Taking a podcast back to videocalls

One of the podcasts that I produce has to go back to videocall recordings for all new episodes in the foreseeable future. The show started in-person with a stable setup, went to online recordings at the start of covid, and then returned to a room — but alas, now it’s a new chapter.

Here were my recommendations to the host:

  • The one variable with the biggest combination of high-impact and easy-to-implement? Make sure your guest wears earbuds or headphones. Tell all your guests that it’s mandatory. True disasters only happen on videocalls if someone’s speakers blare back into their mic.
  • Next up: make sure your videocalling app will bounce you multiple tracks. That means no Google Meet.
  • Only then, after taking care of those two would we ask, “Are we getting WAVs of each track and not compressed source files?” This question will point you toward, say, Riverside instead of Zoom.
  • The flow of conversation is fundamentally different than what you get in the room and requires a different approach. You have to let your guest talk without jumping in as much and leave what might feel like uncomfortably long pauses before you take your turn to talk. Your sentences need clearer endings, invitations for the guest to speak up. Laughter can be a challenge instead of an unambiguous good; you have to figure out how to work in laughter. Also, your guest won’t think or care about any of that stuff.

We’ll see how the sessions sound and how much extra effort we end up applying to editing.

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