Producing Podcasts during Covid19

Sonia Falcao

While there were many areas of creative media, which were forced to stop production during the initial period of the COVID pandemic, podcasting was not one of them. During this time you could still record and launch podcasts as long as you had the right tools, software, some imagination and a can-do attitude.

And that’s what we did.

In the past few months, our team has researched, written, taped, and produced more than100 podcast episodes across six different countries and two continents.

Here’s what we’ve learned from the experience and what you need to do if you want to start producing podcasts remotely.

1. Coming up with an idea for a podcast

Assuming you have an idea that doesn’t involve any field recording, there are so many themes that can be brought to life remotely. Interviews, panel shows, fictional podcasts, a personal journal, the world is your oyster. Just think of a theme and do your research.

2. Equipment for recording a podcast

You likely already have some headphones and a computer and, perhaps, even a microphone but don’t worry if you are missing any of these pieces of hardware – you can also produce and launch a podcast from your smartphone although it won’t be professional quality. You need a recording app like ‘Voice Memos’ for iPhone or ASR Voice Recorder for Android. In order to get the best sound quality, we recommend you also use headphones with a cord.

3. Where to record your podcast

Now you need a spot to record your podcast. One of the most important things is the quality of the sound of your podcast, so please go easy on your listener’s ears.

We recommend recording the smallest room in your house or even using a wardrobe can be a good solution. If you can fit inside a wardrobe, great, but if not, just setting a table facing its doorway will greatly help with the sound. Hard surfaces are not good for sound so get some acoustic panels to put your microphone on. But, if you’re on a limited budget, just get some pillows to support the microphone and drape the blanket over your head.

Voilà, your very own DIY recording studio.

4. Selecting your guests or voiceover artist

Once you have your idea, your material and your studio ready it’s time to choose the best guests or voiceover artist.

Some of the questions you might want to ask when interviewing a potential guest or voice over candidate:

Do you have a fast and reliable Internet connection?
What about an external microphone?
Can you use wired headphones?

5. Recording your podcast remotely

Prepare and give as much information and guidance as possible. If you have guests on your podcast you can call them using Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts and even Facetime. You will be able to record a live conversion with your guests and then edit it later. At Meow Productions we recommend Skype because the sound is taped in both ends – so to speak – according to our brilliant and perfectionist sound designer Reinaldo Gonzalez.

Always make sure your guests use headphones to minimize external sounds and use airplane mode to avoid unwanted interruptions.

Pass on our advice about where to record the podcast (see point 3, above). Ask them to not use any jewellery or squeaky chairs and to refrain from moving around too much while talking.

Once the taping is finished ask your guest to send you the file in MP4 format.

6. Plan, plan, plan

As you will not be together while recording, make sure you speak to your guest before trying to tape your podcast.

While spontaneity is great, you will both need to be on the same page about where the podcast is going and a little bit of rehearsal will help everything run smoothly.

7. Time to start editing

Time to start cooking! Once your episode is recorded, you can edit audio using apps such as Audacity, Soundtrap and Garage Band. They all of one thing in common, they’re free and there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube to get you started.

8. Sound design for your Podcast

We had a wonderful sound designer who worked with us remotely. But if you’re composing your own music and struggling, then check out some of the free royalty-free music and sound effects such as Incompetech and Premium Beat. You can really make your work more alive with these tools.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell. Now with a little bit of imagination, flexibility and go get ‘em attitude, you can record, produce and launch your very own podcast from home. Happy podcasting!