Podcasting Editing

by Chaitra Enuguri  |   April 15, 2022    |   3min read

Podcast editing is a process of editing audio files, such as recording, editing, mixing, equalizing, and refining, which edits the audio into a final form for public consumption. Do you want to start your podcast show and wonder how to edit the audio file? How to do it by yourself? How much should be spent on hiring an editor and confused with many other questions. Here is the piece which gives you clarity on podcast editing.

This process condenses the episode content, creates a cohesive narrative throughout an episode, improves audio quality, and occasionally creates supplementary materials for your podcast. The process of editing gives a clear podcast with a natural sound and content flow. Irrespective of the setup or equipment you have, any and every podcast episode without editing sounds lousy. There are two distinct processes to edit a podcast. First of all, there’s how to edit your podcast in terms of controlling the software and physically going through the editing process. Secondly, there’s the more creative side which involves choosing when to edit, what to cut, where to take breaks or add music effects, and so on. Both the scientific and the artistic sides of the brain are put to use in this process.

Audio Editing Terminologies

In the initial stage of editing, when one starts to edit the podcast for the first time, you can come across different new terms such as stitching, mixing, mastering, and others. Now we’ll try to understand some of these terms:

This process involves adding, removing and re-ordering the episode content. Editors will need to add content to the episode if the host completed multiple recordings, or needs to include an intro or outro which is different from the main content. For example, if a podcast is known for 20-30 minute episodes, and an editor receives a 45minute recording, they will cut and condense the least valuable content from the episode. During this process, the podcast editor reorganizes the content to create a fulfilling arc for the episode.

Audio recordings include a number of audio layers. When a podcast editor mixes the episode, they manipulate the different layers to create a pleasing sound. This involves turning down background noise like traffic or air conditioning units, and turning up the podcast host and guest. The most important part of the mixing process is making sure what needs to be heard is heard, and all competing sounds are reduced to a mild hum.

As the name implies, mastering involves adding extra finesse to the mixer’s work. The overall goal of mastering is to use any creative means to smoothen and optimize the podcast’s sound. Stitching, mixing, and mastering encompasses most of the audio editing.

Process of podcast editing: The steps involved in podcast editing are determined by both the client and environmental circumstances. A podcast recorded in a professional studio will need fewer audio adjustments than one recorded in a living room.

Stage I- Basic Editing

  • Defining the length of your podcast episodes- before you start making any edits to the audio files, you need to have a clear idea of the duration of the episode. This will guide you through the editing process and trim the fat out of the conversations.
  • Creating a compelling story through podcast editing- one should focus on the main important content when editing and cut out what doesn’t tell the story. When choosing the content that makes it to be the final cut of your show, you should constantly be asking yourself, “Does this add to the story which I am trying to tell?”. Some obvious things to edit out include any chatter before and after your show begins or random tangents. When you edit audio for your podcast, make sure that the conversation has a natural flow to it. You need to always make sure that the edits you make should not affect the flow of your episode.
  • Here are some tips to have the flow:
  • Edit out unnecessary words, moments, or pauses
  • Cut out discourse markers or filled pauses, so long as it doesn’t disrupt the natural flow of the conversation.
  • Edit out extended pauses
  • Remove obvious mistakes or awkward moments, like coughs, background noises etc.

Stage 2- Sound Design

This stage focuses on using audio elements to play on the emotions of your listeners and enhance their overall experience while listening to your show. There are a few sub-steps in this stage

  • Creating a memorable intro and outro- The first basic thing we get in our mind when we think of any show is its theme song. Whether it’s a certain jingle that you play at the beginning of your show or a couple of spoken words over music at the end to sign-off, having a unique intro and outro will have a lasting effect on your audience and can serve as great branding for your program. So make sure to add a unique intro and outro to make your podcast memorable.
  • Using suitable music- Music has the power to convey powerful emotions, for example, a suspenseful track during a horror film. Placing music strategically in your show will amplify storytelling. It can heighten the mood, add drama, and allow listeners to better connect with your guest and the story you want to tell. Sound effects can spice up your podcast. You need to maintain a good balance in adding sound effects. Having too many effects can end up distracting your listeners from your content and leave them with an overall negative experience.

Stage 3- Mixing

This stage focuses on audio quality and the more technical aspects of your podcast audio. Using this process, you go through all of your audio tracks and make adjustments to a number of elements like EQ, reverb, pitch, and others, which is explained in the below steps.

  • Organizing tracks and audio clips- Arranging your tracks and audio clips in order before mixing will save you time.
  • Using an Equalization tool- This tool helps to adjust the balance of the frequencies in your recording. Adjusting EQ will make your audio sound more natural by removing high, unpleasant frequencies from your recording.
  • Using a Compressor tool- This tool reduces the dynamic range of your recording. Using a base threshold, a compressor brightens the loudest sounds and the quietest sounds closer together within a specific range so that your recording is easier to listen to overall. The compressor will equalize the levels between the two speakers so the listener doesn’t have to adjust the volume repeatedly.
  • Using noise reduction tool- This tool helps to remove the background noise in your podcast recording. Though we take many precautions to eliminate the noise before recording, it is impossible to avoid the unwanted sounds completely.

Stage 4- Mastering

In this stage, you prepare your podcast for distribution. Mastering is all about putting the finishing touches on your podcast and polishing it. During this stage, you will check the final audio for any other corrections in editing.

Editing Budget

Podcast editing costs depend on the editor. Many of them charge on a per-episode basis, with audio editing ranging from $500-$1,000 per month for a weekly episode based on the quality of the equipment, the level of editing needed, and more. We as a team (Inspire Race) with passion for encouraging creators who tell unique stories through podcasting. We charge around $60 per episode. With podcast editing, we offer many services such as ideation and planning, production, post-production, hosting and distribution, marketing, providing show notes, and other services for those creators who are aspiring to run a podcast show.

Free Podcast Editing Software:

There are many options in the market which offer podcast editing services. You can also don’t by yourself, which consumes more time and the result may not be as efficient as an audio post-production artist. But you can get the efficiency through time. If you want to do the editing on your own, instead of hiring an editor or approaching a company, here are some of the best editing software which is free of cost.

  • Pro Tools: The Pro Tools First is the free option of this podcast editing software, great for beginners and packed full of features. The free version comes with more than 20 plugins that you can use to edit, mix, and master your podcast audio.
  • Audacity: Audacity lets you perform any basic editing and mixing you need to do free of charge. It also has some sound design capabilities where you can add intros, outros, and music. An audacity is a great option if you’re new to podcast editing.
  • GarageBand: Easy to use with built-in sound design elements, you can use this software to create music and sound effects for your podcast. GarageBand features real-time editing capabilities, so you can save some time in post-production. This software only works with a MacBook.

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