Monday, March 16, 2009

How I produce a live and interactive podcast.

Not the greatest headline I know...

Apologies for the tech nature of this post. I've produced a couple of podcasts that have been recorded with a virtual audience in real time and with the ability to hold a live streamed video, chat room and hold audio conversations with folks, whilst simultaneously recording the show. The net result is that five separate people have asked me how I did it.

I'm sure there are loads of different ways you can record a live broadcast, I am just able to tell you how I did mine.

I've a macbook and an Alesis Multimix USB mixer. You don't need a mac - but you probably do need the USB interactivity of the mixer that essentially becomes an external soundcard and audio device.

The ease of the Alesis is wonderful. You simply plug the mixer in, and you have the ability to record anything you hear.

I use GarageBand as my recording tool, but the open source programme Auduacity (or cubase) may be just as workable.

I set the GarageBand preferences to the USB codec and then know when the record button is selected, that I have the ability to produce an audio record of everything that happens - including Skype.

All of my audio tracks are selected to open in Quicktime. I opena separate mini player for each track, simpy stacking the audio tracks in a cascade so I'm aware of the next track to play - I do this for soundbeds, jingles and songs I'm playing. The volume button on the mini QuickPlayer is handy as I can adjust the track to my voice.

I use a Behringer mic for the main audio - and an additional Sennheiser mic for any other audio.

Ustream.Tv is my interactive client that allows me to stream over the web. Best of all is the fact that it's free.

The screen can become very cluttered, so I use the mac 'spaces' app which means I can cut between Skype, and other apps with ease.

The Chat room is bundled with the ustream free broadcast tool.

It's a great adrenalin rush to produce the show 'live' and the dynamics are great... but be careful not to have to many networked machines sucking on the wifi pipe as things can crash ith alarming regularity.

Anyway, best of luck to anyone starting out along the interactive route. Drop me a line if you need any further info.


Bob said...

Interesting to see how you've done it Paul. Curious to know how you configued Skype to edit into Garageband. Does it have it's own channel so you can control levels?

I've played with Sound Byte to play audio etc and it is brilliant. Much more organised than lots of QT windows, each with individual level controls etc. Have a look here;

But ultimately I think I'm still confused about the internal patching system you must be using? I'm an old fashioned wires man myself LOL! And as I don't use the latest Mac I'm not sure what the limitations are.

Interesting though. Thanks for the post.


podcastpaul said...

Ah, the configuration works itself out when you use a USB mixer Bob. I've not used a (normal) wired mixer...

Bob said...

I think I need to call you again Paul. I've got a Firewire Mixer and don't seem to have the same features, or perhaps I have and I don't know it!

It could an OS thing, a mixer thing, or a stupid thing! Who knows?

Never used a 'wired' mixer? Good grief, now I DO feel old!! LOL