We’re all socially isolating because of COVID-19. While we can’t see each other and hang out to record podcasts in person, podcasting doesn’t need to stop. In fact, several of the shows we work on at The Podcast Haven have seen an uptick in downloads during this time. While we’re not 100% sure why that’s happening, we like to think we can attribute it to the fact that most people are isolating at home all day and throwing on podcasts as they go about their routines. I know I’ve been consuming a ton of content this week. All this to say, you can keep regularly recording your podcast by using the remote audio and video conferencing App, Zoom.

*On a side note, shout out to all the Food Service and Medical personal literally keeping the country alive during this time.

Recording via zoom is fairly straightforward and you can likely get up and running without any instruction. But, as a podcaster you’re going to want the best audio and video quality, you’re not going to want to use the generic settings Zoom has in place for work meetings or friendly chats.

One thing to keep in mind before you begin is that, the free version of Zoom will cut off your session at 40 minutes. You can record unlimited sessions but you’ll only get 40 minutes each time. With the paid version you can record hour or longer shows. The first price tier starts at $14.99 a month.

To get started you’ll need to create an account and log into Zoom. You’ll do this on their website, however you’ll also need to download the application. You’ll find the download link on their website as well.

Zoom: https://zoom.us/

 Audio Settings For Hosts and Guests 

 For Hosts:

  • On the website, go to – “My Account” – “Settings” – “In Meeting”
  • Click “Advanced”
  • Click the button to “Allow users to select original sound during a meeting”

Open the Zoom App:

  • In the top left corner select “Zoom.us” – “Preferences” – Audio
  • Confirm that you have the correct microphone settings selected. If you have a USB mic, you’ll select that from the microphone menu. If you’re using a microphone connected via XLR, and you’re using an audio interface, you’ll select the name of the audio interface from the menu. If you’re just using the headset from your iphone or Android, you’ll select ‘Built In Microphone”
  • Confirm that your playback settings are correct under Speaker settings. YOU NEED TO WEAR HEADPHONES. If you don’t, while recording the sound of you and your guest talking with simultaneously be playing back via your speakers and it’ll bleed into your microphone. Select “Built In Output” if you have headphones plugged directly into your computers headphone jack. If you’re wearing headphones that are plugged into your audio interface, select the audio interface in your speaker settings.
  • Confirm that you have enabled “Show in meeting option to enable original sound”
  • While still in the preferences menu in the Zoom App, select ‘Recording”
  • Select “Record a separate audio file for each participant” – You’ll want everyone on separate tracks so you have more control over your audio when you go to edit and mix your podcast.

Go ahead and start a new meeting in Zoom as a test run. Click ‘Test Speaker and Microphone”. What’s selected here should match what we selected earlier for our microphone and speaker settings. Next, click record and make sure in the top left hand corner, that you click “ Turn On Original Sound”. Once clicked the button will show “Turn Off Original Sound”. That’s how you know original sound is on.

Once you end the session you’ll want to retrieve your audio tracks. First Zoom will process them and then they will dump them into a folder that’s a bit tricky to find.

  • Go back to the home screen of the App – “Meetings” (Middle Top Center…Has a clock icon) – “Recorded” – “Open” – Select the appropriate folder by date

 Guest Checklist

  • Make sure they’re wearing headphones
  • If they don’t have a microphone, ask them to wear their smartphone earbuds
  • For their microphone settings, they need to select “Built In Microphone” and for speaker settings “Built In Output” If they’re using an audio interface with a microphone, they’ll select the name of their audio interface for both.
  • Once session starts, ask them to click “Turn on original sound” in the top left corner of the conference. When enabled the button will read “turn off original sound”

Video Settings For Hosts and Guests

  • Make sure your lighting is good and your face can be seen clearly
  • Within the Zoom App – Preferences – “Video”
  • Select 16:9 for the ratio
  • Select Enable HD
  • Select Mirror My Video
  • Select “Touch Up My Appearance” – Makes everyone look ten years younger

Go back to the website Zoom.us – “My Account” – “Settings” – “Meeting” – “In Meeting Advanced”

  • Select “Virtual Background” – When you turn this feature on, you can choose from a lot of cool backgrounds once you’re in a session. To enable it, once you’re in a session, click on the arrow next to the Video Camera Icon. Select “Choose a Virtual Background”

With these settings selected you’ll be getting the best quality audio and video for your podcast. Gone are the days of Skype and Google Hangouts. Give Zoom a shot while you’re social distancing the next few weeks or even months. Using Zoom is probably the easiest way to get solid audio quality, without having to be too tech savvy. I know there are several other options to record remotely and perhaps in the coming weeks I’ll draft up a best practices email for using those services. Go get podcasting and don’t use not being able to meet in person an excuse for not publishing regularly scheduled episodes.