Are you looking for ways to enhance your audio capabilities and boost the potential of your podcast? Learning how to record a podcast from two locations may become a priority as your amateur podcasting needs expand to encompass richer formats.
Recording a podcast from two or more locations requires you to have the right software in place to facilitate remote functionality. Thankfully there is a wealth of ubiquitous tools like Skype to kickstart the process painlessly. Podcasting is more popular than ever and the level of content complexity is always increasing, so flexibility is key to staying competitive.
Stay Connected in Pace with Expanding Needs
As a hobbyist, you may have begun your podcast alone or with one or two friends in a small room of your house. As your podcast grows and becomes more far-reaching and complex, you may find the need to record from two or more locations. There is a multitude of reasons you may need to have remote recording functionality in your podcasting setup. In an age of increasing global media reach, co-hosts and guests can often be joining the show from a diverse range of geographic locations.
To reduce the distance and bridge the gaps between collaborators, it is important to plan out a setup that accommodates these needs. This is a comprehensive guide for tailoring your podcasting setup to have the greatest possible reach and potential.
How can you record a podcast remotely? There are three main ways to make it happen.
- Record Separately and Edit – Coordinate your conversation using a program like Skype, but record separately and edit the audio together in post-processing.
- Remote Podcasting Platform – Use an online service to connect and coordinate your multiple streams of audio.
- Record a Skype or Phone Call – This is the most low tech and poor quality way to record a podcast from two locations, but it works in a pinch. Many professionals use this method when needed.
Remote vs. Local
There are obvious advantages to recording your podcast locally. Aside from the obvious factors of proximity, keeping it local simplifies your needs substantially. If you are lucky enough to be able to get your co-hosts or guests in the same room with you, all you need is your initial setup. Some inherent challenges arise, such as getting a good sound from multiple speakers, but you have much more control over the output.
Podcasting remotely with high fidelity involves potentially disparate audio setups that need to be balanced and brought into sync with each other. Microphone input levels, compression, latency, audio quality, and more need to be coordinated and adjusted.
Advantages of Local
- Less gear needed
- Less setup time
- Quality is consistent
- Everyone is nearby
Disadvantages of Local
- Limited by geographic location
- Limited overall reach
- The limited scope of guests
- Limited collaboration potential
Advantages of Remote
- Increased connectivity
- Increased range
- Geographic location is no factor
- Unlimited collaborative potential (the world is your co-host)
Disadvantages of Remote
- More specialized gear and software needed
- Increased setup time
- Greater logistical overhead
- More factors to coordinate
Ultimately, whether or not you require the functionality to include remote contributors to your podcast depends on your parameters. If you are planning on mostly hosting a solo setup, it may be unnecessary to go to the trouble to boost your remote connectivity potential. However, if you plan to collaborate with people all over the world, this is the rundown you need in order to be compliant with the requirements of remote podcasting.
Skype has long been a standby in the podcasting world. Adding an element of video to your conversations by connecting through Skype or similar software can help improve the tone of a podcast significantly. By being able to look at your guest directly, you can compensate for some of the lost subtlety of face-to-face interaction.
Skype is also universally available and easy to use. This is the perfect solution for guests who may not have access to advanced audio recording equipment. Skype may not be ideal for co-hosts, however, as the audio quality is noticeably poorer and less consistent than a local recording.
Getting Set Up
Whether you’re trying to record a conversation, conduct a formal interview, or just include the banter of a co-host, proper planning and preparation lead to success. When in doubt, look to industry influencers and professionals to guide your decisions. You’re not in this alone, plenty of others have faced and overcome these hurdles. Configuring your podcasting setup to interface with remote guests can be confusing and tricky at first, but here are some steps to get you headed in the right direction.
- Determine Your Needs – This point may seem redundant but it is the crucial first step in getting your podcast working as intended. Is it necessary to make sure that your collaborators have recording equipment on par with your own? Sometimes simply doing a Skype call or recording a speakerphone can be adequate. These are common methods for coordinating remote contact. Even professionals in broadcasting often contact remote guests via Skype. No one will begrudge you the quality difference for a one-time interview.
- Coordinate – Make sure your co-hosts and guests understand what is needed on their end to facilitate a smooth and natural conversation. If you’re helping a co-host get their podcasting studio up to your standard, you may need to share your exact equipment configurations. This will require trial and error and repeated test-runs.
- Practice – Once all gear is in place and you have agreed on which software to use, do some test-runs. There is no need to fly blind. If you plan to work with a co-host, set aside time to record some demo podcasts. This will allow you to refine and perfect your sound without the stress of impressing the masses. When you find the ideal configuration, you and your collaborators will know it. This will provide you and your team with the confidence to put your best foot forward into the greater podcasting world.
Recording and Editing
The process of recording and editing will congeal your collaborative efforts and seamlessly bring together your distant contributors. If the people you are talking to have recorded their audio locally, you can use a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) like Logic Pro or Adobe Audition to seamlessly edit together the disparate bits of audio.
Doing it this way is inherently more complex and time-consuming. It also requires your guests to have a personal podcasting setup. You can’t always rely on guests to have their own professional audio equipment. However, this method will provide a more professional and consistent sound.
Programs like Skype become important tools in the remote recording process as well. Even though you may not be using the audio from Skype, it is still helpful for creating a personable atmosphere and syncing speech naturally. Seeing your guest creates a sense of organic conversation.
Advice for Remote Co-Hosts and Guests
To ensure the highest possible professionalism and quality from your podcast, it is important to be certain that your collaborators are aware of the nuances of remote podcasting. Know what kind of equipment they have and how it interfaces with your own. Make sure that everyone is on the same page as far as recording gear and software. The goal is to make the audio quality consistent across the board. It may be necessary to do some preliminary sound checks to make sure audio levels and sound quality are dialed in properly, even after multiple test-runs.
The right gear is crucial for everything to run smoothly. It can be quite overwhelming to dive headfirst into the world of audio equipment, but there is a wealth of resources available to inform your purchases. Consulting sources of consumer information such as blogs and e-commerce reviews can lead you down a frustrating rabbit hole of information overload. Let’s start simply by summarizing some of the basic equipment. Here is a list of some gear and software that will be helpful addressing your remote podcasting needs.
While there isn’t any specific gear to make remote podcasting easier per se, it is helpful to optimize your general podcasting setup. These highly rated pieces of gear will set you up for success in podcasting. Professional gear leads to a professional sound.
Top Rated Podcasting Mics
Top Rated Podcasting Mixing Consoles
Software is key to coordinating all that fancy digital audio equipment and unlocking its full potential. This is a list of essential podcasting software to enable your next level growth and connectivity.
If you’re recording separate local takes and editing them together, these nifty programs will become your podcast editing HQ.
- Audacity – This is a good one to start with for beginners. Audacity is free and open-source, though quite lacking in advanced features. For those who are just starting out or on a tight budget, this may be the ideal audio editing solution. Audacity allows you to piece together bits of audio into a cohesive file as well as apply some basic effects. The features are very bare-bones, but it is surprisingly in-depth for a piece of free software.
- Logic Pro – Beloved by many audio engineers, Logic Pro is a great DAW for any aspiring audio hobbyist. Logic Pro is affordable at $199.99 and is an excellent entry-level professional DAW. It comes with a wealth of features such as compression, equalization, and other audio effects. With its larger suite of features comes a steeper learning curve than something like Audacity, but learning a professional DAW is worthwhile in the long run. The main disadvantage of Logic Pro is being a Mac exclusive.
- Adobe Audition – The priciest option, as it requires a monthly subscription starting at $20.99. However, this may be the best option for those seeking professional quality and cross-platform compatibility. Audition comes with a fully loaded suite of features specifically tailored to improve the sound of your podcast. Audition allows you to easily cluster batches of effects custom designed for your needs in a modular format. This allows for enhanced remote collaboration because you can share your specific effect configurations with your guests.
Remote Podcasting Services
These days, there are professional services that will provide you with a digital platform to facilitate remote podcasting. Each participant records into their own setup, coordinated by a third party. With some of these holistic tools and services, high-quality audio is easily within reach.
- Zencastr – A web-based application specifically designed to connect podcasters in different locations. For beginners with limited needs, Zencastr is completely free to use. Their free package includes the ability to host up to two guests as well as 8 hours of monthly recording time. They also allow you to pay as you go for post-processing services. If you find this package limiting and want to step up to the big leagues, for $20 you can have unlimited guests, unlimited recording time, live editing, and 10 included hours of automatic post-production.
- SquadCast – Another web-based remote podcast platform, however with a different pricing model. SquadCast doesn’t offer a free version, but they do bundle their services in convenient and affordable packages for every level of user proficiency and experience. Their least expensive entry-level package starts at $9.
Go Forth and Podcast
Now that you know how to record a podcast from two locations, you can begin to design the optimal setup. Before you set up your studio, make sure you account for the potential need to loop in other people remotely. You don’t need to be a millionaire media mogul or audio engineer tech genius to extend your geographic reach and podcasting potential. You can include all the co-hosts, guests, and interviewees you need to manifest your best possible podcast.
Long distances are often an unavoidable reality of collaboration, but with the right setup and know-how, you can accommodate the needs of any guests you may host. The capacity for multi-location podcasting will imbue your show with reach, expanded potential, and professionalism. While there is no substitute for the convenience of face-to-face interaction, you can count on the vast array of audiovisual technologies to fill the gaps.