Podcast Editing: Time Saving Tips
One of the most time consuming parts of putting together a podcast episode is the editing process. Ask any podcaster and they’ll tell you the same.
Editing should be the part of the process where you focus on the content of your episode so that it can have real resonance and impact with your audience.
If you’re someone who spends more time preparing to edit and trying to fix badly recorded audio then here are a few time saving strategies that you could employ for next time.
It Starts With Recording
Even before you open up your DAW to edit, you’ll have had to record your episode - duh! But how you record can end up saving you a ton of time in the edit.
The TL;DR version of this post is as follows;
One microphone per person — no sharing 🗣🎙
Use headphones, though earphones are fine too 🎧
Record in a quiet space, away from any potential noise 🔇
Using a microphone each is crucial to making sure that all voices are recorded consistently and evenly. There are few things that take up more time in an edit than having to balance the levels of a voice and if you’re trying to edit an interview recorded with a single microphone where one person is louder than the other you’ll be at it for hours.
Having an even and consistent sounding audio recording means you can focus on editing the content. Headphones are crucial to preventing echo on remote interviews which is part of the importance of the last point as well - if you’re not wearing headphones and you can hear something then so can your microphone too which means it’ll be on your for good.
The goal with recording is to create a replicable and consistent method that you can carry out every time. It might take a few tries to get right but once you do it, you’ll notice the difference, not only in your audio quality, but also that you won’t be spending time fixing recording mistakes.
Clearly Label Your Files
You’ve recorded, got your music, sound effects, and any other audio you might need. It’s now worth taking an extra minute to label these files for future reference.
You can go from this time waster...
...to this time saver.
Then when you’re sat down to edit you’ll know exactly which file is the one you need, when you need it.
No matter which DAW or editing software you use, having a session template ready will save you plenty of time in the long run. If you find yourself starting with a blank session every time, then creating tracks, loading plugins, and importing music, you’re taking time away from what you need to be doing.
Work out which tracks, plugins, and files you’re using in every episode then create and save this as a blank session to your hard drive. Some DAWs, like Pro Tools, have a Save as Template feature, for others you might have to duplicate the session for each episode. Here’s an example of a template I have ready to go from Pro Tools for editing an interview show.
As you can see, I have the host, guest, and music tracks ready and preloaded with the plugins and settings, as well as a master track with a levelling plugin.
Here’s the sessions template I have for Hollywood Science as well.
There’s obviously more here compared to the interview template, including more sound effects, but it serves the same function - to save me from having to create all of this each and every time it comes to editing an episode.
Play It Faster
If you’re feeling confident, try playing through your audio at a faster speed than 1x. Audacity has this feature available available in upper right corner which won’t affect your final audio.
In other DAWs, like Pro Tools, you’d have to use the Time Compression Expansion effect under AudioSuite -> Other and then do the reverse once you’ve finished to return the audio back to its original speed.
Know Your Keyboard Shortcuts
Ever see someone in a coffee shop or in the office pounding away at their keyboard without touching their mouse or trackpad? Chances are they know their keyboard shortcuts inside and out and, if you want to be faster at editing, you should too.
The more you practice using keyboard shortcuts, the quicker your editing time will be. What’s more is that a lot of shortcuts are the same in each DAW meaning that if you decide to switch then it should be a smooth transition to using new software.
What are your time saving techniques for editing? Let me know in the comments.