As part of the learning process for my Zoom H2 mic, I have been collaborating with a fellow Dead Robot (mrsmica) on creating a couple of mini-podcasts of some short short stories on She acquired author permission, and I just completed the process of recording, editing the raw feed, taking mrsmica’s raw feed and editing, adding sound effects (she’s voicing the part of a robot 🙂 ) interlacing her read into mine, editing dialog tempo & gaps, running noise reduction, running it through Levelator, finding suitable royalty free music for intro and outtro, weaving same into the feed, creating a donut in the intro music for an introduction read-over, laying the intro into the donut, and editing outtro music for blending and fadeout at the end of the read. (Whew!) 😮

I tried to keep track of the time involved in all of this, since part of our discussion on The Dead Robot’s Society forum was regarding how long a podcast takes to put together.  I nearly freaked when they told me that it took about thirty minutes of production per minute of actual reading 😯 , so I decided to put it to the test. 

For this first podcast, I spent about six minutes reading.  Then I timed (as well as I could with interruptions) the amount of time I spent on the production.  Looks like it took about three hours, which gives me right at the predicted thirty to one ratio. 

Now, I also view this as a “learning” production, so I do expect that I will get faster as I progress.  But I should say up front, that I had so much fun with it, that the time spent didn’t seem like work at all.  Also, I believe the ratio may be skewed to reflect more work for shorter pieces, as a lot of the editing and effects get laid into the piece in bulk.  Say for instance, I want to change a straight read to add harmonics and pitch shifts to the vocal and make it sound as if a robot were speaking (which I did on this one). The amount of time spent with those sound effects would be the same whether the raw feed was three minutes or thirty, which would greatly impact the “production to read time” ratio. 

This leads me to think that the ratio might go down significantly for me when I go ahead with my eventual plans to podcast my novel.  For that, each piece will likely be more like thirty minutes of read time, and I am planning to do a straight read. that should also reduce production time.  The only outside voice work I will need will be where I’ll need someone who speaks fluent French to read part of the intro for each chapter, and that will be pretty much a stand alone read, so it doesn’t have to be woven into another read as part of a dialogue.  Also, once I choose the intro and outtro music and create the intro track, it shouldn’t change much from one episode to the next, greatly reducing the production ratio.

My one concern is background sounds and music.  I haven’t yet decided whether or not I’ll want to use any.  If I do, I think it could greatly enhance the quality of the production.  However, it will probably greatly increase that worrisome production to read ratio, also.

Anyway, first experiment is nearly done.  I’m waiting on mrsmica to get back to me regarding the ending credits.  She mentioned that she wanted to do them herself so the read I sent her was without.  However, I think I’ll go back and add some myself, just so I’ll have an idea of what to do for them.  That will give me the full production experience.

We still have one more podcast we are going to do together, but it is significantly shorter and I anticipate that the ratio will likely increase.   I suppose I’ll see soon enough.