In this article we’ll look at the basic pitfalls surrounding stereo microphone use in interview situations.
You’ve decided to record your podcast using hand held microphones and you’re thinking it would be great to create a stereo podcast.
Most podcasts are produced in mono format as stereo files can be considerably larger. If you prefer to record stereo podcast interviews you’ll need to think about the aesthetics of the stereo stage and understand a few of the pitfalls.
Stereo field-interviews require careful manipulation of your microphones and the stereo stage as your listeners will be sensitive to where sounds are appearing or shifting from left to right.
If you do decide to tackle a stereo podcast interview you have a decision to make regarding microphones. Your two basic stereo microphone set-ups are:
- using a stereo microphone (if you are fortunate enough to have access to one)
- two mono microphones recorded to separate channels of a stereo sound recorder
Recording a podcast with a stereo microphone
A stereo mic has two or three microphone capsules mounted within it which often can be adjusted to produce a wide or narrow stereo spread i.e. sounds will be spread widely across the stereo stage or more bunched in the centre.
Your podcast positions you and your interviewees (if there are more than one) somewhere on the stereo stage between the left and right speakers or headphones. If you move your stereo microphone slightly, the position of you and your interviewees will swing left or right, as will any other atmospheric audio.
This may or may not be disconcerting depending on the situation but it is something to be aware of. More care needs to be taken with microphone technique when using a hand-held stereo mic than mono mics.
In the following podcast interview you, the interviewer, are just left of centre with the interviewee to the right, even slight movement of the stereo microphone registers as a panning movement between the listener’s speakers or headphones.
When recording a mono podcast interview you don’t need to take into account this left/right swing but you do have depth to consider. Listeners can generally hear when people move closer or further away.
Our next Podcast post looks at podcast interviews using two bleeding microphones and how off-mic sound can be turned to your advantage.