Jason’s next article in his series on podcasting is a very detailed review of his editing process, and it’s awesome. Before you rush to open your editing app of choice though, be sure to keep this in mind:
Not to get all philosophical on you, but editing audio is a lot of work, and depending on what kind of a podcast you’re producing, most of it is probably not necessary. Just because you can edit a podcast within an inch of its life—clearing out pauses, removing every um and uh and awkward pause and spoken digression—doesn’t mean you must.
People speak with pauses and ums, with tangents and elliptical phraseology. Our brains are really, really good at taking all of that input and smoothing it out into something understandable. You could even argue that with too much editing, speaking starts to sound artificial and alien, because it no longer sounds like what we hear coming out of people’s mouths every day.
Agreed. The main differentiating feature of Overcast, my podcast player of choice for iOS, is Smart Speed. This feature is supposed to automatically trim these small pauses and do some editing on-the-fly to reduce the time it takes to play a given episode.
Smart Speed in Overcast works great and yet, I hardly ever use it. I actually enjoy listening to those little pauses, ums and uhs, because they reveal a lot about the person who’s talking. It’s like getting a little bit closer to that person’s train of thought, and I find it very interesting.
So yeah, I’m very much in favor of minimal editing in podcasting. Podcasts are not scripted shows, and there’s no compelling reason to make them sound like they are.