Live Recording Re-cap

Careers in Podcasting was created, in part, to give you some real world discussions about podcasting and its money-making potential. So, I wanted to write up my experiences of the LIVE recording I did last night, for pay, so you can, hopefully, learn a bit from my experiences.

Last night’s event was a live reading featuring writers who teach at the UCLA Extension and who also had a book published in the last year. There were 18 readers in all. I was contracted to record the event and then produce 18 individual podcasts which will be used on the UCLA Extension web site and possibly as part of an on-going podcast.

People

First off, everyone I dealt with on this project was first-rate — both the employees of the Extension (Corey and Gabrielle) and Rick, the local AV tech at the Skirball Center. You should thank your lucky stars whenever you get to work with folks like this. They answered email and voicemail promptly and, in the case of Rick, he answered all my questions without ever connecting directly by phone. Questions were asked and answered directly via voice mail.

Setup

Setup was minimal for the event, and probably more than I actually needed, but I like to be prepared. First I wired my lavaliere mics to my iRiver recorder and mounted them directly on the speaker podium. I thought that this would give me a good, close mic, sound. The application of a little electrical and masking tape made everything neat and tidy. Then I connected my Windows Vista laptop directly to the sound board to record the house sound, mainly as a backup. There were a few anxious moments when the laptop was being difficult about recognizing the audio input, but all was worked out long before the event began. Once everything was setup, I had almost 30 minutes to go “meet-and-greet” with my boss and the other attendees (who are now my fellow UCLA Extension Instructors).

A few minutes prior to the event, I went on-stage and started the local recorder (iRiver) and took my place by the soundboard to watch (and manage, if need be) the recording there. I was recording directly into the free Audacity program on the laptop.

Levels

The first issue I ran into was the fact that during a live reading, sound levels are all over the place. While I could “ride” the levels somewhat on the laptop recording, I could only hope that the input levels I had set on the iRiver recording would be sufficient to record the soft readers, while not distorting the loud ones. This made me a little anxious, but there was little I could do about it once the event began.

As it turned out, there were only about 2 readers out of the 18 that had any issues with over-driving the microphones. While there will be a bit of distortion in the final audio, it should be manageable and short. That said, I wish I would have been able to have a perfect, pristine recording, but live events are just that, live, and present a completely different set of challenges than a studio recording or interview.

Completing the project

Now that I have captured all the audio, I will be leveling it, splitting it into individual elements, recording a standard introduction and closing and eventually prepping the first “draft” podcast to submit for notes and changes. Once those changes come back, I will go into “assembly line” mode and crank out the final episodes for delivery.

Conclusions

I am having a great time, so far, with the project and I am looking for additional projects in this vein. I think it will be a great addition to my existing computer consulting work and improve my own podcast productions.

Questions? Comments? I would love to hear from you. Use the comments link below, email cip@welchwrite.com or call our listener/reader line at 818-804-5049.

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