Emma Houlton: Alexa Flash Briefings, Podcasting and Storytelling Adobe Audition Podcast  Music Radio Creative

Adobe Audition Podcast

Hosted by Mike Russell

Adobe Audition Podcast – Emma Houlton (transcribed by Sonix)

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Mike Russell: Hey I'm Mike Russell from music radio creative. And welcome to the Adobe Audition podcast honoring 25 years of Adobe Audition in this series of 25 episodes. I will interview power uses of this awesome audio editing software. We'll reminisce back to the coolheaded pro days through to the introduction of multi-track editing and bring you right up to date with Adobe Audition CC and features like the essential sound panel. This show is brought to you by the awesome audio gear giveaway if you'd like the chance to win my perfect Orio creative studio setup. Head over to MRC dot fm slash win and enter now. There'll be many prize draws every month with a final gig giveaway taking place at the end of September. That MRC dot fm slash w i n for a chance to win. Good luck. Sweet.

Mike Russell: My guest today is Emma Victoria Hulton. She's a broadcast professional a new media Ekspres and also a storyteller based in Manchester in the UK. Now she's inspired by the podcasting format super inspired that she actually set up her own company called Art of podcast she's the managing director of Art of podcast. After she left national UK radio including working for the BBC Aarti and she's focusing now on the podcasting medium. Firmly it was founded in 2012 out of podcasts and they create fantastic podcasts and also Alexa audio content for clients based all over the globe including the Huff Post AOL Goldsmiths University and the United Nations. Wow what a client list. Emma welcome to the show.

Emma Houlton: Thank you for having me Mike

Mike Russell: So really amazing stuff. So you are using Adobe Audition I assume primarily as a storyteller. Tell me and the listener right now exactly how you using that piece of software.

Emma Houlton: Sure. I mean I've been using Adobe Audition now for over 10 years so I actually learned how to edit on Adobe Audition. I use it for everything. In terms of creating whether that's client podcasts or narrative podcast knitting stories together and also creating the flash briefings for Amazon Aleck's that you are talking about. And we also use it for capturing audio when we're out recording events

Mike Russell: Amazing say you are using multiple different ways but definitely for the spoken word. Just before I get onto some of the audio production advice you've received. And some of the projects you might have worked on. I'm really curious to know a little bit more. You just mentioned that about Alexa flash briefings. So can you maybe just fill me in a little bit about how exactly those flash briefings work and why they may be the hot new thing possibly.

Emma Houlton: Oh yes absolutely. So the Amazon Alexa flash briefings now many of the the clients I work with are on news stations. So it works really great for news having a daily news item going out but also sort of marketers and internet marketers and now using it as a touch point for their clients. So using Gary these an example he has Garibay 365 and he uses evergreen content so you'll have one short episode a day. So they're only around 90 seconds. Are these flash briefings sort of the sweet spot is around 90 seconds and he'll just use an insight or an actionable tip and share that each and every single day. So it's keeping him front of mind with his audience. So it's such a key area to be in right now and it's a really exciting area to be in as well.

Mike Russell: That sounds amazing. Yeah it's definitely it's something that sort of new on my radar and I'm sure quite a lot of people listening right now on their radars is the same as upon cars. Then you upload to an RSS feed and go from there.

Emma Houlton: That's right it's connected to an RSS feed and the Flash briefing. Well the Amazon Alexa takes the latest update on their now the listener can actually also ask Alex to play the last five as well. But it's just usually just the first one that you'll listen to. But it's just such an exciting area for me as a producer. Creatively there's so many different facets to it. Google home actually brought along with Netflix an interactive audio drama of the week and I think there's just so many new creative avenues it's really exciting so you need to get on board Mike.

Mike Russell: There definitely is while yeah I'm convinced definitely and I'm sure the amount of times we've said Alexa already in this podcast if anyone is playing on the loudspeaker have definitely triggered her a few times. So really really cool yeah exciting gosh we're already into really interesting aspects of podcasting. For those listening to look into when not even five minutes into the show. So let's let's move on now to audio production advice and making audio sound good which of course is what you're doing with podcasts. You aiming for quality audio and over the years that you've been imposed Polk County I'm sure you've received lots of different pieces of advice but if you could say a really good piece of advice you have received about audio production making audio sound good. What would that be.

Emma Houlton: Well in 2010 I completed a masters degree in radio production and we had an excellent teacher teaching as editing an audio production. And there's two key things he said to me. First of all invest in the best recording environment you can and recording equipment as it saves so much time in post-production. Now there are some amazing tools to get rid of background noise etc. But if you can have a beautiful piece of voice already recorded it will save you so much more time. Also less is more in post-production. If you think it's sounding just spot on it's probably too much in terms of the compression and the level of music and adding SFX so easing off on that as well just gives it that High quality and that high definition

Mike Russell: That's really good advice. Really good advice. Less is more. And yet record the best quality audio you possibly can really like that advice. So let's look at some projects maybe something you've worked on in the past and something coming up in the future or something you'd like to work on a lot of cool stuff already obviously. You recently for a fairly recently earlier in the year you were out in Las Vegas for an A B. Speaking on the adobes stage and doing a live stream. So lots of cool stuff there. But tell me about maybe an audio project you've worked on that has been really challenging for you and I'd like to know the reason why that's been challenging for you.

Emma Houlton: Yeah sure. No I mean creatively this was not too much of a stretch as a producer but it was more the organization and making sure that every single piece of audio sounded the same. The Seagrams show now Sigrun is a female entrepreneur based in Iceland and she came to me and said Emma I want to create a daily podcast 100 podcast episodes in a hundred days. I was like wow. I mean you know Mike Donio a really long podcast episode I don't know how he might stay up for that long. I really am Bonder podcast episode in a hundred days. Oh it was. It was crazy. So me and my team are working together. And just staying on the same page and working to tight deadlines. It was really challenging as a team and obviously we used adobe auditions throughout and having all the presets in there and being able to share all of our project files just made things so much smoother. But yeah that was really really challenging were now down to just only 3 episodes a week. Yeah daily. I'm glad that we're not doing more

Mike Russell: Yes that's right it is a lot of work. A lot of work because most of the work actually seems to go into a Pagasa I don't know if you agree after you finish recording after you hit the stop button right.

Emma Houlton: Absolutely. Yes

Mike Russell: Yeah. So yeah got to do that post-production and tagging and uploading but definitely it is worth it. So you're in the podcasting space you've come from a national radio background. You're working with some pretty impressive clients. What's the cool thing you'd like to work on that you haven't told anyone about yet.

Emma Houlton: Well it's actually not particularly poker related I mean it sound related but I would absolutely love to work on a sound stage in Hollywood. Absolutely. Just do some thoroughly or I mean I live on a big blockbuster or actually just getting to work with John Williams and his orchestra would be an absolute dream for me. I'm quite a bit of a fan girl when it comes to cinematic music. But yeah I'd love to work on either of those projects.

Mike Russell: Nice so sound sound from movies sound for films in Hollywood it sounds sounds like it would be really really a fantastic thing to do so let's say. And that's good because yeah like you say it's not directly related to podcasting so another really cool project to be looking towards. Let's look back in time now with you and your Genesis with audio. So when was the moment perhaps in your childhood usually is with us folks in Auria we tend to have an experience with audio where we're like wow in our childhood that makes us think yes I want to work with all the I want to obviously be in radio as you were and now eventually gain to this On-Demand form of radio where people can consume podcasts around the clock. But what was it for you back in the day that really made you think yes this is it I'm into audio. I like audio. I want to be doing something like that.

Emma Houlton: Well it wasn't quite as far back as childhood actually. I have a degree in music and I wanted to be a professional musician. I was in a band at the time and it was 2007 was my first experience radio and my band were in there doing a live session. A BBC Introducing saying and I thought wow this is where I want to do. I get to work with bands and get to listen to music. You can get to sit in a cool studio. This is something I really want to do. So it was 2007 when it all really came together. You know I I love sound and I love music and stories and just amalgamating all in a career in radio and podcasting was just great. It really was so. It's definitely the right direction for me

Mike Russell: That cycle was in the glitz and glamour of being in a radio studio or a radio station that really enticed you.

Emma Houlton: Yes it did it was and obviously it's a BBC studio as well. So it was beautiful. So yeah I could just see myself sitting at a desk some

Mike Russell: That's interesting so what's it like. I'm interested to hear coming from that radio background where certainly working for the national broadcasters there are often huge budgets sometimes license by as money invested in making these really amazing and big studios and great editing suites and then going into the world of podcasting and now having your own company working with clients around the world. How does it look now in your day today. Is it as glamorous as working in radio Bianna or is it different scale right.

Emma Houlton: It if it is on a different scale and I found this very hard actually when I first got into it because there weren't that big budgets and in radio your given sometimes a year to create a 30 minute piece of audio you know a radio documentary and then suddenly I was expected to create something quite similar in about a day. So that was quite hard and then I've had quite a few arguments with clients about equipment and the stuff they need because it just some of the equipment some podcasts used just goes against everything I've ever been taught to my master's degree and also had the BBC but if that works for them that works for them and yes that was quite difficult to start off with but it's certainly not as glamorous as the BBC but we have a lovely studio in an old warehouse in mostly just on the road from Manchester. So it's almost getting glamorous

Mike Russell: Nice that's really good. And I think it is important that you say you have a studio built for podcasting. And I really think that's the way it's going. Certainly with the the the big companies that once again the poll cost base having access to that kind of facility is brilliant. And I guess is that so is that what you are doing with many of your clients you're allowing them to get the good equipment hit record hit stop. And then you take care of the rest is that pretty much what happens back to the interview in a moment but if you want to in my perfect audio creator says I'll head over to MRC a dot fm slash when

Emma Houlton: In some cases yes. But a lot of the time now it's actually full service. So we'll either use our studio or we go to a studio a media city which is just down the road from Manchester where the BBC and ITV are based.

Mike Russell: That's pretty glamorous.

Emma Houlton: Yes actually I do like being in that studio. And we will let you go and we handhold with them and help them with their scripts and crafting the idea. So we'll also be in the recording process as well as the post-production process so we'll be there from start to finish. Like you say suddenly large companies are realising the benefits of podcasting. Now six years ago all of my clients were based in America and it was all remote but now suddenly I have a local client base based in north west and in London. So I'm getting the opportunity to work very closely with them from start to finish.

Mike Russell: That's great. And it's so so great to have an area like Media City UK just soulfood keys in Manchester as it is in soulfood isn't

Emma Houlton: It's

Mike Russell: It.

Emma Houlton: So far. Yeah yeah.

Mike Russell: Got to get that right. It's so fantastic to have an area like that which is already buzzing media hub of the United Kingdom. How do you how do you find that is. In terms of new media infiltrating Media City. Do you find that you bump into a lot of other people doing podcasts and maybe online video content there or is it still very much traditional media that dominate that area

Emma Houlton: It is growing. I have to say they're still mainly traditional media. But I did put my first event on last year in Media City and it sold out. It was a hundred people came all interested in this idea of new media and podcasting. So I think we're going to see a big shift in media city of people going in that direction. Definitely

Mike Russell: That so-called to hear. So yeah I mean it is just good especially for the traditional broadcasters too. Don't these new ways. I mean so many radio stations now they want to know how to create really good podcasts that not only just like rehash the stuff they're passing on air but also you know directly communicate because it's about directly communicating with your listener isn't it when you're when you're podcasting so that's that's really good stuff. Let's get into Adobe Audition as that's. That's why we're here we're celebrating 25 years of the software. I cannot believe it's been 25 years since we first heard of Adobe Audition and of course before that cool it it pro many features have been staples throughout the years and some of them have been introduced over time certainly with the updates from Creative Cloud and I'm curious as to find out what is. If you had to pick one thing your favorite feature inside Adobe Audition

Emma Houlton: It's really funny that you say that might because just you were talking you were saying how it sort of changed over time. Now I have to say I'm quite a Luddite when it comes to using software. I am not a technical person. I am a storyteller. Now I learnt on Adobe Audition three and I love the feature that actually I can use classic as the one of the viewing tools so I can be like I'm in Adobe 3

Mike Russell: Wow

Emma Houlton: So that's really useful for me. I know I know it's so bad. I know I really need to get into you know into the modern world but I loved that the whole retro vibe and it's seemed. You know I'm in my comfort zone there. But joking aside the thing is I love the really simple features. It's just simply the panning and volume tools in multitrack the fact that I can knit together a story using the punning feature the blue line on there and in volume it's just so quick and easy for me to use that's and it's so important to use panning to replace the listener within that story so being able to do that affected thing quickly is very important and also just the key and compressor presets are already on audition can make a pretty dull sounding piece of audio sound broadcast worthy. Within a couple of minutes so that's great

Mike Russell: That's absolutely right and you've actually you've hit on something really good there that I don't often give much thought to when I'm working day to day an audition. But you're right. The automation lies in the multitracked for tuning volumes up and down and panning things around as you need to do in storytelling and just the other day. I was I was just testing out another piece of audio editing software someone had it fired up on their computer and said I give this a go so I had a go and I was like Okay well how do you do. How do you do. Like volume control I'll have selected here hear and then move it down. But that's what I want to put more like automation points in a more dots and an oh no you can't do that. It's like actually we take it for granted. In like the fine grained kind of control you've got on volume and anything else you want to you want to put in there is amazing. So yeah really really good feature indeed. And what about amazing workflows all timesaving shortcuts. I know I'm very aware of the fact you just said you're a Luddite with software I know my worth but obviously you must have some bits you do whether it's shortcuts or Hakeas or something. Anything you can you can recommend for us that you're doing inside that software.

Emma Houlton: Well this is a time saving feature for me that I absolutely love is the fact that you can drag and drop on the left hand panel and multitrack effects and compression etc. Just on that particular track instead of having to go into the waveform apply that compression then go. Actually that's not right. And then go back and take it off and then try another one. You can just tweak it in the multitrack and then you're done. So that saves so much time for me because especially in the storytelling process I'm adding say Reeva to something to make it sound quite spooky or whatever and it needs to be just right for it to really portray that spooky sound. Instead of making it sound too weird. So that's really saved a lot of time for me in the storytelling process.

Mike Russell: Definitely. I really like that and the preview feature actually an Adobe Audition is brilliant because you can select any Odia like you say inside the multistrike dragging the effects and listen to what it sounds like. You can switch on and off. And yeah it's really easy and really slick to do that inside audition. So definitely some really really good stuff there. I'm curious what your resources and gear look like when you're creating or DOMA. So I know sometimes you need to obviously draw on sound effects I would guess in your storytelling. And also I'm sure you've got a microphone you got an audio interface they probably got some other gear there in the studio so let's hear about all of that.

Emma Houlton: Yeah sure. So in terms of the microphones that we use we've got a I'm speaking to you now on the show Essem 7 B and we have Focusrite interface and we'll have a very nice Mitus interface that's actually my partner actually I can't take credit

Mike Russell: Oh

Emma Houlton: For that

Mike Russell: Can you. Have you got the model numbers of the the focus right in the mightest Do you happen to know them.

Emma Houlton: Focus right. It's the scarlet C to ICTU or the Midas. I can't quite remember the name of that one actually but it's fantastic. I'll have to let you know and then if Khamenei puts it in the notes it's got some really really good preamps in it and it makes so this sense Evan Bayh really does need cranking up because the dynamic microphone and it can sound quite loud in something like a Focusrite. But the preamps in the Midas help sort that out. So these are really lovely interfaces that also we have a portable recorder that we use I'm a massive fan of them morans. And I'm a massive fan of electro voice microphones. I have an electro voice army 50 bayed I'll use for interviewing that tsunami directional microphone and I also use it for capturing a few SFX with my own if I need that or any actuality or while track. But sometimes if I have time to go out and make my own SFX I'll go on free sound the OLG. There's lots of weird and wonderful sound effects that people have created on there. In terms of music. My partner actually writes bespoke music so quite often I will use his services. But if not I really like some of the stuff that's on Free Music Archive as well

Mike Russell: Wow so yeah free sound I'm aware of free sound free sound or org. We can go on and you can you can search for a sound effect and you can sort by licencee find like Creative Commons zero for instance or other other stuff on there. And the the Free Music Archive that's not something I'm familiar with. How does that work.

Emma Houlton: Yes so it's Free Music Archive dot org. And there's loads of different genres on there. THIS JAZZ Sophie especially if you're into the kind of This American Life kind of podcasts is some really a bits of jazz and there was anything from hip hop to house music and a lot of it is licensed podcast use. You can actually go into the search tool and click podcast use and then old pop up and you can use them for free.

Mike Russell: Fantastic. That's really handy. That's a great piece of information have so some good gear there going on. Obviously the show seems to be is a legendary microphone so that's good to hear about and the same with your interfaces the Morans the electro voice mikes and those cool resources for free music and sound effects. You kind of got everything covered there. So this has been a brilliant chance particularly inspiring for those who want to create Polkan studio and perhaps their Allex of Flash briefings if they want to get into that. I've got a feeling you are going to be the person to talk to to find out more about that kind of stuff. So we'll find out in just a moment where we can find you in line. But first of all I'd like to know if someone is listening to this right now. They're young they're aspiring they want to get into the audio industry they want to do something maybe in podcasting maybe they want to get started in radio somehow. Anything inside the audio industry what kind of advice will what would it be that you would tell that person right now.

Emma Houlton: I would say don't wait for a job. Create your own within that starting your own podcast or your own radio show and say community a community station or a hospital radio show shows your prospective employer that youre passionate about this industry and also go to audio production portfolio for that potential employer to listen to as well.

Mike Russell: That's awesome. So yeah don't try and find a job created job. Do you think that's going to be the new way of working going forward into the future.

Emma Houlton: Oh definitely because. I don't know if you've seen this yourself Mike but in the radio industry radio job is a unicorn it really is. And as people are moving forward into new media a more connected world become wet from home will have home studios. I think it's going to be just the world of freelance in terms of audio production

Mike Russell: Yes. Does a radio job for life exist.

Emma Houlton: You know that is a unicorn.

Mike Russell: Definitely a Unicomb at one is next. That's fantastic. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. And I'm curious if anyone would like to find you online where is the best place for them to go.

Emma Houlton: Well you can go onto our website W WW dot out a podcast dot com or you can email me directly. I'm Emma at our tech polka dot com. We're also on Twitter at our Sopel cast and also Facebook which is Facebook dot com forward slash art of podcast.

Mike Russell: Awesome. Emma thanks so much for joining me.

Emma Houlton: You're welcome Mike. Then Keefe have me along.

Mike Russell: That concludes this episode would you like an extra chance to win the awesome audio gear giveaway. Subscribe and review this podcast. Then he tells the podcast that MRC Dotts FM for an extra entry into the awesome audio gear giveaway. Good luck.

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