Podcast Segment Recording
So, you want to create an AIE Podcast Segment like OldManFranks, Bouvi, and Wyndgem? You don't really have know how on how to make a good one? Let me say this up front, it's really not that hard technically speaking. Let me go through showing you the levels of the different types of production of an AIE Podcast Segment.
For the technology, all you really need is 3 things:
- A Computer
- A Microphone
- Editing Software
If you're in AIE, you play WoW, you have a computer, so that's taken care of.
While you might have a microphone built into your computer (which is ok) I do suggest to get a headset like this one I bought from Amazon. You may also already have one for using AIE Vent, but if you do need to buy one, don't worry about getting an expensive one, just one that works. I recommend to make sure it has a USB interface for a little better quality. You could also get a professional microphone like a Heil PR40 Professional Microphone and an M-Audio Fast Track US44010 USB Audio Interface, but that's probably a little much. Go with the headset, you can thank me later.
Do you have a Mac? You're all set. I do my segment, Achievementology, in Garageband. It's easy, it's good, it works.
Do you have a Windows, Mac, or Linux machine? Audacity is your friend and it's free. In order to get your recording into an MP3 file with Audacity, you will need to download and install the LAME MP3 Encoder. There are instructions and links to that on the Audacity Website.
Write a script. It's not as hard as you think it is and we're not expecting you to write the greatest prose or anything. You're just writing out what you say so that when you do get to recording you're not stumbling over yourself trying to think of the words you want to use. OMF, Bouvi and Wyndgem all write scripts and, at least in Wyndgem's case, they still stumble over their words. The segments are much smoother when you know what you're going to say, word for word. Also, practice, practice, practice. Read through your script a couple of times out loud and practice your pronunciation. Your goal is to avoid as many umms, ahhs, errs, and dead air. A script will also help you keep your pace. You don't want to be going to slow and bore your audience and you don't want to go too fast.
A script, however, won't work as well when you're doing an interview. In the case of an interview, you should have your questions written out and ready but otherwise, feel free to just go with the flow.
Once you have your equipment working and your script written and you've practiced a few times, hit record and start talking. Don't stop. Just keep going if you make a mistake. Go back in your script a little before your mistake and keep going. The mistakes can be taken out later. Just cut out the bad parts after you're done and close the gaps.
I'd like to say there are 3 Levels of difficulty for making a podcast segment
Basic is just that, you just cut out the bad parts, close the gaps, export as an MP3 and send it in. All your segment is of you talking, no music or effects or anything. Is this bad for a segment? Heck, no! Just check out Focus Magic that OldManFranks records. It's one of the best segments and all he has is his content. For a bonus, feel free to go into your recording and cut out any stumbles or interruptions to provide a well paced segment.
Intermediate recording adds in extra elements into your segment and some more advanced editing. This level could also include multi person segments and interviews as it adds the level of difficulty of recording a Skype call or something similar. The most common addition to a segment is music. Music is either used as intro and outro music or background music. Anytime you are speaking and you have music at the same time, make sure that the music is not too loud that it covers your voice. When trying to figure out the levels, try to err on the side of the music being too quiet then too loud. The important part of your segment is what you have to say, the music is just gravy. When selecting the music you're going to use, please make sure it is appropriate to the pacing of your program. Wyndgem recently used some techno music for his Naxxaramas Achievements. This music was fast but matched the pacing of his segment. Delalian and Modum use more mellow music under their Ebon Hold segment as the pacing is not as fast. In addition to music, sound effects may be use as well, but don't go overboard.
Honestly, there's not much to say about an advanced podcast segment that hasn't already been said for intermediate and basic recording. The difference is added effects to voices, precise editing techniques, manipulation of several audio tracks, more use of sound effects and great sound quality. Bouvi's UI Clinic is close to this but I have to give the gold medal to Darrell the Tip Giver's Tip of the Week.
Honestly, we don't expect anyone to submit a segment of Advanced level to the AIE podcast, so don't think you have to shoot for the moon when doing your segment. Just do the level you're comfortable with and enjoy doing. I'd rather listen to an AIE podcast of a series of Basic Level segments that people enjoyed doing then a whole bunch of Advanced level that are bad.
Your final step is submitting your segment. This is the easy part. While you could just email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, file size restrictions may cause it not to work. We recommend using YouSendit.com. If your file is too big for Yousendit, it's probably too long of a segment. You might want to cut it down. Otherwise, you'll need to find another site to upload it to and send in the link to it.
If you're uncomfortable with YouSendit.com, you can check out the following alternatives: