[bct] Re: podcast quality

  • From: "Mike" <mgpjcole@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 16:23:44 -0700

MessageHi, I agree about the little things that can make for a good pod
cast. One of the things I have enjoyed about bi-naural mikes is simply that
I don't have them in my hands. I have traveled to other places and made many
recordings carrying a variety of single point stereo mikes and a dream I
have had has been that I could walk and move around in crowded conditions
without banging the microphone or changing my grip or even conducting the
sounds of my own foot steps along the cord and through my hand, let alone
putting everyone around me on notice that I am recording. My Audio-Technica
has a big old wind screen that leaves no doubt about what I'm packing.

A lot of pod casts are very well thought out, considering the spontaneous
nature of their scripting. The really organized ones flow well of course and
are very helpful when we're trying to learn things in sequence. And the ones
where we just hear people being themselves are fun too. The whole business
of podcasting has made legitimate what many of us have done for years, but
maybe never thought anyone else would be interested. Now with Blind Cool
Tech, we have a community of folks who like this kind of thing. I am a
teacher some of the time and I have been showing blind people of many ages
and so on BCT to rave reviews. It's like my dog trainer of many years ago,
forgive me for dropping a name, Stanley Doran turning us on to tape and, can
you believe it, stereo! God I'm old.

Neal, I really liked the ride in the Prius.

Mike Cole
-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Neal Ewers
Sent: Thursday, May 25, 2006 9:05 AM
To: Bct
Subject: [bct] podcast quality

I really want to applaud this discussion and the way it is being dealt with
by almost everyone.  As I have stated many times, I know people have
budgets, and I also know that some people like to hear good quality.  To
some, hearing a podcast with so much wind noise that you can hardly hear the
speaker is like someone writing a wonderful story and using such poor
grammar that it is really hard to understand.  So, one could just as easily
say, there is a good story here and deal with the grammar, or they could
simply not bother to read it because of the poor grammar.  What I find
refreshing is that we can talk about this without hurting people's feelings.
You have what you have and that's that.  Making the most of what you have is
another thing.  So, what I am about to say is not a must do list of things
you need to do to make a good podcast.  The points I am about to make are
simply things that I think might annoy some people and cause them, just like
bad grammar, to perhaps miss the wonderful podcast they delete because it is
not up to the quality they like even when they consider that people have to
use inexpensive recorders.  And one other thing.  I am only speaking for
myself here.  I'm not attempting to tell you that this is what the world
thinks of the quality of your podcasts.  Just consider it pointers you might
want to consider to help make good recordings with inexpensive equipment.
And you can certainly feel free to ignore them all.  OK, have I qualified
this enough now?

1.  I don't like hearing people playing around with their microphones while
making a podcast.  I sometimes listen with headphones on and I don't like to
all of a sudden be bombarded with the loud sound of the mike being dragged
across the table to have it closer to you.  Perhaps picking it up and
putting it in front of you would be at least quieter on the ears.  The same
goes for people fiddling around with their binaural mikes when recording.
Microphones pick up a lot of noise and some of them make a lot more noise
when you handle them, especially if you handle them roughly, like sliding
them along the table.

2.  I know that if you are outside with external mikes, you can't help
picking up wind.  But perhaps listening back to your cast before you send it
to make sure that all your words still come through would help.  You know
what you have said, so you may be able to hear it above the sounds of the
wind in the microphones, but we don't know what you have said, and I have
been unable to listen to some podcasts because the loud sound of the wind in
the microphones makes more noise than the speaker.

3.  The same holds true for traffic noise.  It's nice to hear where people
are and to hear the sounds in the background, but when I can't hear you over
the sounds of the traffic, then I miss important things you say.  Again,
listening back to the podcast might help.  You might decide that this is
something you would like to do over when it may be more quiet.  I know that,
for example, walking through a large city with a recorder that has a limiter
and no way to record at different levels is hard.  I also know I can delete
that podcast if I can't hear you.  But there is one thing that I haven't
heard brought up here.  Yes, people have said, "So, you can just delete it."
Well there is another side to that.  I don't like to delete people's work.
You have gone to some trouble to let me know something and I would really
like to hear it.  So deleting it only makes me sad that I couldn't hear it
over the wind or other background noise.

So, I guess the bottom line is that we try to maximize what we have and make
as good a recording as we can.

And there is another thing that has not been mentioned, at least I don't
think it has.  People listen to these podcasts on a variety of speakers and
headphones.  They are likely all different. Some speakers bring out the
treble, some bring out the midrange and some bring out the bass.  This is
way over generalized, but the point is that some noises you might think are
not there, are definitely there to others.  You may not think the mike being
dragged across the table is all that loud, but if I listen to it on my
speakers, it sometimes actually makes my ears hurt and I am not listening at
that high a volume level.  In other words, we may not know how our podcasts
sound to others.  A set of good speakers will amplify the microphone noise.
A set of good speakers will emphasize frequencies that make certain sounds
really stand out over the sound of your voice.  So, given that we all have
different listening equipment, I think we all could learn a lot from
listening to the comments of others regarding quality especially if they
make them in the spirit of friendliness and a real attempt to help make your
message stand out over the sounds of wind, other noise, and other things
that detract from your message.

OK, I'll get off my soap box now.  Keep on making podcasts no matter what
people say about quality, but perhaps a willingness to learn better
techniques can help all of us.


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