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How to Record a Podcast Using Skype and Audacity

A lot of people have been asking how the newly re-launched Radio BrendoMan is recorded and published. It is really the easiest podcast I’ve ever done. Phil and I live pretty far apart so recording in person was not an option. However, recording a Skype conversation also really wasn’t an option because even the best Skype recorders sound pretty crappy. So we used a workaround that podcasters have been using for years.

Step 1: Download Skype for each host.

This is pretty self explanatory. You probably have it on your computer already. The only thing I changed for podcasting purposes was to turn off the auto mic levelling in Skype because that ended up messing up my levels when trying to record. Thanks Adam Wells for that tip.

Step 2: Download Audacity (or some sort of recording software) for each host.

Everyone has their favorite recording software. I know a lot of Mac users only use Garageband and that’s totally cool. As long as it’s something you know how to use and can export in both wav and mp3 format, you are good. I prefer Audacity because it is totally free, easy to use, and surprisingly robust. Make sure each host has Audacity running and they know how to use it. Again, it’s pretty basic. You just click the record button and you’re off. I would recommend doing a test recording just to check your levels and to make sure everything is in working order.

Step 3: Start the Skype Call

This is pretty straightforward. Make sure you can hear each other, but don’t worry about the quality of the call because this is not what you are recording.

Step 4: Sync up and start recording

Phil and I have a pretty basic process. Phil counts off and we click record, then he counts off and we clap into the microphone. This needs to be done simultaneously so when you mix each file together, you just sync up the clap, which should be easy to spot. Then you just do your normal podcast routine. If you have to stop in the middle of recording, make sure you sync back up again when you resume.

Optional Step: Use Google Drive for Show notes and to share wav files

Google Drive allows you to have a document you can share and edit collaboratively in real time. Phil and I have an entire shared folder where we keep our show notes file as well as other miscellaneous files for the show. It’s also where Phil uploads his wav file when we’re done recording.

Step 5: Save and share raw files.

Once you have stopped recording, each person now needs to save their recording in a raw format (either WAV or AIFF, I prefer WAV). In Audacity, you do this using File-Export. Next, the person who isn’t creating the final file needs to get their wav file to the editor. Phil and I use Google Drive to do this but you can use Dropbox, an FTP server, or whatever else you want to do.

Step 6: Assemble show from raw files.

Once you have all the raw files, create a new project in Audacity (or your preferred audio editing program) and import each file. Then use your clap you did at the beginning of the record to sync them up. As part of my process, I then export this combined file as a WAV and run that through Levelator, then use that to edit the final show. This is entirely optional though. You can edit and mix however you like once you sync up the raw files.

Step 7: Export and Upload MP3

Now that you’ve mixed and edited your show, export the MP3 file and then upload it to whatever podcast host you use. I’ll do another post on how to choose a host and other advanced techniques but for now you have a complete MP3 file of your show and if you didn’t totally screw up the levels it should sound pretty great. At the very least, it will sound way better than if you had recorded the actual Skype conversation.

posted by brendoman | 05/31/12| 05:06:00 pm| I'm a Big Geek, Podcasting, Anything Else|


7 comments

Comment from: dan [Member] · http://www.brendoman.com/

Very cool. And how did you get your show on Stitcher?


06/01/12 @ 08:00
Comment from: brendoman [Member]   · http://brendoman.com

I submitted it on their site. There is a form you fill out. I got approved in a couple days.


06/01/12 @ 08:20
Comment from: mekky [Visitor]

as for me, i’d recommend to use this nice tool http://www.imcapture.com/IMCapture_for_Skype/, it records skype calls very well!) but thanx for info)


06/29/12 @ 02:11
Comment from: brendoman [Member]   · http://brendoman.com

Yeah, but those are dependent on the quality of the Skype call and that isn’t always guaranteed. But if it works for you, then that is great.


06/29/12 @ 09:07
Comment from: Eugene [Visitor]

You may also want to try MX SkypeRecorder
http://skyperec.com/ which is stable and fulfills its duties. Well, at least it never let me down. Hope it’ll help.


07/02/12 @ 07:12
Comment from: polly [Visitor]

there is a nice skype calls recorder i always use http://www.imcapture.com/IMCapture_for_Skype/, it’s simple and nice!) but thanx for info)


07/13/12 @ 04:37
Comment from: Peter [Visitor] · http://peterdewolf.com

Thanks for this!

Any idea if we could do it with three people, in three different locations?

Does Audacity allow for that?


07/16/12 @ 09:27