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Click Editing: The Fast Podcast Post-Production Method

Editing is a pain. Well, it is for most people at any rate.

I do know podcasters who get a lot of satisfaction out of editing. In the right context, I’m one of them. If you’re producing something slick, refined, highly edited, then it’s worth the result.

But, standard, day to day, common garden editing, where you’re removing mistakes, coughs and ummmms you just can’t bear to let slide. THAT’S a pain…

The problem is, the majority of us edit this stuff out by listening through our recording. You can speed it up in Audacity, giggle your way through that even-hilarious chipmunk voice, but even then it still takes quite a while.

Well, there’s a technique to cut this down in a huge way. It’s the way I always edit my normal episodes, those that need only that standard editing I mentioned before. It’s nothing new, I certainly didn’t invent it, but it’s so useful that I’m always surprised isn’t more widely used.

So, what is this method? Let’s have a look.

Clicking the Click

I'll include the detail below, but here's how it works.

Fixing Mistakes

Click editing, as the name suggests is a method by which you click into the microphone every time an edit’s needed.

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For example, I’m chatting away and suddenly my voice catches, I cough and need to take a drink. No worries, I simply pause for a few seconds, click my tongue into the mic 3 times, pause again and then continue.

Similar, if I’m talking and I suddenly realise I’ve missed the point, or I've made a mistake – the numbers were wrong or I’ve mixed up a fact – then I do the same.

Pause. 3 clicks. Pause. Continue.

Once you’ve finished your recording, load the file into Audacity (other DAWs are available…) and then zoom in a little. Start to scroll through, left to right, and watch out for gaps. If you’re on the right zoom, the gaps and the 3 clicks will be really, really obvious.

There’s no need to listen right through, no need to review – you’re relying on your clicks to show you places to edit.

Click editing: podcast post productionWhen I find the edit point itself, here’s what I do. I hit play on the section right after the click, hear the re-recorded section, and then go back to find the right edit point. The corrected version will give you an indicator on the point at which you need to edit. You need to go back and find where you started that point the first time around.

Try to think about this edit when you re-start after the click. Think about something you said, just before the mistake and repeat from there. That repetition of phrasing makes this even quicker and easier.

Other Edit Points

I actually use this method for other types of edits too. For example, when I have to insert my scene transition, such as an advert, or a sting, then I’ll make TWO clicks instead. Or, perhaps I need to insert a short interview clip, again, two clicks.

When I see those double clicks, I know to listen for what to insert, rather than find a mistake to fix.

The Result

Using this method, I can edit a half hour show in probably 5 minutes or so. My average is, maybe, 5 to 10 edit points, which take probably 30 seconds each to edit. Then I pop in the music, save and export. Done!

Of course, you should always be listening to your own shows from time to time, refining your approach. But at least this way you don’t have to listen to every single one, and you can save a tonne of time in editing.

The Tricks with Clicks

Next time you’re recording, try it out.

If you make a mistake, just stop for a second, click your tongue 3 times, pause, then repeat the section using a similar starting word or phrase.

Do it, then let me know 3 things in the comments below:

  1. How long was your episode?
  2. How long did the edit take?
  3. How awesome is clicking?

Have fun!

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Discussion:

8 Comments

  1. AB on 19th December 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Colin, thank you for this – indeed the most recent time I edited my podcast, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself feeling so overwhelmed I actually started guessing at waveforms. And to my surprise I guessed correctly about 95% of the time!

    This method takes it to the next level. Great minds think alike but I think your mind is a wee bit greater than mine. Thanks.

    • Matthew @ ThePodcastHost.com on 21st December 2015 at 10:22 am

      Thanks for the feedback Aaron. Yeah this can really help speed the whole process up and is especially handy for extra long episodes or if you’re releasing them regularly. I know what you’re saying about visual editing though – podcasters can spot an ummm on the waveform a mile away, hah.

  2. Chris PFP on 6th March 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Hi

    This is a great method. The problem I’ve found is locating the start of the section I need to edit. When I make a balls up, I tend to start the whole paragraph again so I have to find a start point 5 mins earlier.

    Also, what is really taking time in my editing is cutting out the natural gaps in my speech/reading patterns. I seem to have a Chandler Bing slight gapping in my speech (which I never have in any other kind of public speaking) so I have to chop out otherwise my potential listeners will ask “could this podcaster be…….any more annoying” Any suggestions?

    • Matthew McLean on 9th March 2016 at 2:45 pm

      It’s just something you’ll improve on as you go along Chris. You’ll be much more aware of it than your listeners would be too I’d bet. I wouldn’t worry about running through and chopping every pause aside from the odd excessive one. Just keep working at it and you’ll find your flow.

    • Colin Gray on 10th March 2016 at 10:42 am

      Quick one from me too here Chris, I tend to only repeat the last sentence. Or as little as possible before the mistake. It’s quite easy to do this once you’ve practiced a little.

      You can often remember how you started that sentence and so can start “Take 2” with the same wording. That makes it a lot easier to find the start of the edit, and cut out from there.

      I usually just have to skip back 20s or so from the ‘triple click’ to find it in that case.

      Hope that helps!
      Colin

  3. Sven on 2nd June 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Nice One! Saves my time

  4. Sigrid Lee on 1st August 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Great idea, thank you! I will try it next time for sure.

  5. Darrell on 19th September 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this mental-health and time saver1

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Written by:

Colin Gray

Colin has been teaching people how to podcast since 2007. He's worked with Universities, businesses and hobbyists alike. He started The Podcast Host to share his experience and to help as many people as possible get into Podcasting. He runs Podcraft, to spread the art of podcasting, and does the Mountain Bikes Apart podcast whenever he can. Who doesn't like to talk bikes, after all!

November 18th 2015