sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (gwen by inwhatfurnace)
Sophinisba Solis ([personal profile] sophinisba) wrote2012-11-12 08:03 pm

Pod-aware day 1: How we podfic

I have feelings about the latest episode of Merlin. However, today is the first day of [community profile] pod_aware 2012!

Help spread the word on podfic (you don't need to be a podficcer to join in!).
[community profile] pod_aware || [community profile] pod_aware)
There are so many ways to create podfic and so many ways to listen. We might engage with podfic curled up in bed, in our closet, while commuting or at the gym, in our bathroom with makeshift soundproofing. To find out more information on podfic and how we podfic, check out Pod Aware on DW, LJ or Tumblr.

At that post you can download two podcasts of podficcers talking about their process. There are links to some other posts and podcasts and other works in the comments. [ETA NEW FAVORITE: COMIC BY [personal profile] crazybutsound.] Here I will talk a little bit about how I make podfics, though another part of this conversation is how we listen to podfic.

When I read fic, I am often thinking about whether I might make a podfic of it. I get an especially strong feeling when a fic is really lyrical or when the character voices are awesome, and I'll start to read it out loud to myself to try to decide whether I could record the whole thing. I also make a lot of podfics for [community profile] kink_bingo, so I go searching for things on the AO3 (YAY TAG FILTERS ARE BACK YAYYYYY) and read bits to try to decide whether I want to record. I don't think I've ever recorded something cold (without having read all the way through it once), but it's cool that that works for some people.

Once I decide that I want to podfic something, I usually check the author's profile and, if I can't find anything there, the Blanket Permission to Podfic list. If they have blanket permission, I'm very happy because it means I can start recording whenever I want. If they don't, I think some more about whether I really want to podfic it (because it might be awkward to get permission and then not go through with it), and then I usually leave a comment that says something like. "Hi there, I liked this a lot! Would it be okay with you if I made a podfic of it?" Or, if I'm feeling especially cocky, I might say, "I didn't see a podfic policy on your profile page. Are you okay with people recording your stuff?"

I think this is more blunt and forward than what most people do. I used to go through more of an effort to contact people privately and try to reassure them that if they weren't okay with podfic that was not a problem. During last year's [community profile] pod_aware I talked about one of the first permission emails I sent, which was for a Harry Potter fic and said "I know it's not something everybody's comfortable with, and also I'm just a beginning podficcer and have an American accent so it might not be the best. So don't hesitate to say if you'd rather I not do it!" It's weird to me that that was a little more than two years ago, because my own attitude in it seems so foreign to me now. I don't believe there's anything wrong with being new, or for having an accent that doesn't match the fandom source, and obvs I know that some people are not comfortable with podfic but if that's the case I'll let them say that for themselves, you know? Anyway, I don't mean to put anybody on the spot, I just tend to read fic by people who post on the AO3 and kink_bingo, and I figure they are probably aware enough of podfic to have an opinion, and if they don't know what it is they can ask.


Okay, so then after I ask for permission I wait. I know a lot of podficcers go ahead and record and figure they can get permission later, or if they don't then the recording will just sit on their harddrive, but I never do this. I guess because I don't enjoy recording as much as some people do; if I don't know that I'm going to be able to finish and share this project publicly then I don't want to put any more time into it.

I also don't feel like recording most of the time. :( I prefer to record when I'm home alone and not super tired, and not just after I wake up or after I've eaten, so generally in the middle of the afternoon. In the past few months that's really just been Tuesday afternoons, and tomorrow, for example, is a Tuesday afternoon when I won't be home. So that kind of sucks.

I have a Macbook Pro that I love and a cheap microphone that clips over one ear - it's kind of uncomfortable! And I record sitting in bed. I usually quit all applications except for Chrome and GarageBand in the hope that it'll help my computer to run more quietly. I sometimes open a journal updating box and type up the header I want to read at the start - [title], a [fandom] fanfic written by [author], read by sophinisba. Pairing [pairing], rating [rating]. This fic contains [content notes]. Once in a while it's simple enough that I can just read it from the fic page. I strongly believe in including audio content notes for common triggers, but not everybody does.

After the header I start reading the fic. About three minutes into the recording, my computer's fan will start making a lot of noise, so I pause the recording and wait for it to quiet down. When a line doesn't come out right, I snap my fingers and go back to the beginning of the phrase. I do this a lot! Something that ends up as a 20-minute podfic might be around 30 or 40 minutes of raw recording, plus 10 or 15 minutes of me sitting around drinking water, coughing, breathing, and especially waiting for the fan to quiet down. I don't usually record for more than an hour in a day because my voice starts cracking too much. :(

I might come back and edit another day. It will take some hours, but it's gotten a lot faster since I started doing that snapping thing. Snapping or clapping or clicking your tongue shows up as a vertical line in the waveform and that makes it a lot easier to see where to make cuts when you're editing.

Most podficcers that I know enjoy recording much more than they do editing. I like recording too but I do worry about not doing things right; it is something I have to psych myself up to do. Editing is very repetitive and tedious but I find it kind of soothing. I like the feeling of steady progress toward a goal. Because of this and the not recording before I get permission thing, I don't tend to have unfinished podfics sitting on my hard drive, except on the rare occasions when I work on something really long.

I like making short podfics because if I can't do them all in one sitting then the volume and sound probably won't match from one part of the recording to another, and it will make the editing a lot harder. I am never really satisfied with those transitions in my longer podfics, but I am proud of those projects anyway.

After I've gone through and edited out most of the mistakes, I have a draft, and I listen to it again to make sure I haven't missed anything and that the pacing sounds okay. I used to really hate doing this because I was so self-conscious about listening to myself, and I would often ask a friend to do it for me, not so much for real betaing as just to make sure I hadn't missed any repeated lines. Then I figured out that I was okay with listening to myself if I played Tetris at the same time, so that's mostly what I do now.

For various reasons (but mostly, not wanting to do pickups, or to explain that I don't want to do pickups) I've mostly stopped asking other people to beta my podfics, and I feel guilty when other people talk about how much better that process has made their podfics.

Once in a while I add music or sound effects, but mostly I don't. This is the topic for Friday's [community profile] pod_aware, so I won't say any more about that now.

Once I've listened to the whole thing and decided that it sounds okay, I export it to iTunes, and if it's longer than 20 minutes or so I make both an mp3 and an m4b so people can download their preference. In iTunes I add the metadata, including a link to the fic text and a link to the podfic tag on my journal, which has my podfic masterlist on top. I would really like it if more podficcers would link back to their own journals or places to feedback and find more of their work!

At this point I am usually excited about the idea that I'm almost ready to post! And then I realize that my podfic doesn't have a cover and I think, fuck, I still have hours more work to do, because I suck at making covers. D: This is very similar to the feeling I have when I think I'm ready to post a fic, and then I realize I don't have a title. D: D: D: I'm not going to talk about making covers here because it's too annoying. D:

Sometimes I am a rebel and I post a podfic without a cover! \o/ But then I feel guilty because I know lots of people like covers. /o\

So usually I make a cover that I'm not happy with, or once in a while a friend steps in and makes one for me, and I add that in iTunes. I make a Dreamwidth post (crossposting to my LJ) by going to the edit screen on my last podfic post, copying the text to a new post, and changing the information. I've tried keeping templates in different places but I find the most recent podfic post is just easier for me to get at, idk. Then I upload the files to MegaUpload and, if it's short, to SoundCloud for streaming. Sometimes I struggle for another half hour or so to try to get an embedded player to work before I give up and post a link.

I tell myself that I've done a good night's work and that I will post to [profile] amplicathon tomorrow, but I usually fail to do so. There have been periods when I've done a good job crossposting, like making a rule for myself that I will post at at least one fandom- or pairing-specific comm in addition to [profile] amplicathon. This is not one of those periods okay.

More and more people are also posting their podfic to the AO3 and to Tumblr. I could do this, since I have an AO3 and Tumblr accounts that I use. I should do this because I would like to make my podfic easier for people to find and to leave me kudos etc. But the idea of having two more places to link to and keep links updated for every podfic makes me want to hide. [ETA: I do I always Tweet a link right after I post. My Twitter account isn't public but hey, it's something.]

And that is the story of how I make and post podfic these days!! Tomorrow's topic is Podfic Fandom, which is my favorite fandom hooray!

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