So you’re going to be a guest on someone’s podcast and the interview will be taking place on Zencastr… here’s a quick guide about what to expect, the basics you need to know about Zencastr and some tips for a great recording.
Get in touch if you are looking for a video and podcast producer or training to produce and improve your own content! Recording and training can be done remotely.
TL:DR? Here’s the video guide! Scroll down if you prefer a readable guide.
As mentioned, here is a link to a decent pair of noise cancelling headphones.
If you are interested in getting a nice microphone for future interviews, check out options 3 and 4 in this blog for best starter USB microphones and see which fits your budget best.
Prefer the written word? This section is for you…
How To Use Zencastr – A Guest’s Guide
If I am your producer then you will likely have my email if you need to ask any questions. Otherwise, leave a comment on the video and I will get back to you.
Before Your Zencastr Interview
Before the recording you will be sent a link and you do not need to sign up to an account as a guest, you can just follow that link at the time of your interview.
- Zencastr does not work on devices like phones at present. You need to be on a laptop or desktop computer.
- Chrome is best but Zencastr will work in Firefox too. Having a problem? Make sure you have the latest version of the browser.
- Close other programs and browsers if you can.
- Zencastr records locally and then sends the file at the end of the recording so you need to ensure you have space for that. Usually this is not a problem as the files are not very big, unless your hard drive is basically full up.
- Please wear headphones! Although it is possible to record without them, that brings with it a multitude of problems.
- Phone earphones don’t tend to work so well – best to test them beforehand if you can as there can be interference with these.
- If you have Bluetooth headphones and you have an option to plug them in, please plug them in.
During Your Zencastr Interview
If you want to understand the layout of Zencastr during an interview please watch the video above. However, the main points are:
- Notice there is a box for each participant on screen. When you speak you should see audio levels move.
- There is a tab under your box that opens up and you can open up a Health Check (red text signifies a problem).
- On the right of the Health Check you can see Mic and whether your microphone is being picked up. If you have an external microphone plugged in then you are likely going to need to identify that via the next step.
- On the top right of the screen is a gear box icon – open that to set audio input and output. Here’s where you change your microphone setting.
- You may need to then refresh the page to get it to pick up your external microphone.
- Notice there is a chat box so if your microphone is not picking up and you need to communicate, use that. Or if you want to communicate during the recording without speaking.
- The host will start the recording and the timer will start – let it run for 5-10 seconds of silence at the beginning and end of your interview.
- At the end the host will stop the recording and Zencastr will upload your interview. You must leave the browser open whilst this is happening. Wait for the pop up notification letting you know that this is done.
5 Tips For A Great Recording On Zencastr
- Find a quiet place to record, turn off any devices creating noise in the background, close the window if it’s noisy outside and go somewhere where you will not be disturbed.
- Be aware that tapping or knocking surfaces and keyboards will be picked up by the microphone. Same goes for jangly jewellery. Banging the table for emphasis, for example, will be really bad for the mic.
- Don’t talk over each other. This usually means the listener cannot hear what anyone is saying. If you could not find headphones this is especially important as Zencastr will start to cut everyone’s audio out if you are talking at the same time.
- Bring a glass of water. Even if you bring coffee (essential IMO), you will also want a glass of water on hand. Most people get dry mouth at some time during interviews and water is better for your throat than a beverage containing milk.
- Stop and take a break if you need to gather your thoughts. It’s not a live interview and it is easier to cut out silence than hesitant speech. Stop, collect yourself, take a breath and then go.
Relax, it will be fun!
Good luck and have a great interview!
Want some coaching to improve your presenting and production? Let’s talk…
Welcome to Let’s Talk Video Production.
Let’s talk about using Zencastr as a
guest. Feel free to share a link to this
video with your guests so they know what
to expect. You are going to get a good
idea of how the process works and a
bunch of tips at the end for a great
recording using Zencastr. Subscribe for
more videos on video and podcast
marketing. Firstly, you need to be on a
desktop or laptop computer presently.
Zencastr does not work on devices like a
phone. Zencastr works best in Chrome
but you can use Firefox. Close other
programs and browser windows if you can.
Zencastr records onto your computer
locally and then sends the file when the
recording is stopped. Ensure that you
have space to record the interview.
Importantly please wear headphones, if
you don’t this can cause problems with
the audio recording being cut out. I’ll
leave a link in the description to a
really nice quality pair of headphones
that I use. I find that the kind of
headphones that you plug into your phone
don’t always work as well, you may get
some interference there. If you have a
Bluetooth headset and you have the
option to plug it in directly, please do
that. So on to Zencastr. You will be sent
a link to a web page
and you don’t need to create an account
to use Zencastr as a guest. Here’s
what the layout will look like. Note the
boxes that show who is on the call and
the audio levels. Open this tab for more
details, this is the health check. There
may be error messages here in red text
so tell your producer if you see
anything like that. Here you can see the
mic. If you are plugging in an external
mic you really need to confirm that
Zencastr is picking it up. To change your
audio input go to the gear icon on the
top right. It will often be set at the
default or internal microphone. Your
external mic will show up with the name
of the microphone and you can select
that. You don’t necessarily need to
change the audio output as that will by
default be the headphones plugged into
the laptop or computer. Leave monitor as
disabled or this will create an annoying
echo where you will hear your own voice.
Press Save Settings. You may then need to
refresh the page if the microphone is
still not picking up. Notice that there
is a chat box so if your microphone
isn’t picking up and you can’t
communicate, you could write that here or
if you wanted to communicate during the
speaking you can use this. The host will
press the button to start recording let
this run in silence for about five to
ten seconds at the start and at the end
of the recording. So at the end the
host will stop the recording and you now
need to let Zencastr upload the files.
Please leave the tab open whilst the
audio uploads even if the recording has
stopped and the call has been hung up.
You’ll receive a notification on screen
when this is completed.
Stay tuned for five more tips for
recording on Zencastrr and give this
video a like if it’s been useful.
1 – find a quiet place to record, turn off
any devices creating noise in the
background, close the window if it’s
noisy outside and go somewhere where you
will not be disturbed.
2 – don’t tap or knock surfaces and
keyboards; be aware of the mic picking up
noises like that
3 – don’t talk over each other.
If you could not find headphones
this is especially important as Zencastr
will start to cut everyone’s audio
out if you are talking at the same time.
4 – bring a glass of water.
5 – I think it’s fine to stop
and take a break if
you need to gather your thoughts.
Stop, collect yourself, take a breath and
then go. And that’s it, hope this video
has helped you. Feel free to share the
video link if it helps your guests. Leave
a comment on the video with any questions.
Thanks for watching.