Create Blog Post
After you’ve received the interview portion of the audio file, it’s time to polish the interview and build out the bulk of the blog which will serve the podcast.
In this process, you will be opening the interview file in Audacity, organizing it, cutting out unnecessary content, scanning through second by second to ensure 100% quality, writing discussion points, building a blog post with links and finally exporting a polished audio version of the interview.
After exporting a polished version of the interview, you will run it through Levelator and source a few good looking pictures of the guest.
This is the most time and quality intensive process in the system so you’re frickin awesome to be doing it. Also, it’s the best one because you get to internalize the interview like no-one else will and you get to make a big positive effect on the show. You Rock!
Let’s get started:
- Duplicate the MasterFile Folder and rename it according to it’s episode number and Guest/Title
- Example: 13JonathanAcuff
- (Show #) (Guest Name or Brief Show Title)
- For your purposes this will be called the Episode Folder
- Copy and Paste the raw recording of the interview from yourself into the Episode Folder
- Paste the interview into Raw Audio Files Folder
- Open Audacity
- Click and Drag the raw recording into Audacity
- Working note: Think of Audacity as a workbench. You don’t save what’s on your working bench, you just use the space to get things done. When you’ve completed your work with Audcaity, you export files in .aiff or .mp3 files and you don’t have to save the project. Saving with Audacity leads to large, complex files which clog up hard drives and lead to problems. It’s a great workspace, but it’s a poor file management system.
- Select the Read the files directly from the original (faster button)
- Click OK
- Assemble the file so you have two mono recordings playing together.
- Split the files in individual tracks: Drop Down Menu > Split Stereo Track
- Delete unnecessary (e.g. silent) tracks via the X at the top left of the track
- Unnecessary tracks are any tracks that aren’t integral parts to the sound quality
- Example: you may often have files with multiple track recordings so you can delete the duplicate recording. Another example is if you have a track that is a recording of the room which only picks up background noise
- Set tracks to mono: Drop Down Menu > Mono
- When finished you will have two mono tracks
- This step is the bulk of the workhere. For a 30 minute interview this can take 1-4 hours depending on Audio quality. Here is a ScreenCast of how this process looks. Listen through the whole file and complete the following three tasks as you progress through the audio file:
- Build Blog Post Draft – (You should’ve already Created Blog Post Draft)
- Write bulleted notes of the topics covered in the interview. Also, list and link to any resources mentioned by the guests. As you go through the file, pause and properly link all mentions to your blog if you have internet access. If you don’t have access to internet, this can be done offline but note each link with ” < TK > ” and make sure you provide enough information to remember what to link to. This way you can easily link everything up when you do get the internet.
- When working online directly enter the information into a draft blog post on your website and Save Draft periodically
- When working offline save bullets to an evernote file and enter them in later. Make sure you are familiar with everything you will be required to enter into the post
- Use the Noise Removal tool to reduce background noise/hiss if it is noticeable (more information about this can be found in the Audacity wiki here).
- Select a portion of one of the channels where there is no-one speaking
- Select effect > ‘Noise Removal’ > click ‘Get Noise Profile’
- Then select a portion of the same channel where there is talking
- Select effect > ‘Noise Removal’ > play around with the different variables (Noise reduction, sensitivity, frequency smoothing, attach/decay time) and click ‘Preview’. Keep doing this with different settings, until you find a combination that makes the portion sound much better
- Make a note of the optimal settings and click ‘Cancel’
- Select the entire channel and select effect > ‘Noise Removal’ > Apply your noted settings and click ‘OK’
- Render silence on noise or feedback on either track as you go through using Audacity.
- Sometimes the guests cough on the other side, often there is feedback so you’ll be rendering silence throughout the whole interview when the guest is speaking
- To render silence highlight the unnecessary sound and press CMD+L
- Splice out any unnecessary sections or drastic “ums and ahhs” using Audacity, stutters and brain freezes. Some good examples of doing this can be seen in the screencast here
- Always be ninja like with your splicing. Only cut portions out if you can make it sooooo clean that no one knows you were there. An example of where you should actually leave an “um” in can be seen in the screencast here
- To splice elements out: Highlight both tracks > Press Delete Key
- Make sure to highlight both tracks or the two files will not be aligned correctly and the whole thing will be FUBAR
- Remove any ‘clicks’ or ‘pops’
- Build Blog Post Draft – (You should’ve already Created Blog Post Draft)
When you splice the track, on occasion an audible ‘click’ can be heard where the sound waves have been cut off and the frequency jumps from one end of the spectrum to the other. To prevent this either:
- Undo your splice and try again, hopefully this time you won’t cut off the sine wave at the same place.
- Carry out ‘click’ removal – by zooming in to where you can hear the click, and making sure that the sound waves are uniform. More information here. Screencast to come.
- Bleep out swearing!
Some guests will swear, you want to keep all podcasts clean if possible. This can be bleeped out in Audacity without too much hassle – a walkthrough on how to do this can be seen on a youtube clip here.
- Export the file as a .aiff
- File > Export > Same Episode Folder > (Dropdown) Format AIFF > File Name “3InterviewPolished” > Save > OK (You won’t need to id3 tag here) > OK (It’s fine to compressed the tracks)
- This will require some dead time so use it to collect good looking photos of the guest for the episode art
- Go To Google > Search Guest Name > Click Image Tab > Find Goodlooking Images which are larger than 500px by 500px > Right Click Image > Save Image As… > Save to Episode Folder – Episode Art > Name file “GuestName(DescriptiveWord)” “Guestname(DifferentDescriptiveWord)” etc.
- Run the file through Levelator Software:
- Open Levelator software (If you don’t have the software, you can download it for free at www.conversationsnetwork.org/levelator)
- Drag your 3InterviewPolished.aiff file into Levelator
- This will take 5-10 minutes. While waiting for the interview to process through the Levelator software, use this time to write the introduction to the blog post.
- When you’re done, click Save Draft
- Once Levelator is complete you will have a file named 3InterviewPolished.output.aiff
- Listen to the File: Click through the beginning, middle and end to ensure the exporting software didn’t make a mistake. This should only take 15-20 seconds.
- If you find export errors, then go back to step 6.
- If the file sounds like it should, then move on to the next step
- You’ve made a clean sounding, polished episode and completed much of the blog post. Well Done.
- Drag InterviewPolished.output.aiff into the Episode Elements folder
- Close Audacity (no need to save) and go do some pull-ups champ! You’re done!
- Move onto Next Step