In the last few days we have been working on our podcast: it will be out in exactly one week, we are in the final touches. We like to share and so here we are with a behind the scenes video and a post for those who want to create a podcast and wonder what it takes – we don’t have all the answers but this is our experience, it can be worth a comparison.
This is the first part of a series of two posts: next week we will talk about how to publish a podcast, because after creating it you also have to put it into the world.
What it takes to create a podcast
- Listen to other podcasts
- Choose a theme
- Get the equipment
- Edit it
- Add music
- Write it down (not mandatory)
- Make a cover
Listen to other podcasts
Six months before the release of our podcast, we set ourselves a task: to listen to at least one episode a day of podcasts that are as different from each other as possible. We knew we wanted to create a podcast, we had wanted it for years, but it kept slipping down our priority scale – for a thousand reasons, but above all because we didn’t have clear ideas: it’s hard to get attached to a vague and unfounded idea.
So we said to ourselves: the first step to clarify our ideas is to listen. In addition to being a task it was also a pleasure – otherwise boredom – and by listening to it after about four months we seemed to have a much more concrete vision of the types of formats we could choose from. Above all: we knew what we like in a podcast, what we prefer to listen to, what we wanted to get close to. It was at that moment, in fact, that the topic to talk about came to mind.
Choose a theme
It could therefore be deduced that choosing the theme was easy, quick and painless, a sort of love at first sight. But no, it took years to focus, years in which we hypothesized everything.
The two ideas that had taken a more concrete form were these: reading the old newsletters and doing interviews. Both discarded, the first because it is true that the newsletters were ready and that in theory it was enough to read them, but in practice they had to be revised and updated, we didn’t want to. The second is because interviewing is difficult, we did not consider ourselves capable.
The theme that came to our mind after months of listening was this: sharing the discussions we have while working on our business, discussions that we have never shared before and that in some cases are still open and unresolved. In our opinion they are interesting because, contrary to what one might think, they are not about us . Or rather, not only. These are episodes that tell a story: that of two people who learn to build their own micro-activity one piece at a time, through trial and error. That of two # piccolinonsfigati , to put it in a term that we launched on Instagram and which is now also the title of the podcast.
From here on, in my tiny experience, it’s all downhill. Once you have a clear idea of the format to use and the contents of the show you are on the horse: you could open the voice recorder of the iPhone and record your podcast with that – I’m not kidding, many do.
In an attempt to minimize the rattle we put some sound absorbing material in a niche and used what we already had in the house:
- a Samson C01U PRO microphone
- connected to a Macbook Pro
- which recorded audio a little with Audacity, a little with QuickTime, a little with OBS.
As for the software: Audacity is open source, has many possibilities and allows advanced editing, it is the right choice if you want to learn something new. QuickTime is the perfect choice for the lazy (here we go!) But it doesn’t have the bar that shows you audio levels, so it’s not suitable for control freaks (here we go!). OBS is a program for broadcasting and screen-recording that also records audio, has a bar that shows the levels, but creates mp4 files which must then be transformed.
With hindsight we realized that if instead of the microphone + computer combination we had used the voice recorder we would have simplified things further (for example we have the ZOOMH1 , it is an entry-level, we use it for videos and we are fine with it. ).
Edit a podcast
After a short experiment with Audacity we decided there was no time to learn a new program, so we used Final Cut – a video editing program.
Editing audio with Final Cut is a contradiction in a million points of view, except one: to make your life as simple as possible , using the things you already have and that you know how to operate with your eyes closed.
The problem with music is the same as with images: you can only use material that you have permission to use , and you get permission in two ways:
- directly from the author, or from the platform which – in agreement with the authors – hosts tracks that can be used for commercial purposes. This permit is obtained by paying.
- Using tracks that have been released with a license that allows their use, ideally a CC0 (Zero Copyright) license.
When we started making videos we started with option number 2, which is ideal if you don’t want to spend, but which you can only do if you have a lot of time available. Because there is so much free stock music out there, but the quality often leaves something to be desired. If you decide to go this route we recommend you go to Soundcloud (perhaps starting to sift through these authors , many of them release tracks in CC0).
This does not mean that if you spend you have access to quality music, quite the contrary. After trying various paid stock music platforms we finally stopped on Epidemic Sound . Up there we have a “Creator” license linked to our YouTube channel, so with 13 € a month we can use all the music we want for the videos – we are happy because it is music that we would also listen to on headphones, once we are finished editing. But we’re talking about podcasts here, not videos. And to extend the Epidemic Sound license to unlimited use, you need to spend € 400 a year. That is why we are stuck, we are trying to decide if this expense makes sense to us or not.
Write down the episodes
At this point in the process the million dollar question arises: Should I write down the episodes? The answer is no, you don’t have to.
But if you have time, go for a number of reasons:
- gives you the opportunity to insert links to learn more
- you don’t necessarily understand everything you say or what your guests say (especially if you do interviews on Skype: often the audio is a dancer); moreover, if you mention non-Italian titles or names, it is convenient to find them written
- the creation of an article with the transcription is also an opportunity to insert photographs or screenshots that give context, to be used if you are talking about little-known events, historical or famous characters, software, recipes, and so on
- finding a transcript allows listeners to decide in advance whether to listen to that episode or not, and while listening allows them to go straight to the part they are interested in listening to
It is much easier to do the transcriptions if you use a program that allows you to slow down the audio track while listening to it. If you are using a specific audio editing program you can look for this function in there; we used VLC. Listening to yourself in slow motion is a bit creepy.
And just when it seemed like everything was finished and ready to release, here’s the final headache: the podcast cover.
Do you need a graphic designer? Yes, if you want to do things right. But if you want, you can also do it with Canva, which is not the same thing but for a first experiment it’s fine: here are all the podcast templates .
For now we have decided to make a single cover (and not one for each episode), so all the episodes of our podcast will have the same image. We did it alone, as you can see in the video, starting with a sheet of paper, some markers and an idea .
The result that you see in the video is not the definitive one: we are trying to understand if we like it or not, but it certainly respects the approach of this whole adventure: create what you want by working with what you have, and remember that the contents are always in the center.