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How to Podcast from an Event: Live Broadcasting or Offline Recording

Events are brilliant places to capture audio for your show. Where else can you find a huge crowd of people, all in your niche, just waiting to be ambushed with a mic?

Good event audio is tricky, though. You need quality kit that stays mobile. Then, add in factors like software, live broadcasting, music and FX… The options are many, but we’ll narrow them down, right here. Let’s go!

The Run and Gun: Grabbing Quick Chats

First, we have a super-mobile setup: your smartphone in one hand and a USB mic in the other. This allows simple recording of quick clips from anyone and everyone.

Here, the quality remains high, but mic handling is important. You need to be good at switching speakers, pointing the mic back and forth between you and the interviewee.

Essential Equipment:

Next Level:

  • Samson Stage Wireless Setup – Smartphone recording without trailing wires
  • Record in the Bossjock app for editing & music/fx options
  • Sony MDR-7506 headphones for accurate monitoring

The Personal Touch: For Longer, Natural One-to-Ones

Here's my event favourite (actually, my favourite in just about any out-and about situation) for extended conversations: the Rode Smartlav+. This is an excellent smartphone lavalier mic.

Even better, double them up, using 2 Smartlavs, and pair them with the SC6 adapter. This creates a 2-person recording setup which fits in your pocket. There are no worries about mic technique and the ‘hidden mic' approach leads to a very natural conversation. Beware background noise, though!

Essential Equipment:

Next Level:

Live Mix & Broadcast from an Event

The Spreaker app is a great tool for any event podcaster, allowing you to broadcast a podcast live, from the event, and archive it to your feed automatically for later listening.

It requires a Spreaker account, but even if you don't use Spreaker, you can download the files and repost to your main hosting.

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Big benefits:

  • Play music and FX live within episodes as you record
  • Broadcast the episode live on your own Spreaker page
  • Easily publish, right away, for super-timely content

The Full Mobile Studio: For Big Groups or Non-Compromisers

To record more than 2 people, or for no compromise on mic quality, you'll need a bigger setup. My favourite involves a dedicated digital recorder and a number of handheld XLR microphones.

At this point, you're obviously not as mobile, but it can include pro XLR mics for top quality, such as the Shure SM58 (great at limiting background noise too).

For two people:

  • Your XLR mic of choice (Shure SM58 or Samson Q2U) x 2
  • Quality XLR Cables x 2
  • Zoom H5 Digital Recorder
  • Record direct to Zoom H5, or use it as USB interface to computer
  • Headphones for your monitoring, plugged into H5

For Groups – 3 or more:

  • Your XLR mic of choice for each person
  • Quality XLR Cables
  • Zoom H6 Digital Recorder
  • Record direct to the Zoom H6, or use it as USB interface to computer
  • Headphones for your monitoring, plugged into H6

Next Level:

  • 4-way Headphone amp, and headphones for each person, for full monitoring flexibility.
  • iPad played into H5 or H6 for music and Sound FX

And the List Goes On

Yep, these are only a few options from an infinite list! They’re tried and tested by us, though, and work like a dream. For some of the multitude of alternatives, though, take a look below:

However you set it up, be tenacious, grab great people, ask deep questions, and keep seeking compelling stories. I look forward to a listen!

And if you need help running a podcast from your own event, we're happy to help. We've done it for many in the past, and we provide a live podcasting service for any event size. Just get it touch and we can talk it through.

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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!

January 31st 2018