Once you've captured the audio, it's time to splice it all together and trim it down. Depending on the kind of podcast, you may also need to incorporate other audio — music, ambient sound, and other effects. Once again, here's how four podcasting vets — Christopher Breen (the Macworld Podcast); Editorial Director Jason Snell (The Incomparable); Erika Ensign (Verity!); and Chip Sudderth (The Two-Minute Time Lord)— get that done. (Warning: Ensign is a Windows user. But we still thought her overall workflow would be instructive for all podcasters, regardless of their preferred platform.)
Chris originally did his editing in GarageBand, because he wanted to make enhanced podcasts — AAC files with embedded chapters, links, and images — which GarageBand supports. But he found editing in that app tedious. Among other things, it' lacks a ripple-delete function, which automatically moves the audio following a section you're cutting to the point where you made the cut. Also, he found GarageBand's audio effects and noise-removal tool too limited, and there's no built-in way to remove plosives.
So now he uses Adobe Audition. He likes it because "it feels like a real audio editor, something designed for radio and film use." If he has a problem with something, he has faith that Audition has a solution. The only thing he doesn't like about Audition: Adobe's subscription model. Once his current trial sub expires, he's going to look for another tool, because "it's not worth paying Adobe's Creative Cloud price for this single application."
Once he's gathered together the various tracks, he pulls them into Audition and lines them up so they're in sync. He checks the waveform for each track to get an idea of its general loudness. He prefers to adjust the overall volume of a track before applying any effects. He uses Audition's multiband compressor to give speakers more of an "FM Radio sound" and to punch up their volume. If someone's too loud, he uses a limiter. He occasionally fiddles around with a downward expander effect to hide little noises that fall below a certain threshold ("if someone is a lip smacker or heavy breather"). For plosives, he uses Audition's Kill the Mic Rumble preset (in the FFT Filter); "it's a miracle worker."
After making repairs and cuts where necessary, he exports the results as a mono AIFF track, which he then imports into GarageBand 6. There, he inserts opening and closing remarks and any ads he might have. He moves the elements into place, adds opening and closing theme music, and draws in fades (fading the music out as a voice comes in, for example). Then he adds the enhancements: adding chapters and graphics, applying URLs to chapters, adding a description, and mucking with the metadata that will appear in iTunes. Finally, he exports it as a mono spoken podcast to iTunes.
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