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Training Podcasts Series 1 – Episode 1 – Introduction to Podcasting Technology

Description

Series 1: The Technical Side

Episode 1: Introduction to Podcasting Technology

[Intro Music]

Welcome to EcoPodcasts! I’m Giota, and today we are diving into the exciting world of podcasting. This is the first episode of our series “The Technical Side”, where we will explore everything you need to know to get started with creating your own podcasts. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance your classroom experience or a student eager to share your voice, this series is for you.

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In this episode, we will cover the basics of podcasting technology. We will talk about the equipment you need, basic audio recording techniques, and the essential software for editing your podcasts. So, let’s get started!

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Segment 1: Overview of Podcasting Equipment

First, let’s talk about the equipment. You don’t need a professional studio to create great podcasts. Here’s a list of basic equipment to get you started:

A good microphone is essential for clear audio. While built-in computer microphones can work, investing in a USB microphone can greatly improve your sound quality. Some popular choices for beginners include the Blue Yeti, Audio-Technica ATR2100x, and the Samson Q2U. These microphones are easy to use, just plug them into your USB port and you are ready to go. When choosing a microphone, consider where you will be recording. For a quiet, controlled environment, a condenser microphone like the Blue Yeti is excellent. If you will be in a noisier setting, a dynamic microphone like the Audio-Technica ATR2100x might be better as it picks up less background noise.

Next up, quality headphones help you monitor your recordings and catch any issues early. Closed-back headphones are ideal as they prevent sound from leaking into the microphone. Some reliable options include the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and Sony MDR-7506. Imagine you are recording a podcast and there is a slight hum from an air conditioner. With good headphones, you will notice this during recording and can adjust, rather than discovering the issue during editing.

You will also need a computer. Any computer with a USB port and audio editing software will do. Make sure your computer has enough storage and RAM to handle large audio files, especially if you plan on editing your podcasts. It is a good idea to regularly back up your recordings to an external hard drive or cloud storage to avoid losing your work due to technical issues.

A pop filter is an inexpensive accessory that helps reduce plosive sounds—those harsh ‘P’ and ‘T’ sounds that can distort your audio. Pop filters are easy to attach to your microphone stand and make a significant difference in recording quality.

Finally, a microphone stand or boom arm keeps your microphone steady and at the right height, preventing unwanted noise and making recording more comfortable. Desk stands are great for stationary setups, while boom arms offer more flexibility. A boom arm allows you to adjust your microphone easily if you are moving around or sharing it with another speaker, ensuring consistent sound quality.

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Segment 2: Basic Audio Recording Techniques

Now that we have our equipment, let’s move on to recording techniques. Here are some tips for getting high-quality audio:

First, choose a quiet room to minimize background noise. Close windows and doors, and turn off noisy appliances. If possible, use soft furnishings like curtains and carpets to absorb sound and reduce echo. Recording in a living room with lots of soft furnishings can sound much better than recording in a kitchen with hard surfaces that reflect sound.

Microphone placement is also crucial. Keep the microphone about 15-20 centimeters from your mouth. Use a pop filter to soften harsh sounds. Angle the microphone slightly off-center to avoid picking up breath noises directly. Experiment with microphone placement by recording a few test clips at different distances and angles to find the best setup for your own voice.

Speak at a consistent volume to ensure even sound levels throughout your recording. Avoid sudden changes in loudness which can be distracting for listeners. Before recording your podcast, practice reading a script aloud. This helps you get used to maintaining a steady volume and can highlight any tricky sections you might need to adjust.

Use recording software that allows you to monitor your audio levels in real-time. This helps you ensure that your voice isn’t too loud, which can cause distortion, or too soft, which can make it hard to hear. Many podcasters use Audacity, a free software that shows real-time audio levels and allows you to adjust your input volume before and during recording.

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Segment 3: Essential Software for Editing Podcasts

Finally, let’s talk about software. There are several free and paid options available for editing your podcasts. Some popular choices include the following:

Audacity is a free, open-source audio editor that is a favorite among beginners and experienced podcasters alike. It allows a range of editing tools, from basic cutting and pasting to more advanced effects like noise reduction and equalization. Use Audacity’s noise reduction feature to remove background hums or hisses from your recordings. Simply select a portion of your recording with the unwanted noise and use the noise reduction effect to clean up your audio.

GarageBand, free for Mac users, provides a user-friendly interface with powerful editing features. It is great for creating multi-track recordings, adding music, and applying audio effects. Use GarageBand’s preset audio effects to enhance your voice. For instance, you can add a subtle reverb to make your voice sound richer and more engaging.

Adobe Audition is a professional-grade option with a wide range of tools. While it comes with a higher price tag, Adobe Audition offers advanced features like spectral editing, which allows you to visualize and edit specific frequencies in your audio. Adobe Audition’s adaptive noise reduction is highly effective for cleaning up noisy recordings. This feature adapts to changing noise levels throughout your recording, providing a smooth and consistent sound.

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Conclusion

That’s it for this episode! We have covered the basics of podcasting equipment, recording techniques, and editing software. Remember, the key to great podcasting is not just having the right tools, but also practicing and experimenting to find what works best for you. In our next episode, we will dive into setting up your recording space and recording your first podcast. Thanks for tuning in to EcoPodcasts. Until next time, happy podcasting!

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Credits

University of Macedonia

Giota Digkoglou

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