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Podcast Editing Tip: Removing Unnecessary Content

Podcast Editing with a Mixer

Our podcast editing service has been going strong for several years now.  During that time, I have tried to listen to as many podcasts as I can to see how others are editing their productions.  One thing I have noticed is that a lot of podcast editors don’t like to remove unnecessary conversation or banter at the beginning of a paragraph.  For example:

Interviewer:  What’s the biggest thing that companies need to do when it comes to security?

Interviewee:  Yes, well, thank you for having me on.  I appreciate the question.  You always ask great questions by the way. {Long Pause}. You know, this is something I spend a lot of my time thinking about in my day job.  It is a really hard problem because it’s not going to be the same solution for each business.

You can see that there are several sentences at the beginning of this answer that are fluff, gratuitous, whatever you want to call them.  If you leave too much of this type of thing in a podcast, the listener will get tired or frustrated listening to it and might even hit the stop button.  There is no one correct way to edit this example, but consider the following and see if it is a bit cleaner and more to the point.  Everything to be removed is in CAPS.

Interviewer:  What’s the biggest thing that companies need to do when it comes to security?

Interviewee:  YES, WELL, thank you for having me on.  I APPRECIATE THE QUESTION.  YOU ALWAYS ASK GREAT QUESTIONS BY THE WAY.  {LONG PAUSE}. You know, this is something I spend a lot of my time thinking about in my day job.  It is a really hard problem because it’s not going to be the same solution for each business.

Again, this is just one possible edit of this section.  You could leave a bit more IN, or you could take a little bit more OUT.  My overall suggestion is to remove as much of the unnecessary banter as possible without making your podcast sound unnatural or robotic.  Think of your listener and whether they really want to hear this type of fluff, then hit the cut/delete key.  You will usually be better off.

To read other tips from podcast editors, check out this article on The New Media Revolution website: How to Edit Your Podcast Like a Pro.

Podcasting Equipment: Rode iXY Stereo Mic for iPad & iPhone

Rode iXY podcast recording microphone for interviews, iPad and iPhone

Rode has introduced the new iXY Stereo Mic for iPad and iPhone with a 30-pin connector that allows high quality recording at sampling rates up to 24-bit/96kHz.  It will be available soon, somewhere between January and March of 2013 at B&H by clicking here.

Podcasting does not always mean recording your own voice on a special mic in your home studio.  Sometimes, you may want to record an interview in the field, capture some ambience at a soccer game, or record your children singing in the bathroom.  This is where the Rode iXY will be best suited.

The “XY” in iXY means a coincident pair of directional microphones typically placed at a 90 degree angle to one another.  This technique records stereo sources nicely and generally means less hassle for the podcaster.  I won’t go into the other methods of recording stereo here, so you’ll have to trust me on this one.

A foam windscreen is provided for reducing wind in outdoor recordings, as well as a zip pocket for transport.

From the Rode website:

“I’m more excited about iXY than any other product in RØDE’s twenty year history,” commented Peter Freedman, RØDE’s Founder and President. “The audio quality of the iXY is breathtaking and really affirms RØDE’s commitment to providing the very best audio products available at a price that’s accessible to the general public.”

Released in conjunction with the iXY is RØDE Rec, an app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch designed to be the ultimate companion to RØDE’s new microphone. When used together the iXY and RØDE Rec transform an iOS device into a fully featured field recorder.

RØDE Rec allows for complete control of the iXY’s continuously adjustable input levels for recording in loud and quiet environments, as well as the high pass filter to cut out low frequency rumbling such as air conditioning or outdoor traffic noises.

The RØDE Rec App is available for purchase from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore. The app provides a full suite of features including multiple sampling rates up to 96kHz, equalization effects (compressor/expander, high-pass filter, low pass filter, parametric EQ), non-linear editing, geo and photo tagging, and one-touch publishing to SoundCloud, Dropbox, email, FTP and iTunes.

Web Conferencing News: Adobe Announces Adobe Connect 9 Web Conferencing Solution

We offer the full suite of Web Conferencing services from PGi (a full service web conferencing company).  Please contact us for more info. – - Andy R

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Adobe Announces Adobe Connect 9

Product Delivers Innovations for Comprehensive Webinars, Mobile Collaboration and Mobile Learning

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced Adobe® Connect™ 9, the latest version of the company’s Web conferencing software for enterprises and government agencies worldwide. Adobe Connect 9 delivers an all-in-one solution for producing webinars, as well as innovations in mobile-to-mobile collaboration and mobile learning.

Adobe Connect 9 for webinars helps marketers reduce costs and dependency on IT when creating richly formatted, branded registration landing pages, and optimize event promotion through analytics capabilities. Powered by Adobe CQ Web content management and Adobe SiteCatalyst® online analytics, Adobe Connect 9 enables the development of customized event microsites and emails, the delivery of interactive events for up to 1,500 participants, and the measurement of campaign and speaker effectiveness.

Along with the new Adobe Connect Mobile 2.0, Adobe Connect 9 also enables organizations to take their enterprise mobility strategy to the next level with mobile-to-mobile collaboration for tablets and smartphones. Users on Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry PlayBook devices now have the flexibility and power to host and collaborate in online meetings just as they would on a desktop computer.

Additionally, Adobe Connect 9 for eLearning delivers greater mobile learning capabilities, enabling instructors to deliver virtual classes directly from devices and learners to participate from a tablet or smartphone. The latest version supports HTML5 content, such as that generated with Adobe Creative Suite® software, as well as SCORM 1.2 and 2004 content, widely used for Web-based learning.

Top new capabilities include:

  • Customizable Event Landing Pages and Catalogs – Templates enable quick creation of landing pages, speaker information, registration pages and login pages. Templates can be customized using rich components, including images, tables, charts and carousels.
  • Template-based Email Content and Triggers – Either standard or custom, email templates can be developed quickly and easily using new drag-and-drop capabilities. Email triggers can be created for specified registration groups at predefined times.
  • Engagement Dashboard – Monitor event engagement in real time. A color-coded meter helps event hosts track message effectiveness. Critical information can be tracked to improve future events.
  • Online Analytics – Event organizers can analyze participant engagement and identify the most effective meeting elements and topics. Dynamic analytics capabilities provide real-time insight into the performance of individual marketing promotions and programs as a whole.
  • Advanced Mobile Support for Meetings and Training – Meeting hosts enjoy greater flexibility presenting from mobile devices, leveraging whiteboard and annotation tools and the ability to share documents from tablets, as well as the cloud. Instructors can manage virtual classrooms from devices with the same presenter and sharing options, as well as breakout room controls.

Quotes

Arun Anantharaman, vice president and general manager, Adobe

  • “Web conferencing is now mainstream and mission-critical across enterprises and government agencies, with organizations counting on it for training, employee collaboration and citizen engagement. In parallel, the ability to collaborate from mobile devices is becoming an imperative. Adobe Connect 9 supports forward-looking organizations by offering a unified solution for rich webinars, eLearning, and Web meetings anytime, anywhere and on any device.”

Melissa Webster, program vice president, Content & Digital Media Technologies, IDC

  • “With the rise of mobile and expectation to go beyond simple screen sharing, Web conferencing requirements have evolved notably for enterprises today. Adobe Connect has been used by organizations to improve communication and collaboration among employees, customers and constituents for several years. It is good to see Adobe respond to this ongoing evolution with the latest version, including through updates to its webinar solution.”

Jana Kodel, development project manager, Mrs. Fields Famous Brands

  • “Adobe Connect 9 will save money and time when creating customized webinar landing pages with its rich, built-in microsite creation tools. In addition, the new templates in Adobe Connect will enable my in-house team to create engaging, branded content for each event. This is a big benefit because it improves recruitment and the overall experience for our attendees.”

Brian McFadden, general manager, Technology Services, MedPoint Communications

  • “The advanced analytics in Adobe Connect 9 enable us to get actionable information in real-time. It is so important to customize reporting, especially when measuring webinar effectiveness. With Adobe Connect we can track from invitation to registration through attendance. With this information, we can easily improve participation, quality of sessions and lead management.”

more.

Podcast Production: Should I Use MP3 Tags for My Business Podcast?

AudioFile Solutions MP3 Tag Cover Art

If you have a business podcast, you should definitely consider using MP3 tags.  Besides the content and production quality, the MP3 metadata information is the next most important element to producing a high quality, professional podcast.

Podcast production requires a lot of time and effort gathering your facts, preparing the script and carefully recording and editing all the elements together.  But it doesn’t end there.  Today, the vast majority of podcasts are being distributed as MP3 audio files.  These files use an ID3 metadata container to store information such as artist, album, title, track number and even an image file (cover art).  All current music distribution services that sell MP3 files use the ID3 tag.  If you’ve ever purchased a song from Amazon.com or other music download site, you’ve most likely noticed the artist, album, and title information scrolling down at the bottom of Windows Media Player on your PC.  But before you see that, you’ll hopefully notice the gorgeous digital artwork that is the modern manifestation of the album cover.  If you’re like me, a visual component in what is supposed to be an audio-only format is exhilarating!  More about that in a minute.  But as a business person, consider the millions of people who have downloaded music and have seen these elements.  What happens when these same people download your business podcast and these things are missing?  Trust me, your brand will suffer.  The perception may be that you are subpar, or worse yet, incompetent in your field.

Let’s quickly breakdown the main tags.  The artist, album and title tags are pretty self explanatory.  The title of your podcast will be obvious, and you most likely will have already chosen one before you even start production.  The artist tag is usually your company name.  But the album name sometimes gives people trouble.  Think of this as a category, or several podcasts grouped together under one name.  Consider what categories best fit your podcasts?   For example, if you are a Public Relations company, a good choice for an album may be the name of your clients.  So you’d have an album named Pepsi, another named Nike and yet another named Walmart.  If you have a sports podcast, maybe you’d categorize them by sport: football, baseball, hockey, etc.

But by far, the image tag is my favorite ID3 tag.  I love seeing a visual component in podcasts, especially when I’m not expecting it.  Not only will this image show up on most media playback software on a PC or MAC, it will also carry over to your Apple i-device, smartphone, you name it.  As long as the playback software supports the ID3 tag, your device should display the image you’ve embedded into the metadata.  Keep in mind that there are always exceptions to this rule and every manufacturer handles the image tag a little differently.

While this is by no means an exhaustive discussion of the topic, it is hopefully enough to convince you to start using MP3 tags for your business podcast.  For our existing clients, if you don’t have anything suitable for your image file, contact us and we will create one for you at no extra charge.  To create one yourself, make your graphic 600 x 600 pixels, keep it to only a few hundred KB, and format as a jpeg.  Forward us the art along with the artist, album and title information and we will take care of the rest.  Happy podcasting!

How to Use Voice-To-Text Dictation in Express Scribe

Picture of Express Scribe Transcription Software

Ryan Dube from MakeUseOf.com recently wrote a great tutorial on how to use voice-to-text functionality within Express Scribe transcribing software.  This is a great solution for recording yourself (dictation) and getting a very quick and accurate result; however, be aware that this is not a solution for transcribing voice audio files.   Why?  Voice recognition software must first learn your voice.   Other voices will tend to confuse it and produce what Ryan calls “garbage”.   Interviews, group discussions or any recording that is in a less than ideal environment will also not transcribe well.  The noise and/or lack of clarity in these environments will create more “garbage” from your voice-to-text software.  Want to see an example?  I recently wrote a blog post that links to a radio station’s use of automated transcription software.

Also, keep in mind that the best transcripts not only includes the correct spelling of words, but also the correct punctuation, formatting and so much more.  A relatively simple thing like the correct handling of homonyms may never be a realistic goal of voice-to-text programs.  Also, professional transcriptionists will hear discrepancies because their ears have been trained to hear and comprehend the detail.  If something said later in the transcript does not jibe with what was said earlier, your professional transcriptionist will bring this to your attention.  Voice-to-text software will never be able to do this.

Lastly, terminology research is key to a great transcript.  Here at AudioFile Solutions, it is not uncommon for us to verify 40 or 50 terms in a typical interview.

For these reasons, the automatic transcription of audio files is clearly not ready for prime time and, in my opinion, should be left to a professional.

Read Ryan’s complete article below.

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When you do a lot of phone interviews that get published in text format on the web, transcribing audio files becomes a big part of one’s life. There are a lot of people that have the need to transcribe voice to text, such as doctor’s that record a log of office visits, journalists that conduct audio interviews, or even students that record class lectures.

For years, I’ve been looking for a high-quality free voice to text software solution that will automatically take an audio recording and transcribe it to text. Such an application will put a lot of transcription companies out of work, but it’s a dream that I believe will come true some day. Recently, I conducted another hour-long interview… (continue reading the full article here: How to Use Voice-to-Text Dictation on Express Scribe.)

Automated Transcription Services—Acceptable for Business Podcasts?

Automated transcription services are popular with podcasters in the entertainment field, but can you “afford” to use them for your business podcast?

Podcasts dedicated to entertainment or just chewing the fat may benefit from using automated transcription services.  They are downright affordable and the transcript can be generated very quickly.  But as a business person, with the pressure to save money in today’s economy, can you take advantage of these services too—for your podcast production, interview, new product roll-out, or training session?  The answer: No, run the other way!  Serious Damage to Your Brand Could Occur!

Skeptical?  Click on this link to go to WAAF’s The Hill-Man Morning Show.  You can pick virtually any show, but be sure to click the + sign under the video to expand the “Automatically Generated Transcript”.  It’s right next to the note, “May not be 100% accurate”.  Click “play” and prepare to be entertained; yes, both from the show and the text!  I think this will erase any doubts you might have.

AVX Denver 2011: Video Webcasting for Corporate Communications

It is easy to get confused about the differences between web conferencing and webcasting.  At AudioFile Solutions, we record, edit and produce business presentations which can cross the boundaries of both technologies.

I think of web conferencing as a collaboration between many individuals; hands-on training is a good example.  Let’s say your company has developed new software and you want your sales force to learn it before they sell it to others.  A web conference is a great way to demonstrate the software and then allow participants to take control over that software and give it a test drive.

Webcasting, on the other hand, is more of an event broadcast.  It is well suited in the education market—to name just one—which commonly uses it to capture lectures for both live streaming and on-demand playback.  There is no collaboration with webcasting.

At the Audio Video Expo in Denver this year, Terri Douglas and Guy Murrel from Catapult PR-IR discussed these differences in more detail.  Their focus, however, was on webcasting.

According to Terri and Guy, an overarching strong point of webcasting is that it is easy to use.  Companies that sell the hardware (Sonic Foundry, Accordant) supply it as a self-contained briefcase—similar to the nuclear football carried by the U.S. President.

Other key points:

  1. High quality
  2. Automated production
  3. Reasonably priced

Why do customers like webcasting?

  1. Enhanced communications with video
  2. Reach a wider audience
  3. Branded events—logos, colors, and messages
  4. Offers a proven ROI

You can get started webcasting by contacting a vendor/service provider like Sonic Foundry, Accordant, BxVideo, Catapult, or OnStream.

AVX Denver 2011 Keynote: The One Man Band-IT!

Audio and video production hubs like Los Angeles and New York have their share of conventions and expos that many of us in the Rocky Mountains can’t always attend.  Enter the 2011 Audio Video Expo here in Denver where one can check out the latest multi-thousand dollar video cameras from makers like Sony and JVC, as well as attend free seminars on topics anyone in audio and video production will appreciate.

Keynote by Ryan Van Duzer at AVX 2011

This year’s AVX began with a keynote by Ryan Van Duzer, an independent, self-described “backpack journalist”—he does it all!

Many television channels—like the Travel Channel—are using Ryan’s productions mainly because it saves them a ton of money.  Why hire a sound recordist, a cameraman and a host when you can have them all for the price of one named Duzer.

AVX Ryan Van Duzer Title Slide

In a short 60 minutes, the audience learned four solid tips in a high-energy presentation by Ryan himself.  His main points:

  1. Start with your most powerful shot and build the story from there.
  2. Get close to your subject to capture good audio, and for the video to translate well to the web.
  3. Shorter is better in the age of YouTube.
  4. “Lock it down!”.  Don’t shoot everything and everybody.  Focus on your shot and don’t deviate from it.

Ryan’s energy was infectious and concluded with “You can do it!”  Uh, who me?  Thanks for the encouragement, Duzer, but backpack jounalism is for the young.  Go get ‘em.

Ryan can be reached via Twitter @Duzer, and at DuzerTV.com.

Web Conferencing News: PGi GlobalMeet 2.0 Offers Better Meetings at a Better Price

We offer GlobalMeet Web Conferencing from PGi (a full service web conferencing company). Contact us for more info. – – Andy R

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PGi logo for press release of GlobalMeet

August 08, 2011 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

PGi Disrupts the Web Conferencing Market with GlobalMeet® 2.0 Release

With Significant Upgrades and New Market-Leading Rates, GlobalMeet Offers Better Meetings at a Better Price

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The meetings experts at PGi (NYSE: PGI) launched GlobalMeet earlier this year bringing simple, affordable web and audio meetings to businesses worldwide. PGi designed GlobalMeet to deliver the simplest user experience on the market, with no software downloads for meeting guests and a “connect me” feature that calls participants automatically, making dial-in numbers and passcodes obsolete.

The market reaction to GlobalMeet has been very positive, with more than 20,000 people becoming paid users in just the first few months of its release. To continue to meet the needs of this growing community, PGi today announced general availability of GlobalMeet 2.0 – making the original product even more powerful with upgraded features and flexible new pricing options.

GlobalMeet 2.0 includes a streamlined interface, designed based on user feedback, to make navigating meeting controls and the most commonly used features even simpler. As part of the release, PGi also launched a GlobalMeet app in the iTunes® store – first in a pending suite of mobile apps that will make GlobalMeet available anywhere from any device, for meetings in the office or on the go.

PGi also announced new, market-leading pricing for GlobalMeet, starting at just $29 per month. With both bundled and unbundled audio and web conferencing plans, new options for power users and aggressive pricing for enterprise-wide implementations, GlobalMeet is affordable for any sized business.

PGi leveraged our 20 years of leadership in collaboration to fix what was wrong with web conferencing. We designed GlobalMeet to work the way real people do, and we are genuinely excited by the early market response,” said Boland Jones, PGi founder, chairman and CEO, who is leading PGi’s next-generation product innovation. “PGi is changing the game again with GlobalMeet 2.0, by offering a user experience and price that is unmatched in the market.”

Additional new features and upgrades in GlobalMeet 2.0 include:

  • Upgraded video, with picture-in-picture added to GlobalMeet’s unique “active talker” feature that switches between speakers’ webcams so meeting guests can easily follow the action
  • Enhanced screen sharing that now supports multiple monitors, partial screen views and shared annotation and note taking
  • A fully integrated toolbar plug-in for use with Microsoft Office Outlook® that gives users one-click controls to schedule, start, manage and record their meetings from the desktop
  • Universal support for Mac® users
  • International dial-out – with a “connect me” feature that now calls you wherever you are in the world
  • Simplified recording for web and audio meetings, in a universal format that can be played in any web browser or uploaded to the YouTube™ video community
  • Improved support for Microsoft® Office 2010, including the richest PowerPoint® presentations with animation and embedded video and audio files

For more information about GlobalMeet and to sign up for a 30-day free trial, visit www.globalmeet.com.

About Premiere Global Services, Inc. │ PGi

PGi is a global leader in virtual meetings. For 20 years, we have innovated technologies that help companies and individuals meet and collaborate in more enjoyable and productive ways. Every month, we bring together over 15 million people in nearly 4 million virtual meetings. Headquartered in Atlanta, PGi has a presence in 24 countries worldwide. For more information, visit us at http://www.pgi.com.

All trademarks belong to their respective owners.

Statements made in this press release, other than those concerning historical information, should be considered forward-looking and subject to various risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are made based on management’s current expectations or beliefs as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, management. A variety of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in Premiere Global Services, Inc.’s forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the following factors: competitive pressures, including pricing pressures; technological changes and the development of alternatives to our services; market acceptance of new services, including our iMeet® and GlobalMeet® services; our ability to attract new customers and to retain and further penetrate our existing customer base; risks associated with challenging global economic conditions; costs or difficulties related to the integration of any new technologies; service interruptions and network downtime; price increases from our telecommunications service providers; technological obsolescence and our ability to upgrade our equipment or increase our network capacity; concerns regarding the security of transactions; our level of indebtedness; future write-downs of goodwill or other intangible assets; assessment of income, state sales and other taxes; restructuring and cost reduction initiatives and the market reaction thereto; risks associated with acquisitions and market expansion; the impact of the recent sale of our PGiSend business; our ability to protect our intellectual property rights, including possible adverse results of litigation or infringement claims; regulatory or legislative changes, including further government regulations applicable to traditional telecommunications service providers; risks associated with international operations, including political instability and fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; and other factors described from time to time in our press releases, reports and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to the “Risk Factors” section of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010. All forward-looking statements attributable to us or a person acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

Contacts

PGi
Sara J. Pilling, 404-564-6599
sara.pilling@pgi.com

Podcasting Equipment Review: Podcast Recording with the CEntrance MicPort Pro

Listen to the best quality podcast recordings today and you will find that they are usually programs produced by established radio personalities—Glenn Beck, Imus, etc.  One reason that their audio quality is so good is that they are using the microphone that is best for their voice.  Producers spend hours testing multiple microphones with their talent/host and their equipment (mic pres, compressors, limiters, EQ, etc.).  The final microphone choice is determined by sound quality, not cost or connectivity.

All to often, amateur podcasters resort to using the mics that are designed for easy connectivity, such as a USB connection to their PC or MAC.  It makes sense, why spend the time, effort and expense in creating a more professional set-up when the equipment manufacturers have made it so easy.  Ultimately, it comes down to sound quality.  There are so many more choices when you open yourself up to the world of XLR connectivity, not just USB.  The solution, a XLR to USB converter.

There are several XLR to USB converters on the market today; Use Google to search “XLR to USB Microphone Converter” for the most up-to-date list.  The CEntrance MicPort Pro is one of them and a review from The Gamer Access is below.  Also see RecordingHacks.com review of four XLR to USB converters here.

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Whether you are recording a podcast, conducting an interview, or recording vocals for an upcoming audio track, a quality microphone is the most essential tool in order to produce a quality experience for the listener. With that said, most professional and studio microphones do not use your standard 3.5mm or USB connector, but instead utilize XLR making it somewhat of a challenge for those who record to a computer. That’s at least what I thought until I had the opportunity to check out CEntrance’s MicPort Pro. Read more to discover how to utilize your professional or studio microphone on any device supporting audio through a USB input!

As the only portable microphone preamp supporting 24bit/96kHz, the MicPort Pro delivers true studio sound from your XLR microphone to any device with a USB input in lossless quality. Simply connect your microphone’s XLR connector to the female XLR input on the MicPort Pro and connect the included USB cable from the MicPort Pro to your USB device, and you are all ready to go! Not to be confused for a simple XLR to USB converter, the MicPort Pro contains its very own preamp for high quality audio recordings using not only basic dynamic microphones, but those who require phantom power. If you are unaware, what phantom power is, it is the method in which DC electric power is transmitted through microphones that require active electronic circuitry. Phantom power is required for a majority of the professional and studio microphones used today.  … continue reading the full article here: A Must-Have Professional Audio Device: CEntrance MicPort Pro (Review)