A lot of the unfamiliarity of podcasting is the editing – What software should I be using to edit my podcast? How do I make my audio sound better? How do I add an intro to my podcast? Do I need to edit my podcast?
Do I need to edit my podcast?
We’re fans of eliminating the tedious time spent editing such as removing all the “ums” and “ahs” or cutting questions from an interview. The most authentic podcast is one where it hasn’t been edited, one where a joke might not have landed or one where a question didn’t evoke the answer you were hoping.
Across the BIG MEDIA COMPANY Podcast Network, we’ve substantially cut down the time spent to produce a podcast by eliminating editing the content of the show. This isn’t to say that we don’t spend time in the editing software making the audio sound better or adding an intro, but being pedantic about editing every segment on your podcast can be a lengthy process.
Choosing the right podcast editing software
There are plenty of different types of software to edit your podcast in, both free and paid. At BIG MEDIA COMPANY, we use the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, utilising a mixture of both Adobe Audition and Premiere Pro for podcasts with video.
Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition are professional tools that offer flexibility and an edge when it comes to working with content. From being able to import and sync your video and audio, apply processing to the audio to make it sound better, and of course do the simple actions like adding an intro and making edits.
We recommend Adobe’s Premiere Pro and Audition to any experienced creative or someone looking to become more experienced.
Descript, a podcast and video editor that gives the option to powerfully edit your podcast based on its transcript – simply delete words to make a cut!
Descript has put a huge amount of work into making podcast editing easy, and is what we recommend to anyone looking to make their own podcast who hasn’t had experience with professional editing software.
With the ability to transcribe, caption, edit multi-track audio, add sound effects, record audio, and even automatically remove filler words like “ums,” “ahs,” “you knows”, Descript has perhaps the best offering when it comes to editing a podcast, with or without video.
The most powerful feature of all, and what we use in conjunction with Adobe Premiere Pro and Audition, is the ability to search the audio and export your timeline in Descript directly into Premiere Pro or Audition.
Audacity has been around for over 20 years as a free and open source piece of audio recording and editing software. Audacity has been the go-to free application when it comes to editing audio. It offers professional functionality just like Premiere Pro, with options to process audio with things like compression and noise gates.
If you’re not looking to spend money when it comes to your editing software, Audacity is for you!
It’s important to realise that editing a podcast means more than just cutting out bits you don’t like. In fact, the few changes you can make to improve your audio quality goes further than what you cut out or leave in. It is worth spending more time here making it sound good rather than pandering over a mistake made during the recording.
Applying a hard limiter
Hard limiters are limits or thresholds that prevent the level of audio exceeding a certain amount. They’re critical in making sure your audio doesn’t distort. Say for example, I hear my audio being distorted when it reaches above -3 Decibels (dB), I’d set a hard limiter at -3dB so it never exceeds that threshold and thus, doesn’t distort.
Ever heard a podcast where someone laughs or speaks too loudly and the volume distorts? Well, most of the time, that can be removed by a hard limiter.
Depending on the software you use, applying a limiter will be different, but here’s a tutorial for Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition.
Applying a noise gate
Put simply, a noise gate can be thought of as a gate or door that opens and lets sound through when it reaches a certain volume level.
The most common application of a noise gate would be when you can hear someone’s headphones bleeding into the recording. If someone’s headphone bleed was coming through on the recording at -55dB, you could set a limiter at -50dB so that any noise quieter than -50dB, our headphone bleed, would be rejected and any noise louder such as a voice would be let through.
It’s important to make sure you find the right noise level at which you set the noise gate so it doesn’t sound harsh and activate with people’s laughs.
Depending on the software you use, applying a noise gate will be different, but here’s a tutorial for Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition.
Applying a compressor to a track of audio boosts the quieter parts and reduces the louder parts so you end up with a piece of audio that’s not jumping from quiet to loud, to quiet again. By compressing the dynamic range of the audio, you’ll achieve warmer, nicer audio that sounds consistent.
Whether you’re just getting started with editing podcasts or have spent a bit of time doing it, it’s worth learning a little more about how to apply compressors. Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition have a bunch of presets to use that are plug and play and sounds great!
Depending on the software you use, applying compression will be different, but here’s a tutorial for Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition.
Ultimately, choosing how much to edit your podcast is up to you and your workflow. Adobe Premiere Pro or Audition, Descript and Audacity have great functionality and allow you to produce amazing podcasts. Typically, editing refers to the removal and addition of content, but the ability to process is also an instrumental part of editing, and worth investing time into.