Mobile Recording can be hard to figure out, especially if you don’t have a money tree growing in your backyard. I’ve given a lot of thought to this from a “lean budget” perspective and have tried a LOT of things over the years I’ve been podcasting.
What I demo in this episode is the best MOBILE RECORDING solution I’ve discovered yet. It only requires one piece of software that is app based (phone or smart device) and one additional piece of hardware that is portable and costs less than $100. Interested? Play the stinkin’ episode!
Ok, let’s get to it. In order to do exactly what I did in the “episode” within this episode you’ll need to set up some things ahead of time. First, you’ll need an Auphonic account.
Relax - Auphonic is free for up to 2 hours of audio a month. That’s pretty generous given that many podcasts are 30 minutes or less. So 4 episodes per month… you do the math. You can find a link to Auphonic below.
Then, within Auphonic you’ll need to follow the instructions I explain in this episode to set up a few things…
External services like Dropbox or Google Drive
#1 - click on the “services” tab at the top of the main page
#2 - In the lower section, select the service you want to use to store your intro and/or outro files. Auphonic will pull from that location to use them each time you access the template you’re going to create (I used Dropbox in my example)
Once you’ve got that external service set up, all you need to do is setup your Show’s Mobile “preset”. I’ll walk you through that next…
The first thing you’ll do before you actually try to set up a preset in Auphonic is to place a copy of your intro and/or outro into the proper spot within your external service (Dropbox or Google Drive).
I chose Dropbox, so here’s where it has to go: Dropbox>Apps>Auphonic
Place a copy of your intro and outro files in that folder and you’re good. They will be available to you within Auphonic as you move on to the next step
Next, go back to the menu at the top of the Auphonic homepage and select the “presets” option.
Click on the big, red “New Preset” button as you see here…
And you’ll get a page that allows you to specify all kinds of things about your preset. Here are the ones I focused on to set up my mobile recording preset…
I chose “P-Mobile” (for Podcastification - Mobile”)
When you click on the drop down it will give you the option to choose from one of your external services. For me, I chose the proper Dropbox account (if you have more than one, be careful to choose the right one).
You’ll see little spinner thing appear for just a second as Auphonic searches the Dropbox account you selected, and then a second drop-down box will appear to allow you to select a file from Dropbox.
When you choose that dropdown, lo and behold, there are your files to select. In this case, I selected my intro.
After you’ve selected the proper intro file, you want to set what Auphonic calls an “Overlap” duration… this simply means:
“How much (in seconds) do you want the ending of your intro to overlap the main content you upload later through the app?”
You may not want any overlap. You may want a lot. But keep in mind - this is referring to the END of your intro file and the BEGINNING of your main content to be uploaded.
You will likely need to listen to your intro file and watch the timestamp as it moves in order to determine exactly how much space you have at the end of it for an overlap. The cool thing about a phonic is that it will automatically duck your intro volume underneath the content of your main file once you upload it. No need to make any adjustments. :)
In my case, I chose 3 seconds because I only want my main content overlap The Fading cymbal crash at the end of my intro for a small portion of time.
Now you will start the same process for your outro. Using the drop-down box, select the proper external service, which should be the exact same as it was for your intro.
Once you have made your selection you will be provided a second drop down box from which you can choose the appropriate outro file.
Then you need to select the overlap time for your outro. Be careful that you think about this one differently, it's actually the exact opposite of what you did on your intro.
The way to think about it is that you are specifying how much of the BEGINNING of your outro file should play underneath the END of your main content file that will be uploaded later through the app.
In my case, I timed out how much music plays at the beginning of my out row before the voiceover begins and discovered that I had about 33 seconds to play with, so that is what I chose for my overlap amount.
The rest of the fields on the page are pretty self-explanatory. Keep in mind that things like your title and track number will need to be input later, after you have determined what those things will be. For now, you are only completing the fields for those things that will be the same on every episode.
If you would like Auphonic to automatically send a finished copy of your audio file to Dropbox, Google drive, or another external location, you can do that as long as you have already set up that location. As you see in the following image, I am having mine sent directly to my media host and to my Dropbox account.
At the very bottom of the page you are allowed to choose what processes Auphonic we'll run on your uploaded file and combined intro and outro. I typically use all four of the check boxes shown and set the loudness target to - 16 LUFS.
Once you've done everything on the page that you care to do, be sure to save the preset using the big red button at the bottom right.
That's it! You have just set up the preset that you will use when your recording from your mobile device. Let's move on to the actual recording and uploading using the app.
The Auphonic team has provided two versions of its mobile app, one for iPhone and one for Android. It's going to be next to impossible for me to demonstrate both because I am an Android User, not an iPhone user.
But most people listening to this podcast are tech savvy enough to figure it out on their own. Just download the app (links below in the resources section) and begin playing around with it. It's pretty simple.
Before you actually open the app to do an actual recording for your podcast, be sure you have a good quality external microphone and have it plugged in.
The microphone that I used is the Rode VideoMic ME (link in resources below). It comes with an attachment to secure it to your phone, and a “deadcat” type windsock to cut down on wind noise. I have intentionally used it in high winds to see how effective it is and was pleasantly surprised.
Once you have the microphone plugged in, it's time to record.
In the case of the Android app, it opens immediately to a list of recordings you have made, and if you haven't made any it will not show any. There is a red microphone at the bottom of the screen and tapping it takes you to the recording screen.
Tap the big red record button and begin talking.
When you finish recording, press the pause button as shown in the image below. Notice that just below the timestamp in the middle of the screen is an option to save the recording. You will need to do that before you were able to send it to Auphonic and use your preset to process it.
The following screen will display your recording in a WAV file format. Tapping on the Auphonic log will enable you to access your Auponic account, name your file, and select the preset you created.
Choose the “START” button and your file will begin to upload and Auphonic will do its magic!
When I discovered that Auphonic had features that allowed me to record in this manner, I knew the sound quality of my resulting file would probably be pretty good because Auphonic is an amazing application.
What I didn't know is whether using the external mic and the intro and outro presets would work the way that I hoped.
I wasn't disappointed. As you can here on this episode, The mini-episode that I placed in the center of the main episode, which was done entirely using this mobile recording method, turned out very good considering that I was standing outside in my freezing backyard.
Of course, there are other ways to do mobile recording, but many of them require a bag full of equipment and I really didn't want to spend the money or the time figuring out what I would have to Lug around with me on trips. So this is my solution.
All in, this approach cost me right around $75 for the microphone, and 4 most people the Auphonic account will turn out to be free. Throw in the free app, and this is a low-budget approach to mobile recording that anyone can do.
I would love to hear your thoughts, questions, and other mobile recording approaches so be sure to connect with me using the contact information on the page.