Friday, August 10, 2007

I need to whine at SOMEBODY!

It’s time for a few more ‘production notes’ about the podcast, basically because I need someone to whine to.

My first minor gripe is that I really need to stop being in the room while Sunny listens to the podcast. You see, Sunny has a very weird sense of humor. Sometimes I can tell a joke that I’m absolutely certain she will find funny…and she looks at me like I just murdered a puppy. Other times I’ll tell a joke that I’m certain she won’t laugh at…only to have her doubled over and crying laughing.

Put it this way, she’s the only person I know, who not only got the following joke, but still laughs at it whenever I tell it (and this is after three years):

A horse walks into a bar, and the barman says “What’s with the long face?”

If you get it, you might chuckle. Sunny cracks up every time, and I know she’s not faking it (ugh…but how many men have said that before).

So, long story short, there’s nothing quite like watching someone listen to your comedy podcast…and not crack a smile once…to really boost that confidence.

My second minor gripe is that I’ve never managed to get the whole thing in one take. I can rehearse the thing when I’m checking the time and not make a single mistake…but once that microphone is turned on, I’m lucky to get through a single paragraph without tripping over the words.

My microphone is another huge problem. If I use the headset, I either get way to quiet, or normal volume level filled with hiss and pops.

My ‘real’ mic gives much better sound quality, but in some ways it’s far to sensitive, and in others not sensitive enough.

What I mean is, while I’m holding the microphone, if the lead hits the desk, or I move my fingers a tiny amount, it comes out it the audio as a massive pop or creak. The only sound it’s not particularly good at is capturing my voice.

For example, today I decided to print out the script, rather than read it directly from the screen (if I read directly from word, scrolling with the cursor keys, it sometimes ‘jumps’ at the end of the page, which throws me right off).

Anyway, I put the sheets of paper on my keyboard in front of me, turned on the mic and started recording. If you listen to this weeks podcast, there’s a part near the middle where my voice suddenly drops noticeably. Why? Because I moved my head an inch and a half to the right to read the other page.

The biggest thing that fought me today, however, was putting the link to Etch-a-Sketch Attention Span in the show description.

Firstly, I misspelled it. Writing ‘blogpot’ instead of ‘Blogspot’. This meant that after I published, rather than linking to Etcher’s page, it went to a weird Christian bible-thumping page. (I enjoyed the irony of that, you get to that page if you put in any Blogspot address and accidentally drop the ‘s’. Nothing like a Christian site that gets the bulk of its traffic through deception).

Anyway, then the link wouldn’t work with ‘www’ at the start instead of just ‘http://’. Then it wouldn’t work without the slash at the end…and so on and so forth. Let’s just say it took 5 re-postings before the link would actually work.

Anyway, to close today, let me just give a big thank you to everyone who listens. As of right now, I’m getting close to 60 downloads per episode…which is quite frankly a lot more than I was expecting at this early stage.

As for where I’d like to go with EC4A…to be honest I don’t really care if it ever becomes successful or not, and I doubt I’ll ever make a penny from it. All I really want from it is to walk past someone I don’t know one day, and hear them listening to it, or overhear someone giving the URL to someone to check it out.

As the great Ze Frank would say: That would be ass-slapping awesome.


Sunny said...

LOL_ Well, obviously with about 60 downloads each podcast- someone IS talking and sharing.

And I did SO laugh at several parts and I do NOT have a "weird" sense of humour.

Well, then again, maybe I do....something I find uproariously funny one day, I will find absolutely NO humor in the next.

It's probally having something to do with the dreaded...



MC Etcher said...

Cool! I'd say that 60 downloads per podcast is great for a podcast that's been around 2 months - you do a very good job, and it's fun to listen to.

Keep up the great work!

Kato said...

Ahh, growing pains. I haven't done a lot of audio recording/engineering, but I've done enough to know that it can be a pain, as you described.

Sounds like you need a stand for your mic--you might be able to find one at a garage sale or something if you want one on the cheap, or you might be able to just fashion one with a few parts from the hardware store. Just spit balling here.

As for variable volume level, other than manually going in and raising the volume of that section of your recording, you could learn to just sit still. ;) Kidding. Actually, you could try passing the end recording through a "normalize" filter. You'd have to try it out and see how it sound afterward. The upside is that it should do a decent job of making your entire recording have a consistent sound level, the downside is that it may introduce artifacts from having to amplify the quieter parts, and you may end up with a recording that sounds a little "flatter" since the dynamic range won't be as great. Just at thought, though, something you could try.

And as for doing it in one take, I would say just don't do it in one take. The couple of times I've done audio recordings, I've recorded it paragraph by paragraph (or whatever else is a convenient stopping point). When I wanted to do an audio recording of a reading from a book one time, I used a free sound editor with multitrack capability to record each take on a separate track, which made it easier to control pauses between sections etc.

--end long comment--