Tech Check List for Remote Podcast Recording! (Especially if you're using Squadcast/ Riverside)
Remote Podcasting is just like Work From Home, it's here to stay! And I do admit, Remote Podcasting software has been getting better and better over the years, however, they're still a checklist that we as a host, producer, and/or engineer should look at and tick off before we hit the BIG RED RECORD BUTTON! (That's me, @JamesAltucher, and Guy Raz recording on Squadcast for The James Altucher Show!) P.S. Idea 8 to 10 is filled by AI from Notepd. The AI really needs a name now! :)
1. Settings, settings, and settings!
Almost every remote podcasting software has a greenroom now! However, them being guests might not know what to look for, or they're running late, so they'll jump in right away anyway! So, always check their settings right when they jump in and make sure they choose the right audio input and output, and video device. Even though they swore on their life that they have selected the right one. If you do this often enough, you could easily tell if they have a Windows machine or mac machine, and sometimes you can even tell what type of microphone are they using cause they're only a handful of microphones and audio interfaces that people are using nowadays anyway. Such as Blue Yeti, Audio Technica 2100, Shure MV7, Podcaster, MV7, and so forth. Also, identifying the type of Operating Systems, Microphones, and Audio interfaces can help with quicker troubleshooting too if any technical issues arise.
2. Volume Check and Warm-up!
Always have a casual conversation with your guests and hosts! if I am recording in a studio in person, I will usually ask them what they have for breakfast. Check where their volume level is at, and then bring down an extra 2 to 3db. This is because people "Turn on" after the big record button is pressed, and they performed hard, and usually laugh harder than they would before the record button is pressed. If it's remote recording, I will look at the metering, and set my output level to what I know it's the optimal volume ( I usually listen to music or watch a video that I know the loudness of before the taping), so I can gauge how soft and loud are they, and have them bring down extra 5 to 10% volume from there. Always be safe than sorry, and softer than louder!
3. RTGM (Read The Goddamn Manual)
If the guest is kind enough to share their setup information with me, and I saw a piece of equipment that I am not familiar with, I will always have a copy of the manual open in the other window just in case I need to troubleshoot or adjust anything from volume to the microphone position relative to your mouth. You have to get the height right!
4. Only Adjust the Output Volume
If anyone said, Hey, So so are too soft or too loud! I would usually ask them to adjust their headphone volume rather than have all the other guests turn down/ up their volume. Once the input volume is set, you shouldn't have to touch it, unless it's urgent and necessary!
5. Close all your other applications!
Once everyone is set, I will do a final round checklist, to make sure everyone closes or turns off any application that they're not using. You want to allocate as many resources as possible to the software, and also, notification is distracting! Plus, put your phone on vibrate only!
6. Keep The Recording Tab!
I learned this the hard way! Always keep the recording tab open to make sure everyone is being recorded and processed! A little while ago, I had a bug, where out of 4 of us, one of the guests' tracks wasn't recorded! Luckily, I had backup, and in the end, it worked out fine. Remote recording is getting more reliable nowadays, however, you never know what will go wrong!
7. Backup, Backup, and Backup!
This entirely depends on your budget and your system! However, I would strongly recommend backups in any capacity. If you think your software is not reliable, you can always use OBS or some sort of screen and audio capture software running while recording. Or you could use a cheap zoom as well. Connect your audio interface or microphone to the Zoom, and your headphone in the zoom so you could still hear everyone while recording. However, this would require another layer or setup. But it's entirely doable! Image Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/podcast/comments/nwb7bl/did_somebody_say_backup_recording/