My Podcast Post Production Workflow
I Launched a Podcast Just Because.
A the time of this writing, I’ve recorded ten, and published seven episodes of The Creative Creative Podcast. “Authentic discussion with industry pros!”
The entire podcast is about sitting down with someone who’s a working creative professional, or someone on the journey…and we dish.
It’s not intended to be well polished with a large production footprint. I want guests feeling comfortable and willing to open up about their journeys, experiences, and inspirations – and I can get there quicker with a lightweight setup in a back yard far easier than scheduled studio time and the implicit intimidation of money on the clock.
Okay so why Premiere for Podcasting?
Because it’s the editorial software I am most fluent with, and that empowers me to be inventive and efficient.
Alright, let’s now explore my personal Adobe Premiere Pro (2019) project template for The Creative Creative. There are a couple unconventional choices, for example I have placed my audio meters in the center and horizontal.
…honestly, I can’t remember where I picked up this trick. A DSLR blogger for sure. I find it advantageous to tilt the meters when I have to work in an audio heavy way inside of Premiere. You get a lot more space to see more detail in the levels, and since I’m not really working in a visual way…I have layout room to sacrifice.
I have labeled the crap out of everything.
That’s my “secret” sauce. I create detailed instructional templates for my own benefit.
The “_Readme” folder uses a Color Matte for step 01 (because it is also represented on the timeline as a placeholder for the title card), and steps 02 and 03 are Adjustment Layers that are not deployed in the timeline.
The timeline itself is laid out so I don’t have to reference an external project. It’s always right here, good to go. And as the format of the podcast evolves, I update my template file.
I like that my template project is set up in a drag and drop fashion. And while it’s not entirely perfect, it cuts down on my post production time for certain. And as I’m editing, I built in a few internal markers to remind me of technical quality control specifications I’ve created for this podcast format.
When it’s time to edit a new episode, I duplicate my template file, rename the duplicate after the episode, and get to work. My goal is to keep the “editing” process to a minimum, with the least amount of effort. Hence the emphasis on drag & drop, and the thorough documentation of specs. It means I never deviate off format.
Over time I became pretty granular with my notation. I absolutely went as far as to name my 2 audio tracks between host and guest, because this associates with a long-running production habit of always assigning the host/lead/principal talent as the First, or Left input on field audio recorders. As long as I keep the production habit strong, and I re-enforce the primacy of the lead track in post…again, one less thing to think about or write down in the field. Build a process, then trust in it.
My personal goal is to create conversations that last around 45 minutes with minimal editing. But sometimes there are sounds so overwhelming, you have to make cuts. Coming from video editing, I can navigate the audio quickly in Premiere, place simple trims around the bits that must be removed, and sail on. Fast fast fast.
I do apply some amount of effects mixing on my audio tracks. Because my field recorder is set up with 2 mono XLR inputs, in Premiere I often use the “Fill X with Y” audio plugins to balance the L/R, and I use a dynamic processor effect to clip any blow-outs in the high end.
I actually keep the Dynamic Processor effect on the placeholder audio track (which is just a tone) in a ballpark starting position because when you hotswap your placeholder clips for the real deal (opt+drag/drop from the bin to the target asset in the timeline) the effects stay applied.
When it’s time to export my finished episode, I maintain presets in Adobe Media Encoder, so I queue up all the export variants I’ll need across publishing and let it render away.
Setting up and maintaining this project file as a template absolutely requires a time investment, and some careful diligence. But I’ve found that long-term, you’re saving time and maintaining a more consistent product format. Also…the first template you make won’t look like a final version high-detail template…so take some amount of solace in the notion that first efforts are functional prototypes. You’ll have to iterate and improve your templates over time, as you make decisions and learn from mistakes.
In your own template building journey, stay sensitive to the parts of the process that are costing you time, that you do frequently. Keep attacking those pain points and build up your project assets.
Then share them to test workflow assumptions and their ability to travel between computer workstations.
Thanks for reading, and if you want to dig into the Premiere Pro project directly you can download a copy of the template here.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Charles is an independent motion video & animation producer living in Austin Texas that used to review rock and roll bands in Chicago, writes the occasional scripts, and loves a good production story.