By | July 2, 2007
Hey everybody, Ken Walker here, educating the masses on how to podcast. This week Iâ€™ve got some great stuff lined up for you, weâ€™re gonna review the Behringer Virtualizer Pro, weâ€™ll also talk about script development. Iâ€™m also gonna introduce a new section on reviewing podcasts out there. Iâ€™ll spend some time finding podcasts to feature and Iâ€™ll tell you all about the good, the bad, and the ugly. That and more, up nextâ€¦
Thank you, thank you, thank youâ€¦is that not an excellent intro? Yes, it is! Although, Iâ€™m thinking about making another one just so I can mix things up a bit.
First off, let me apologize again for taking so long with this weekâ€™s podcast. I could give you a list of lame excuses but instead Iâ€™ll just say â€œSorry, Iâ€™ll try to do betterâ€. You know, itâ€™s really lame when a podcast consultant tells you to produce your podcast on a regular basis, and they themselves barely get a new episode out each week, and very rarely is it released on the same day, I mean talk about lack of consistency, I mean practice what you preach right!
Anyhow, this week I wanna talk about script development in your podcast. Donâ€™t get all scared cause Iâ€™m gonna have a kind of loose interpretation of the word script. Really, itâ€™s a good idea to have something in writing for you to go by, but that doesnâ€™t have to be a word for word script, it can be more of an outline, but itâ€™s a good idea to have at least something to go by.
You want something thatâ€™s gonna help you with the flow of your podcast, and by all means that could be a word for word script. Youâ€™re gonna have to think about some things though because you donâ€™t want your podcast to sound like you are reading it.
Now, that was a bit exaggerated, but you get the idea. Iâ€™ve got no problem with a word for word script, but youâ€™ve got to have some skills as maybe a voice-over artist or at least practice a lot so you donâ€™t sound like youâ€™re reading it.
Obviously, this doesnâ€™t work on every podcast cause you might have another host, you might have a guest to interview, whatever, but having some type of monologue or again, at least an outline, helps the flow go and it helps you not sound like a bumbling idiot!
If youâ€™re gonna interview somebody, write down your questions, give some real thought to what your listeners want to hear and write down those thoughts. Think about what youâ€™re gonna talk about, and I donâ€™t mean just â€œI think weâ€™ll talk about playing the guitarâ€, be more specific like â€œI wanna talk about health issues related to playing guitar, like arthritis, fatigue, and carpel tunnel syndrome.â€
Donâ€™t be afraid to make the podcast organic and branch out a little, but try to be focused. Now, one thing you can do is take a piece of paper and a pencil, or if you prefer use your computer, it kinda depends on how fast you can type, jot down an outline for yourself of how the show is gonna go.
Maybe youâ€™ve got a section for news, a section for commercials, a how to section, whatever, jot down that format and leave space in between. Then go back and write down what youâ€™re gonna talk about, general ideas, write down thoughts that you have, things you wanna talk about.
What Iâ€™m dealing with here is obviously a one-man-show type scenario where youâ€™re doing all the planning and youâ€™ll do the actual recording etcâ€¦Things work a lot different if youâ€™re a big time podcaster and youâ€™ve got people doing your recording and editing for you and maybe itâ€™s more of a live show, but thatâ€™s a totally different animal.
So youâ€™re the producer, youâ€™re the host, youâ€™re it. You can refer to those notes while youâ€™re recording. Now, that being said, there are different styles of on-the-air announcers, if you want your podcast to sound â€˜liveâ€™ and â€˜naturalâ€™ then youâ€™ve gotta either practice reading your script and not sounding like youâ€™re reading, or youâ€™ve gotta work from just an outline and do everything in a less â€˜producedâ€™ style.
On the other hand, a lot of people like the CNN or NPR style where itâ€™s pretty obvious that there are no emotions involved and itâ€™s just straight information. If thatâ€™s the style youâ€™re going for, no problem, but keep your segments pretty short cause thatâ€™s gonna be a little boring if youâ€™re talking straight for more than 5 or 6 minutes.
Now, most of what Iâ€™m saying is geared towards a newbie that doesnâ€™t have a lot of experience podcasting or doing something similar, where youâ€™re interacting with people to some degree. Real outgoing personalities wonâ€™t likely be doing an NPR style podcast, and you might not want to be tied down to a certain script, again, no big deal, but at least give yourself an outline. Itâ€™ll make your show sound more professional, and itâ€™ll get your listeners the information that you want them to have because youâ€™ve taken the time to think about what you want to say.
Letâ€™s take a break and when we come back, Iâ€™ll review the Behringer Virtualizer Pro.
The Behringer Virtualizer Pro
Awhile back I picked up a new Behringer Virtualizer Pro model DSP2024P which is a 24-bit multi-effects engine featuring full midi control and tons of effects, in fact itâ€™s got 71 algorithms and up to 7 adjustable parameters per algorithm, but thatâ€™s nothing more than what you can read on any site selling the thing, so what weâ€™re here to do is see how it really performs.
First off, you can pick it up just about anywhere for about $100 and thatâ€™s a good thing because as it turns out, you might wanna get two or three of â€˜em, more on that later.
That said, itâ€™s a hundred dollars, as usual with most of Behringerâ€™s equipment, donâ€™t expect top quality components. The thing is built in a pretty solid case, but things like knobs and buttons have a definite â€˜cheapâ€™ feel to them. That doesnâ€™t mean it wonâ€™t last long, but it does mean you wanna take good care of it.
Adjusting the parameters was a bit confusing at first but youâ€™ll get the hang of it. The problem with most of these â€˜all-in-oneâ€™ type devices is that most of the knobs perform double-duty or even triple-duty so you canâ€™t always see clearly what youâ€™re adjusting. For example, four of the adjustment knobs are labeled â€˜Edit Aâ€™ â€˜Edit Bâ€™ â€˜Edit Câ€™ and â€˜Edit Dâ€™. Two of those are also labeled â€˜Edit Eâ€™ and â€˜Edit Fâ€™. You just have to know what A, B, C, D, E, and F areâ€¦or just play with it and youâ€™ll find out.
The preset manager is pretty straight forward and sufficient, but EVERYTHING is number based. You have no clue what the effect algorithm is just by looking, you just get numbered presets. So, either find a few you like and memorize their numbers, or print out this handy PDF and lookup what you want.
Now, about buying two or three of them, something that they donâ€™t really tell you clearly upfront is that of the 100 factory presets and 100 user presets, you canâ€™t actually create your own â€˜from scratchâ€™ preset. So, in other words, you canâ€™t say â€˜OK, I want an expander, and an EQ, and distortionâ€™. Nope. Only the algorithms that already exist can be edited and you can save THAT as a user preset.
So, for example, if they have a preset that has, say, Tremelo and Reverb, you can adjust the Tremelo rate and depth and the Reverb tail, and you can save that as a user preset, but you canâ€™t add Chorus.
The unit works well as a vocal or instrument processor, and itâ€™s got a direct box built-in so you can plug a guitar into it and go straight to your mixer. Itâ€™s got a few interesting vocal effects as well, aside from just your standard reverbs.
My take on it is that for $100 you canâ€™t really complain too much. Itâ€™s a little bit on the noisy side, some of the effects are noisy, and the unit itself is a little louder than Iâ€™d like. I also wasnâ€™t thrilled about not being able to choose which effects were in my patch, but like I said, you can add a second one or even a third if you had to and youâ€™d hook them up in series, then youâ€™d have about every effect you needed, but it would be a bear dialing it in. It is midi configurable though, which is pretty neat so if youâ€™re pro-MIDI it can change programs for you while you play away.
â€˜But Ken,â€™ you ask â€˜why are you featuring this on a podcast about podcasting? After all, this is for musicians.â€™ True, I say, and yet, itâ€™s much more than that. Like I said, this thing does lots of vocal type effects including compression and gating, not to mention special effects so you can produce neat intros and even commercials. If you wanna sound different, itâ€™ll change your pitch. If you wanna sound way out, itâ€™ll do that. So if youâ€™re on a budget and want more than just a compressor, this could be your ticket.
Iâ€™ll take a quick break and when I get back weâ€™ll have this weekâ€™s pick for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Since I plan on doing this as a regular segment possibly with each episode, I figured Iâ€™d better start out with a review of a good podcast. So, this week weâ€™ll look at a very well done how to podcast, itâ€™s actually a videocast on using a great 3D modeling application called SketchUp.
The podcast is called The Sketchup Show and usually has one of two guests on the show, either Mike or Alex and they really know their content. Theyâ€™re good at what they do and theyâ€™re also good at showing you how to do it. They actually have a site that sells their Sketchup training and this is a pretty good example of using a podcast to promote something else, which in this case is their paid training.
You watch the podcast, you find out how good their training is, and you decide to buy a DVD, itâ€™s that simple.
Some of the things that I like about the podcast is the video quality. Bad quality video and audio is very lame. There is a hum thatâ€™s usually present in their clips, but I can overlook that since itâ€™s not overbearing. It could be easily fixed though so if either of you gentlemen, Mike or Alex, happen to hear this podcast, drop me an email and Iâ€™ll help you out. The video quality is pretty good though, not HD, but still, itâ€™s better than most of the stuff out there.
You can subscribe to The Sketchup Show in iTunes either by clicking the link provided here in our Enhanced podcast, or by searching for it in iTunes. You can also go to their site at www.go-2-school.com/podcasts where you can watch their training or click an iTunes subscribe link. So, whether youâ€™re into 3D modeling and want to learn how to use Sketchup, or you just want an example of a good video podcast, take a look at The Sketchup Show.
Youâ€™ve been listening to The Podcasting Blog with Ken Walker, if youâ€™d like to drop me an email, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or as always, you can also post a comment on the blog. By the way, if youâ€™ve been following along with the last few episodes, Iâ€™ve been recording in Audition and bringing my audio over to Garageband for final mixdown and adding the enhanced portions like artwork and clickable links. Iâ€™ve noticed though that the audio is real loud and borderline distortion so Iâ€™m gonna either play with that in Garageband, or do the mixdown in Audition and just add the mixed version to Garageband, weâ€™ll see. Until next week, happy podcasting.