I’m new here so be gentle!
I’m about to launch a new podcast. I’ve done podcasting before - but they were just me talking, doing news actually - a simple 10 minute news report sort of thing. My new show will be an interview show. I will be interviewing guests by Skype as they will 99% be overseas - so I know of no other option for that. (If there is, please clue me in!)
My setup at the moment is a 2013 MacBookPro, Audacity, a Rode Podcaster mic (also have MXLV63M and Sure SM57), and a Behringer Xenyx1002FX mixer. My home studio is reasonably acoustic - about 18x10’, carpeted, no windows, and I have two folding room dividers covered with acoustic foam panels that create an enclosure around me when recording. As I say, I’ve done some simple podcasting and had no issues with room noise.
My question then is relative to recording. In the past, I recorded directly into my computer using Audacity. I’ve read quite a lot that suggests a better way is to record onto a digital recorder then load the files onto the computer. However, most of my reading has involved the Zoom H1 or the Tascam DR 05. Both of these models are handheld portables - and I see very little use for one in what I plan to do. (Should I viit overseas I can buy one then if need be) Even the 1% of interviews I will do in the USA, will be Skyped as the guests will be a few to several hundred miles away. In short, I won’t be doing interviews live in the field, nor in studio. So is one of the above hand-held digital recorders sufficient, or would it make more sense to look at something like the Tascam DP-008EX?
This may be the one and only time I recommend staying with your computer. You can run an application like Pamela to record both sides of the Skype call on separate WAV-quality tracks so you can do individual patching and cleanup as needed and then melt the tracks into one show.
There are other products that semi-do this job, but as you investigate them, remember never do production in MP3 and it’s really good to have split tracks for post production. Also pay attention to which type of computer they work with.
There is another way to do this, although many people scoff. I did it with two computers and a sound mixer. This has the advantage of being able to host multiple people in the studio and work with a Skype call and integrate real-time music.
That’s how Pando Daily does it and you’re pretty much stuck with this format if you grow past a certain size (attached).
Thanks Koz. Your suggestion for two computers though goes well beyond what I envision - because of the nature of my subject matter my set up will be strictly me in the studio as host/interviewer and one guest via Skype. Occasionally I may find myself doing a Skype conference call with two guests, but that will be rare. Primarily it’s me in the studio interviewing a guest via Skype. I’ll do editing and post (mix into music/vo/spots) in Audacity. I do work/edit in Audacity before I mix down to Mp3 for the final.
I am curious though - you fee its safer to record direct to the computer than to go initially into a digital recorder? I’m concerned, and have read other podcasters who raise the same issue - that of a computer crash or other problem and losing the interview.
Occasionally I may find myself doing a Skype conference call with two guests
I believe that’s the point you will be paying for Skype then. Conferencing/Multipoint is where it stops being free (last I did this).
… its safer to record direct to the computer than to go initially into a digital recorder?
How are you going to run Skype without a computer? I can’t picture how you’re going to connect the system to record both you and the Skype call—separate for post production later. You also have to hear the far end and they have to hear you.
And then you have to convince Skype to not “Help You.” Skype loves to take over the sound system in your machine. It’s one of the reasons it’s been so successful. You can get a Skype call through no matter how badly you messed up your sound settings because Skype resets them all.
How are you going to get your voice into Skype and into one channel of the recorder?
that of a computer crash or other problem and losing the interview.
It could be said that if your machine is constantly going down, maybe it’s not the best one to use for critical recordings in the first place.
Paid Pamela is terrific because they create a virtual machine inside your machine and they work with the Skype settings to “skim off” both directions of the conversations without affecting echo cancellation and other settings. Messing with echo cancellation is what gives you those bubbly, honky, choppy Skype calls.
The computer on the right in my illustration did the Skype call. That’s all it did. Everything else was handled by the machine on the left. The tests we did were in final stereo, but I could have split the voices left and right and mixed/filtered them later.
In the interests of double recording the interview, you could set up one of your digital recorders to record the computer’s headphone split. You may only get a ghost of your voice, but you will get a good copy of the far side voice. You can always re-record your voice. The news people do it all the time.
If you’re in the habit of constantly interrupting your guest, that’s a very bad habit to get into.
My intent, and I’ve confirmed this with a few others including an audio engineer, is to record thru my mixer into a digital audio recorder. My voice will go direct to the mixer and out to the recorder. I’ll route the Skype end of the conversation to the mixer via my laptops headphone out and onward to the digital recorder. That way my voice and the guest’s will be on separate tracks. I’ll use the headphone jack on the mixer to hear the conversation. Once recorded, I’ll output from the digital recorder into Audacity for editing and post.
I did not mean to imply my computer crashes frequently, indeed it does not. I was only relaying what I’ve read, that other podcaters recommend using the digital recorder rather than recording into a computer to protect against a possible crash or other glitch and thus the loss of your content. And of course I will use the computer to make the Skype calls.
FYI, as noted in my original post I’m on a MacbookPro so as I understand it Pamela is not an option. Call Recorder and others may be however.
And I have a Skype account so paying to use it for multi-party conversations is not an issue, never was.
I think I follow that. That’s basically what I did in that two computer setup. How do you get your voice into Skype? I did it with mix-minus from the mixer since my voice is already there. I used FX Send as mix-minus so the far side could hear everything going on in the “studio” except themselves, again to reduce echoes.
How were you going to do it? Oddly this was the step that gave us the most problems. Although through all that, neither of us sounds like a Skype call and we’re almost in real time.
Nobody will ever accuse either of us of being pro broadcasters even though we both are. That was the built-in microphone of her Mac Air. I think I found the problem after much experimentation. Skype had changed the sound routing and it wasn’t obvious what it did. Imagine my surprise…
Anyway, so in your implementation, there’s no music and you just fade hard over to get each voice on their own track. But how were you going to send your voice to the far side?