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How I do it - with video!

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Hi everyone, this is Leo Notenboom with news, commentary and answers to some of the many questions I get at askleo.info.

Today's podcast is just a little different. I'm not only going to describe how I produce my podcast, but show you as well. If you visit askleo.info, enter 10908 in the Go To Article box, you'll be taken to the show notes where you'll be able to watch the video shot while this podcast was made.

Now, a podcast is nothing more than a specific way of delivering an mp3 audio file inside an RSS feed. That can be as simple as just talking into your voice recorder and publishing the resulting file without changing it. But I'm looking for something just a little more polished, so here's what I do.

I start by writing a script using my HTML editor TopStyle. That script eventually becomes the transcript you see in the show notes.

I then use the free open-source recorder and editing program Audacity to record the audio. I use a Plantronics DSP-400 USB headset, certainly not pro equipment, but as you can hopefully hear it has reasonably high quality for something like $60 or so.

I typically do very little editing of the recorded audio - if I make too many mistakes I'll re-record the whole thing. But editing does at least include trimming the front and back of the recording, and perhaps removing a blown line or two.

Next I apply a bass-boost filter. That gives my voice a little more of that deep, rich radio texture that many of us come to expect from spoken audio. Without that, I'd sound a little more like this.

A common question I get is how to I get it to fit in 3 minutes each week? First, once you remove the intro and outro music, I actually have about 2 minutes 45 seconds to speak to you. Now, I've gotten fairly good at writing a script that takes about 2 minutes 45 to speak, but not always. Sometimes after the first recording, I'll go back and edit the script. But if I'm close - say within a few seconds or so - I'll cheat. I'll use Audacity's change tempo function to change the length of the audio without changing the pitch. To exactly 165 seconds.

Then I import my music overlay (which is exactly 3 minutes long), position the spoken audio within it, and save the result as an mp3.

I upload that mp3 to my server, copy the script into MovableType - the engine behind Ask Leo! - and publish.

As I said, the process isn't terribly difficult, but in my case getting a clean recording is usually the longest part.

I'd love to hear what you think. Visit ask leo dot info, and enter 10908 in the go to article number box. Leave me a comment, I love hearing from you.

This is a presentation of askleo.info, a free on-line technical question and answer service. Hundreds of questions and answers are online and ready to help solve your computer problems.

That's askleo.info.

Article C2837 - November 11, 2006 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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2 Comments
Leonard
November 12, 2006 4:17 AM

Leo,
I had your site recommended to me because of your "Making the Podcast" presentation.
While it was very well done and incorporates many techniques I used to use in radio program production, I did find one minor issue, the bass boost. I do like the improvement but it would be a bit better if some of the very low bass was removed. The "bass presence" noticed in radio broadcasts is a consequence of a cardiod microphone property that boosts the bass. Commonly the very low bass is removed with a cut off filter. This then reduces the audio power required to provide the audio but maintains the pleasing mid bass enhancement which we like on the voice.
Leonard

Nigel
November 17, 2006 6:12 AM

Hi Leo,

Loved this edition of 'Ask Leo!'. It was great to have the video of the podcast to see how you did it.

I do a little bit of podcasting and found the bass boost tip to be a great idea, which I wasn't aware of.

Thanks very much for the effort you put in to producing these podcasts, I really enjoy hearing them.

Nigel.

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