What are the time requirements like for podcasting?
October 9, 2009 12:41 PM   Subscribe

I work for an organization that wants to branch out into podcasting. I’m part of the team that’s drafting the proposal for main-administration, and my job is to come up with a possible schedule (including staff time involved) that’s required to plan, record, and edit each podcast.

I was reading previous posts, and most of it deals with the technical and financial details (which are less of an issue for us because of our existing staff and materials). I did find a recommendation for podcasting for dummies, which I plan to get and skim as soon as possible.

The main concern seems to be how much staff time is involved. The staff that will make up the podcasting group has other projects that run simultaneously, so we want to be sure that we’re not stressing them too much (especially since I’m one of them!)

We plan to have the podcasts be 15 minutes long, and to have 2 of them per month. We're going to have 4 people on our team at first, and then branch out depending on the reception/difficulty.

We also plan on having a few months to make ~5 podcasts before we go live with the project to the public. This is mainly to give us a few episodes in reserve, so that we’re not stumbling over ourselves for content as we get used to the production process.

Here’s what I’m thinking so far in terms of scheduling:

1 Meeting per month, where we determine what podcasts we’ll be using for that month, and also brainstorm for content ~2 hours for everyone on the team

The staff member in charge of planning will coordinate with anyone that we need to interview, or any staff that’s contributing for this month’s production ~4 hours for the project coordinator, depending on the complexity

Recording, including setup. I figure that the best strategy is to record way, way more than we’re going to use to have a lot to work with in editing. ~5 hours for the interviewer and the tech team

Editing. We have one staff member who has volunteered for this, saying he has prior sound editing experience. ~5 hours for 1 staff member

Is this being too optimistic? Is there anything I’m forgetting? I want to paint a positive, yet still realistic picture for management, and I’ve never worked with podcasts before.
posted by codacorolla to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Background: I'm an audio guy, and I've helped produce 3 different podcasts

OK, Everything sounded good until you said "I figure that the best strategy is to record way, way more than we’re going to use to have a lot to work with in editing."

While it's always nice to have more than you need, when it comes discussions, if you go way over, your discussion will suffer from editing. Someone might make a good point, but it may use information previously discussed that got cut for time. There's all sorts of little situations like this.

Now if you mean you may have several topics to discuss, and you'll cut whole topics, than that's a whole other thing. You still run the risk of people maybe referencing things that were edited out though.

The more I think about it, the more details I realize are missing. Are you guys going for a four-people-at-a-table discussion kind of thing, or like a little radio news thing, etc.?
posted by toekneebullard at 1:01 PM on October 9, 2009

Sorry for the vagueness. The OP was already getting a little long, so I tried to cut it a bit short. To clarify...

It's for a public library.

We'll be doing a mix of things. At first we're going to focus on living history, which will center around a certain topic (school integration, for example), and then we'll work off of a scripted interview with the subject.

Aside from living history, we'll also be doing children's read-along story times, reviews and recommendations, and brief technology how-tos. These will all be contributed by staff.

It's not going to be a talk-show, really, so much as an outreach program for each of the services the library offers in a brick-and-mortar setting.
posted by codacorolla at 1:44 PM on October 9, 2009

back of the napkin?

source time / target time = hours of postproduction

this will be reduced as your process gets honed, but to start with I think it's conservative enough. suffice it to say, unless you are marking up or notating the audio as you go, editing 5 hours of source in 5 hours, down to a 15 min target, is absolutely unrealistic. if you are overshooting that much, you need to think way more about your editing process, because right now it sounds like "whatever the audio guy thinks is best." there will be back and forth as some people will invariably not be happy with those decisions, adding to postproduction time, which is why I'd allow for 20 man-hours per episode at first.

conversely, if you're going to record closer to the target time, then you're going to have to allow for a pre-editorial process to keep things focussed. developing an interview structure that limits digression, coming up with the right questions, etc. that will involve time as well.
posted by rhizome at 1:54 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think this seems reasonable but editing will start to get much faster as your editor gets used to ins and outs and the natural places to take out clauses and things like that. I've edited many two-ways (conversations) and the most important thing is to make it sound like there are absolutely no edits whatsoever.

I would plan as much as possible beforehand. If you can have a script -- or even an outline -- of what you want in each minute, it will make it a lot easier.

One piece of audio recording advice: make sure you record a little more than you need to for each segment. This ambi will help if you're making lots of edits (i.e. put a layer of ambi underneath) and smoothen things up. I always -- as weird as this was -- included about a minute of room silence.

Good luck! This seems like a lot of fun!
posted by melodykramer at 3:22 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

1. Get clean sound recording gear.
2. Get a sound guy who knows how to use it :)

This involves decent equipment which may factor into budget. You may need many microphones for guests etc.

Try to find a space with a little atmosphere. Location is quite important. Sometimes a dead room just doesn't go well with reserved, nervous podcasters. (Record the minute-two minutes of room tone like melodykramer suggested)

Avoid talent that will drone on and on about specifics. Don't be afraid to hire a moderator who can interrupt and ask for a more concise reply if the speech is getting long winded.

And if you're recording hours of material for a single show, your editor will be pulling out hair. Try to keep things tight. This isn't like video where you need 80 different cut-away shots to cover dead space. Get to the point!
posted by Khazk at 3:36 PM on October 9, 2009

The less editing you have to do, the faster it will be. Keep it simple while your editor gets up to speed & comfortable with the tools.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:35 PM on October 9, 2009

Thanks to everyone for replying. I think this information will help me put together an accurate report. Now it's all up to main-admin...
posted by codacorolla at 6:56 AM on October 10, 2009

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