Here at The Podcast Host, we offer a comprehensive podcast production service. But what exactly is it we do? What goes into the mix? What do we cut out and what do we add?
The answers are at hand as we present a sneak peek behind the scenes:
Although we tailor it to the requirements of each client, these steps are an integral part of turning your source material into a polished podcast episode.
It can be a lengthy process, so what are the benefits?
One main factor is to clean up files; removing static, hissing, and background noise. The quality of the source material is relevant here – the greater the background noise, the less we can do about it. Nevertheless, we can greatly improve the sound quality of your audio files with these restoration techniques.
We’re also particular about making sure audio levels are perfectly balanced and comply with the podcast loudness standards of -16LUFS (stereo) and -19LUFS (mono). Audio levels are important on a number of fronts. Your episode needs to be loud enough for your listener to hear it in a busy place whilst listening through earbuds. The volume needs to be consistent throughout too – that means an interviewee should never be too quiet whilst the interviewer is too loud (or vice versa).
The screenshot to the right is how many podcast interviews look after they’ve been recorded. The interviewer is on the top (left) channel, and the interviewee is on the bottom (right) channel.
We need to separate these, individually clean them up. Balance the volume levels, and re-merge them.
Here are the Steps we Take to Produce Your Podcast
- Download your source material
Check any edit notes sent over
- Import audio files into Adobe Audition (our editing software)
- We convert any MP3 or lossy files sent over to WAV files to avoid any further degradation in quality during the editing process
- All dialogue edits are carried out, marked clearly on the waveform with the three click system.
- If source material includes a stereo track interview we split both sides to individual mono tracks
- Run through and apply noise reduction processes to each individual file, these might be your intro, outro, and either side of your interview
- Whilst noise reduction treats background noise, we also use techniques at this point to treat any issues with the vocals in the audio
- For mic ‘popping’, wind noise, microphone handling noise etc, we run a high-pass filter over the audio
- For fuzzy distortion or static on the vocals, we run a low-pass filter over the audio
- Once we’re happy with the audio quality, we need to set each file to it’s appropriate volume level
- Broadcast audio is measured in LUFS, which means “Loudness units relative to full scale”. The loudness standards in podcasting are -16LUFS (stereo episodes) and -19LUFS (mono episodes)
- Hard limiting applied to files to flatten out any peaks
- Each file is then normalised to -6db (decibels)
- If you have an interview to be edited in, both sides are then mixed back together
- Dynamic processing is then applied to make sure the quiet parts and loud parts in your audio are brought closer together
- Once a consistent volume has been achieved, we set the files to their appropriate volume of -16LUFS (stereo) or -19LUFS (mono)
- The files are then brought into a multitrack session so we can build your episode
- Any intro/outro music, sound effects, transitions etc are brought into the session
- All files are then pieced together, music is faded in and out under speech as appropriate
- Multitrack session and all audio files are then saved and backed up to our own storage system
- The episode is mixed down as an MP3 file at 96kbps (this is the file’s bit rate, 96kbps is a great balance between audio quality and file size)
- ID3 tags or ‘Metadata’ (series name, episode title, etc) are then written into your MP3 episode file.
- Your cover art is then embedded onto the MP3. This, along with your ID3 tags, will display on your listener’s device once they’ve downloaded it and look much more professional.
Outsourcing Your Podcast Production
Hiring someone else to do your editing and production can save you hours every week, and allow you to focus entirely on the content you create. If this is something you’ve been considering, take a look at our article on Low Budget Vs Premium Production Services. There’s a few things there to consider before deciding which option is right for you.
How do you mix Your own Show?
I’m interested to hear how your own production process compares to ours. What things do you do to your audio when you’re putting it all together, how long does it take you, and is there anything you really struggle with? Leave a comment in the comments section below.