On today's episode of Podcraft we're taking a look at something that's super important. However something that you might not naturally consider. Your recording environment!
By this, we mean the place you decide to record and how all of the factors around you can come into play.
The recording environment goes hand in hand with last week's episode all about your recording set-up. You'll need one spot on to get the other spot on too.
Below you can hear episode eight of season 10 of Podcraft. With this season, we’re revisiting our first season, which covers the first steps to releasing your podcast. If you’ve missed any episodes, including our recording set-up episode, you can check them out here:
- The benefits of running a podcast
- What are you podcasting for?
- Who are you podcasting for?
- Formats & approaches
- How long and how often?
- Planning & scripting your episode
- Your recording set-up
Why is your Recording Environment important?
Sound reacts differently depending on what kinds of surfaces are in the room you're planning on recording in. What this means is that you need to consider what's in your recording environment. I'll also talk a little about how you can prevent issues that come with this later in the article.
Good v Bad Locations
- You want to avoid reverb or echo. Places with bad echo are your bathroom where there are plenty of surfaces like tiles that sound bounces around.
- A way to test for the best recording environment in your house is to walk about recording and talking to yourself. You might feel silly, but it'll help you test where works.
- Typically Bedrooms work best due to plenty of items like beds and wardrobes being really good for stopping any reverb.
- A good room will have hard walls and be a larger space. However some larger rooms will contain too much echo so be careful. Test ahead.
You'll find that background noise vital in selecting the best recording environment. It can be the biggest killer of a podcast. Let's discuss the kinds of audio hazards you need to watch out for.
- Fans & Air Conditioning can be a problem. Test how loud your computing fan is before you start recording. You can work on re-placing your USB microphone if it being close to the computer fan is causing too much noise. With Aircon, quite simply turn it off! It might be hot for a little while but it'll make the difference in how your Podcast sounds
- People fidget when recording, and that's alright. However there's some everyday items you should avoid. If an interviewee has been fidgeting with keys or tapping a table, this can take away from the content. So don't feel scared to bring this up before or during the recording.
- Jewelry can also be a problem so if chains or bracelets are too loud, take them off.
- Even Chairs can cause problems. PC chairs with swivel seats and wheels can move at any time causing annoying noises. Use stationary chairs for your podcasting.
- There's also outdoor noises. If you live by a busy road, make sure your window is closed to cut out the noises outside.
There's plenty of things to watch out for with regards to background noise but the key of it all is that you shouldn't feel afraid to ask people to turn things off. And you should always test ahead for a few minutes to make sure you have the best quality through-out your show.
Thankfully there are plenty of things you can do to cancel out the issues that would come up through background noise and reverb. We call this sound treating.
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Temporary Sound Treating
- If you have walls which have bad reverb, you can experiment using blankets on those walls to cancel that noise out.
- It sounds silly but throwing a duvet over your head and recording under it as the first trick in the book. It creates a recording environment with basically no background or unwanted noise.
- You can also craft a box to feed your microphone through. You're best finding something with round corners as this helps the sound bounce around better.
Permanent Sound Treating
- Sound tiles are available online and work well. These are normally foam grey tiles you can add to your room to contain sound really well.
- You don't need to cover the whole wall. Even a section of your wall where you're recording works well.
- Canvases and Conference Boards also work well in cancelling out bouncing noise travelling too much.
- For stuff you probably already have in your home, the hard surfaces of Bookshelves work really well to have in your recording environment.
- Check out Ray Ortega's guide to build your own Acoustic Canvases, which is a simple way of permanent sound treating.
The most important thing you should do whenever recording, is use headphones!
This allows you to hear if there are issues, and it allows you to monitor potential problems.
If you're talking to guests about appearing on your podcast, you should try and convince them to follow these rules too. Don't be afraid to ask them to talk them through moving to a better recording environment.
If you're looking for tutorials and one to one advice on your podcast, we can help. We offer Production Services and we also have our Podcast Host Academy which can help you make the podcast of your dreams.