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Podcasting Hacks by Jack D. Herrington

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Edit Your Interviews

Learn how to edit interviews to build an interesting story for your listeners.

Scoring the right interview and asking the right questions is just the beginning of the art of the interview. Some interviews contain up to 10 hours of raw material [Hack #33] . Finding the essence of the story and editing it down to something that conveys that theme is an art.

I’ll discuss four basic types of interview editing in this hack. Categorizing them this way makes it easier to explain the techniques. But you should not feel bound by these categories. There are no hard and fast rules. You can mix and match as you like.

Bare-bones edit

In the bare-bones case, you chop off the silence at the beginning and end of the interview, and normalize the gain; that’s it. It’s the podcast equivalent of a live interview. Whatever you or the other person said is what you get.

Basic editing

The most basic form of editing involves removing unnecessarily long pauses in speech, large numbers of “ums” and “ahs,” and retakes. A retake occurs when the person decides during or after a reply that he would rather phrase his answer in a different way. If you told the person you would “clean up the interview,” you are obliged to do at least a basic editing pass to remove the gnarly bits.

Artful editing

This is a more substantive overhaul of the material. Segments are edited out completely or are rearranged to provide a better narrative flow. The editing takes into account the position of breath sounds and ...

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