Thursday, 11 February 2010

How to make fake radio.

Hello you saucy lot.
Let me paint a magic "Word Picture" for you all, then show you some actual pictures and then we'll have a short break for refreshments.

Last Tuesday, I found myself sitting in the Red Lion public house, Stodmarsh, Kent, (01227 721339) wondering several things.
The first three items were quite easy to drum up a conclusion for:

"Was the white haired gentleman sitting opposite me making a "round-the-houses", thoroughly amusing anecdote about the modern social trend of binge drinking that we see appearing on the telly box's nightly news?


Had the white haired gentleman sitting opposite me been drinking pints of IPA since 07:30 that morning meaning he had already consumed eight pints that day with the view to consume around another nine or so before he sees his bed?


Is this a brilliant and remarkable moment for all parties involved in this particular conversation?


It was the fourth question that really had me stumped:

How did I get here and why?

I like to think the wrinkle in the question was that it was the first one that flew into my head that didn't have a yes or no answer for it.
I pondered that question some more whilst eating a delicious King Prawn Phal later that night.

I enjoy podcasts (see list below) and am sure that I have mentioned many times to my good friend and co- host Brommers that I'm not even really sure how it is that came to sit in front of microphones, drunk and stuffed full of delicious curry all whilst talking absolute (occasionally funny... honest!) shit week after week.

All we know is that at some point we paid half each for a bunch of recording equipment and gave ourselves three goes at making a silly show.

We didn't know it was going to be yard stick by which all other podcasts would be judged against... (Do you see how I'm always making the jokes and cracking the wise? Seriously tune in if you don't already.)

Now the "Why" has been answered, that leads me on to the "How".

I saw this update on the facebook thinger by one of my favourite listeners and long time blogger buddy Awesome® Award Winner Christopher Bate and it said:

I feel like I should be wearing a cape.

Step one - Material.
What to talk about is always an evolving theme with our show.
At one stage we had a sports section that stipulated that to qualify as a noteworthy topic you had to be able to play it with a pint in hand and a cigarette in the other and within a short amount of time we frankly ran out of sports stories.
Myself and Daz have always enjoyed ripping the piss out of the events covered in the press and so that is why the bulk of the show is mainly strange news stories. I tend to use several news sites to find our conversational fodder the main two being The Metro and The Telegraph. I don't really care much for The Telegraph and certainly wouldn't buy it for my own personal news reading pleasures. In the same breath I would only ever read The Metro if I had more than six stops on the underground and I had found it on my seat But both of these news sites tend to work for us. I guess I'm saying experiment with your material until you find something that works... By "works" I mean make Daz piss himself laughing.

Step two - The gear.
It's safe to say that when it comes to the hardware really the best thing you should do straight away is throw your PC in the bin and buy a Mac. At the time of starting L.I.P we had about 50p between us and so we did not buy a Mac, instead we cobbled together some interesting theories on what the "best" set up would be and then opted to go with what our gut(s) said. If your gut doesn't talk to you I suggest cutting out some random magazine clippings and putting them in a top hat, keep on picking the clippings out of the aforementioned top hat until one of them has something about recording a podcast written on it, then do what it says on there.
We went halves on a Belkin 'TuneStudio'. It's a 4 channel mixer that supports mics with "Phantom Power" which makes it sound really fucking cool. Know what I mean?

Ok maybe that's not "really really cool". What is "really really cool" is that it can record straight to your iPod Classic or straight to your laptop / PC / Mac so it gives you more flexibility than some of the more bulky mixers. It really portable too, we record our show in mostly two different locations but if we ever want to record anywhere else we just stick it in a record bag and awaaaaaaaay!!!
Microphones were tricky, we took advice from one of the oldest people we know Mr Jeckles of Shitty Blog notoriety and purchased two Behringer C-1 Condenser Microphones and table stands. It's what gives the listeners of our show the rich baritone bottom end of my rich baritone bottom.

Step three - The cutting room floor.
The next step is getting those twelve hours of you babbling insanely from the .wav files you have recorded all trimmed down to some kind of respectable size and in .mp3 format.
This is hands down the trickiest part of any Session of L.I.P and we bloody well know it! Finding that balance of what is best left in or chopped out is tricky. Try and remember that just because that one thirty second bit is awesome, chopping the ten minutes of not so awesome stuff before it might well leave that thirty seconds sounding a bit strange. During our first attempt back in July '09 myself and Daz recorded what would become "Session minus three (with words and letters)" One take, music tracked up, mics manually faded in and out for an hour and forty minutes. The file was 1GB and it was terrible (Yes! Even by our standards). We still find that we go overboard, "Session 22 - Revenge" was 1:21:48 and it's one of our lowest listened to shows. That's not to say that this will be the case for everyone just that the evidence points to that for us. It is at this point that I would like to remind you that throwing your PC in the bin and buying a Mac is going to help you with this as I believe easy to use audio editing software will help you focus better on your material as opposed to the nuts and bolts of lopping out inappropriate jokes about the French.
GarageBand seems to be the most popular...
*Blogger just lost 30 mins worth of my writing of this post... Balls*
I'll continue, as best I can.
I use something that I think is better:
Bromley Daz, topped up with cold lager with a ten year old laptop nicknamed "The Radiator" and a copy of Cool edit Pro now known as Adobe Audition.

Step four - Shtooping it up online.
That's it! You've removed that 40 minute ramble about bendy buses, you've mixed it all down to one .mp3 file, now to really fling that sucker up for the world to see!.. or hear as the case is.
I drag the file into the iTunes where using the "Get Info" right clicker I tag that bastard like tagging is going out style! I add artwork and lyrics to the file so that iPod touch / iPhone users get tasty links when they want to skip forward to hear the latest Son Of Robot offering instead of me dribbling on about wicker... or something.
Then the hosting, There's loads out there. we use what was, at the time, the cheapest option
There are some quirks with it though. Yes it is free. It'll be free for a year if your show is half an hour long and you put up one a month. They charge for ftp uploads and also recommend a terrible ftp client. I recommend Core FTP Lite. The guy (or gal) that invented that programme can have a round of beers on me it has helped me out so much. It's also quick and really really fucking easy to use.
PodBean sorts out the iTunes stuff for you automatically generating the feeds and directory listings so you can kick back with a beer and think unclean thoughts about Jessica Alba... If you want to.

And you're done!
I hope that has been informative.

As promised, here is my list of average substitutes for Liquid Inspiration Podcast all of which are available on the iTunes:

You Look Nice Today
Cocktails For Two
The Bugle
Shift Run Stop

"Seriously does anyone remember when this was a music blog"

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