the player and then transfer it to your computer later.
I have a Creative Zen Micro that I like to carry with me in case I get the urge to sound off.
Your Digital Camcorder: I have also used my Canon camcorder to record audio clips. The sound is relatively good and it even records in stereo. I have also heard someone improvise and record into their digital camera.
Your Laptop: Please don’t try to walk and record on your laptop at the same time. But for recording at a meeting or other such location, a laptop is a great way to go. Just take a microphone and some headphones with you.
PDA: Many Palms, Treos, Blackberrys and other such gizmos have built-in mics and record your voice to an MP3 file.
Just be sure that whatever you record with has the ability to easily transfer your audio to your computer (for example through a USB cable).
Getting Permission to Record
It’s a good idea to get permission before you record in a meeting or other public venue.
Also, if you’re talking to other people or interviewing, you should let them know that you’re recording and get their permission to use it on your podcast. This is just matter of courtesy and ethics (and possibly the law in your area).
Podcasting in Your Car
Some podcasters record while driving in their car. I think this is usually a matter of multitasking to save time. Just use the same common sense that you would with your cell phone.
Use a hands-free setup and don’t do anything stupid. Keep your eyes on the road and stay alert. Don’t put yourself or others at risk. Enough said.
Find a consistent spot to record your podcast (probably where your computer is set up). Make sure it's quiet and free of distractions. You want to be able to get a good recording free of noises that distract from what you are saying.
There are lots of devices that are convenient for recording your podcast on the go including MP3 players with built-in mics.
Now let's put together your first podcast episode.