When you hear the term “podcast studio” you might automatically conjure up images of mics, mixing desks, and cables running everywhere.
The average “podcast studio” is somewhat less glamorous though. The vast majority of podcasters will simply plug a USB mic into their computer prior to recording. And most listeners won't even be able to tell the difference.
There are varying levels of podcasting equipment on the market. But there's a good chance that the problems you face when recording your show have nothing to do with what mic you're using…
There are 2 common issues that could be putting you off from sitting down and hitting record.
- You just can't get the space or the peace and quiet at home.
- You feel a bit stupid sitting alone, talking into a mic.
These are two different reasons, but both have the same outcome – your podcast will never fulfill its true potential, and could even lead to you quitting podcasting altogether.
There are measures you can take to address these issues – check out creating a silent home studio, and how to design an avatar for your podcast – but in this article, we're going to take a look at how you can go a long way towards solving both.
And that involves taking your show outside.
Podcasting is truly global and podcasters live in a multitude of diverse environments. But it's likely that no matter where you are, getting outside and having a 20 minute walk is an option that's open to you.
Struggling to Choose & Use Your Podcast Equipment?
Pick the right gear, and learn how it works: from USB mics to mixers.
Whether that's through busy city streets, quiet country roads, dense woodland trails, or along warm sandy beaches, you can turn your neighborhood into your very own podcast studio just by getting out there and hitting record.
Not only does it take the “can't get the space or quiet at home” issue out of the equation, it also goes a long way to fixing the “I feel stupid talking into a mic” feeling.
You've probably walked down the street chatting to a friend on the phone before. So now you just need to replace your friend with your podcast avatar. They might not actually respond to you, but that's okay, you've got plenty to tell them anyway.
The fact that you're up and moving means your blood is pumping faster, you're breathing deeper, and generally getting more oxygen to your brain. This is far removed from the “alone in a quiet room” scenario that leads so many people to get mic paralysis.
Another factor that makes recording outdoors appealing not only for the podcaster but for the listener too, is the ambience.
The sound of birds chirping or waves lapping or cars and busses driving by, can create images in the mind of your listener and place them right there with you. It can really add depth, character, and even authenticity to your sound.
Naturally, it can't become overbearing to the point that you can't be heard above the noise of everything going on around you though. So, if you do happen to live in a particularly noisy place or somewhere with constant hurricane and monsoon weather conditions, then there is another option…
Recording in the Car
Cars make for great little isolated recording booths. And recording in yours will still give you many of the benefits of actually being properly outside.
Some podcasters have even been known to record their show's whilst driving, though that might not actually be legal, depending on where you live. If it is though, a hands free mic like a lavalier or dashboard camera will still be a necessity. If local law enforcement catch you driving past holding an SM58 in your hand than your next recording environment is probably going to be the police interview room.
Outdoor Recording Equipment
On the subject of equipment though, what are the options available to you if you want to record outdoors?
One of the most popular options has to be the Rode Smartlav+. This is an unobtrusive lavalier mic that you can pin to your jersey and record directly into your phone.
You could also use a digital recorder like the Zoom H1, and plug a lav mic into that. Or, use the recorder as a handheld. You'll be best to stick a foam or furry windjammer over it though to protect your audio from air movement.
Or, you could go really advanced with the Zoom SSH-6 shotgun capsule on an H5 or H6 recorder if you had the budget to stretch to it. Shotgun mics are great for really honing in on a voice which make them the ideal field recording kit.
Like any podcasting setup, it really just depends on your own personal preference and budget. Just find something that works for you and your show, and focus the rest of your attention on the most important part – your content.
Far Fetched Adventures: Stacey's Tips
This is Charlie and Stacey. They run a podcast called Far Fetched Adventures, and it's the ultimate example of a brilliant one-the-go show.
We asked Stacey for her own tips and advice for podcasters looking to create more content in this way. Here's what she had to say…
“Best practice is to get really comfortable with your kit setup and establish a consistent system that becomes second nature when you're… well…out in nature.
Rather than fiddling with wires buttons and where to put everything while you're on the go, practice creating a minimalist setup that feels comfortable and easy to manage.
Thinking about the battery life of whatever you're using is super important.
If you're using your phone and a lav, make sure your phone is fully charged before you leave the house. If you think you might be in for a slightly longer session or you find yourself on a bit of an adventure, investing in an external battery block (or two) that can keep your phone charged is an easy way to extend your record time without being tethered to a wall charger.
There are many options on the market with varying price ranges and charging capacity such as this one by Anker or this one by Mophie. If you're going to be using a field recorder like the Zoom, make sure you bring extra batteries for that as well.
Creating a podcasting “go-bag” out of a backpack you likely already have is an efficient and organized way to carry the essentials mentioned above. Headphones, your laptop should you decide to edit on the go, and even some snacks, water, wallet, etc.
The key to successfully recording outside is to make it as comfortable, natural, and as effortless as possible. With the wide variety of portable gear and recording options available to us, creating your next episode on the go is as simple as taking a walk.”
Need More Podcasting Help?
If you'd like to chat to us about the barriers preventing you from hitting record, then check out The Podcast Host Academy. Aside from our regular live Q&A sessions too, you can work through our dedicated courses on everything from voice training and presentation skills to promotion and monetisation!