John Floren

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Posted 2019/1/24

Synchronizing Podcasts

Our podcast has 3 hosts, all in different parts of the country. Recording the audio from a Skype call is a non-starter: 2 of the hosts would sound terrible. Therefore, we each record independently and join the tracks at edit time. To make sure everything is actually synchronized, we’ve developed the following procedure:

Step 1: Start a video call. We use Google Hangouts, but it doesn’t matter.

Step 2: Each individual launches Audacity and starts recording their own microphone.

Step 3: Everyone opens time.gov in a a browser.

Step 4: As the time.gov clock approaches a new minute, everyone mutes themselves on the video call.

Step 5: When time.gov ticks over to a new minute (e.g. 15:34:00), every person begins counting the seconds starting at 0 and going up to 10.

Step 6: Upon reaching 10, everyone unmutes themselves from the voice call and the podcast recording can begin as normal.

The result is 3 separate audio tracks, each with a count from 0 through 10 at the beginning. When editing, we use Audacity’s Time Shift tool to shift the tracks until the second counts all line up. We find that the counts can be a little erratic at the start, but by the time we reach “6… 7… 8.. 9… 10…” everyone will be at a pretty even pace, so we focus on making the end of the count line up more than the beginning.