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Preparing for a Podcast Interview

Thanks again for agreeing to an interview on The Virginia Foodie. Here are a few notes about the interview process. At the end of the page are some guides for getting the best sound for our recording.
Don’t forget to share some photos with us for the blog and social posts.
I’m so excited to speak with you and to learn more about you and your business.
- Georgiana Dearing

Recording Session

The recording session should take an hour. Here is a sample timeline:

1-5 min: Welcome, setup, test mics
5-10 min: Review the process, answer questions, clarify notes before recording.
30-40 min: The interview starts 10-15 minutes after our session begins.
We’ll start the recording with a pretend “Hello!” and welcome to the podcast.

    Typical interview format:

    • Tell us about your business

    • 3-5 questions, sent in advance. There may be follow-ups on each topic.

    • The wrap-up: Tell people where to find you. (your website, social handles, and possibly stores where you are sold)

    Final Podcast

    Once the recording is completed it’s sent to the editing service along with any other supporting files. Here are the general parts of the final cut of a podcast.
    1. Short soundbite pulled from the interview
    2. Music/Intro
    3. Short introductory clip (George records this separately)
    4. The interview, cleaned & edited to around 20-25 minutes
    5. Possible summary clip, recorded separately.
    6. Music/outro
    REMEMBER: We record in advance, so it may take up to 8 weeks before your episode goes live. 

    Setting Up for the Best Sound

    We'll be using Zoom to record the interview. We'll have the video on to see each other, which helps the conversation feel natural. We will also post the interview to our YouTube channel. I'll be recording in my home office. You'll need to be in a quiet place, hopefully, free from interruptions. However, if your kids or pets wander in, don't stress over it. We'll edit it out — unless they do something super cute 😉!

    Tips For High-Quality Remote Recordings:

    1. Record in a quiet space

    Pick a time when there’s not a lot of activity in your space. Pick a room that has a lot of STUFF in it. Flat surfaces are echo-y and give your voice a hollow sound. Rooms with many objects in them break up the sound instead of bouncing it right back into the microphone. It doesn’t necessarily need to be all soft surfaces, either. Sitting in front of a bookshelf is another way to break up sound.

    2. Wear headphones

    If you are able, use headphones to listen to the sound. If you let the computer audio play the sound back to you, your microphone will pick up the other speaker(s) and add a weird feedback sound to your recording.

    3. Minimize lag

    Web streaming starts to lag when your computer is doing many other tasks, so shut down all other tabs. That way, your browser is not busy refreshing other pages in the background. Make sure you check your signal before recording day. If your wifi or data connection ebbs and flows, your sound may have breaks or stutters in it. If I notice something breaking up on my end, I may ask you to repeat your answer so we can get all the details — we don’t want to miss something in your story.

    4. Remove distracting noises

    Shut down all sound alerts on your computer… if you are speaking when they go off, we can’t edit the email alert chimes out of your voice track, so make sure you temporarily silence all of those reminders! Don’t shuffle papers or move your microphone around. Be sure to remove jangling jewelry, too. All these things add little scratchy sounds to the audio.

    5. Microphone technique

    If you are using a microphone, keep it about four finger widths away from your mouth. If you like to move around a lot, you can use the video stream to gauge where you are in relation to your microphone when you get ready to answer questions. Keeping a consistent distance from the mic will help with consistent volume.

    If you don’t have a microphone, use earbuds to listen and to capture your voice on your laptop. Skull Candy has an affordable pair of wired earbuds that do a good job of capturing voice. As long as your Bluetooth connection stays strong, the new Apple earbuds are of very good quality for voice recordings. Anker is another brand of wireless earbuds that you may be able to sync to your workstation.

    You can also CALL into a Zoom meeting to use your phone for your audio and then MUTE the voice for the video login. The audio comes through a cell signal, but it is an acceptable option for remote recording. Zoom works on cell phone web browsers, too, so you can use your phone to do the recording and watch the video on your phone screen. Be aware, though, that cell signals can get “wobbly” and can make your voice sound a little robotic, or have weird skips or glitches in it.

    6. Built-in laptop microphones are a last resort

    Laptop mics do not provide good sound quality. The mic is usually at the dead center of the keyboard, making it pretty far away from your mouth. They are also prone to pick up all the noise in the room, including all the echoey space that is around you and your voice. You don’t notice that in the room when you speak, but the recording picks it up.
    If we are doing a group interview, two or more people on one laptop mic will cause one voice to become much quieter than the other-- it’s tough to keep your mouths equal distance from the mic.
    One mic also means one soundtrack so that multiple voices will record over each other, and there is no way to fix that in post-production. All of these things make laptops ok for conference calls, but it can become very tiring to listen to, and we want your story to shine as much as possible!
    The first 5 minutes of this video from Buzzsprout have a good explanation about the audio setup for zoom recordings.