How to Podcast: Editing an Episode

HowtoPodcast-EditinganEpisode-2

This is Part 3 of my How-to-Podcast series. The first post was How to Podcast: What You Need. The second one was How to Podcast: Recording an Episode. Today, I’m going to talk about editing.

So you’ve recorded your first podcast episode. I bet you can’t wait to hear what it sounds like. Plug in your headphones or earbuds, ‘rewind’ to the beginning of your recording and listen. What do you think?

I felt very excited when I listened to my very first podcast. I shouted out to my kids, “Come and listen to this!” And then when I’d played my episode out loud so everyone could hear it, my youngest daughter, Gemma-Rose, said, “You’re using your ‘other people’ voice, Mum.”

My smile disappeared. Suddenly, I didn’t like what I’d recorded.  My voice didn’t sound natural. What would everyone say when they heard it? I wanted to delete the episode right away. But I didn’t. Sometimes we have to take risks and not worry about other people’s opinions, otherwise, we’ll never learn anything new. Yes, we have to be good examples of learning for our children. Anyway, if we continue trying we’re sure to improve. I knew if I waited until I had a perfect podcast to share, I’d never publish anything.

So if you’re not quite happy with the way you sound, don’t worry. It won’t take many episodes before you’re sounding natural. And if you don’t like the sound of your natural voice, you’ll soon get used to it. Everyone else has been listening to your voice for years. Even if you don’t think you sound like ‘you’, everyone else does. In the meantime, even if you don’t like your first episode, you can do a lot to improve it. You can do some editing.

I’m now going to tell you how I edit my podcasts, but of course, there are lots of ways of doing things.

Editing an Episode

1. Improve the sound quality

A. Remove the background noise

 

Remember how you recorded a few seconds of background noise at the beginning of your podcast? Find it.You are going to remove it from your recording by following these steps:

 

a. Highlight this section of background noise.
b. Click on the EFFECT button. (You’ll find it in the tool-bar at the top left side of the screen.)
c. Scroll down the list of the effects until you come to NOISE REMOVAL. Click on it.
d. You’ll see a box labelled GET NOISE PROFILE. Click on it.
e. Return to your recording. Highlight the whole thing. (Ctrl + A or double click on the recording.)
f. Click on EFFECT again.
g. Find NOISE REMOVAL again.
h. This time, click OK.

 

If you’ve done all that correctly, the background noise should have disappeared from your whole track and you’ll see a flat line instead of lots of little noisy waves. Of course, if something goes wrong, you can go to EDIT and undo your editing, and then start again.

 

B. Apply a few other effects to improve the sound

I never used to do this step. I didn’t actually know about it! But I watched a Youtube video or two and then tried out the recommendations. They make a difference. I always apply my chosen effects to the whole of my recording before I start eliminating the segments I don’t want.

 

What effects should you apply? If you watch a few Youtube videos or read some articles, everyone seems to have a different opinion. I suppose it’s a matter of taste. But two effects I always use are normalisation and compression.

 

a. Normalise
Normalising a track boosts the volume of the recording to an optimum level.

 

Highlight the whole track
Go to EFFECT
Scroll down to NORMALIZE
Click OK (I use the default settings.)

 

b. Compress
Compressing a track gives the recording an even volume. It boosts the quieter bits and lowers the volume of the louder ones.
Highlight the whole track
Go to EFFECT
Scroll down to COMPRESS

Click OK Here’s a good article about editing vocal quality. It includes some short helpful videos.

 

There are other effects you could use such as EQUALIZATION which boosts the treble and bass sounds. (I don’t bother with this one. I heard someone say that equalisation isn’t necessary unless you want a manly voice. I don’t.) You could watch a few videos about sound editing and experiment with later podcast episodes if you’re interested.

 

2. Add a music intro

Do you want to add a music intro to your track? If you do, you’ll need to find some suitable music. I bought 15 seconds of nicely edited music from the website Opuzz. I used this for my first few episodes. Then I experimented with some free music I found on Free Music Archive.

 

There are two ways to add music.

 

A. You can add the music to the front of your recording so it plays in its entirety before listeners hear your voice.

 

1. Open your music file from your computer. (It will appear in a separate window.)
2. Highlight it.
3. Copy it and return to your podcast file.
4. Paste the music at the front of your recording (having first deleted the empty few seconds used for background noise removal).

 

B. You can add the music to a stereo track and play it behind your voice.

 

1. Create a new stereo track by going to TRACKS, and then to ADD NEW, and then to STEREO TRACK.
2. Place music track above voice track. (You’ll find the words AUDIO TRACK to the left of the track. Click on the black triangle which opens a drop-down menu. Choose the option MOVE TRACK UP.
3. Open the music file from your computer. (It will open in a new window.)
4. Copy it and then return to your podcast recording.
5. Paste it into the new stereo track.
6. Adjust the position of both tracks relative to each other to suit.
7. Use the AUTO DUCK feature in EFFECT. (Highlight the music and then click AUTO DUCK.) This will allow your voice to be heard over the music.

 

If your piece of music is too long, you can highlight and then delete the unwanted section. You can use the FADE OUT EFFECT on the last few seconds of music.

 

 

3. Eliminate unwanted sections from the track

Now you’ll need to eliminate any mistakes, silences, and anything else you don’t want from your recording. You can do this by highlighting sections and then deleting or backspacing them.

 

4. Add bumpers between sections of the podcast

You might like to break up your podcast into sections using bumpers. These are short pieces of music, or music and vocals, or some kind of sound effect. They give variety to your podcast. They can break up a podcast into chapters. Or they can indicate a change of topic.

 

Where do you get bumpers from? You could buy a piece of music from a site such as Opuzz, or you can make your own like I do. I open the same music file I use for my intro music. I take a segment lasting about 8 seconds. I fade it in and fade it out. Voila! One bumper! Of course, other podcasters have very sophisticated bumpers, but my simple ones do the job. You can experiment!

 

I place my bumper in the same stereo track as the intro music, so it begins just as my voice stops. I add a few seconds of silence to my voice track, so that I speak again, just as the musical bumper ends. (You’ll find the silence generating feature in GENERATE on the top tool-bar.)

 

 

5. Add outro music

Do you want to finish with some music? If you do, add it in the same way you added your intro music.

 

 

6. Export the file as an mp3

You need to install the LAME MP3 Encoder before you can export your file as an mp3 file. Here’s an article which will help you do this. (It’s a simple step and only has to be done once.)

 

Now go to FILE (on Audacity) and then to EXPORT AUDIO. Save to your computer as an mp3 file. Save your Audacity project too, just in case you want to return to it and make some changes.

 

7. Upload file to podcast host site

Sign into your account on your podcast hosting site. Upload your file. Share with the world!

 

 

Did I explain everything clearly? If you have any questions, please ask! 

 

If you decide to record a podcast, please stop by and let me know when you’ve published it. I’d love to listen!

 

If you don’t want to make podcasts or listen to them, you might be interested to hear my next unschooling post will NOT be about podcasting!

 

Do you listen to my podcasts? If you do, you’ll know I haven’t made an episode for a few weeks. I’ve been taking a summer break. But I’m ready to return. (I hope my listeners haven’t given up on me and disappeared.) I hope to post a new podcast on Monday, January 25th. Please watch out for it!

You can find my Stories of an Unschooling Family podcast on

Image on post graphic: Vintage microphone by juliana luz, (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Comments

  1. Reply

    I'm really enjoying and learning so much from your posts on podcasting. This is something I've actually thought about doing as an outpouring from my blog. Thank you so much for your detailed explanations. :)) And I look very forward to your next podcast! 🙂

    1. Reply

      Kim,

      I'm so glad you're finding these posts helpful. I was wondering if, perhaps, they are a bit dry and boring! Oh yes, you must try podcasting. It's always good to learn new things, and your podcasts would be a wonderful addition to your blog.

      That reminds me: You have a new blog! I follow the old one but hadn't seen any new posts for a long time. I found your new blog yesterday after following the link from Instagram.

      If you have any questions when you come to record your first episode, please ask me. I'm happy to help.

      It's good to know I still have one listener waiting for a new podcast episode. Thank you!

      Lovely to chat with you!

  2. Reply

    Gosh, Sue – this is so interesting and comprehensive. Thank you so much for putting it all together. I know where I shall come if I ever branch into podcasting. I think what I'd be most nervous about is sounding natural while I'm talking to myself. You do such a good job of that!

    1. Reply

      Lucinda,

      Interesting? Thank you! I hope my posts help if you ever do decide to branch out into podcasting.

      How kind of you to say I do a good job of sounding natural. I do feel a lot more comfortable talking to myself than I did when I recorded my very first episode. (Oh my, that was a big learning experience!) It didn't take long for me to get used to the sound of my voice. Before long, I found myself chatting away quite happily. I'm sure you could do it too! So how about it? Do you want to give it a go?

  3. Reply

    Oh, definitely coming back to this with my kids. We have audacity but not very experienced using it. Thanks for all the editing tips. Will have fun putting some music behind words. Might even record the kids and I playing!
    Xo Jazzy Jack

    1. Reply

      Jazzy Jack,

      I'm not an Audacity expert but I know enough to record and edit a podcast. It's not difficult. I hope you have fun with your family when the time comes to record something. Thank you for stopping by today. I always love seeing you on my blog!

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