Got hours of uncut conversations to deal with? Blips, bloopers, and stutters? Good timing! It’s time for post-production. And in most cases, podcast editing is where the magic really happens. Why? You transform your podcast from an idea into an end-to-end listening experience.
Let’s be honest; post-production can get very nerdy. But you don’t need to be a seasoned audio engineer to clean up your audio, remove mistakes or irrelevant content, eliminate the ums and ahs, or add a memorable intro or a little music here and there. All it takes to cut, cut, cut? A piece of software that suit your skills and budget — and a pair of ears!
No matter the skills or software, keep this in mind:
- Start editing content first, then look out for audio issues.
- Edit your conversations for the sake of authenticity lightly.
- Only remove clips that affect or clutter the listening flow.
Pssst. Quick and dirty is not your company’s style? Don’t you have the time to do the editing? Isn’t there an easy way? Look no further. The Pager team can do the editing for you. Shout if we can help.
10 steps to up your editing game:
Sound good? You might still wonder: What are the basic steps of podcast editing? Here are ten steps to follow:
① Insert audio tracks. Give every file a separate audio track and combine the individual recordings. Tip: Give each track a name (e.g., the name of the host or guest.)
② Normalize clips. Normalization effects adjust the loudest and softest parts to the industry standard, like -1 dB. So all audio clips sound like they were at the same volume level.
③ Listen back. Make notes while you listen back to everything you recorded, ideally with time stamps. So you later know where to cut things out. Tip: Make a copy and have a backup of the original file before you start chopping things up, just in case.
④ Cut out mistakes. Start with the obvious. Like a poorly worded answer, you had to re-do, a cough, microphone knocks, or too-long pauses. Use the fade tool (at the beginning and end of clips) to smoothen transitions whenever you make a cut.
⑤ Prolong pauses. Now and then, it helps to understand a message better if you make a pause longer than it was. The goal is to make the content better.
⑥ Add intro and outro. Start and end your episodes with a nicely branded experience. Combine your saying with a jingle, music, or other special effects. Tip: There is plenty of royalty-free music on the internet, but make sure you’re only using something you have explicit permission to use. We like Marmoset to find killer licensed music.
⑦ Adjust levels. Keep all segments (and every person’s voice) at a pleasant, even volume. So that your listeners‘ ears won‘t blow up. Rule of thumb: If elements overlap with music, lower the music volume slightly more than you think.
⑧ Master audio. Mastering your podcast is the last step of audio production. You polish the entire mix and make it distribution-ready. Start with these three processes: Compression takes the dynamic range of your audio clips and makes the louder parts softer and the softer parts louder. It makes your podcast sound crisp and well-rounded. High- and low-pass filters identify and remove unwanted noises and frequencies and keep the episode enjoyable. Hum and noise reduction filters remove distractible background sounds. However, the best way to prevent background noises is to sit in a quiet room during the recording—for example, in your closet.
⑨ Listen carefully. Over and over again. A set of headphones (ideally ones that cover your ear) might make it easier to hear unnecessary sounds. Not a must, but we’re happy with DT-770 Pro 80 Ohm from Beyerdynamic. With time, you’ll get the hang of it and learn the art of editing.
①⓪ Export episode. It’s time to save your final episode. Check with your internal podcast host which audio types they support. But an MP3 audio file with 128kbps or less bit rate is the standard. Use Mono for spoken words only and Stereo if you include music elements.
(Almost) free editing software:
Looking for a simple, entry-level software just to try things out?
Searching for a simple but mid-level software to find an editing workflow that sticks?
- Anchor offers convenient creation tools. Their intuitive episode builder comes with easy-to-visualize building blocks of audio segments. Also, they added a waveform editor to do more detailed editing. Also, it’s free.
- Descript lets you edit your audio by editing text. It’s that simple. You don’t need any sound-engineering experience. And it’s free if you have less than 3 hours of episodes a month.
- Adobe Audition is part of the Adobe Suite your company uses anyway. It looks exactly how we would imagine editing software. It might take a few step-by-step tutorial guides, but it’s a professional audio workstation built for audio editing. We use it, too.
Is your first edit complete? Well done! We hope the ten steps helped you get there. In the next chapter, we dive deeper into secure hosting .