The technology to do podcast interviews remotely has come a long way in the last few years. But while services like Squadcast and Cleanfeed have made it easier to get your audio recorded from a technical standpoint, the quality of a remote interview is still at the mercy of the person you’re connecting to, who many times will be inexperienced in audio production and lost as how to help you get when you need when it comes to a quality recording.
You will get a better quality recording on remote podcast interviews if you show guests exactly how the remote interview process works and tell them exactly what to do. You will get an even better quality recording on remote podcast interviews if you ship guests the equipment you want them to use.
Anthony Luciani is a professional podcast producer who has done work on several popular podcasts including Get Stuffed with Lisa Lampanelli, My Favorite Murder, and Jack Daniel’s Around The Barrel.
Part of Anthony’s job is preparing guests for a remote recording session. With his permission, I’ve included text and photos from a document he used on a podcasting project that he sent to each guest before a session.
A couple of things worth nothing:
- Sessions for this podcast were done via SessionLinkPro. This is a pro-level remote recording program, similar to Squadcast or Cleanfeed.
- Blue Yeti was the model of microphone used for this project. Why? This podcast required dozens of recording kits and they all had to be the same – Blue Yeti was the only microphone readily available in the needed quantity at the time of production.
Remote Podcast Interview – Guest Instructions
Preparing for Your Remote Interview
We will be using a piece of software called SessionLinkPro to record the audio from your interview via your computer and internet connection.
On the day of your interview, we want to be sure that everything goes smoothly, you sound your best, and your story comes through naturally and authentically. In order to make that happen, we ask that you complete the following steps.
In advance of your interview, be sure that you will have the following at your reserved time:
- A quiet place where you will not be interrupted.
- In order to get the best quality audio, it is preferable that the interview takes place in a smaller room, with lots of soft furnishings (such as carpet) that absorb sound. A closet, bedroom, or place without reflective surfaces (such as hard wood/glass) is best. Wide open spaces such as an open living room should be avoided, if possible.
- Please ensure you are not sitting directly in front of a wall during your interview, as sound from your voice will bounce off the flat surface and be picked by the microphone twice.
- A USB mic, pop filter, and headphones (This will be provided by [PODCASTING COMPANY].)
- Current version of the Google Chrome Web Browser. Click HERE to download.
- Plenty of available storage space (at least 20GB) on your computer’s hard drive.
- A fast and stable internet connection.
- Any specific information that you would like to reference during the interview.
At the time of your interview, please follow these steps:
- Gather any reference notes you may have prepared.
- Silence phones and other nearby devices.
- Activate “Do Not Disturb” on the device you will be using for the interview.
- Close all other apps on the computer you will be using for the interview and plug in the power cable if it’s a laptop to ensure the battery doesn’t run out during the interview.
- Adjust your computer so that it will not timeout during the call (screensaver, auto-lock, auto-sleep, etc.), as appropriate.
- Plug in the provided USB Microphone and headphones into the headphone jack of the provided microphone.
Starting the recording session:
- When you’re ready, click the Session Link Pro link you will have received from [PODCASTING COMPANY] via your email. (Remember to open the link using the Google Chrome web browser.)
- Make sure that you select the “Yeti” as the default input and output. The settings should look like the image below.
- Make sure the Hit START when you are ready.
- Once in the recording session, you will be connected with the Audio Producer and Director who will be able to hear you and talk you through any troubleshooting.
In case of difficulty during the session or with the set up:
- Call or message Anthony at [PHONE NUMBER]
Setting Up The Recording Kit
This is how the recording kit should have arrived:
Plug the provided USB cable into the microphone and the other end into your computer. Then plug the provided headphones into the headphone jack on the bottom of the microphone.
Set the GAIN knob to about 9 o'clock and the PATTERN knob to the third setting from left (as shown).
The front of the microphone is shown below. This is the part you will speak into. The VOLUME knob will allow you to control how loud (or soft) your headphones are.
Press the MUTE button, so that you see a solid red light – you are unmuted when the light on the mic is solid red.
Position the included pop filter as shown here by locking it to a desk.
This is what you should look like during the interview:
You’ll notice a lot of detail in Anthony’s instructions to guests. It may seem like overkill. But when you have a tight deadline and a lot of people involved with recording a session, it can be helpful to make sure everything goes well.
You don’t want to micromanage people, but remember that most podcast guests have never been on a podcast before, so any “extra” information you can give to guests ahead of your session will be helpful, not only in helping them actually help you to get a good recording, but also helping them relax and feel at ease with the process.
Do what it takes to get a good recording. Moments only happen once and, once they’re going, they can never be repeated.