Rookie mistakes can happen to anyone from the first time podcaster to the weekly podcast professional. It doesn't matter how much experience you may have when it comes to producing a great podcast - everyone makes mistakes. In order to make as few mistakes as possible, I have written a quick go-to list that you should check every time before you hit that big red button.
- Turn off your phone and place it far away from you
- Kick out any pets in the room
- Have water or a beverage close by
- Use the bathroom
- Open any relevant links and resources that you will be referencing later
- Have your questions and notes close by
- Find and plug in your headphones
- Warm up your voice (optional)
- Do a quick mic check and sound test
- Do a guest mic check when they're on
- If you're recording video for your show, then make sure you're in frame (tips below)
Although the above list may seem simple, you'd be surprised how many times podcasters, including myself, will regret not having a glass of water to drink during an hour long show. Turning off your phone during an interview will prevent you from having to edit more later, yet it's something we don't always do every single time - especially if you're interviewing a person that you've known for a long time and feel comfortable with. Don't be afraid to ask the same of your guests while they are on the show.
I personally like to put my phone on a soft surface where I won't be able to hear or feel the phone vibration. When editing shows, I can often hear that vibration sound being picked up on the mic, which can be pretty annoying if you are receiving a call. A hungry indoor cat or dog can be the worst and can really distract your focus from an important interview. Not only that, if your animals are often seen walking past the web cam, then it's best to kick them out of the room while you're recording. If your animal is known for making lots of noise, then make sure you feed them a little bit before your big interview.
We might have urges to skip through the sound testing process, but it's something that really shouldn't be avoided. There isn't a lot you can do to your voice quality after the show has been recorded. This means that if you recorded your voice using the web cam mic or your default laptop mic instead of your high-end microphone, then there's not a lot you can do on the editor side to save the interview.
You can often test audio quality and sound by using the Skype Sound Test. This is useful when you already plan to be chatting with your guest through Skype and need to hear how well your voice is being portrayed. While you're testing your voice, you can press the record button to hear back how you and the Skype Sound Test system sound. It takes about 3 minutes to check, but it can really save you an hour of bad quality audio.
Wearing your headphones always helps to prevent your microphone from picking up feedback and warming up your voice can be seen as a bit extreme, but sometimes when the weather is a bit too cold, the quality of your podcast can really benefit towards a better sounding show. If you've already done a mic and sound check before your guest comes on, then doing a second one with the guest there live with you isn't always necessary. However if you have a doubt or think there's something wrong, then do the check anyway just to be safe.
And the last tip I mentioned in my Podcast Checklist was in regards to video.
It doesn't matter if you're recording yourself through a professional camera or just your web cam, recording yourself in frame is extremely important. As a tip, make sure your head, shoulders, and elbows are in the camera frame. There should be a little bit of space above your head, on the sides, and slightly below your elbows.
Imagine that there's an invisible border around the frame that you can't touch, this will give you accurate dimensions and prevent you from looking like you're too close or too far away from the camera. Of course, during the camera test you can see what's best for you, but just remember someone who is too close or too far away from the camera can be a bit uncomfortable for the viewer to look at.
Until next time!
"When it comes to producing a great #podcast - everyone makes mistakes" Tweet This!
“A hungry indoor cat or dog can be the worst and can really distract your focus from an important interview. ” Tweet This!
“It takes about 3 minutes to check, but it can really save you an hour of bad quality audio.” Tweet This!