One of Tom Hazzard’s clients asked for his help about recovering a lost podcast video. Thankfully, Tom knows the solution for such an issue, and he now shares it to everyone. In this episode, he explores the amazing features of Zoom that can be used to record podcast episodes without the risk of losing it forever. Tom also explains how to use the application’s technical capabilities to showcase your creativity in editing and improving your show’s overall quality.
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The Tech Of Recording: How To Recover Your Lost Podcast Video In Zoom
I have a topic that can be very helpful to many of you. It’s a little bit technical but not overly so. This is important for anybody who records their podcasts using Zoom or uses Zoom at all. Even if you don’t record your podcast that way, but you ever record meetings on Zoom, I’ve got a couple of things that I want to share about that. I was driven to do this by a customer who had a problem with the Zoom recording. I hope we find this helpful. It won’t be too long.
I want to talk about a recording program that is in my experience with all the podcasters we work with at Podetize. About half of our podcasters are using Zoom to record. That’s because people are familiar with Zoom. It’s easy to work with. You send your guest a link. It integrates well with a lot of systems like calendar programs to automatically create meeting links. There are a lot of good features. In the last couple of years since the beginning of the pandemic, when so many more people started using it, they have improved their technical capabilities and have made much higher-quality recordings not only locally when you record in your local machine but also now in the cloud. That’s a big distinction.
I don’t want to spend too much time on this, but I want to share with you what the situation used to be a couple of years ago and what it is now. There is a technological benefit for those of us using Zoom to record our podcasts. A couple of years ago, to record split tracks, meaning an individual audio file for each person participating in your Zoom call, which is recommended to record, save, and provide to your audio editors to use because they can do a better job editing your audio when each person is on a separate track, you had to record locally to your local computer, not in the Zoom Cloud.
There was a checkbox in your settings of the local Zoom app on your computer you had to check so that it would record those split tracks. The way it’s described in Zoom is the checkbox says, “Save a separate audio file for each participant.” I believe that is what it says or something close to that. When you do that and you record locally, after you end the Zoom call, you have to close the Zoom app. Even if you stopped recording at some point and you’re still on the Zoom call, Zoom waits until after you end the Zoom call session to start processing the audio and video of that show.
You will see a window pops up on your screen. There’s a little blue bar that goes across and a timeline. You can stop it if you don’t want to save the recording for any reason, or maybe you need to shut your computer down, and you don’t have time to let it process because you’re running out the door to catch a plane to go to the airport or something. You don’t have to do it right then. A lot of people don’t realize that if you don’t allow that process to complete, you don’t have recordings yet that you can use.
The main point I want to share with you is about this process of allowing those recordings to save. What happens? What do you do if you can’t find your recordings and don’t know what it looks like? I’m going to get to that, but I do want to follow through with what I was saying up front. A couple of years later, and it has been this way for the better part of 2022, Zoom Cloud recording will now also save a separate audio file for each participant. That didn’t use to be the case.
You couldn’t do that not too long ago, but you can now. We have started doing that at Podetize for the Podetize episodes we record using Zoom. We have started recording everything in the cloud. There’s another reason why. When you record in the cloud, you get multiple videos. If you’re using the video from your Zoom call for a videocast or even taking video clips and using some for highlights, and you’re not publishing the full-length video, although I’m sure a lot of you are doing that, that’s great.
When you record locally on your local computer, whatever you have your Zoom screen set to display is what will be recorded. All you get is one video recording. If I have it set to Speaker View, and it switches automatically depending on who’s speaking, that’s what I get. If I have it on Gallery View, where I see everybody on the call in boxes old school looking like The Brady Bunch or something like that, then that’s how the video records. As the host of the meeting, if you switch from Speaker View to Gallery View and back specifically at different times, that’s how that video is going to record. You get one video.
In the past, it used to be that cloud recording in Zoom was a little more limited. You didn’t get the split audio track recordings. Recording locally gave you more recordings and better-quality recordings. It’s flipped the other way a little bit because now, Zoom Cloud recording will allow you. You have to set your meeting recording settings in the Zoom Cloud recording settings, which would be logging into Zoom.us in your browser to do that. In your recording settings, you can set it to record that separate audio for each participant.
The wonderful thing they did at Zoom when you record in the cloud now, which is different from what it used to be, is that it will save you multiple video files at one time. It will save your Speaker View and Gallery View separately to completely different videos. If you ever share your screen, it will save another one of each of those types that will save a Speaker View with screen shares that you did and a Gallery View with screen shares. You get four actual videos.
If you’re into video editing or you have a producer that does video editing for you, having all four of those videos is useful. It makes it much easier to cut things out to switch from one person’s view to another, from Gallery to Speaker, or to go to a slide share view or a screen share view. There are a lot of things you can do creatively to make a better-quality video. You haven’t had to do anything on your computer. You can even set up your podcast recording meeting to automatically do all that recording and save it to the cloud automatically.
We even have ours integrated with Dropbox, where at first, we will save it to the Zoom Cloud. Zoom Cloud will only keep it for seven days before it deletes it, but there’s an integration with Zoom to Dropbox. You can have it automatically upload all your recordings to a Dropbox folder in your Dropbox account. Occasionally, there are glitches with that. I’ve had it happen where a recording is in the Zoom Cloud but fails to copy over to Dropbox.
You want to keep an eye on that. If that happens, you’re going to need to download it and reupload it to Zoom. It’s a little bit of an inconvenience, but at least you still have the videos. To come back to what is now sometimes problematic about recording locally in Zoom, I had a customer we support with their production in Podetize call me up on the phone in a panic. He was like, “I can’t find my Zoom recording. I don’t know where it is.” This is a very nice person we have supported for 4 and a half or 5 years. He is a seasoned podcaster. He knows what he’s doing.
However, he gets overwhelmed, especially with computer tech and things like that. He knows how to do what he has been doing for four-plus years of his podcast. When something goes wrong, he sends up a flare and needs some support. That’s what he did. He went to find the recordings. You record locally to your computer, which was the best way to do it up until sometime in 2022. For four years, he has been doing it. He keeps doing it the same way. It works for him. That’s great.
I’m going to speak from the perspective of a Mac. I suspect it’s the same on a Windows computer. When your local recordings are saved, your computer saves your documents folder and then a Zoom folder within that. There is a folder for each meeting or each different Zoom session where you record it. Once you end the session, it will process. Remember, I talked about that blue bar that’s going to go from one side to the other. That’s the progress bar as it’s processing, but if something on your computer interrupts that process or you had to shut your computer down because you had to leave, there may be other ways it happens. That’s a glitch that’s not intentional.
Those recordings won’t be on your computer, but I have good news for those of you that have experience or are worried this may happen to you. That recording is still saved, but there’s some encoding and processing the Zoom application has to do. When you go into your Zoom folder on your computer, you’re looking for your most recent recording. You go into the folder for that session. There’s always a date and a timestamp, “I had my meeting at this time of day on this day. Let’s find that folder.” Inside there, you will find there are no video files and audio files, but there are a bunch of funny-looking Zoom file names. Within that file name, it says, “Double-click to convert.”
Our customer thought he had lost his recordings. He didn’t know where it was. All I did was get on Zoom with him, had him share his screen and navigate it to the right folder, and then saw that was the case. He double-clicked on his files. That blue bar then goes and processes. It processes and saves all the files he needs. They were not lost. They hadn’t completed the process of converting from what the computer is saving all along as you’re recording and conducting your podcast.
That’s not usable in all the conventional MP4, M4A, or MP3 audio files you might use or WAV files and things like that. Zoom goes through the process of converting them all and then saves them. They’re right there. He was very relieved. He needed to be reminded of what he had to do. This is specific in Zoom. Every different recording program works differently and saves its files differently. I’m not here to talk about all of those. I don’t have experience with every different recording software out there.
I’ve used everything out there, whether it’s SquadCast, Riverside, StreamYard, or even more podcast recordings using GarageBand or other kinds of programs that are on your local machine. I am pretty recording platform agnostic, meaning all these different programs do a good job at recording at least audio, if not audio and video. They all do a good job. Occasionally, I’ve seen each one have a glitch and a problem, but for the most part, they all do a good job.
Everybody should use whatever program they’re most comfortable with. It’s going to be easiest for them to use and easy, more importantly, for your guests to use if you have a guest format podcast or occasionally or more frequently have guests. Anything that gives them a simple link they can get into and they’re in the meeting is ideal in the session. This assumes remote recording and not recording in person. That should be obvious because we’re talking about Zoom primarily.The quality of your show is more about the content you record. Focus on the message you're bringing to the world and a little bit less about video quality. Click To Tweet
The quality of your recording with any of these programs is more a factor of how good is the microphone you have plugged into that computer and how good is the webcam that you have plugged into your computer when you’re recording videos. Those make a whole lot of difference in the end result and the outcome you’re going to have. They all do a good job recording. Some will do more compression. Others will do more raw audio and video recording, which editors would love.
Here’s the way I feel about this. This is Tom’s opinion on the quality factor. You’ve got a quiet environment, a good-quality microphone, and a good webcam. Even if the software you’re using is going to compress those things and your video might lose little quality there, every different podcast host is going to compress your audio and convert it to MP3. It’s only going to have a possible quality height of a certain level. With video, there are some similarities there.
YouTube processes and compresses things. YouTube will do very high-quality videos for sure, but in embedding that on your website and other things you might do, your viewers probably aren’t going to notice as much or think, looking at your video, “That’s not as good a quality as it could have been. It was recorded on Zoom. It was compressed in the cloud,” especially if you’re using a decent webcam, and the color and sharpness are good, to begin with. These things compound when you often use a built-in webcam on your computer. That is not as high a quality as an external USB webcam and things like that.
That’s a little tip. Those are Tom’s thoughts on, “What should I use to record?” There’s no absolute right or wrong answer to that. It’s different for everybody. I’m happy with Zoom. It works for pretty much everything I do. I’m a host of multiple podcasts. I’ve recorded well over 1,000 episodes in my podcasting tenure. My co-host Tracy has recorded well over 2,500. The quality of your show is more about the content you record and the message you’re bringing to the world and a little bit less about the actual quality of that video.
I do think you should have the highest-quality audio you can possibly record and produce, given your situation, but there’s a very wide acceptable range of audio. If I hear bad-quality audio, I can’t listen to the podcast, and I won’t. Hopefully, anybody reading this is willing to produce a lousy audio quality like that. You certainly don’t have to. It’s not that difficult to record good-quality audio these days.
The recording software you use is a choice, probably a personal one, and more of a function of your specific needs and preferences of what’s easy for you. If it becomes difficult to do, you’re not going to do it. Use the best-quality software you can for what you can afford or are willing to pay and for the level of tech and setup you are either capable or willing to deal with. That comes to pretty much the end of what I want to share with you. The departure point of this was a customer of Podetize that had trouble and thought they lost their Zoom recording. Fear not. It’s almost always there.
I don’t think I’ve ever in my history of using Zoom over many years now had a Zoom recording fail from a tech perspective. I have had one where I forgot to hit record. That’s a user error. That’s tragic when that happens. Every podcaster does that once, but only once because that’s so painful. You’re like, “I’m never going to let that happen again.” From a tech perspective, it’s pretty solid. I’m a fan, for what that’s worth. I hope that was useful. I will be back next episode with another great topic. Until then, have a great one.