107: Editing Your Podcast
Welcome to the seventh episode of Podcasting for Authors. In the last episode, I shared some things to help you with your first recording session. I covered some best practices regarding microphone techniques as well as choosing and treating your recording space.
Now that you’ve recorded your first episode, we now move into the post-production phase, which includes:
- Audio editing
- Audio processing (mixing and mastering)
- Writing show notes
- Creating graphics
- Promotion via social media, email, etc.
In this episode, I’m going to focus on the audio editing and processing aspects of this. In the next episode, I share some things you can do regarding promotion, which will touch on show notes and graphics as well.
Choose your editing approach
I have edited my own podcasts since 2013 and have been editing for other people since 2015. There is a wide variety of thoughts and approaches to editing podcasts, and I’ve seen quite a bit.
- There are those that are extremely minimal in their philosophy – they just want to record and have little resistance to get the show live. If they do any editing, it’s just to cut the beginning and ending, and then add their intro/outro music.
- There are those that go after the “low-hanging fruit” – They don’t worry about making it sound polished.
- There are those that want a professional, polished sound. These people are usually professionals that want their message to get out and maintain high quality.
There are many variables determining how you approach this. Things like the purpose of your podcast, your financial budget, and your available time are likely the biggest decision factors. You can choose whichever way seems best for you, but I’m going line out some things here to get you started.
Importance of editing
The purpose of editing is to remove distractions from the podcast so that your message can get through with little distraction. Things like excessive crutch phrases, stumbles, and glitches can potentially distract from the message.
Getting the low-hanging fruit is the easiest way to start with editing. This is just taking out the big, obvious parts such as stand-alone ums, major stumbles, internet glitches, etc.
If you are recording with a device or program that allows you to make markers in the audio, you may be able to catch some of these as they happen. This helps to make them easier to see while editing.
Also, while editing, you should be able to look at the waveforms to see obvious gaps or issues.
As you move past the obvious edits and onto higher-detail pieces, it takes a little more skill to properly remove the bad audio.
Whenever an edit is made, you always want it to be invisible. To do this, you’ll likely need to do some fading in and out. This is especially true when you have words that are close to each other.
Things to NOT take out
While I do advocate doing a more detailed editing job, there are times that some things should be left in.
- When words are combined and it won’t leave a clean edit.
- When voice intonation and pacing don’t match.
- When the remaining sentence doesn’t make sense after editing.
Remember, the main goal of editing is to make the message more clear and remove distractions. If an edit is noticeable, it shouldn’t be made.
Audio processing refers to the mixing and mastering steps of audio production. Most of this outside of the scope of this podcast, but let me just mention a couple of things to consider for this.
- Noise reduction
- Volume levels
Audio processing can be an involved process, but, for many podcasts, you can use simple and somewhat “standard” settings to get good quality.
While I personally notice more than the average person when it comes to editing, not everyone does. Your listeners may not care as much as I do, but you still want to respect your listeners and their time. You’ll want to really think about how you’ll approach the editing process.
Just like editing a book helps to improve your message and make it easier to read, audio editing helps your podcast listeners get your message in the best way possible.
In the next episode, we’re going to talk about some other aspects of post-production, specifically publishing and promoting your podcast.