Recording 101

This guide provides information on podcasting, recording, editing, scripting, performing, copyright, and hosting. It includes why to do a podcast, how to plan it, where to get started and what programs to use.

  • Reach a new audience/the public
  • Re-purpose research
  • It’s satisfying and fun to make stuff
  • Provides a creative outlet

Planning Guide

Plan It! UBC DIY Media Guide — View the image below to get ideas for approaches, resources and tools to create your next multimedia project

Decision Circle Revised May30.png

Writing for the ear

  • Review the difference between reporting on Print vs Radio
  • Look to communicate one thought per sentence
    • A sentence shouldn’t more than a breath
  • Be concise
  • Use active verbs
  • Say what you mean
    • No jargon. Attention to technical terms and acronyms
  • Add telling details where possible. What reveals new things to your audience?
  • Do a Mouth Edit
    • Read through your script out loud first to find tongue twisters or hard to pronounce words
  • Formatting
    • Spell out numbers and abbreviations. Put each sentence on its own line and double space

Further reading

Tips for when you are recording in the field

  • Get as close to the thing you’re hoping to record as you can
  • Know the space (if you are not recording in the UBC Library DIY Media Studio)
    • Consider the room size, number of participants & ambient noise
    • WIND IS THE WORST – If you are recording on a windy day, consider recording inside
  • Use the appropriate equipment
    • Check equipment beforehand, especially batteries, cables & storage
  • Test your levels
    • Bring headphones. They are your audio superhero cape
  • Recording in WAV gives you more flexibility and fidelity than MP3
  • Noise reduction can only do so much
    • Chrome MusicLab Spectogram– This resource will show you the tonal range of different sounds and hense how difficult it can be to noise reduce
  • Remember room tone – Most rooms/spaces have some background noise. Consider recording a minute of silence in any room you are recording in. You can use this as background noise if you end up recording more elsewhere. This will help to keep listeners in the same “space”

Vocal tips

  • Be conversational
  • Imagine speaking to a friend who laughs at your jokes
  • Speak as though you’re speaking across a dinner table (unless you’re doing ASMR)
  • Make sure your script is ready. Rehearse!
  • Posture is important. Sit up straight or stand
  • Take deep breaths and pause between sentences

Microphone talk

UBC resources

Further reading

Program recommendations

  • Audacity
    • PRO
      • Free
      • Cross-platform and open source
      • Relatively straight-forward to use
      • Lots of help online
    • CON
      • Lossy – This means it doesn’t automatically save versions as you edit. If you do not save a version, you can lose it
      • The program can be glitchy- Always remember to save an up to date copy of your work in case you need to restart the program
  • Adobe Audition
    • Free for UBC faculty and staff, installed on all UBC Library Mac computers
  • Hindenburg is another popular favourite

Further reading

Hosting your content

All audio must be hosted on the internet in order to promote it.

  • File storage:
    • Libsyn is the best established. Plans range from $5 to $50 a month to upload new content.
    • Soundcloud free under 3 hours of content
    • Anchor Free
    • Faculty and Staff: Ask your IT dept if they will host file storage.
  • Partner with a media organization

Promote your podcast or blog

  • Blogs work well for RSS & info pages
  • Submit to podcast directories
  • Find your audience tips
    • Use social media
    • Incorporate audience interactions
    • Recorded Segments, inside jokes, use your personality
    • Think: How can you partner with other podcasts in your space?

Copyright basics

Copyright is significant for the content you create and the content you reuse. Do not reuse content without reviewing the copyright permissions and licences.

  • UBC Copyright office – Can help to determine rights and uses for content you create and content you would like to use
  • Your copyrighted works – When you create something, you are the copyright holder of that work. Consider how you would like it to be shared
  • Other people’s copyrights – Review other’s copyright before you use it in your content. Know the permissions process
  • Fair dealing / fair use – Information on the laws regarding copyright use
  • LFSLC’s copyright tutorial – A fun, short tutorial on copyright, laws, rules and fair use

Creative Commons

  • Licenses – These licenses determine content that can be reused or shared and what level of attribution is needed.
    • Consider the following questions why assigning a licence to your own work or review others’ licence agreements.
      • Allow commercial uses?
      • Allow modifications? Yes, Yes but, No
      • Attribution is always required
  • Licenses are irrevocable

Creative Commons Resources

For content ( music, vocals etc) that you can reuse and share (sometimes with attribution)


Respect the privacy and viewpoint of those you interview and record.

  • Oral consent to record individuals is okay but make sure to get it on tape
  • Written consent is better
  • The law does not address ethical concerns that may arise
  • Work to respect people’s wishes when recording. How would they like to be represented

This content is used with permission and many thanks to Ducan McHugh, Digital & Instructional Media Producer for the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.

This page is drawn from this resource:
See slides of this content:

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