Sunday, 22 May 2011

My first attempt at podcasting ...

This is really a rough n' ready Work-in-Progress, as I've only just started to play with this stuff, and haven't really got my thoughts into proper order.

One of my colleagues had asked me to help him edit a podcast - in this case, a MP3 file of two people asking and answering a prepared list of questions.

The brief was to edit the MP3, adding in a beginning and ending, and also inserting clips of me asking the questions, making it appear more like a "proper" interview, where I asked the questions to which the interviewees responded.

I started by asking an expert, notably @StuartMcIntyre who has a vast amount of experience after one whole year recording and editing @ThisWeekInLotus.

Given that we both use Mac, Stuart mentioned a few tools, including: -

  • Audio Hijaak Pro to record the MP3 - I already had the audio, but this is useful information for the future, especially as Stuart uses this to record TWiL from a multi-person Skype chat
  • Levelator to level off the voices - my voice was recorded in a different room to those of the interviewees, meaning that the levels were a bit different
  • Audacity to handle the import and export from one format to another
  • GarageBand to handle the actual editing
  • iTunes as the interface from GarageBand

I could've probably used Audacity instead of GarageBand, but, as I said, this was my first time through the process.

The process was, in brief, as follows: -

  • Use Audacity to convert the MP3 file into the AIFF format - this is what GarageBand (GB) appeared to like - it didn't want to import the MP3 :-(
  • Drag/drop the MP3 into GB
  • Add a new recording track onto which I recorded me introducing the podcast, asking the questions and closing the podcast, with thanks
  • Copy/paste the interviewees' answers into my new track
  • Export the podcast to iTunes
  • Use Audacity to convert the iTunes M4A format to MP3
  • Use Levelator to smooth out the bumps between me and the interviewees
  • Upload the file to IBM Connections and LotusLive for sharing

For me, GarageBand '09 is a "free" product, as it came with iLife '09 when I bought my Mac back in ... 2009. If I was doing more of this work, I may well upgrade to the latest version, as there were a few things that, in my limited opinion, could've been improved, including: -

  • It'd be nice to be able to label individual bits of the tracks e.g. "Dave's introduction", "Jon's response to question 1" etc.
  • It'd also have been nice to have the individual pieces automatically adjust the timeline when dragging a new piece on - I was hoping that the snippets of audio would shuffle themselves about on the timeline rather than me having to manually move things back and forth

In addition, I could've been smart with the use of multiple tracks, once I'd realised that I could tag each end of the snippet using [CMD] [T] and then drag n' drop lumps of audio back and forth.

As I said, this is very much early days for me, but I had a blast, even though it took over four hours to edit a 15 minute piece of audio :-)

Good times indeed

Thanks to Stuart and Bruce Elgort for their advice, guidance and encouragement


Brownie said...

Great post Dave! So where do we find the podcast?

belgort said...


May I suggest Ecamm all Recorder over Audio Hijack pro.

Here is a link: