Let’s face it: We all think different things when we talk about podcast editing and podcast production. So what do those words actually mean? It depends on who you ask because there is no industry standard. That’s why I’m going to tell you what exactly I mean when I say editing and production because, at Ya Ya Podcasting, we do all these things.
What is Podcast Production?
Production is really the act of creating an episodic or serialized show on a regular basis. It is not actually editing, but is overseeing the editing. From brainstorming show ideas to guest booking to show notes to publishing the episode. That’s production.
Here at Ya Ya Podcasting, we do all or some of those things for several shows. The coaching that comes with our editing services? That’s actually an associate producer type of thing, if we were talking traditional media.
Guest booking is a service we hope to add in the future. But we do send potential guests to clients free of charge at the moment. Because we run across so many interesting people with interesting stories that feel strongly is a fit for a particular show, we can’t help but connect them to our clients.
As the host of your show, you are the Executive Producer. It’s your show, your ideas and you have the final call on everything. Own that title. You’ve earned it!
What is Podcast Editing?
Editing is just that. It’s reviewing the audio, cutting things out or adding things in, just like you would a text document. There are different levels to editing that require different skillsets to accomplish different goals. So, let’s take a look at those…
Basic editing is simply tightening and polishing content. It’s removing ums, uh, stammers, stutters (which we call filler words) as well as taking out false starts and long pauses that would distract or disrupt the listening experience. Coughs, weird noises, and things that obviously don’t belong are removed as much as it’s possible. (sometimes you have to choose between a disruptive noise and ruining the audio) It’s also removing specific things that the client requests.
How much filler is removed?
We follow an 80/20 rule to keep things sounding natural. We take out 80% of the um-ish words and leave 20% in. Yet, if you’d like more removed, we certainly can do that!
If you or your guest has a stutter, we keep it real. If you have a famous guest known for a style of speaking, we keep it true to that person’s style.
The editor community is quite split on how to edit a guest. Some don’t believe in keeping the guest’s audible personality intact. We do because fans of that guest will notice if they’ve been overly edited. We want your guest to be audibly identifiable and share worthy.
Imagine if someone edited out all of Neil De Grasse Tyson’s pregnant pauses or stutters? Would he be quite so recognizable by voice alone? Would he be as high drama? We don’t think so.
A critical ear to fine tune your content
Content editing means you’re doing the basic edits AND making editorial choices. Sometimes a speaker meanders. Sometimes a question’s answer isn’t really a question’s answer until 10 minutes later. Sometimes you simply want an objective ear to fine tune an interview when it’s wonky… but you aren’t quite sure how to do that.
A content editor listens like a listener. They listen like an expert. They listen critically and make choices like you would. If the content editor is unsure about something, they ask. Choices are made collaboratively.
A content editor will also speed things up or slow things down to make sure the pacing matches the mood. They may add pauses so there’s better flow. They listen for context, subtext and pay close attention to style and language to ensure it’s conveyed clearly to a listener.
After listening to hundreds of thousands of hours of a podcasts, we can make those editorial choices on pretty much any topic. It’s actually our specialty.
Creating a story from an interview
Narrative Editing is combining voice over with an interview. This is more telling a story, for instance, you this a lot on NPR programs and Serial, the podcast. It starts with raw audio that’s then transcribed.
The producer (that would be you) sends a marked up version, along with raw audio and any voice over to the editor.
The editor polishes and edits the raw audio, cuts it all up and puts it together as instructed with music and transitions.
They send it back to you for review. Things get hashed out…then… Repeat this process a few times and you come up with a finished product!
Creating Audio Dramas
Sound Design is usually used for scripted shows or commercials. You send the audio along with script marking where you want sound effects (sfxs) and music. Then the editor polishes the raw audio, makes it sound nice and adds in all that extra music and sfxs.
But it’s more than editing…
It’s also the mixing and mastering. What exactly does that mean? Simply put: Mixing is making your audio sound as good as possible. It’s adding the EQ, the compression, leveling it out… all those ‘effects’ you hear about in podcast forums and see in your audio software, but are sure how to do or why to do it. It’s taking out noise. It’s removing ‘echo.’ All that sound stuff.
Mastering is simply creating that final file. The finished product. In a way that can be published and distributed.
We’ve invested in the software and skills so you don’t have to. And we are always learning.