Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Captain's bLog: Supplemental

I'm pondering the possibility of producing a Space: 1970 podcast. I have never attempted such a project before - and I'm not even certain that my computer set-up will allow me to do it properly - but I've been thinking about it for the last few months.

Aside from my hardware concerns, I would like to use some existing music, but I'm not sure how to legally secure permission from the copyright holders (or even how to find them, in most cases). If anyone with experience in these matters could provide me with some info or tips, it would be greatly appreciated.

But, most importantly, I need to know that there's interest in such a thing. I have a lot of projects on my plate, and producing a podcast is a lot of work and time consuming. I'm willing - and rather enthusiastic - about stepping into the medium, but to justify it, I need to be assured that people want to actually hear me ramble on about 70s sci-fi TV shows and movies.

So... post in the comments below if you'd be interested in a periodic Space: 1970 podcast, and especially if you have any experience in 'casting and would be willing to help out.


  1. i love the site and check it out every week, pod cast might be a good idea, ya wont know till you try.

    here is a video i found months back, that has a real 70's sci fi film feel, right down to the mat colouring, reel cool.



  2. I would love to tune in.

    I also would not get too hung up about copyright issues, it's the net and the 'blogshpere' so I'm pretty sure even copyright holders are not too worried about it especially since you are not profiting in anyway. Cover your ass by providing any relevant copyright information in the show notes.

    God luck :)

  3. I agree with Traie. I think (not sure) that most anything you use on such a podcast could be counted as fair use if you're not making money at it.

    This is a great site. Good fun to revisit this material. You could definitely take it a step further with a podcast. Play clips and interviews... be good fun I think.

  4. Spent the last couple nights putting together a "pilot" podcast (when I should have been doing other stuff). Not sure if I'll make it publicly available - still need to work out some kinks and learn to speak more clearly.... it's fun though!

  5. I'd also love to hear a podcast.

    The one thing to suggest as listener of quite a number of podcasts, is having a co-host to bounce ideas off of and fill in awkward silences.

    In any case I'm looking forward to it!

  6. If you want to do the show live, I recommend BlogTalkRadio.com. You'd have an active chat room during the show, for instant fact checking/memory prodding. And the shows are available for download later, for those who miss them live.

    The FanCentral FanCast, Clobberin' Time, and SciFiPulse have done shows that touch on areas covered here (and are "one of us" on 70s SF.) And the NDB Media podcast just spun-off a Space:1999 show, debuting with a Cathrine Schell interview.

    So the live thingy is another option to consider.

    (who will listen to the show in whatever format you go with)

  7. A co-host might be problematic, since a.) I don't know anyone who might be interested, b.) I live in the backwoods of Maine, and c.) since this would be an extension of the blog, and the blog is a very personal thing, I'm not sure having another host would be appropriate.

    I have recorded and edited a 20-minute pilot 'cast, and am evaluating what worked and what didn't. My plan is to maybe re-do it over the weekend. I also want to make sure that any music I include can be reasonably considered "fair use" - in the same manner as the photos and video clips I post here on the blog.

    As an artist who expects my own intellectual property rights to be respected, I try to be very conscientious in regard to other people's copyrights.

    Here's a question for you guys, though - what would you consider an optimal running time? 20 minutes? 30? Your input would be greatly appreciated.

  8. Tex: I don't think I'd be interested in doing it live. Without a script or at least an outline, I tend to ramble. The way I see this now is as an audio version of the blog, with short "posts" by me about various Space: 1970 topics, and music and audio clips used the way I use photos and YouTube videos here.

    I would absolutely want to do interviews, but I have no clue whatsoever about how to go about getting someone like Schell (for example) on the phone.

    Of course, if there are already a number of podcasts covering this sort of material (honestly, I have no idea - I very rarely listen to *any* podcasts, because they're distracting when I'm supposed to be working), is there really any need for me to contribute to the cacophony of voices on the 'net?

  9. Hoss, you have a unique view on the era (and indeed, the genre) we readers of yours dig.

    There are faaar too gorramned many podcasts out there that, ultimately, take a roundhouse swipe at the genre (while claiming to be fans.) Little or no research, uninformed opinions, and lame-o attempts at humor torpedo the shows. I guess they hope their audience is slightly more clueless than they are.

    BOTTOM LINE--If you can find the time, GO FOR IT!

    (tired of wanting to bash pig-ignorant podcasters with the Cosmic ClueX4)

  10. I appear to be in a minority of one here, but I have no interest in a podcast, by anyone on any topic. I'm not singling you out. I don't listen to them. I will cheerfully read anything you write on this site, but I'm not going to sit and listen to it. I can read text a lot more quickly than anyone can speak; I can't imagine why I would sit still for the time it takes to listen to a podcast. Maybe I'm an old fogey, but I don't listen to podcasts, and it actually infuriates me a little that the medium is becoming so popular, as there are sites that use them to convey information that I would be very much interested in, if only they presented it as text instead.
    Sorry, Chris, you seem to have become the unlucky recipient of my anti-podcast rage. Apologies.
    But if you do start a podcast, I won't be listening to it.

  11. Don't have any experience with this sort of thing, but just wanted to say I would love a Space 1970 Podcast. Sounds very exciting.

  12. I'm rather with Cord in that I'm not a fan of podcasts or v-logs, etc, and for reasons much the same as his.

    However, as I mull over my general dislike, I realize that as an "anti" in this situation, I may still be able to offer you something constructive by covering some of the biggest turn-offs about podcasts: sort of an "avoid this and it's already better than others" sort of suggestion list. :D

    Right out of the gate, I think you're on the right track with the idea of pre-recording and scripting. Rambling, drift, and awkward pauses are top of the list of podcast annoyances. Often a co-host does fill that gap, but not as well as might be hoped, simply because they, too, are performing live and unscripted.

    On a personal note, I am quite delighted that you would prefer to do it solo; there are just as many drawbacks to a co-host as there are advantages, the biggest one being a potential for a change or dilution of focus.

    Rehearse your 'cast at least once, once you have the final draft. Simple non-verbal filler is distracting, and can lead to a sense that the speaker is either unprepared or under-educated on the subject, even when neither of those are true. Rehearsals help to minimize this issue.

    Never set a block of time that you _must_ fill. Certainly it makes good sense to place an upper limit on your 'cast: people want some sort of regularity if only so they know you will never take up more than "x" amount of time that they will need to listen. However, not every topic you want to discuss is going to have enough material to fill a pre-selected block of time. Nothing ruins a 'cast faster than filler or coming up with weaker bits of material here and there in order to attain a mandated run time. The audience would rather have a few minutes of solid information /entertainment as opposed to those same few minutes packed into extraneous fluff.

    Decide on a tone, or a tight range of tones, and stick with them. Presenters that wobble from euphoric to serious to giddy again rapidly lose focus, and with it, audience.

    Those are my personal peeves with the majority of podcasts. I offer them to you not as complaint, but as suggestions of what to avoid if you can help it.

    I've got a bit of free time over the next couple of days; I'll see what I can find out about using music, licensing, etc. I can't say it'll help much, though: I'm not much of a detective.

    Best of luck!


  13. A podcast is a radio show technically. As one who has produced professionally and just does it has a hobby now, let me offer some comments.

    Music Licensing for podcast use is a very gray area, and generally in the US, it's usually ASCAP or BMI or both. Maybe a flat rate blanket license is available, you might want to look into it, but if you are playing rare sci fi oriented cuts, getting permission from each owner of the song, or the actual audio master recording or both if they are different people is a legal nightmare and could be impossible depending on the rarity of the track. If you think John Williams will sick his legal people because you play the Star Wars or Galactica theme, see if you can get a blanket license at a reasonable rate, but you'll likely be so far off the radar, I wouldn't worry about it until you get a letter from somebody.

    A lot of music licensees still haven't figured what they are doing with new media. SOCAN here in Canada is more progressive, and my internet stream and weekly radio show is covered with a blanket license.

    Listening to your podcast briefly, here's a couple suggestions.

    Audacity is a good basic editor, but not necessarily good for a decent sounding podcast. You cannot mix audio with music or sound effects (the last time I tried to do it anyway like a good multitrack editor) and it can sound choppy without crossfading elements together. I use Adobe Audition, but it isn't cheap. Mixpad is more cost effective and gives you multitrack capabilities you need or something similar.

    I'm a firm believer of not using computer microphones for podcasting. Good basic pro sounding mics and mixers you can run into a computer via the line in on a sound card or USB connection are fairly affordable, and online websites like Broadcast Supply Worldwide actually have podcast packages and even books with tips you can buy. You can also consult your local music shop (If you're in Maine, I'm thinking Guitar Center or something similar..went to the one in Portland once!) to come up with something basic and cost effective.

    While some people think scripting is critical. I don't. There has to be a certain amount of "fly by the seat of your pants" to make it from being boring. If you sound like your reading it, it's boring. It has to have an entertainment factor beyond your enthusiasm for the subject. You have to find your own mix between the two extremes. A way to do that can be putting topics down in point form and talk around that. The trick is pulling yourself back from rambling. That can be an advantage of a co-host, but good discipline is helpful.

    I'm also one for having an approximate set length. This can be helpful for keeping you focused as long as you don't jam it with everything but the kitchen sink. Let your personality and enthusiasm come out naturally without sound like your so scripted it's like reading funeral announcements. You can gradually aim for a set length once you start doing it more, and get a feel for what you want to do and how you speak and present yourself in front of the mic. It takes time and practice to understand your strengths and limits and make the best of them.

    Use stock music for seques between subjects, themes, etc. Buyout libraries or even one single music pieces are cheaper then ever and it sounds far more professional. Websites like freestockmusic.com certainly help. keep any other music used to the rare scifi cuts you want to play. NEVER use them for podcast themes, bumpers etc. That's what stock music is for and a lot of stock music and sfx providers know that and offer prices that are affordable.

    Strangely enough, the famous "bionic" sound effect used in the Six Million Dollar Man series is actually found in the professional Hanna Barbera Sound Effects Library from Sound Ideas. It's fun to hear it in the clear.

    Good luck, have fun with it, and love the blog which I only found just recently.