Podcast/audio production and workflow: How-to guides and/or ideas? (Snowflakes inside.)
December 7, 2011 2:31 PM   Subscribe

Podcast/audio production and workflow: How-to guides and/or ideas? (Snowflakes inside.)

Once again, many years later, I return with podcast questions. Now with more special snowflake qualifiers!

I'm interested in your tips or references about how to produce a podcast. The challenge here isn't equipment, but managing workflow.

Special details: The end product will be a podcast and/or one-off interview, primarily containing narration by the reporter and soundbites from the interviewee. All content must be accompanied by a transcript, and the interviews will contain some technical/scientific language. Additionally, (here's the fun part) the material needs to pass through several levels of review, suggestions, and approval.

If I make the audio piece to my standards/liking, splicing my narration with the interviewee's, then send it through review, my very-likely-to-be-realized fear is that there will be minute editing suggestions made by five different people in succession, each wanting it "cleared" by the person before. And I know continuously going back to edit that audio or video based on everyone's requests will be a complete pain in the ass. (It's a pain in the ass for print, as it is.)

One solution I thought of is this:
1. Transcribe all the recorded audio.
2. Use this text and write in my own script and paste in the interviewees words as I imagine I want the audio/final piece to sound.
3. Send this transcript/script around for approval/for everyone to analyze/make comments on/whathaveyou.
4. Use the comments to make edits to the script and once everyone is happy with this and "clears" the script, then this becomes the transcript.
5. Then go produce the actual audio segment.

This solution addresses my issues, however, what I don't like about it is that it requires a transcription of "raw" interview first, which is likely to be longer, much of it won't be used, and then it will cost more. This seems like a waste. Negotiating to hire a transcription service will be a major challenge as is, as I imagine it is costly.

Sorry for all the snowflakiness. Links to general how-to guides about podcast management and workflow also welcome, even if they don't address the minute details. Thanks!

(I might end up doing this with video, too (WOO!), so vodcast links are welcome too.)
posted by NikitaNikita to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Audible's ACX has a ton of how-to videos on audio recording & production. Geared towards recording an audiobook & producing it, but they might start you off.
posted by lyra4 at 2:39 PM on December 7, 2011

Upload the interview to soundcloud, share as a private link and use their comment features. Might have to buy a pro account to get all the audio up that you want, but it is pretty reasonable. I'd think for final edits you'd want specific timestamp or interview phrases, but the commenting feature might be cool to get some quick dialogue going.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 2:49 PM on December 7, 2011

I don't know how intense your approval process is (like, is it down to the word?) but I can tell you, as a video editor, audio edits that work "on paper" very often will not work in real life due to tonal shifts, inflections, pauses and stammers, the way words trail together, etc. So it is entirely possible that you will get your transcript approved then find out that a certain audio edit is not possible when you go to actually make it.

Trying to get one soundbyte to flow smoothly into the next can really trickle down and play a large part in dictating the order of soundbytes.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:51 PM on December 7, 2011

Best answer: I'm a reporter with a local public radio station. I follow your workflow solution with one alteration... I don't transcribe all of the audio I've gathered. I listen to the audio and transcribe only the tape that I might actually use. Some people transcribe everything, but if you're pressed for time, it becomes inefficient and tedious. After I've transcribed what I might use, I start writing the story (my narration) around the tape. I then send the script to my editors who make changes. Once they're done editing it, we record my narration, which is then edited together with the tape.

I would highly recommend sending a transcript for edits and not produced audio. As you recognized, every time something changed, you would have to re-produce the audio. To keep everything straight, you could create a Google Doc with your script that everyone had access to. Each person could edit from the Google Doc.

I use Reaper to edit my audio. It has the added bonus of allowing you to slow down the playback rate, which makes it easier to transcribe.
posted by Dalton at 3:28 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Wow. I'll be trying out Reaper, that's for sure.
posted by bz at 10:30 PM on December 7, 2011

« Older What's the best way I can help an Indian colleague...   |   KauaiFilter: Where can I find the best Kalua pig... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.