How to Record a Podcast on Zoom
It’s easy to see how Zoom could become a popular choice among podcasters merely because they’re familiar with it. Odds are good that you’ve used the software for a work meeting or a virtual get-together with friends at least once during the pandemic.
Zoom has also been popular due to its above-average audio quality and internet consistency compared to Skype and other online conference software. It’s comparatively easy to use — and it also has a ‘Basic’ tier that is attractive to cash-strapped beginners.
To start podcasting on Zoom, simply follow the same basic steps you would go through if you were setting up a normal virtual call.
1. First, if you haven’t already, create an account at Zoom.us and install the Zoom app. Then, open the app and select “New Meeting.”
2. You’ll be prompted to select your microphone and equipment (we suggest using an external mic for best sound — but Zoom gives the option to use your computer’s microphone as well). Once you enter the call screen, you’ll see a dashboard at the bottom with controls.
3. Zoom allows you to invite guests by clicking the Participants tab and clicking “Invite.” You can then select a participant to invite from your contacts or via email. Your guests will be able to join the call with a click.
4. Once you’re ready to record, click the “Record” button on your dashboard.
That’s all there is to it! Have your conversation as normal, then click “Stop recording” when you’re done. Once you end the meeting, Zoom will automatically convert the recorded section into audio files and save them to your computer.
Your new folder will contain an mp3 (audio) file and an mp4 (video) file. You’ll need another program to do any additional edits if you like, but otherwise, your podcast recording is ready to export!
How to Optimize Audio in Zoom
While Zoom is easy to use, it doesn’t always produce the best quality audio or video. That’s why if you choose to use this platform, make sure to take advantage of these hacks in the hidden settings of Zoom to improve your audio as much as possible.
1. Enable Original Sound
Zoom naturally tries to cut out echo and interference to help the quality of your call — but if you’ve got a good setup, a quality mic, and a quiet space, you can change those settings to help keep as much of the original audio as possible.
Go into Zoom settings, then click “Audio.” Select the “Advanced” settings, then make sure the checkbox is selected next to ‘Enable Original Sound.’
Then, you’ll be able to choose this option to enhance the audio during your recording. This setting may not make much discernable difference to the output, but it’s definitely worth a shot.
Every little bit of retained audio will help when you go to edit for production.
2. Record Speakers Separately
Zoom has the option to record each participant on their own separate audio track. Make sure you enable this setting so you can have more editing capabilities during post-production.
For instance, if one speaker’s volume was too low or they had a loud noise in the background, you’ll want to be able to adjust their audio without interfering with the other tracks.
To check that this setting is turned on, head to your Zoom settings, and click “Recording.” Then make sure the box is checked next to “Record a separate audio file for each participant.”
Downsides to Using Zoom for Podcasts
While Zoom is an easy choice for beginners who are already used to the platform for work or recreational calls, there are several disadvantages to the software. After all, it was designed as a way to make online video calls, not record studio-quality videos for professional distribution to your audience.
Because Zoom prioritizes virtual conferencing, it makes certain sacrifices in audio and video quality to optimize speed and ease of use. Zoom’s program uses compressed audio and video, meaning it removes portions of the audio track to make the file smaller.
Audio compression helps your video chat flow more smoothly since the data being transferred is in a smaller package. But the resulting file is less-than-optimal for professional-quality recordings — meaning that you may not be using Zoom for podcasting for very long.
Another downside to the Zoom podcast is that it takes place over a live internet connection, meaning the audio and video recording depends largely on the quality and speed of your internet signal. If you experience a lag or a disconnection, the audio or video file will be interrupted.
Watch the video below to hear the difference between recording with Zoom vs a dedicated recording tool for podcasting.
As technology has improved and standards continue to rise, several alternatives to Zoom have appeared on the scene to meet the podcasters’ specific needs.
For instance, what about bad wifi? ‘Double-ender’ recordings, where each participant’s audio is recorded at their own end, are especially useful for those recording interviews or remote podcasts. Making a recording that isn’t reliant on a fast internet connection is always preferred since you never know when your reception will be less than optimal.
Some professional podcasters have their own complicated double-ender recording setups that require each participant to ensure the high-quality recording of their own feed. However, many podcasters are turning to platforms that come with double-ender elements as their preferred alternatives to Zoom.
Each platform listed below records every participant’s audio — and in one case, video as well — locally on their own device and stores the recordings on the cloud in real-time.
- In-browser recording (Google Chrome only)
- Up to 8 participants
- Download files: WAV, mp3, and mp4
- Cost: Tiered subscriptions ranging from $7.5-$29 per month
- Video: Yes — it’s currently the only option on this list that records video as well as audio
- In-browser recording (Google Chrome and Firefox)
- Up to 3 participants on the free plan
- Download files: mp3 (WAV format also available with the paid subscription)
- Cost: Free standard option, or Professional subscription for $20/month
- Video: No
- In-browser recording (Google Chrome only)
- Up to 4 participants
- Download files: WAV and mp3
- Cost: Tiered subscriptions ranging from $10-$45 per month
- Video: It’s part of the recording process so that participants can see each other, but the video is not recorded
Benefits of Riverside.fm Compared to Zoom
Once you’re ready to level up from Zoom, you can’t go wrong with Riverside.fm if you’re recording a distance video podcast. Riverside is a high-powered recording software that produces studio-quality audio and video.
While Zoom compresses audio and video to optimize connection speeds, Riverside is built for podcasting. It prioritizes quality and doesn’t compress or cut away portions of the audio or video feed. The resulting recording is crystal-clear — which means your audience won’t be distracted or turned off by glitches, echos, or any other audio problems common with Zoom recordings.
While recording using call software depends on the quality and speed of your internet connection, recording using Riverside means each participant’s feed is being recorded locally. So dropped or lagging connections won’t affect the end result, because the recording isn’t depending on your internet reception.
Riverside.fm’s software is also easy for participants to join. Unlike Zoom, which works best if each participant has downloaded the app, Riverside works directly from your browser.
Simply send your guest an invite link, and they can click to join in seconds.
Finally, Riverside has many additional benefits that Zoom doesn’t offer, such as:
- Progressive uploading: Your recordings will be uploaded to the cloud as you go, meaning you don’t need to wait for it to upload before closing your browser after you’re done.
- Separate video tracks: Riverside gives you a separate, locally-recorded video track for each participant, making it easier to edit and stitch them together in post-production.
- Live call-in: Your audience can call in with video during the recording.
- Producer mode: Producers can monitor the recording and communicate with the participants during the session without being recorded.
- Host controls. Manually set desired frame rates and video resolution. The host can also monitor and adjust audio levels during the live recording, including guests’ equipment and balancing.
- Custom branding: Design your own branded greenroom where guests can wait before joining the show.