Does your pre-recorded podcast audio stick out like a sore thumb?
Do you wonder whether other people can hear the transitions as much as you can?
In this article we share some simple tips on making these sections of a podcast really flow.
We want a nice flow to our podcasts because it makes the whole thing sound more together. It’s almost a case of when something flows well you don’t actually notice it is flowing well!
However, when a podcast does not manage to transition cleanly it can really reduce the production values.
The good news is that some simple changes can make an instant difference.
1. Don’t Draw Attention to Pre-recorded Material
Sometimes you’ll hear a podcaster lead into to an interview as if they’re playing an old piece of tape. “This is something I recorded last Tuesday. Sit back and enjoy it. I’ll catch up with you at the end.”
This approach almost detracts from the interview because it seems like we’re losing the podcast host while we have to stick around. Bizarrely, as a podcast is a download, the whole thing is pre-recorded anyway. It’s amazing it can have this effect on us but it does! So just avoid mentioning anything about the audio and lead into the interview as if it were live (but don’t say it’s live!).
You are not lying. People know that the interviews are pre-recorded and to be honest they really don’t care. This is about making the transition as smooth as possible.
2. Avoid Transitioning Between the Same Voice
As the podcast host, if you lead into an interview, start this interview segment with the interviewee’s voice. Take a look at this short video.
If you have no other option but to transition back to your own voice, use podcast branding or your theme music as a buffer.
This can be a really nice way to change direction in a podcast. Find out more about audio branding from our friends at Music Radio Creative.
3. Maintain All Aspects of Your Delivery
When something is recorded at another time, things may be different. This could be technical details such as the levels of your audio or the microphone set-up that you used but it could just as easily apply to you as the podcast host! It may be that you are conversational during an interview (and relaxed) and the second you start to think about playing host again you get all pumped up and adopt a radio voice or change your pace of delivery, etc.
Your style is of course up to you, but be mindful that it is consistent. Otherwise, the transitions to and from the pre-recorded sections may become more apparent.
4. Rehearse Any Transition to Pre-Recorded Material
Ideally you should write a short ‘cue’ into any piece of pre-recorded material. A cue is just a sentence or two (it can be longer) that leads nicely into the audio. So, it means you have listened to the audio and thought about the best words to make it sound natural.
For example, if you wanted to incorporate listener questions, it might seem like a really good idea to transition into it with: “It’s time to answer a few of your questions. The first one is from Ray in Toronto.”
That might be fine unless Ray starts his voicemail like this: “Hi, this is Ray from Toronto . . . ”
That would be unnecessary repetition which we could have easily avoided if we had prepared a little more. A rehearsal or read-through would have flagged this up.
5. Have Natural Spaces Either Side of the Pre-Recorded Audio
One telltale sign that something has been pre-recorded is that there’s either a huge great gap or a sudden jump going into it. Of course, you want something in between. Our ears are good at detecting what sounds natural so try to gauge it. If you’re editing, this makes adjusting things a lot easier.