Podcast & Interview Guest Recording Guide (Using Zoom)

Hello, Guest!

Thanks for accepting our invitation to be a guest on a podcast or interview, we appreciate it. This page is to help you prepare so you sound and look great on the recording.

We Use Zoom

Whether we’re doing an audio-only or audio+video recording, we will send you a link to our Zoom meeting room. You will need a Zoom account (they’re free!) in order to participate. To signup, visit: https://zoom.us

Tips For Sounding Great

  1. Podcasts and interviews sound best, and are most engaging, when the participants are having a real conversation, rather than talking in sound bites or reading from a script. Remember to smile and relax as you would in conversation with a friend. Listeners want to hear the real you, and if you're comfortable, they'll trust what you say and love listening to you.

  2. Use an external microphone if you have one. (A USB version will connect directly to your computer. A dynamic mic will capture less room noise.) If you don't have an external microphone, use a headset with microphone (like your iPhone earbuds or a gaming headset). Any built-in microphone will pickup too much noise and your sound quality will be subpar, so only consider that as a last resort.

  3. Wear headphones so that your microphone doesn’t pickup the other side of the call that you’re listening to. Your headphones shouldn’t leak sound for that same reason, which will lead to echo-filled bad audio. Earbuds and AirPods will typically leak audio. Closed over-the-ear headphones or in-ear canalphones are better.

  4. Speak directly into the microphone, but not too close. Watch Dan Benjamin’s video on Mic Technique for best results.

  5. Guard against echo-filled bad audio by avoiding hard surfaces. Placing curtains over windows, position the microphone so there’s open space behind it, and avoid recording in an empty room. If you must record while facing a wall, place a blanket or pillow behind the microphone to prevent your voice from bouncing off the wall and back into the mic.

  6. Pause if there’s exceptionally loud disruptions. We can’t always control the environment we’re recording in — landscapers, motorcycles, or emergency vehicles may disrupt your session. In that event, stop speaking until the disruption ends, then “backup” to what you were saying before the disruption and pickup from there. That way the editor can remove the disruption so the final conversation sounds continuous, and what you’ve said is clearly heard by the listener.

  7. Be sure to double-check your Zoom Preferences to ensure that the “Audio” is set to your external microphone.

Tips For Looking Great

You need lights. Lots of lights. Like, “I’m the star of the show” lights. It’s best to consider cameras like people with very poor vision. They need lots of light to see you clearly. You may be uncomfortable “in the spot light”, but on video, you’re image will be clear and inviting.

This setup is too dark, using only the light from the window. It’s difficult to see the subject to see clearly, and appearing amateurish.

This setup is perfect. Lamps on the sides and above create even lighting so the subject is easy to see, creating a professional look.

 This setup is too dark, using only the light from the window. It’s difficult to see the subject to see clearly, and appearing amateurish.

This setup is too dark, using only the light from the window. It’s difficult to see the subject to see clearly, and appearing amateurish.

 This setup is perfect. Lamps on the sides and above create even lighting so the subject is easy to see, creating a professional look.

This setup is perfect. Lamps on the sides and above create even lighting so the subject is easy to see, creating a professional look.

Recording Yourself

Although the host will be recording the entire conversation, if you also record your side of the conversation, the end result will be superior. You only have to up your microphone to record your own voice to an audio file (see below). When the call is finished, your host will ask you to send them that file using a Dropbox link we’ll provide. Then we'll edit everything together so it sounds like the conversation took place in the same room.

HOW TO RECORD YOURSELF ON A MAC

Good news! You can use the built-in QuickTime Player app to record yourself. Watch this video from Antony Johnston to see how to record audio using Quicktime.

HOW TO RECORD YOURSELF ON A WINDOWS PC

First you'll have to download Audacity, a free audio application. Once you've got Audacity on the computer you're going to use, you're ready to record. Watch this video from Antony Johnston to see how to record audio using Audacity.

Remember To Enjoy Yourself

The recordings can be edited, so if you get tongue tied or your mind goes blank, don’t panic. Just regroup, backup a little bit and start again. Even better, clap once, loudly, before you begin again so the editor can clearly see where they need to make the edits (it will appear as a spike on the waveform). If you have any questions, please contact us so we can assist you.