At some point in your podcasting journey, you’ll need to interview a guest remotely, but figuring out how to do that can be tricky. In fact, there are several methods you can use to record audio remotely, and learning a few of them can save you trouble when you run into technical difficulties.
The easiest option is to use the recording feature that comes with your video conferencing software, but for the best quality results try dedicated remote podcasting software. For guests who already have recording experience, you can even try the double-ender method.
1. Record audio using video conferencing software
Chances are you already use video conferencing software like Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams to conduct interviews remotely. These popular video conferencing apps all have built-in audio/video recording features and are easy to use.
Many podcasts will use this method because it’s convenient and you can often tell because it looks like a video call. By default, the audio quality will be average at best, but if it’s just a one-off situation, it probably won’t turn listeners away.
Depending on the platform you’re using, there are a few tricks you can use to improve audio quality if you want to go the extra mile. To get the best audio quality in Zoom, for example, you need to enable original audio for both parties. Connect an external microphone as well and you’ll get good results for use in a podcast.
The main disadvantage is the increased load on your computer. Whenever the hardware or connection fails to keep up, the audio recording will suffer loss accordingly. So, if you plan to capture quality audio using this method, having a good computer and a strong internet connection is essential.
2. Use dedicated remote podcasting software
Companies like Zencaster and Riverside have developed software specifically for remote interviewing and podcasting, and they’re a big step up from using something like Zoom. The main feature you will want for your podcast is the ability to record high quality audio up to 48kHz sample rate.
Additionally, the audio is recorded locally and does not rely on an internet connection. This makes it safer and eliminates the risk of a video call stream being interrupted or dropped entirely. Some apps also offer time-saving tricks, like automatically separating audio files from video files, which saves you a bit of editing time.
If you’re interested in trying either software, both have a generous free plan with paid options afterward. Zencastr costs $20/month for a Professional plan, while Riverside has a Standard plan for $15/month and a Pro plan for $24/month.
One of the reasons to go for a paid plan is to get features like automatic post-production, which can minimize the editing process for you by applying normalization and removing noise. There are actually plenty of AI tools for podcasters that can help minimize the tedious parts of the job.
Specially designed software is a great option if you want your remote recording process to go smoothly. If you’re wondering if you should pay for the software, just remember that you don’t want to risk losing a precious hour-long interview just because your computer, application, or internet connection went down.
3. Try the Double-Ender Method
The double-ender method is when both participants record their audio locally, then sync the files later in a DAW (digital audio workstation). This method produces high-quality uncompressed audio, and since it doesn’t use an internet connection, you can also avoid connection dropouts.
There are several ways to do this, however, most rely on the interview subject knowing how to set up their own recording hardware and software or being willing to learn.
One option is to use a portable audio recorder that doesn’t need to be connected to a computer. Since two audio streams are recorded in separate locations, be sure to record a marker that you can use for synchronization. It can be something like clapping at the same time.
Of course, buying professional microphones can be expensive, so for a more affordable option, opt for a small microphone that connects to your smartphone instead.
Alternatively, you can also use an audio editor, like Audacity, to record audio locally while running your video call at the same time. The downside, however, is running two CPU-intensive applications on your computer simultaneously.
Choose the best method for recording interviews and podcasts remotely
The method you choose will depend on how much money you need to invest in hardware and software. Using video conferencing software is a simple and easy starting point if you already use these platforms for interviews. Otherwise, for best results, try dedicated remote podcasting software or go the dual-ended recording route.