One of my favorite freelance writing gigs is working for sites like Wicked Horror, Gores Truly, and Horror Fuel to bring horror entertainment news and reviews to life. One of the most stressful, and most enjoyable ways to do that is by conducting interviews with folks who are actually making things happen. Through the different sites I write for, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with genre greats like Chris Carter and indie badasses like James Cullen Bressack. If you’ve ever wondered what indie journalists or podcasters use to make the interviews you love to read or listen to happen, check it out!
Skype & Google Hangouts
International interviews are infinitely easier with Skype and Google Hangouts, and even for folks which are within your country/time zone, using digital means to chat tends to provide better audio quality, which is important both for sharing content directly and transcribing interviews later. I’m classing these two programs together because they serve the same purpose and have been interchangeable for me. The best part? With a small investment in Skype Credits you can make a call to a telephone, or receive calls from telephones, so even if your subject wants to speak to you over the phone, you can still utilize Skype or Google Hangouts to chat with them!
MP3 Skype Recorder
- http://voipcallrecording.com < MP3 Skype Recorder
If you’ll be conducting interviews, you will need to be able to record the conversation for transcription purposes and to ensure accuracy when writing your article/piece based on the talk. The software linked in the heading has proven to be my favorite for recording audio on Skype and Google Hangouts, but if you don’t want to take my word for it you can check out the listing on CNET.
- https://transcribe.wreally.com < Transcribe
Before you visit this site and fall in love with this software, keep in mind that it requires a once a year license purchase, but it is absolutely worth it if you’re planning on transcribing much. The linked, web-based software allows you to upload files to transcribe or link to Youtube videos. (That is another thing I love, since I like posting captions on my Youtube videos to make them more broadly accessible for the hearing impaired.)
- http://amzn.to/2e3lqMP <USB Headphones/Microphone by Microsoft
- http://amzn.to/2dTnZgD <Bluetooth Headphones/Microphone by SkullCandy
- http://amzn.to/2e0NOvL <Stand-alone Mic, Wired by BLUE
The benefit of having a good pair of headphones with a microphone cannot be overstated. You want to be able to clearly hear the person you are speaking with and be sure that there isn’t static separating you from the person you are trying to talk to. I have linked the two headphone/microphone sets I use primarily when interviewing. My Bluetooth SkullCandy headphones are new, but so far have been wonderful in terms of audio quality and reliability. However, I still have the Microsoft USB headphones in case of a technical/Bluetooth connection issue. If you’re shooting video for your interviews, first and foremost heaven help you, but you might not like the look of either of these. For that reason, I’ve also linked the Snowball microphone by BLUE which comes highly recommended by several podcasters and folks who record video often.
- http://www.audacityteam.org < Audacity
If you plan to make the recording available to your readers/listeners, then you will absolutely want to pick up Audacity audio editing software. The best part of Audacity is that it’s 100% free to use, and is available for both Mac and Windows operating systems. In the off chance you’re recording your interview in person, you can use Audacity to manage any difference in volume between the microphones you’re using and cut out any awkward pauses, long silences, sound checks or recording disclaimers you might have done prior to the interview. If you’d like a second opinion about Audacity, you can find it on CNET.
What Do You Use?
Have another tool you swear by? Do you have better luck with a different headphone set? I’d love to hear what is serving you well in the interviewing, podcasting or investigative journalism space!