A lot of podcast clients have been asking us for solutions to recording interviews while mobile – mobile podcast equipment specifically for use at conferences or while traveling.
If you’ve ever considered mobile recording at shows, conventions or in other scenarios, there are a lot of challenges involved. RØDE Microphones aims to solve a lot of these with their new interview kit. This is a good and minimal solution, and I like that it’s super travel-friendly.Check out the RØDE Microphones SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit, a low cost solution for interviews on the go.Click To Tweet
My Take on iPhone specific mobile podcast equipment -and an alternative
In my opinion, there is a slight drawback, as the Rhode kit is good only for 2 people. If you think you’ll be speaking to more than one other person, Alex Blumberg’s approach still produces the best results.
For those who don’t know Alex, he is a former NPR radio host and the founder of Gimlet media with smash podcast hits like “Startup”, and he perfected recording on the go while working on his podcasts.
His approach is to carry a digital recorder and directional long interview mic, connected with a short 3 foot XLR cable, and he then points the mic at the folks he interviews. The benefit is that he can easily move around, and interview multiple people with the least amount of fuss.
If you’re interested, he has a totally awesome class on Creative Live about “Powering Your Podcast With Story Telling“, and you can see his approach in action there. If you’d like recommendations about good equipment choices for these sort of interview mics and digital recorders, just sign up for our podcasting resources guide.
Fall 2019 Update: I just checked out his class, and at the time of this update it’s only $39 at Creative Live, well worth it if you ask me. Here is an example techique video from the series:
Still, if you are an iPhone user and anticipate mostly recording one-on-one interviews, the SC6 is an excellent choice.
Mobile Podcast Equipment Gear Guide
If you already signed up for our podcasting resources guide, you have access to several podcasting gear guides for various situations. One of these is mobile podcasting gear for the sort of setup that Apex Blumberg uses. The advantages of this approach are multi-fold. It is a much simpler setup to use. You can get this to work with any recorders that have even just a single XLR mic input, so you don’t need the Zoom H6n recorder, really. But I still recommend getting a 3-4 channel digital recorder with XLR inputs, simply because chances are you will use it for more flexible multi mic setups in the future, or in your studio.
Just click here to check it out.
3 Tips for Mobile Podcast Interview Techniques
So how do you use this setup most effectively? There are several keys to making this technique work:
1.) Don’t hide your “inner geek”
Wear “proper” closed design headphones. I know it looks geeky. But, just do it.
- You will hear what is going on, get a sense of the correct levels to use, and your microphone technique will improve as a result.
- In crowded environments, people will see that there is an interview going on and give you more space (as well as be curious about what’s going on). This is a good thing.
2.) Learn to vary your mic distance
The advantages of a “directional” interview mic are that you can hold the mic a bit further away.
- This works great in quite environments where you can give your guests some space, instead of stuffing a mic in their face.
- However, loud environments, such as a crowded conference floor, call for a different approach. All you need to do is get the mic really close to your own mouth and that of your interviewee, and the increased input level will drown out much of the background noise.
And this is where wearing headphones, and monitoring the recording, is key.
3.) Turn it up
Don’t be afraid to turn up the volume on your headphones. You want this to be louder than the surrounding noise, for example in a conference setting. It can be disorienting at first to hear everything through your headphones, but that is exactly what allows you to record effectively – because you hear what is going on, and you continually adjust how close you are holding the mic to achieve good sound levels.
Hope this helps, and in the comments, please let me know your own favorite mobile recording techniques, or links to on location recordings you have done.