Zencastr is a cool service that handles a lot of the grunt work of recording remote participants in a podcast. We use it for our weekly comedy podcast, Interrupted Tales, and it works very well. That said, it does have some quirks. Here are some tips and tidbits we’ve found out after using it for a while.
Zencastr expects you may have some audio issues – for instance, guests with bad mics and bleeding audio. By default, it enables a feature called Echo Cancellation (which is a setting on the host’s audio preferences inside Zencastr). Echo cancellation attempts to remove audio leakage. But, as noted in the FAQs, if everyone being recorded has a quality mic and headphone combination this is unnecessary and even detrimental — we found the audio occasionally came out somewhat robotic when participants talk at the same time with echo cancellation enabled. Disabling echo cancellation made this problem go away entirely.
Running out of space
When recording we would occasionally see low disk space warnings even though there was plenty of space available on Dropbox. It turns out, the warnings were actually talking about local diskspace alloted by the browser for audio recording which was very low because I was using incognito mode, which leads us to…
Don’t Use Incognito Mode
Don’t use incognito mode. If you need to have multiple browsers for multiple tracks, we’ve found that it works far better to use multiple browser profiles in Chrome.
Separate Soundboard Track
Out of the box, Zencastr puts all sounds from it’s “soundboard” onto the host’s track. Here’s a workaround for how to get sounds out and onto their own separate track.
It’s been rare, but on occasion we’ve had an upload fail. Luckily, most of the time reloading the browser will let the upload continue. And if you have trouble Zencastr support can help. But you can also try this snippet which I’ve successfully used in Chrome’s developer mode window if all else fails.
Know any other Zencastr tips? Let us know in the comments.
Interested in remote podcasting but not sure where to start? Read our first post on the subject.