I’ve covered how to record face-to-face podcast interviews before, showing how you can get decent results with just a small digital recorder and a couple of lavalier microphones.
It’s a good low-cost setup, still, but there are a fair few disadvantages to that configuration. These include the lack of any ability to set volumes individually per speaker, and a little bit higher background noise due to the splitter.
In the coming series, though, we’re going full quality. We’re going to forget about the budget, and overcome the disadvantages of the lower-cost system.
I want to offer a no-nonsense description of the gold standard equipment you need for face to face interviews, assuming you have a bit of budget to play with.
I’ll give a couple of lower cost options, but this is really assuming that you want the pro-level kit that’ll deliver results and last you a long time.
I also want to cover setup and the exact little extras you need. At the end of this series you’ll know what you need, down to the last cable, and you’ll know how to use it to capture the best face to face interviews or co-hosted podcasts possible.
But I Do My Interviews Online!
Online or “remote” interviews dominated podcasting, even before 2020 hit us the way it did. They’re quick and they’re easy to organise, with no travelling required. On top of that, the tools on the market for recording remote conversations continue to improve at a steady pace. There are a lot of excellent options out there today.
But a remote call often doesn’t deliver the quality of a face-to-face sit down, either from a technical point of view, or a human interaction standpoint.
A face-to-face conversation is in a league above in terms of flow and back-and-forth, thanks to the visual and physical cues that guide a conversation. People can segue, interrupt, banter and add-to so much more naturally when they’re sitting or standing right in front of each other.
It also takes a lot of other issues out of the equation. Dodgy internet connections, microphone issues, and a complete lack of control over your guest’s gear and recording environment.
With that said, remote recording obviously has a lot more pros than cons. But if it’s possible to do so, we should aim to include some face-to-face interviews in our podcast. It can lead to some fantastic sounding and engaging content.
Before we dive in, what’s the context here? These are the two most common possibilities:
- Co-hosting a podcast in person
- Recording an interview in person
Either option involves the exact same setup – two people (or more) in the same room speaking to each other, and recording the conversation.
Others may be recording an event, perhaps a workshop or a presentation, and you want to record the speaker, plus people asking questions. Or perhaps even a ’roundtable’ where you want to record a group of people all having a conversation.
If any of these appeal to you, then this series should prove useful. I want to help you in making sure that, when you decide to treat yourself to better interview kit, your hard-earned cash gets spent on the right equipment.
If you need more details, about planning, content creation, and editing, we have all of this waiting for you in Podcraft Academy. That’s where you’ll find all our courses, downloadable resources, and our weekly live Q&A sessions.
With all of that in mind though, let’s dive into the first part of this series, where we’re going to talk about the digital recorder.
How to Record Face-to-Face Podcast Interviews: The Full Guide
If you want to jump to a specific article in this series, here’s the full list, too…
What Our Readers Think About How to Record Face-to-Face Podcast Interviews: The Full Guide
My arsenal of equipment for podcasting comprises my old and trusty ZOOM H2N, which I still use for portable interviews, (using the 4 channel mic setting so that we can sit across a table-its wise to put a towel or something on the table to reduce reflections), my ZOOM R16 mixer/recorder which I use for a multi-mic setup (the built-in mics are not great but OK for a round-table discussion-although I’m considering the Crown Sound Grabber boundary mic, which would probably give better quality coverage for a small group of less than 10 people), a Marshall M67G (fantastic value for money) which I use in conjunction with the R16 because it has phantom power inputs, and a Shure SM 58 and SM 57. For a podcast discussion between 2 people I like the M67G and obtain very good recordings using my Monoprice 602650 absorbent shield which you can see at http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=602650 In this case, provided the two people are sitting close together, the M67G gives good coverage and reduces room effects in my little, reverberant room.
Amazing article, thanks for that. My question is if i want to do a Face-to Face interview but with freehands, what you recommend. Im looking for a voice recorder for a face to face interview with my hands free to handle in it. I was thinking about H4n Pro.
Thanks for your opinion
Hi Miguel, take a look at the ATR3350 lav mics, I run 2 into a Zoom H5 (though the H4 and most other recorders will accommodate them too) for a lot of my in-person interviews. https://www.thepodcasthost.com/equipment/atr-3350-lavalier-microphone-podcasting-review/