Audio/video production terms

Here are some terms and definitions for those interested in the process of making podcasts and videocasts.

Bed – A term in sound production referring to the music or ambiance sounds continuously playing in the background under speech or scenes.

Board (mixing board) – A tool that allows combining multiple audio sources into one signal for recording.

Clipping – Occurs when an audio recording distorts because the sound level (volume/pressure) exceeds what the equipment can accurately capture. You will hear clipping any time your waveform amplitude goes past zero (dB)

Compression – a way of making an audio or video file smaller while trying to maintain sound quality. The more compression you use, the smaller the file, but the more likely sound quality will suffer. MP3 is a common form of audio compression.

Compressor – A way of evening out the sound levels in an audio file. It can be done realtime while recording in hardware or post production via software. The goal is to make sure the listener doesn’t need to constantly adjust the volume as different people speak or different segments or a show begin and end.

Gate – A piece of hardware (often incorporated into a hardware compressor) that sets a minimum sound level before any sound is recorded. This can allow removal of distracting low-volume background noise such as computer fans.

Intro – A short audio or video clip placed at the beginning of a podcast/videocast that may have music and/or an announcement with the name of the show and episode and any other relevant information, such as sponsors.

ID3 Tag – A part of an MP3 file that allows data about the file to be stored, such as the title, author or artist, category and cover art.

MP3 – A popular audio file format, commonly used for podcasts (episodes). The file format is compressed to about 10 percent of the size but still can provide CD-quality by removing frequencies unable to be heard by humans.

Outro – A short audio or video clip placed at the end of a podcast/videocast. See Intro.