This post is part of a 6 part course on Sermon Podcasting. If you would like to see the whole course go to the Course Intro Page.
Welcome to the Sermon Podcasting Mini course lesson three. The topic of this lesson is the sermon recorder. We’ll start out by talking about choosing a recorder. Then we are going to go into setting up the recorders to record your sermon for the internet.
Recommended Sermon Recorders
There are two recorders I would recommend. The first one is a Closer Sharing Sermon Recorder and full disclosure, this is developed by me as part of a sermon podcasting platform, so you have to be a subscriber to use it. But with the subscription so much of the work is done for you. I believe it’s worth every penny. If you’re interested in skipping right to the absolute easiest and least time-consuming way of getting your sermons online, click HERE and get signed up.
But as I said earlier, my desire here is to help you get the word out, whether or not you choose Closer Sharing. So that brings me to my second option. Audacity. This is a really nice free audio recorder. After a little setup, it has what you need to capture and encode your sermon. This is what I used for years until I developed Closer Sharing, and you’ll see as we progress through the lessons it’s a bit more work each week, but it’s free.
Closer Sharing Recorder
So, let’s start with how to use the Closer Sharing Sermon Recorder. It is built with sermon recording specifically in mind and gives you a place to put in all the sermon information right in the middle of the recorder. You can edit this info while the sermon is going on so there is less to do afterward. It also remembers all the sermon information from week to week so it’s available to select from a list. So, if you select an existing series it will change all the information to the information from last time you used that series. It has automatic gain compensation built in so it turns the gain up and down as you record based on the input level. So if your pastor starts talking real soft, it will start turning up for you. If he starts talking really loud, it’ll turn down for you, so to keep an even level. So every word is understandable.
You can use the Input Meter (on the left) to set the input level from your computer. What you want to set this at is a nice level that’s up toward the top, in between the ten and the zero and that never ever hits zero. So if your pastor really preaches and gets really loud at times when he gets really loud, you want it to be right toward the top but, never hitting zero. Zero sounds bad. If you remember back to one of the earlier lessons, the way you adjust this would be the gain knob on your aux output for that channel, and that will send it over to the recorder.
You can pause the recording by hitting the pause button, like during prayer, or something like that. Then hit resume when you want it to continue recording. If you don’t have someone manning the recorder. Then after you hit stop, you can edit to trim the beginning, end or in the middle. There’s editing capability built in, and then, when you’re ready, just hit upload. Now you can leave the sound booth because it’ll do its thing and your sermon will be online. So, honestly, with hitting that upload button right there, you can skip the entire next two lessons because it did everything in the next two lessons for you. That is the beauty of the Closer Sharing and its sermon recorder. It takes care of a whole lot of stuff.
Now, let’s move on to Audacity and talk about how to set it up and use it to record your sermon if you want to save a little bit of money. In Audacity, all the controls are up at the top. There is an input meter horizontally at the top to use to set your level. You have to click it to get it started. Same thing here. You want it to be loud but never to hit zero.
One thing I should mention is since we are dealing with a mono source, the microphone of the pastor or speaker. You should change the number of channels to 1 (Mono). So now, you’re ready to record. While recording you cannot change to monitoring. To turn it on you go to Edit -> Preferences and go down to recording. Then select the checkbox called “Software Playthrough of input”, That will change it to where you’re monitoring the incoming signal. But once again, like with the Closer Sharing recorder, you need to make sure that you’re not looping back to the recorder again from your soundboard. Otherwise, you’re going to have a feedback loop. Anyway, this would allow you to listen through the recorder if you’re listening for that buzz, hiss or hum that we talked about in the earlier lesson.
One other setup issue that you need to take care of in audacity is, it does not have the ability, out of the box, to save to an mp3 file type. If you go to save the project, it will tell you. “Save project is for an audacity project not for an audio file that will open in other apps use export.” So you can save this here and you could open it back up in audacity but you cannot post this online for others to listen to. This is good if you want to edit it on a different computer. For instance, if you needed to work on it at home, you could save it off and then take it with you on a jump drive and then do your editing on another computer. Its files are very large, so it’s slow, but if you need that workflow, it is possible.
To give Audacity the ability to export to mp3 file you go to the menu File -> Export -> Export as Mp3. When you hit save now, it’s going to yell at you and say, “Hey, I don’t know how to save mp3s!”, because it doesn’t come with that ability out of the box. So, we have to go download an encoder to make it work. So, if you click on download, it will take you to the Audacity help page with a link to download the Lame encoder, click the lame installation section, and that tells you step-by-step of how to do it. So, we’re going to click on the lame download page, we’re going to click the “lame for windows.exe” and then hit save file. Go ahead and install that and let it put it in the Audacity directory. Okay, now that you have Audacity set up to encode to mp3 files you can select File -> Export -> Export as Mp3. Save the file to your computer. I will cover what to do with it in a later lesson.