Making Teh Podcast Better

From: Dr Nick (FOZZA) 9 Jul 2012 22:04
To: ALL1 of 53
Hey All, ( Apologies for the length of this post. )

Massive thanks again for the feedback on the first podcast.
We all had a feeling it was going to be ropey and I think its fair to say it was..

Every Journey has to start with a first step, and this was ours. It was the foundation upon which....oh hang on Xen banned us from talking in cliches!

So we are off the mark! Episode 1 is in the can ( I really can't help it, I am a walking cliche soundboard!).

Moving forward we need to look at how we can improve the cast and build it into something that hopeful not only appeals to Teh members but to the wider web audience at large, first we conquer iTunes, then the world...

(tldnr - This is the process we followed to record the show, help us make it better...)

Firstly it would be good to try and get some ideas on how to produce the show.
The first cast was recorded using Skype to conference and then each party recording their own speaking inputs only which were then email to one person to piece back together and edit into a whole show using Audacity.

- This was done because a quick search on the web suggested that this was the best way to get quality audio from all parties. If we tried to record the conference as a single sound file it would have suffered from brown outs due to internet connection issue which are inherent when skyping. This is what the web said but we did not try it so cant say it we found it to be the case.

- In editing the results there were a few issues:

The first being trying to stitch all the tracks together so that they ran coherently. To do this we had one member count us down to press record on audacity at the same time and then each person counted to five. These counts were easy to distinguish on the recording in audacity and allowed the tracks to be matched up.

The second issue was down to echo. This obviously happened when a host was using external speaker to listen to skype or just getting bleed from the headphones into the mic. To solve this although i confess not 100% I went through the podcast highlighting the parts of the track where a host was not speaking and created silence in that section overwriting the echo. This took the best part of 2 hours.

Finally it was a bit of a challenge to match the levels of each person. Oscar had recorded very low so need his gain increased a lot. Patch was turned up so high I could hear each drag on his cigarette, I was somewhere in between the two.

We all felt (as I'm sure people listening to the show did too) that we meandered in sections. As I mentioned in the other post I think creating a show running order on Google Docs and populating during the week with it being the hosts responsibility to look at and add topics and research the one up for discussion. This should reduce the rabbit in the headlight moments that occurred.

To those people that suggested that actually some of the best bits about the cast were the informal chatting bits. I agree that this was when we were most comfortable. We recorded a huge section of the preshow prep and listening to that I think there was some better material cut then was included. A whole section on the meaning of lifeXen was extremely witty and will never be heard. :)

Music Jingles, Intro Outro, Podcast picture.

These were awful and just things we grabbed last minute. I would be grateful if people would help out here and do a quick bit of art of suggest jingle music etc. The Music or sound between sections needs to stay for practicality reasons. Its easier to edit in chunks and during the recording people need to get fluid or get rid of some! (My headset is wireless and unless we break the show into sections I will take you all to the bog with me!).

Show Hosts,
This is "Teh Podcast" and is open to anybody in Teh who is prepared to read the suggested show notes do a bit of research and turn up for recording with something to say. If we have a lot people on at the same time it might be a bit unwieldy but heck lets try and see. Our USP could be that we have the most amount of hosts on a podcast at any one time and make it sound good!

Web / Blog Space / iTunes

If we want to keep and archive or create a feed then we will need somewhere to store these? I setup a wordpress site which uses podcast feeds See Here
Could we do something similar? We could then link into feedburner etc and monitor stats.

Once again thanks for the feedback .
Fozza, Patch, Oscar
From: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ)10 Jul 2012 08:25
To: Dr Nick (FOZZA) 2 of 53

As far as editing in Audacity goes, do you need the countdown, or is it not quite easy to move the (unedited) tracks around until they line up just based on the normal conversation? I dunno. Might save, ooh, ten seconds in the editing process.


As far as editing goes, I'd aim to get it down to about an hour long. Cut out some of the meandering, summarise (no need to discuss that you're all in a cultural vaccuum and don't get to the cinema - just mention it and move onto the reviews, etc). And definitely get better music. Oscar - get on with it! And the logo looks like the kind of thing that got painted on the noses of German aircraft in WW2.


For the actually getting together to record it, a regularly updated thread where the next session date and rough agenda is posted would allow the people who are going to be on it to figure out what to discuss in advance.

From: Dan Herman (HERMAND)10 Jul 2012 08:43
To: Dr Nick (FOZZA) 3 of 53

I think you're definitely on the right lines by recording locally for the reasons you mention. By counting down, you're basically creating an 'audio clacker' in a similar vein to what they do on films (Y'know, the black and white "Take One" thing) to sync audio and video.


I don't think there is going to be any way to avoid this process, unless there is some kind of specific Podcasting software (That'd be cool, actually) that can handle it in software.

From: Oscarvarium (OZGUR)10 Jul 2012 14:15
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 4 of 53
I was going to offer to do some music (I even have a portfolio!) but I have no idea what kind of thing would be appropriate.
EDITED: 10 Jul 2012 14:33 by OZGUR
From: Lucy (X3N0PH0N)10 Jul 2012 14:33
To: Oscarvarium (OZGUR) 5 of 53
I'm thinking like 'none'.
From: Oscarvarium (OZGUR)10 Jul 2012 14:39
To: Lucy (X3N0PH0N) 6 of 53
Well having nothing at all separating two sections is pretty awkward. It feels jarring and incoherent to cut from "okay, that was that section" straight to "now for this section". Maybe the space could be filled with a recording of the clicking sound your keyboard makes as you type angrily about how awful music is?
From: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ)10 Jul 2012 14:51
To: Oscarvarium (OZGUR) 7 of 53
(or "that one Aphex Twin track", as the rest of us know it)
From: Lucy (X3N0PH0N)10 Jul 2012 14:58
To: Oscarvarium (OZGUR) 8 of 53
Jingles are arguably necessary on radio since you'll be listening to one programme after another. It's appropriate, then, to provide a little audio cue, a subtle one, just enough to break through any distraction and let you know your favourite programme has started.

If I put a podcast on I know it's on because I put it on. Any jingle is, at very fucking best superfluous. And more likely annoying, grating, amateurish and embarrassing. Not just its form but the mere fact of its existence.

Overproducing this, aping the forms of professional media with neither the context necessary to give that meaning nor the skill to pull it off will result in an embarrassing mess.

I'm not sure the podcast needs heavily delineated sections, let alone more fucking jingles demarcating them. "Right then, let's talk about films" is more than adequate and will sound roughly infinity times less shit.

If you want this to be entertaining in the way that watching people who can't sing but think they can sing audition on x-factor is entertaining then go for it.

If you want it to actually be any good then worry about content. Try actually having a discussion rather than just listing shit. You can worry about production when you have something to produce.
From: ANT_THOMAS10 Jul 2012 15:00
To: Lucy (X3N0PH0N) 9 of 53
Not had much sleep?
From: Lucy (X3N0PH0N)10 Jul 2012 15:01
To: ANT_THOMAS 10 of 53
Ha. Not had enough tea.
From: graphitone10 Jul 2012 15:05
To: Oscarvarium (OZGUR) 11 of 53

How about just fading the track out as you get off topic, then fading back in once you're all onto the next one?


That way you cut out any unnecessary stuff and leaves a distinct audio cue for the next section.


Plus Xen'll be happy.



EDITED: 10 Jul 2012 15:06 by GRAPHITONE
From: Lucy (X3N0PH0N)10 Jul 2012 15:09
To: graphitone 12 of 53
That would be far more appropriate, yeah.
From: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ)10 Jul 2012 15:25
To: graphitone 13 of 53
What would be really good would be for Xen to record a commentary track discussing what's just been discussed, with himself, and layer it over the boring bits and jingles.
From: Lucy (X3N0PH0N)10 Jul 2012 15:28
To: Dr Nick (FOZZA) 14 of 53
(this is mainly in response to your proposed schedule in the other thread, but it's more relevant here)

As I said elsewhere, you make a good host. You're affable and articulate and able to keep shit moving.

You need to ask better questions though. Asking people what they've watched/played/whatever is unlikely to result in interesting answers.

Listening to people list and describe the media they've been consuming is not remotely interesting. If it were of interest to me there are a million sources where I could've found that information framed more competently.

This is going to be a million times worse if you specify particular media objects to talk about. Unless I happen to be the world's most rabid fan of one of those games/whatever then it's quite clearly going to be of very little interest.

If you want to talk about games and films and stuff then fine, but talk about them. Don't just list and describe. What's the best experience you've ever had in a game? What should games do? Should games tell us stories or should they provide us with the tools to tell stories ourselves? Are games culturally important? Why are adolescent power fantasies even more prevalent in games than in films? Do games need to grow the fuck up? How are games and films different? How does having agency in games differentiate them from film? What does this mean for narrative? etc. etc. Those are just off the top of my head, obviously, but you get the idea.

Discussions and stories and debate and things which are obviously inherently interesting, will be interesting.

I mean ideally you'd forget this 'games/films/gadgets' thing altogether and just talk about stuff. I mean, for example, say everyone who joins the podcast comes with 3 questions to ask. Not questions necessarily, but things that can actually be discussed and explored - an interesting/funny but of news or something that happened to them in tescos or... whatever. Just something a bit more dynamic and interesting than "I watched spiderman. It is a about a man who can climb on walls. He wore a red suit. It was not very good because the story was not very good and the acting was not very good. You?".

(also, and this is more subjective, I think you should drop talking about music. It's a hard topic to discuss in a non-boring "I have listened to x, they are a bit like y but with more guitars" way)
From: Oscarvarium (OZGUR)10 Jul 2012 15:45
To: Lucy (X3N0PH0N) 15 of 53

I see your point, and I do think that even well-composed "jingles" would feel pretty out of place. I was thinking more of 15-30 seconds of intro/outro music, with snippets of it played between segments. I don't know if you'd count that as a jingle or not.


Unless you dispense with structure and just let it be a rambly conversation (which might be fine, that's what makes a great Teh thread after all), then you'd need to either find an organic way to segue from one topic to another or use the jarring "okay enough about games, lets talk about music" kind of line. The fade-out thing might work but it could be a bit strange, especially if you're trying to hear what's being said as it fades.

From: graphitone10 Jul 2012 15:46
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 16 of 53



Nice idea. So, it should a podcast and Xen's critque of the podcast subtly overlaid over the top - that could be enhanced by having him voice opinions etc. live while teh podcast is being recorded. He'd be present but very quietly talking in the background offering words of wisdom on what's just been said.


It'd be like being haunted by a verbose poltergeist. Every so often the participants could try to exorcise him. :-|

From: Lucy (X3N0PH0N)10 Jul 2012 15:58
To: Oscarvarium (OZGUR) 17 of 53
Yeah I think a rambly conversation would be best. People asking questions, sparking discussion, saying things, arguing. Naturally moving from one topic to the next would be the ideal, with minimal editing needed, like.

But obviously it's not always going to work like that. But when the conversation halts I just think it's up to Fozza to pose a next question/thing or ask someone else to do so or whatever. I don't think that needs to be nor benefits from being explicitly divided up into sections.

I think the first order of business should just be to get proper, dynamic conversation flowing. Later on it might well make sense to cut that up into types of discussion or whatever, that's fine (and that's when it might be worth coming up with some music which genuinely characterises that rather than sticking some in just for the sake of it). But I think imposing such a rigid and restrictive structure this early hampers rather than helps anyone say anything interesting. Kinda stifles the whole thing.
From: Lucy (X3N0PH0N)10 Jul 2012 15:59
To: graphitone 18 of 53
And ken should provide gunshot noises.
From: graphitone10 Jul 2012 16:09
To: Lucy (X3N0PH0N) 19 of 53

That's reminded me of a rumour that certain recordings of Gorecki's Third Symphony have gun shots in the background. I'll have to dig out the CD and see if it's the one I've got.


That'll've been Ken again no doubt, messing around. The little gun-toting scamp.

From: Lucy (X3N0PH0N)10 Jul 2012 16:10
To: graphitone 20 of 53
If he doesn't adopt 'gun-toting scamp' as his forum nickname I'll be sorely (yj) disappointed.