How to Record a Remote Podcast Interview
Any time a client asks us about starting a corporate podcast, there’s one consideration that always pops up: remote recordings. As nice as it would be to have every guest interview occur in person, we know that’s not always practical, especially if you want to interview a diverse array of guests from all around the world.
It’s even trickier when your podcast host is frequently on the move. We run into this issue a lot with podcast clients who use a CEO or executive as the host of their show because those folks are often traveling for work.
The challenge is that when you have to record multiple people in different locations, it becomes difficult to ensure the best audio quality. For example, Skype is very popular among podcasters, but I find it’s hard to ensure consistent audio quality with it – you get that unmistakably “tinny” sound that’s common in web conferencing. Bandwidth can also be an obstacle – if your guest is on a poor web connection, their vocals may drop or waver unexpectedly.
So, what’s the best way to record a remote podcast interview and maintain good audio quality? Here are a few options.
If you absolutely want to ensure the very best audio in a remote recording, there’s no better solution than the classic double-ender recording.
The premise is simple: both participants in the interview record their own vocals locally, either into a digital audio recorder (like the Zoom) or recording software on their computer (like Audacity). The separate audio files are shared with an editor, who lines up everything in post-production. This allows you to avoid any weird audio artifacts, like that “tinny” sound I described.
This a great solution if both parties are handy enough with a recorder, but it’s probably not the best solution if you’re hoping to make participating as easy as possible for your guest. First, they’ll need to actually have a recorder, and then they’ll need access to whatever shared file storage you have (i.e. Dropbox), then they’ll need to navigate the file upload. It’s not rocket science, but it’s also not effortless.
Remote recording software
Recording software is a popular option for capturing remote audio. You have a wide range of options here:
Traditional web conferencing software
- Skype – Again, this is the go-to solution for many podcasters, but your mileage may vary in terms of audio quality. It used to be that you had to install third-party recording capabilities to record in Skype, but in 2018, they rolled out native in-app recording. It’s simple to use and most people are familiar with the interface, so it’s still a good option if you want to get going quickly.
- Zoom.us – We’ve increasingly used Zoom web conferencing in our podcast recordings, and we find it pretty handy. The audio quality seems to be a bit better than other conferencing solutions and Zoom offers a handy feature to record a separate audio file for each participant locally, which makes it easier for your editor to clean up each participant’s vocals independently. For example, if one guest coughs, you can cut that sound without affecting the other participant’s audio. I also like that Zoom makes it pretty effortless for the guest to participate. Unlike Skype, Zoom doesn’t require guests to install any software; they can join the call by clicking a simple web link. It also offers the option to join by phone, which makes it even easier for guests to dial in and means you don’t have to rely on the steadiness of their web connection for a call.
Podcast-specific recording software
There are a number of software options that are purpose-built for podcasting. I’ve tried several and to be honest, I didn’t find the audio quality for any of these to be substantially better than what I could get from Zoom.us. Again, I prefer solutions that are as effortless as possible, and these require your guest to use an unfamiliar interface or install a new piece of software.
But, your mileage may vary. It’s worth experimenting with these options because they also promise much more than simple remote recording capabilities. Many are meant to be all-in-one recording, editing and publishing suites.
- Zencastr – Offers free recording for two guests for up to 8 hours per month. It also offers some editing capabilities.
- Ringr – Ringr offers a handy mobile app in both iOS and Android, so it gives your guests the option of “calling” in from their smartphone
- Cast – Also an all-in-one solution, Cast lets you record, edit and publish your podcast in one location.
- Anchor – Another all-in-one podcasting solution. Anchor’s mobile apps are essentially podcast studios in your pocket; the idea is you’re able to record, edit and distribute an entire show with nothing more than your iPhone or Android.
You could get much more technical from here (hello, IDSN lines), but these remote recording options strike the best balance between simplicity and quality. Happy podcasting, and don’t hesitate to reach out to March if you’re looking for professional help developing, distributing and promoting your first corporate podcast.
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