Zoom.us is a great tool for recording a call with anyone on the web, so I thought it was worth putting together a little video to show you how it works.
In summary, Zoom’s advantage is that it’s super simple. Your guest doesn’t need an account, or any software. All they need is a link, which you’re given when you sign up to the service. On clicking that link, they’re popped into a chat room with you, all inside their browser.
How Much does Zoom Cost?
Cost is a big factor here, because in most cases it’s entirely free!
Zoom has a ‘Basic’ tier which allows you to use it free of charge. The main caveat here is that with a Basic account, you’ll be limited to call lengths of 40mins. But that’s still pretty nice!
You’ll pay for extra features, such as unlimited length calls, cloud storage or pre-scheduling zoom calls. And I do, because it’s a great service. But, at least to start with, the majority of podcasts will do just fine with the free version.
How to Record a Call with Zoom
I love Zoom because it’s so easy, but here’s how it works anyway:
- Click the record button on the toolbar at the bottom of the Zoom window.
- Then click ‘Record on this Computer’. That starts recording.
- Once you’re finished, click the stop button in the same location.
- At this point you can still speak to your guest, but recording has finished
- To get your files, click ‘End Meeting’
- Zoom will start to save the recording to your computer
What Does it Give You?
With Zoom, you get the following:
- .m4a audio file. You can load that directly into Alitu, Audacity, Audition or any other audio editor.
- .mp4 video file. Useful if you want to cut out some highlights and use it to promote your show on YouTube.
What are the Downsides?
So, audio quality isn’t always A+. But, I’ve rarely seen it below an A-, if that makes any sense.. Essentially, it’s plenty good enough for nearly any podcast type, and better than most.
For me, it’s as good, on average, as Skype, and in fact it seems more reliable to me. But, since it’s recording your call via the interwebs, there’s always going to be a bit of compression, and a slight loss in quality. It’s not as good for quality as a double ender tool like Ringr, for example, but it’s plenty good enough for all for all but the top audio snobs.
What are the Alternative ways to Record?
There are a range of different ways to record a podcast online, from free to paid, from software to hardware, and from double ender to one sided. You’ll see them all in the article I’ve linked here.
Skype is still considered the “default” way of podcasting remotely by many though. And now that they’ve (finally) added in call recording by default, that will likely continue for the foreseeable future.
But Skype’s default call recorder function doesn’t rival Zoom’s, because it only gives you a mono file. Zoom on the other hand, will split both sides of the conversation for you, giving you two separate files to work with in post-production.
This is a handy feature for those podcasters who like to spend a bit more time on their editing, and can give you a lot more flexibility in how you put your episodes together. Currently, if you wanted a similar feature on Skype then you’d need to use third party software like eCamm or TalkHelper.
Perhaps it’s enough to say that I have pretty much every possible recording method at my disposal. We can use Skype in the studio, recording to our Zoom H5 or capturing through eCamm. We can use Ringr, via mobile or desktop. We have Talkhelper, and all the rest.
But… despite the fact that we have all those methods, many with more flexibility and more options, for an average interview I most often come back to Zoom.
It’s simply…. simple.
Send the link. Press record. Talk. Publish. Done.
And if it needs a bit of a trim, or a wee process, I’ll stick it through Alitu on the way.
Give Zoom a shot. It’s free. What have you got to lose!