Adapted from the original article How to Save Time by Editing Your Podcast Faster. Used with permission.
One of the biggest surprises when you first start podcasting is that editing takes forever. It continues to be the main reason people quit recording. If it takes you an hour or two to edit your hour long show, you’re just going to have to suck it up and get to it…but if you’re spending five or six hours editing there are several things you can do to cut that time down significantly. Learn how to spend less time editing your podcast. Don’t throw in the towel just yet!
Reduce noise in your recording. A little effort up front will make a world of difference. Not only will your podcast sound cleaner, but any cuts you have to make will be easier and therefore quicker. After you’ve diminished audible noise in the room, you can use a noise gate to cut down the noise in your recording. There’s an entire article about reducing noise in your recording below.
Have a template. Your show will take less time to set up and less time to edit. If you find yourself adding opening music or EQing your cohosts mic a certain way every show, create a template with those presets. A template doesn’t have to be complicated – just open your editing program, create tracks for everyone, set the properties and save the file. From now on use this file to record and edit.
Keep all your recording variables the same. Record in the same position in the same room. Try to use the same equipment and record at the same time of day. Using this set up over and over will reduce the amount of tweaking you have to do after every show. If you’re adding something new to your show – interviews, a new mic, different positions, live music playback – test it out first. A few tests don’t take a lot of time and can save you hours of nightmares in editing.
Take notes. Some people make a lot of cuts in editing for time, awkward pauses, dead air, etc. If you’re one of these people, you spend just as much time in playback as editing. Try making a list of notes directly after you record the show. Write down things like “dump first interview question” or “cut out long tangent about unicycles.” Before you go to edit the show, read the notes so you’ll know exactly what you want to cut. If you make an obvious mistake while recording, pause for a second and repeat what you just said. This is also helpful if there’s an interruption or loud noise.
Make less cuts. Once you start removing a few gaps in your podcast, it’s easy to start making hundreds of cuts per show. This is the number one reason podcasts take forever to edit. People honestly don’t notice the meticulous details you do, so don’t waste time editing out every last mistake. It can be hard to put the virtual razor down, but if you don’t your show ill always take nine hours to produce. Try listening to other podcasts critically and notice how frequently they mess up.
Record a “live” show. The ability to edit can become a crutch. Do a few shows “live” where you have a commitment to yourself not to make any cuts in editing. The first few may be rough, but listen to them and note what you need to do to give a better performance. After a while you’ll be able to deliver a the same caliber of conversation you were getting out of the edited shows but you won’t have to make any cuts.
Record shorter shows. I know this sounds like a no brainer, but a shorter show can cut back editing time exponentially. Cutting ten or twenty minutes out of your show can shave hours off your editing time. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. If you’re watching your time and know you can’t exceed X amount of minutes, you tend to do a more efficient show. Because there’s less of it to edit, you don’t need as many breaks and can stay motivated to finish it much faster. Just try it for a few weeks, you’ll be surprised at your results.