In the real world we have the 3 R’s of schooling…Reading, wRiting and aRithmatic…then there are the 3 R’s of conservation Reduce, Reuse and Recycle…in podcasting we have the 4 R’s Reseach, Writing, Recording, RSS’ing.
This session will briefly delve into these 4 areas of the podcast production cycle. The emphasis of this session is not as a “How To” but more as a community created resource for the podcaster audience. Participation is not only encouraged, it is DEMANDED.
Photo by Bob Goyetche.
Bob Goyetche: I’m Bob Goyetche. Welcome to the Canadian Podcast Buffet featuring audio from Podcasters Across Borders 2007.
Mark Blevis: This episode is brought to you in part by TD Canada Trust.
Bob Goyetche: Our next presenter from The AndyCast is Andy Bilodeau with his session “The 4 R’s of Podcasting”.
Andy Bilodeau: Good morning…how’s everybody going…your well?…good. I’m not. I’m nervous as crazy. But anyways, I like to start off all of my shows…I have the little disclaimer stuff, but I like to do this first…kind of gets me in the mood…I like to put this right at the start of the show so that, you know, I’m listening to it too as it’s going…and it kinda gets you in the mood to kinda do stuff…alright, that’s enough of that stuff. So first thing I wanna do is a…move my notes around first…it’s the first time I’ve ever done a presentation like this in front of people. I do it all the time in front of a mirror and…what’s out there…okay thank you’s…First of all, I want to thank Mark and Bob for accepting my last-minute proposal. And they have no idea what they’re in for. And it’ll probably be the last time I’ll be presenting at something like this but…eh, you got to do it once. I also want to thank the actual power behind the men, Andrea and Cat, of course. Sometimes, we tend to see the two bigger voices and we often forget those behind us. And, of course, I want to thank my wife, Vivian, who is also a podcaster herself. And without her encouragement and constant prodding and saying “are you recording tonight?”, “are you…are you going down…are you going to go down and record?” I don’t think I’d have as many shows out as I do. And, of course, I want to thank all of you because, you know, we’re all learning together. And I’ve learned just as much from all of you as…I’m gonna pretend that I’m presenting to you.
I wanna do a couple…’cause, you know, I tend to do my uninformed biography where, as Dave Brodbeck says “I just make up shit about people”. I don’t put a lot of myself out. I just…that’s just who I am. That’s the Scorpio in me talking. So I thought I’d share a little bit and this doesn’t go outside this room…okay, so nobody…it’s recorded…oh well. A little bit about me…oh no, actually that’s later…I’ve rearranged the slides…what to expect. I’m…from Tod’s presentation, you know, he said you tell people what you’re going to do, tell them and remind them what you did. So what we’re going to do, I talk a little bit about me, some of my personal experiences and some of the things and mistakes that I’ve made podcasting. Some things that I’ve learned from other people. And we’ll try and share some of that stuff. It’s going to be an interactive session so I’m going to make Mark and Bob run their asses off answering your questions and adding your comments and things to it. But please be on point and be brief and, you know, because there’s a lot of other people who wanna, you know, share with us…and where is…that’s just…he wasn’t watching thank god.
So, who am I anyway? First and foremost, I’m somebody’s Dad. I’m also a husband. And my real job, I have this really fancy title for basically a web monkey. I work at the American Chemical Society…oh, it didn’t show up there, okay there we go…basically that’s our building in D.C. And basically we try to placate our editors because they bring in the authors who submit to our journals who then sell the journals to people, subscriptions to libraries, and stuff like that, which helps pay my cheque. So we have to take care of our editors.
So a little bit more on me. I have a Bachelor of Physical Education from Brock University, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. And I’m a Certified Help Desk Analyst. I have no idea what that means, but I have it. It’s a little piece of paper sits on my wall and I point at it every time somebody gives me a hard time. Even more, more about me, more in the podcasting side. I’ve been listening to podcasts since 2004. I’ve been a podcaster since July, 2005, almost 2 years now. I sort of got the ball rolling at my own company, ACS, to get podcasts started. I was actually the host of the first 2 and then they did one without me and it kinda stopped after that. They don’t want to pay me to do it, so screw them. I’ve also started this informal podcast production company called “Bazmakaz.com”. There’s a whole story behind that and I’ll bore you later with it, if you want to know about it. Produce a number of different podcasts including my wife’s podcast. And one that we’re really proud of “100% Kids”, which is the Grade 2 students she was talking about yesterday. There’s a couple of other ones that she uses for her courses and stuff like that that aren’t as widely…when you talk about niches, like 12 people from her class are subscribing to these things. There’s a couple of podcasts in the wings, mostly family who want to start recording stuff and putting stuff online. And basically anything else that Viv can come up with, I find a way to get it done. She’s the ideas and I’m the monkey behind the machine.
So what do I mean? I’m not an expert. I still have so much more to learn and I’m learning it all from all of you…and I think that’s it for that slide…I have no idea…and oh, and the one thing that I do firmly believe in is that you have to share what you know with whomever will listen to you. It’s the only way we’re going to expand our realm, because we all do things differently and we do them uniquely. And sometimes somebody else is doing something the same way or slightly different and, you know, you can benefit from their point of view.
Now I decided that, you know, how could I present what I think I know to folks who already know more than I do? So I thought, maybe let’s try and have some fun with it. So I decided, I came up with 4 R’s. Because, you know, everybody else does 3 R’s. There’s the classic, you know, the old Reading, Writing and Arithmetic…see I’m talking way faster, I need to be in the studio so I slow down…today would be nice…and, you know, we have the 3 R’s of conservation. You know, the classic Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. So I thought, you know what, hell, we’re way better than those guys. We’re at least one better, you know, like one_______.
So first off, its research. Gathering your information, collecting the data that you want to present to your audience; secondly is writing. And we’ll go into a little more specifics on all of these. It’s taking that data. And from classic computer science, you know, data is just the pieces. Information is what you make out of the data. You take this data, synthesize it in some way. And lastly, recording…or, no, thirdly, recording is converting, as Bruce was saying, converting the analogue sound that’s coming out of our mouths to a digital format that we can then go and edit. And releasing, which I included all the post production stuff. It’s getting it out to the people, so people know what’s going on…I think I finally got the hang of this…this things doing it differently…okay I got it…takes me awhile, but, you know, it’s a thick skull.
First of all, research. Show preparation. This is, you know, there’s only a handful of folks that I know of that can really, you know, just turn on a microphone and record. And some people pull stuff from the deepest, darkest recesses of their minds, or talk about events that are happening to them all over the place…I’m one behind, okay…or most people just go online and Google the crap out of stuff. That’s what I tend to do…that’s just me. One of the…one thing that I’ve found while I’m doing research and gathering links and information online is to use the “Google Notebook”. I don’t know if anybody knows this. It’s a great little plug-in. It’s got a great little plug-in that works with Firefox. It throws this little thing at the bottom of your browser window and you click it. It pops up this little notebook where you can add notes. And if you’re on a webpage, it will automatically put the URL in there, then you can write all kinds of stuff about that. I find that very, very useful. And I’ve just got into “Google Reader” which allows you to bring…you don’t have to go visit websites anymore to read blogs, go figure out. You don’t have to go to all those 175 different…you just pull their feeds into one place and “Google Reader” does a fantastic job. And it’s not a bad podcatcher either. You can subscribe to a podcast feed. It has a nice little player in there. And the nice thing is, it’s, you know, you just go browser to browser. You just…wherever you can pick up a browser, you can grab, you can listen to a podcast. So that’s…I find that very cool.
And one of the ones I just added to this was “CastRoller”. Mr. CastRoller’s here somewhere, I think…there he is…fantastic service. What it allows you to do is to aggregate podcast feeds and then you subscribe to one feed. And it pulls in all those episodes, all the subscriptions that you want to listen to and then you just…one feed and you can just knock them off. I use it. It’s great on my Shuffle. I use it on my little 1 gig Shuffle and just pull in a handful, throw them on there and away you go. So you can just listen to them on the go. Now sometimes you have to go where the research takes you or, you know, use any opportunity that you may have to do research…opening computer audio…oh, this is way funnier when you can hear…and just let, you know, ideas flow and let, you know, let things mature while you’re doing, you know, basically a mindless task of driving…ooh, okay, never mind…that was nothing, nothing, nothing to worry about…nothing that you need to worry about and nothing that insurance can’t cover. So, you know, if you are doing research in the car…keep your eyes peeled…
So yeah, see it’s…I coordinated my outfit…We have Aloha shirt Fridays, so this was on a Friday. So that’s sort of my take on research. Basically gathering bits of data and so you can put it altogether. Writing is the process of synthesizing your research into a coherent manner. The goal is to create a well formed thesis prior to the presentation, of your ideas. And it’s not just two people hitting “record” and talking…well, oh, okay there’s these guys…they can do it…oh well, you know, of course Bob and Ajay can do that too but…nobody else…alright, Cat and Bob, okay, they can do it too. So writing means different things to different people. Some of the things that I’ve found that I can use well for writing is “Google Docs”. It’s a free service that Google offers. It allows you to create and import regular Microsoft Word files into an online format so that you can access them again from anywhere. They can do the same with rather complex spreadsheets. And the nice thing, the thing I like about Google Docs is that you can then edit the HTML. And the nice thing about that is you can just take all that HTML code, copy it out, drop it in your blog, so that way you don’t have to retype everything. You just cut and paste. And then it shows up relatively well formatted. Sometimes you have to go and jerk it around a little bit, but it’s a nice shortcut. I use that all the time. Microsoft Word does create HTML, very poorly, but we won’t go into that. On the Outliner, I use that right at the very beginning. The nice thing about that too is it sort of allows you to format stuff with…well, it’s an Outliner. So basically you just have major headings and you have details and you can export that out as an HTML file also.
And the one…I have used the last one, I’ve used crayon and construction paper to get notes down. It’s not as efficient as using the computer. My handwriting sucks, so I end up spending more time trying to read what I wrote. But you can do it. Now one of the questions that people ask me who are just starting podcasts is, should you script or not? I usually say for the first handful of episodes, yes. Script the crap out of everything. Some of my first episodes I even scripted in my jokes, my off-hand comments. Everything was scripted. And if you listen to those episodes, you can tell – it really blows. But really, it really depends on your own personal comfort. I know Sage, when I talked to her a long time ago about this, and she scripts I’d say about 90% …99.97637492% of what she talks about and that’s her comfort level. And I know Scarborough Dude is very heavily into scripting. He…I see him…I’ve just heard his computer banging in the background. And, you know, that’s the other extreme. I didn’t even know if you have notes, Dude, Ken…no, just as the mood…and, you know, there’s a happy medium between that. I know Bruce isn’t a particularly strong typer. I’ve had instant message conversations with Bruce that, you know…I’m a fairly quick typer, but Bruce isn’t. And I’ll be three thoughts ahead of him before he’s finished the one. But typing isn’t his bag, baby. So he just turns the microphone on and goes. I’m sure he uses little jotty notes here and there but…but that’s just Bruce. And again it depends on the nature of the podcast. Some of the conversational podcasts, there’s no way you could script what Shane and Tom do. There’s no way. You know, they play off each other and I think that’s one of the benefits of having, you know, a partner or several people. You play off each other. You know, I have lots of voices in my head, but it’s too hard to record them. You know, you have to stop and rewind and it just doesn’t work the same.
And again, you know, nothing is cast in stone. What works for one particular episode, may not work for another. And some, like Tod was saying, you know, if you’re out on the street and…just leave the recorder on. You never know what you’re going to pick up. It could be audio gold, it could be audio crap too. But, you know, there’s that one little nugget that you spend an hour and a half recording that, you know, just makes your story. And the way I do it is, if any…I think a couple of you listen to the AndyCast…I have the “Uninformed Biography” which is now the cornerstone of everything that I do. That’s fully scripted. It’s scripted…every line is ‘cause I want it to sound a particular way. I want the language to be specific. I want it to convey, you know. I’m going to take some of Tod’s tips and work some of the more storytelling kind of elements in there. But, you know, you build it up, but I want it to sound a specific way, so I script that very, very heavily. But the rest of it is just whatever takes, you know. I have some set bits that I do but again, it’s all just me reacting to what’s there. So you may want to consider that too is partially scripting what you do. And then have a little more in writing. Have a plan. You know, don’t…some of the worst recordings I’ve ever heard and it’s just people just open up the mike and go. Even Scarborough Dude, even though he doesn’t fully script and doesn’t really prepare, he does…he has a mind set. He doesn’t know what he’s going to say, but he knows something’s going to come out and he has a plan, or not.
For me personally, I like to strive for a consistent flow going throughout from show to show. Just that I personally, I like that. I like to have, you know, little inside jokes, little running gags that come on…that’s a lovely one, see this…that’s one that everybody looks for on the show. It’s an instant laugh for me every time. It doesn’t matter where I throw it, it gets them. Now there…let’s move on to recording things…I just got the big ten from Mark back there…that’s a big 10…
Recording. Some people can do live to drive. Cat and Bob do live to drive. What I mean by that, it’s the old…and it’s now a live to tape. You know, you just basically turn the microphone on, record everything inline, add all your sound effects as you go along and then just record it out and, you know, minimal convert to mp3, post it. That works for some people. You can do that with CastBlaster which is…oh, where’s the picture?…there’s no pictures, oh well…you can also do that on the Mac with Audio Hijack Pro, which basically you can capture all your…anything, any sound that’s coming through the computer, it just goes and it’ll pick it up. It’s similar to the Windows Version called Hot Recorder. I’ve heard mixed reviews on Hot Recorder so I don’t…Audio Hijack Pro I’ve used many, many times. And you didn’t hear it here, but I’ve heard that you can use it to run around copy protection on some copy…just a rumour, I don’t know…oh here’s the pictures now, thank you, oh good…
There’s another one, Ubercaster which is a new one on the Mac which is very, very slick. It’s far too complex for me…umm, I didn’t have any pictures…Audio Hijack Pro, I don’t think, no…There’s some, Bruce touched on one of the biggest Cross Platform editors, Audacity. That’s a fancy Audacity track. On the Mac, you can use GarageBand or Sound Track Pro or Pete Pro. That’s one of Ed’s shows. And there’s Sound Track Pro which is the step up from GarageBand. Again it’s just a wave formatter. Just lay down multiple tracks and just record and add in your sound effects and stuff like that. On Windows, you can use Adobe Audition, which looks very much like Sound Track Pro. And again, it’s just another way of…another tool to use to record. There’s all kinds of portable rigs. There’s a new zoom coming out. It’s called the H2. It’s a little smaller, it can do 3D sounds. We use a little iRiver, or the little microphone. Some of the more interesting things is Bruce has talked about and touched base…and we have Mr. Talkshoe here…is Talkshoe, which allows you to do live recording. Another one is Odeo, which is still around even despite all the Twitter buzz about them. And MobaTalk. Michael Bailey or MyChingo. They allow you to do recording through a flash and record it.
Bruce touched on a lot of this stuff, so I won’t bore you with all this stuff…faster…faster…faster. a quiet chair. Cat and Bob can tell us some more about quiet chairs. Mark again with the non-dairy beverages. And give yourself time to record. Don’t try and slam an hour’s recording in twenty minutes. It’s not going to work. And talk and, you know, Sheila Rogers, last year gave us the Uber tip: talk to a single person. You know, I have a picture taped up on my wall. I talk to Tod every time. So, you know, and you can talk to whomever you like. I like to talk to Tod…well this…now if you don’t have…what do you do when all you have is a cell phone? We were talking about this earlier. If anybody was watching me on Twitter on Tuesday, I was stuck in the middle of a protest…or actually it was a demonstration, and of course, there’s, you know, we had packed all of our stuff because we’re packing to come up here. And all’s I had was my cell phone so what’ll you do…Hi this is Andy on the streets of D.C. I’m in the middle of some sort of protest. I’m gonna put them on speaker and see if we can get anything good out of this…blistering hot day out there…this is all through my Blackberry…probably well up above 90…I called my K7 number…as you can see and hear, it’s a rather violent protest. There are black jackets and weapons of mass destruction everywhere you can see. The police are here trying to maintain this crowd of people who…it’s unbelievable how unruly they are…actually no it’s not…these are just people protesting the…letting their opinions be known about the immigration policies and things so. Here’s comes another vocal group…So I’m attempting to cut across this protest…ooh, ouch, hey, hey, ouch…don’t…stop it…hey don’t hit me there, come on…I managed to cross the street against the protest and the lumps are present…Andy reporting for the AndyCast News on the streets of DC…so it pays to have a K7 number.
I’m getting a peace sign from Bob back there. So, releasing involves some of the post production stuff, some of the editing. One of the things: edit tight but don’t edit too tight. I got one more thing to kill people. Background music should really be background. And have some constant bits. You know, consistent bits have a life of their own…(music – The Uninformed Biography, Who Knows How It Really Went Down Anyway, The Uninformed Biography, Who The Hell Knows How It Went Down Anyway, Uniformed, Uninformed, Uninformed, Uniformed Biography – music) So you can see that…I mean, just with a little piece of music, you can have one bit just take a life of its own. I play both of those bits. The one at the front and one here because I paid for them so, I own them. And this is…we’re talking about background music. Tod was talking about non-descript background mode. This is the music I use underneath the whole Uninformed Biography. You can see…it’s just all…it’s like Tod said. It’s just all…you could listen to this for hours. But it works well, ‘cause it sets a mood, right. Use transition bits between segments. Put the meat of the show at the front, leave the rambly stuff at the back, because people are paying all this money for your podcast so they want to hear what you want to say. We’ve had other people talk about promoting your podcast and stuff like that. And I won’t bore you with all that stuff. One thing I like to do is create content for others with no strings attached. And I’ve been given the big “T” sign, so I’m done. And fortunately, I am done. Perfect timing. Thank you very much.
Bob Goyetche: Thanks, Andy.
Bob Goyetche: This episode of the Canadian Podcast Buffet featuring Podcasters Across Borders audio is brought to you in part by TD Canada Trust.
Mark Blevis: Thanks to all of the PAB2007 Sponsors: Rogic Podcast Conglomerate, Third Storey Productions, TD Canada Trust, Thornley Fallis, StartCooking.com, Marion McDonald, Don Edwards, Freddie Litwiniuk, Bill Deys and Christopher Penn.
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