Friday, February 16, 2007

Tips for Recording Audio

Ready to start podcasting? Here are some audio recording tips to help you get started. Above anything else, the important thing is to just get started. Your first recordings may not be "Grammy winners" but they will improve with time and experience.

1. Write a script. Make it conversational, not textbook. You don’t have to follow it word-for-word, but it will help guide you and minimize long pauses (while you think about what to say). Create a PDF of the script and include it with your podcast.

2. Use a quality headset with microphone and position the microphone about 3" from your mouth. You don't have to spend a lot of money. I use a Logitech Premium USB 350. Talk in a normal, conversational voice.

3. Record at the highest sampling rate and resolution, e.g., 16-bit and 44.1 kHz. You want the original recording to be high quality. When you export as mp3, the quality will be compressed and file size reduced.

4. Start and end your podcast with a few seconds of music (about 5-10 seconds). Fade the music out as you begin to speak. Fade the music in at the end. Do not use copyrighted, commercial material, e.g., from movies or albums. My favorite site for finding music tracks is PodsafeAudio. Free to use under the Creative Commons license.

5. Edit your recording to remove the pauses, ums, ahs, coughs, squeeky chair, shuffling papers, etc. A very easy-to-use, open source (free) audio recording and editing tool is Audacity. Note: Remember to download and save the LAME Encoder to export your files in the mp3 format.

That’s it. You’re ready to get started. Do you have any other recording tips that you want to share? Let us hear about them in the Comments area.

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