Creating a podcast or similar audio project can be done fairly simply using common tools. You can also get complicated and add layers of audio and use fancy mics and recording gear. The good news is that podcasts work for both styles. Many popular podcasts follow a simple interview format and use decent but not impressive recording equipment. Other popular podcasts have productions similar to television or feature films. This page is intended to help you with your project, no matter what your plans are, by giving you some basic pointers.
If you plan your podcast out, you will be able to avoid a lot of editing woes. The more you plan, the more time you will save in editing. It is a lot easier to spend more time planning, rehearsing, and re-recording parts than it is to clean up bad audio or edit out mistakes later.
If your format allows, a script will help keep you on track and avoid mistakes or unwanted ums and errs. Scripts won't work with all formats, though, so you may want to write up some talking points instead that you can refer to in the conversation.
Test out your setup (or setups) before you plan to record. Listen back to the audio to hear the sound quality and make adjustments as necessary. Two simple things will make a huge difference: adjusting the input volume or gain and moving the mic closer or farther away from the speaker. Any setup will have one or both of these options. Smartphones will adjust the volume level automatically, so you will need to test this to see what works best and if there are any unwanted distortions caused by this. The very first bit of a recording can be affected by the auto adjustments, so starting off with some testing, can be helpful.
You can mark spots that you plan to edit out later. This can be done by starting a timer and writing down the time on a piece of paper or making a loud noise, like a clap, that will be visible in the track later. Many recorders have features that allow you to insert markers in the recording that can help this process.
Get your group together early or start with some less-than interesting questions so that you can stop and analyze the quality of the recording and make necessary adjustments. It may seem awkward to ask your interviewee to test out your setup, but it can really pay off by helping you avoid the more embarrassing request to repeat an interview because your recording quality was too terrible to be usable.
This sort of preliminary testing can also help with making the interview or conversation go more smoothly. It can help build a rapport among the participants and can give you more ideas on what you want to do with the session.
Record any rehearsals because if the quality is good, you may end up capturing some great material! Sometimes a rehearsal helps get the mistakes and awkwardness out of the way, but sometimes it will produce some pleasant surprises that you'll want to include in your project.