02 August 2010 @ 09:45 am
Introduction to Podfic  
Hello all!

[info]lilithilien suggested that I spread the podfic love over here by way of an intro to podficing.

What is podficing?
According to Fanlore, "Podfic is a podcast of fanfic, read aloud and recorded by a fan."

Basically, it's an audio recording of a fan reading a fanfic. Like a fannish audio book.

That way you can listen to fanfic while doing housework, driving or on your mp3 when you're out for a walk or on the bus. Personally, I fell in love with podfic when I was doing order entry for a living. I meant that I could go to work every day and listen to podfic and get paid for it. It was awesome!

A Brief History
The idea of making an audio recording of fanfic had been around for a long time but it's only been recently that the term podfic was coined and it's still in the process of being popularized within fandom. Some fandoms have a ton of podfic (mainly Stargate Atlantis, Due South and Supernatural) but many fandoms (even large popular fandoms) have none. It all depends on whether or not the fandom has decided to embrace the idea of podfic or not. Lets make AWZ one of the fandoms with lots of podfic!

Who Can Podfic
Can you read? Can you speak? Do you have access to a microphone? Congratulations, you are now ready to start podficing!

Still not convinced? I know, I know, most people hate hearing recordings of their voice, but just because you don't like how you sound, doesn't mean that others do. Don't be self conscious! I can't tell you how many conversations I've stumbled across where a podficer will mention that they are self conscious only to be flooded with comments from people saying how pretty/soothing/sexy/awesome listeners find the podficer's voice.

I've also seen a lot of people say that they don't want to podfic because of their accent or because they're not a native speaker.


Accents are awesome. And, actually some of my favourite podficers have accents different then mine/the show in question. Some aren't native English speakers. And lets be honest here. AWZ is a German show, and this is an English language comm, we've already got a layer of dissociation.

An additional note for non-native speakers: there's no rule that your podfic has to be in English. If you don't feel comfortable reading in English, try and find a fanfic in your own language. Or see about having one of your favourite fics translated into your language and read that.

How to Start
Now we're getting into the nitty gritty. I'm not going to write a tutorial myself (or this will never be posted, also, I use non-standard equipment) but here are some links to awesome resources that will give you tutorials:
-The Audiofic Archive
This is a podfic archive. Most of the podfic out there is on it. You can search by fandom, pairing, reader, author and more. They already have an Alles Was Zählt section but it needs to be expanded! My tiny podfic is getting lonely there all on it's own.

-Newbie Guide to Podfic

-Some Tutorials

-[community profile] amplificathon / [community profile] amplificathon
These comms are run by the same people that run the archive. Amplificathon started off as a yearly contest to promote new podfic and rare pairings/fandoms (hint: AWZ counts as a rare fandom, so would any of the pairings in it, so you'd get extra points for posting AWZ podfic for that challenge). The comm has since grown and runs other things throughout the year. The next thing they'll be running is Podbang, which is a seasonal gift exchange where people podfic stories at least 35K words long.

-[community profile] podfic_tips
Is a great place to ask questions or get answers to questions you didn't even know to ask.

-[community profile] podficmeta
This is where a lot of discussions about podficing culture takes place.

-[community profile] podremix / [community profile] podremix
While I'm pimping things, let me just throw in my new podfic comm. This is a multifandom comm (that accepts newbies that haven't podficed before) where you take a story that someone else has already podficed and make your own podfic of it.

Not a Tutorial
OK, I'm still not writing a tutorial, but I will pass on a few words of advice that I've gathered through my vast experience (ie. by making a lot of mistakes ;).

-Speak slowly. It makes editing a million times easier, you screw up less and it's easier for others to follow.

-If you mess up, don't stop the recording but don't just repeat the word, if you can get away with just repeating the sentence (or sentence fragment as is usually the case with me) do that. Some people need to repeat the whole paragraph to make sure the flow is ok. If you just repeat the messed up word it can be hard to edit out the mistake and keep it sounding natural.

-Breathe. People write in much longer sentences than we speak. It's not uncommon for me to run out of breath before the end of a sentence. Try to find commas and natural breaks to breath but it's much easier to edit out taking a breath where you shouldn't than fixing the strain in you voice because you've run out of air.

-Choose a quiet place to record and check the levels of your mic. I know with my recordings if the air conditioner/heater come on while I'm recording, my mic picks it up and there's a level of background noise. I'll try and adjust the temperature on my thermostat before starting to make sure they won't come on. The other day though, I did a recording with the dishwasher on and the mic barely picked it up. YMMV.

-Project your voice. This is something new I've discovered but it works amazingly well. If you speak as though to someone across the room (assuming that won't overload your mic) you end up with a better sound quality. It might feel ridiculous as you record but it makes your voice that much louder than the other noises that your mic picks up. If you speak too quietly the hum of the background can almost drown you out.

Good luck podficing! And I hope I haven't overwhelmed you. If you want any kind of help, feel free to email me or leave a comment here. My email is parakaproductions at gmail dot com (email works better for me than DMs).
( Post a new comment )
Lilith: awz-nettchen[info]lilithilien on August 2nd, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC)
YAY!!! Thank you for doing this not-tutorial!!! I hope that this introduction will entice some people to start podficcing -- it's such an interesting way to participate in fandom, one that seems more accessible to people who might not feel up to writing. And I'm going to post something on my fic journal to give blanket access to podficcers -- I love hearing "Schön" read!

One question -- before you actually start recording, do you go through and make notes about where to pause, what to emphasize, etc.? I know you plan your vids out so thoroughly so I'm just curious what kind of pre-prep you do with podfics.
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paraka[info]paraka on August 2nd, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
And I'm going to post something on my fic journal to give blanket access to podficcers
That would be awesome to have as a top level entry or somewhere on your profile (I keep mine on my profile, also on my OA3 profile, you know, for the one measly fic I've written that I've already podficed :P).

I would also highly suggest you make a post inviting author's to give blanket permission to podfic their fics.

I know you plan your vids out so thoroughly so I'm just curious what kind of pre-prep you do with podfics.
Ha, maybe one day I'll go to that kind of effort but today is not that day. A lot of time I'll just have read the fic once in my head before I break out the mic.

For a while, when I was recording really small sections and pasting them together later, I would make two recordings of each section. One where I'd just blunder my way through, figuring out how each sentence should sound, making sure I knew how to pronounce everything. Then I'd do a second version which would go much more smoothly and quicker (and would be easier to edit after). I would record both because sometimes you make a mistake that you don't catch when reading and that way I could try and grab it from the previous recording rather than trying to do massive amounts of editing or having to rerecord the section.

I've gotten slightly better at getting a good recording the first time though. Sometimes, if I feel that I was stumbling all over the place I'll make a second version but that's more rare these days.

I guess I should also say that there's a lot of post-reading editing that goes on. Sometimes there will be large sections where I'm repeating a sentence over and over again. Or there's silence as I click over to my browser and try to find out how a word is really pronounced.

With Schön, it ended up being a 7 minute podfic, I'm pretty sure the unedited recording was at least half an hour long maybe around 45 minutes? That's a bit long for me, since I was struggling with the German but still, you cut out a *lot* when editing. I wouldn't say there's a hard ratio (for longer fics, I think the ratio is smaller than with something short, since it can take me a page or two to get into the smoother reading habits where I make less mistakes).

I don't know if I said this anywhere in the post, but for me, there's about 5-10 minutes of work for every minute of the final product podfic. One of the podficers I talk to is closer to 1/20, some are as low as 1/3. It depends on the podficer, what kind of equipment they're using and how much of a perfectionist they are.
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