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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Maximilian

Remote Podcast Recordings - How to prepare for Remote Podcast Interviews?

Person on Zoom wearing headphones
Don't forget your headphones!

Online podcast recordings have become commonplace. Not only since the Corona pandemic and the advent of home office working have podcasters reached for their laptops and microphones to greet their co-hosts and guests with grins on their faces at the other end of the line in front of a webcam. Before that, too, possibilities developed to record conversations over long distances - makes sense. Because nowadays it's easy to prepare with the necessary equipment to ensure the best possible recordings. So what is the best way to prepare for a recording?

Step 1: Where you record

Find a quiet place to record. This means, if possible, get away from noisy streets, humming fridges and echoing stairwells. The room should be as small as possible and contain some textiles. This is because of the horrible "reverb" or "echo" that you can otherwise hear through them. If you sit in a large room, your voice bounces off the walls more slowly, and reaches your microphone several times offset. Especially hard surfaces contribute to this, for example, empty walls and floors, tiles, wooden furniture, etc.... "Soft" furniture, i.e. textiles and fabrics, on the other hand, absorb audio waves and thus avoid reverberation. Carpeting, sofas, cushions and blankets are helpful. This step is incredibly important because reverb cannot be fixed in the edit.

Step 2: Put on Headphones

Anyone who has joined large groups on Zoom Calls will appreciate this tip. During video calls, the software automatically mutes the people who are not speaking. The software tries to recognise who is speaking and who is listening by measuring volume levels. But if someone is not using headphones, the microphone sees a sound reproduction, being that of someone's speaker, that it has to record. This is registered by Zoom, and all participants hear a faint echo of what was said seconds ago. To avoid such mistakes, it is best to wear headphones. Alternatively, you can simply mute yourself when you pass on the bat for someone else to speak. However, reactions and approvals then fade away, which normally make the whole recording more natural.

Step 3: Turn on your webcam

Video calls just aren't the same as face-to-face recordings. Podcasts often have a natural and authentic atmosphere, they are less edited than other forms of entertainment and give a deeper insight into the personalities of the participants. For many, video calls are simply a better solution, but others need a little time to get used to them. Turn on the camera and try not to get distracted by the technical aspects of the situation. Interview guests in particular sometimes get off to a nervous start, so start with a bit of small talk and let the video call marinate briefly before getting into the actual topic and pressing record.

Step 4: Warm up your voice

Especially when recording early in the morning, it is worth warming up your voice to avoid unnecessary mistakes, stutters and slips of the tongue as much as possible. There are hundreds of ideas on the internet. From my experience, I recommend tongue twisters (e.g. "I saw Susie sitting in a shoe shine shop. Where she sits she shines, and where she shines she sits."), deep humming to stimulate the vocal cords, and lip exercises. A small facial massage (simply pull your facial muscles and lips), a wide yawn and a small read-aloud exercise are all good. For this, simply choose a random text and read it silently, but still move your lips. Excessively strain the lips (yes it looks and feels funny) to get really warm.

Step 5: Stay awake, alert and on topic

Editorial preparation is essential for interviews. Read up as much as you can on your guest and their area of expertise, plan different questions and directions in advance so that you can have a deep conversation. Take clear notes with you so that you can find your way back into the conversation even if you black out. And above all, be focused when recording. Your listeners usually don't expect a boring question-and-answer interview, but also want to hear your opinion. A natural conversation benefits from both sides equally opening up new topics and being guided by authentic interest. At the same time, try not to come across as arrogant and distract too much from your guest's experiences and stories. Find a healthy balance!

Lawrence Maximilian Portrait

I offer support on launching podcasts, creating concepts and determining target audiences, as well as podcast editing to make the best out of your recordings. If you're in need of assistance, be sure to send an e-mail, I'd love to hear about your idea!

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