Today's post will not really be related to photography, rather, to the podcast I host bi-monthly with Cody, Jason, and Thomas called, Against the Grain / Graincast. For those that haven't listened, just picture a group of photo-nerds sitting in a coffee shop talking about photography and some random tangents. Sometimes, a fellow nerd will join our "table" to talk shop with us. Though we hover quite a bit around digital and film photography, we also dive into gear, technique, tips, and a large variety of non-photography topics. We keep it light and usually under an hour.
The magic happens every other Tuesday night. As we are spread out around the world, we found that 9:00pm eastern time is one of the few blocks where we all have an open slot. With Jason being 16 hours ahead of me, and Cody being two hours behind (Thomas and I are in the same zone), juggling times are crazy. Around nine, we all jump onto Google Hangouts, crack a beer, and fire up a video chat to have a pre-show discussion and settle into our chairs. At some point, we all click record locally (some record to their computers, some to a portable digital recorder), clap, and select one of us to introduce the episode. Why clap? Well, with the various delays inherent over video chat, a solid clap creates a visual spike in the audio track and is a great way to sync the four tracks together. Once the four claps are in sync, we know the rest of the show will be as well.
As the show progresses with lots of discussion, laughing, and fun we open up a side-window in Slack to take show notes for later reference. You'll often hear once of us say, "put in the show notes" and at that point, someone types the note into Slack. We all have our phones out to do quick searches (so no one hears a keyboard clacking away on the computers) and to somewhat fact-check our discussions as we go. Note: we don't always fact-check and often just shoot from the hip.
We usually chat for anywhere from ninety minutes to two hours to ensure a one hour episode, close out the show, and record about an extra 10 minutes of post-discussion in case we get some fun outtakes. At this point, we all hand over our files to (usually) Cody or me to edit all the tracks together, cut out the dead space, over-talks, and add in the intro and closing music. Cody tends to stay up an hour or two to edit the episode right way and push up to Soundcloud which then notifies other services like iTunes. We all take turns the next morning doing the show notes on Graincast.tv and announcing on our social media of Twitter and Instagram.
If you haven't yet, head on over and give the show a listen - we'd love your feedback and questions.
MY Podcast Gear
- Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone
- Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter 1-channel Mic Activator
- Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder
- Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone
- Maker Heart Just Mixer (used to monitor mic and Hangouts in headphones)
- Edit with REAPER audio software
The Super Nerdy
If you have no desire to hear about my post-production software, then no need to read on. This is just a little blurb on my personal post-production through REAPER software and how I prep my file for final edit. REAPER is an audio production application for mastering (in my case) podcasts. You can relate it to Garageband, Logic Pro, and Audacity but with oodles of dedicated power. Anyhow, I drop the wav file from my SD card on the H4N onto the REAPER interface and cut out the dead air at the beginning and end of the track.
My track has a simple FX chain to clean things up made up of three REAPER plugins:
- ReaGate - Noise gate that cleans up the floor, eliminating any ambient sounds from my room like the noisy fan. Usually a -68dB threshold. (More on that here on YouTube with Mike DelGaudio AKA Booth Junkie).
- ReaEQ - Equalizer configured for voice overs to make the track a little cleaner (so no frequencies stand out, as Mike explains it).
- ReaComp - Compressor to tone-down the extra loud bits while adding a bit of punch to the track. (Again, explained by Mike here on YouTube).
I am not going into super detail on how I set these, as it all depends on your personal recording. But if it's something you want to play with, watch the video I linked above - they really helped me. But in your own situation, the mic, the room, your voice, your wav file all play into what needs to be adjusted. I preset my FX chain to have the audio sound like my real voice with no peaking of the waves and no noisy rumblings from the room. I do not alter the pitch and so forth; rather, I use this to make the track clean.
Once I have the track the way I like it, I render the file and send it off to Cody. If it is my week to do all the edits, I pull in the other three tracks, line up the claps, then go about regular post production.