Pod to the Cast

We are ready to publish our first episode. It will be published tomorrow, September 10, 2015. Go check out our website and sign up for the mailing list and listen to the first episode of The Complete Developer Podcast.

This has been an interesting and educational experience. We started working on the idea back in June. I didn’t know how much was involved in creating a podcast beyond the recording. Some of the things we have worked on since June include: setting up the website, creating social media campaigns, finding a hosting site, get photos and a logo designed.

This blog post will be about the actual recording and creation of our first episode. I’ll post in the future about some of the other issues. I have a post about WordPress that I’m working on already.

First Things First: Location

The first thing we had to do was to find the right place and right equipment. Our plan was to record at Will’s house in his home office. The benefits of this were that we already had the space and didn’t have to rent it and for Will he was already there working. However, some things we had to contend with were interruptions from his dogs or his daughter running overhead. Most of these we overcame by recording later in the evening.

The Hardware

My Recording Setup

As for equipment we needed good quality microphones and editing software. We wanted to get microphones that didn’t use the sound cards in our computers and ones that could last. After doing some research into professional microphones and gaming headsets we decided to go with a high end amateur microphone due to the sound quality and price. At Best Buy we found what we were looking for in the Yeti.

The Software

Next we needed editing and recording software. We found an open source editor that had all the functions we wanted with Audacity. This took care of everything except our recording as we planned on being in separate rooms and using Skype Callburner to record our calls then add the two tracks together in editing. Well, that didn’t turn out so well either because we didn’t have the settings correct or Callburner just isn’t meant for recording podcasts. We settled on being in the same room and using both microphones, again combining in editing. This has worked out as Audacity records well and has a function to line up the tracks.

Editing the Audio

Now comes the fun technical part of the post. I did most of the editing simply because I had more time. It took about 15 hours on our first episode. That time has greatly reduced with subsequent episodes as I was learning how to use Audacity as I was editing. As the show continues you’ll be able to hear my progress in the quality of the episodes.

Noise Reduction

The first thing we did was to have a few seconds of silence to assess the background noise. In editing I used the noise reduction function to first sample the background noise then remove it from each track. The only material I found on how to do this was in video tutorials so in a later post I’ll explain how to use several of the functions in Audacity. The next thing we did was to isolate the vocals so that our voices would overpower any residual background noise. We have found that the amount of gain on the microphone has a significant effect on the background noise and setting the gain is a balancing act as my voice is more boisterous than Will’s.

Content Editing

Next came actual content editing. I can safely say that I can look at an audio feed and tell you who is talking at that moment. Most of what I did here was to remove pauses and filler noises like umm and err. We both use umm a lot and I can identify that word in the waveform of an audio file now. This took the majority of the time as I had to listen to various segments multiple times to make sure that the edit sounded natural.

After this we added the intro, special segment, and closing music. Finally we were ready to master and render the audio into an mp3 file. I was so proud I put it on my phone and made my father listen to the entire episode.