Let’s build something amazing together.

ELEVATEDSTUDIO brings new stories to life and new life to stories. Our clients include Netflix, Sony Pictures Television, Comcast, and others. Principal and CEO Dave Finch has collaborated with The New York Times, Rolling Stone, O The Oprah Magazine, NPR’s This American Life and All Things Considered, NBC, WGN, The Modern Love Podcast, HBO, and more.

Podcast Production: A Marriage of Storytelling, Sound Design, and Audio Engineering.

ELEVATEDSTUDIO provides end-to-end development and production of podcast series for people and enterprises. That means concept development, writing, editing, production, and branding, all in a cost-optimized and proven model.

Audio Story Composition

EXAMPLE: MOORE’S LOBBY, EPISODE #2

This enterprise technology podcast was created by Elevated and EETech Media. In this example, EETech Media wanted “an episode about innovation.”

WHAT WE DID

  1. Story identification. Elevated conducted three separate 90-minute interviews with subject matter experts. After extracting common themes from each, we developed a narrative through-line that linked each segment together thematically.
  2. Copywriting. With the story arc identified, Elevated wrote the VO copy that would provide connective tissue between each segment.
  3. Sound design. Having determined the arc and connective narratives, Elevated curated a handful of transitional music selections invoking the curiosity and temptation of innovation. We thought pizzicato strings provided a good balance of curiosity and temptation without sounding cartoonish, and the occasional cello semplice lent a quiet veneer of seriousness. Or, in human-being terms, it just sounded really fucking good.
  4. Production. Engineering three separate segments recorded in guests’ homes with varying types of equipment required a few careful listens and some small compromises. We were able to achieve an episode that sounded smooth and unified.

Note: As you listen to this sample, you’ll notice that the majority of each segment is omitted for brevity and replaced with a ridiculous, little “fast-forward” sound effect. This is to save you 35 minutes. High five!

Hear the abbreviated episode.

EXAMPLE: UNIQUELY HUMAN: THE PODCAST

Uniquely Human: The Podcast is an original series about autism and neurodiversity, created by ELEVATEDSTUDIO and Dr. Barry Prizant, a world-renowned leader in depathologizing autism.

WHAT WE DID

  1. Concept co-creation and creative design. Elevated collaborated with Dr. Prizant to define the show’s purpose and principles, and to architect the episodic framework, community engagement strategy, tone, and audience.
  2. Copywriting. Elevated wrote the framework for this special inaugural episode.
  3. Sound design. Dr. Prizant, an amateur musician, wanted the episodes to incorporate music from autistic artists. Elevated developed an approach utilizing curated selections from autistic jazz musician Matt Savage. The goal was to balance the headiness of the episodes with something grounded and casual, as though it were background music in an Ozo coffee shop. The selections guide us through topical transitions.
  4. Production. Using the best equipment Barry was willing to invest in, Elevated developed the production and engineering workflows. Most of the editing involved re-sequencing the two-hour conversation into a focused, 45-minute episode. Also, my mic is just a $150 AKG P220 large-diaphragm condenser. By getting right on the capsule, off-axis no more than 30 degrees, and applying the right post-processing, I can get a surprisingly rich sound in the final cut. I’m pretty pleased with that mic.
  5. Infrastructure development and management. It occurred to us about a week before launching this series that we would want people to be able to hear it. Elevated created and has been managing the hosting services, website development, and social media assets.

Hear the full episode.

Making Stuff Sound Better

EXAMPLE: SALVAGING AUDIO FROM ZOOM AND HOME AMBIENCE

Another example pulled from the second episode of Moore’s Lobby is this tricky interview with Jianwen Shao. Jianwen was working at home, directly beneath a noisy cold-air return in the spare bedroom he uses for an office. Jianwen’s voice was captured on his iPhone Voice Memos app.

WHAT WE DID

  1. Normalize source audio to ITU-R BS.1770-3 loudness of (-16) LUFS.
  2. Initial noise reduction using RX spectral noise filter
  3. Configured gate to minimize ambient reverb and mitigate breathing, etc.
  4. VERY gentle RX De-reverb pass to mitigate noticeable room reflections coupled to speech
  5. EQ: Compensated 2k – 5k for speech clarity, attenuated heaviness from 250-900 Hz, gentle overall compensation for losses introduced by upstream de-noise and de-reverb filters.
  6. Modest compression (3:1) to help accentuate word attacks
  7. Removed mouth clicks using RX
  8. Added light reverb with very short pre-delay to smooth things over and still sound as though he’s in a room in his house
  9. Word and syllable reconstruction as needed (added a stronger “de” to “devices”, replaced some swallowed “the’s” with others of similar inflection but greater clarity, reconstructed “MDMESH”, etc)
  10. Reduced pauses, gaps, ums, etc
  11. Removed thuds, baby cries, phone dings, and other spurious noises

BEFORE

AFTER

EXAMPLE: SHOW UP AND LOVE (PODCAST)

Show Up and Love is a mindset podcast developed by my wife, Kristen. The show debuted in 2019 and earlier this year, she asked me to take over the recording, editing, and mastering.

WHAT WE DID

  1. Moved Kristen’s recording location to Elevated’s custom vocal isolation room
  2. Remixed the theme music for expanded stereo field beneath Kristen’s VO and to complement her speaking bandwidth with highlighted bass and high-frequency spectral content
  3. Re-recorded and mixed her new introduction VO
  4. Developed a standard effects chain preset for episodic consistency. This involved dialing in the right EQ, compression, and gate settings to preserve her vocal timbre while giving her enunciation just enough sparkle to keep your ears perked.
  5. Reduce pauses, gaps, ums, etc
  6. Remove thuds, baby cries, phone dings, and other spurious noises

BEFORE

AFTER

EXAMPLE: CONSISTENT, NATURAL BREATH CONTROL

As you know, amazingly, DSP engineers have not yet figured out a reliable breath-management processor. WTF! As a result, editing and mixing long-form spoken word assets can be tiresome without a good breath control strategy. I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with different approaches and, while it’s an evergreen work in progress, I’ve developed a fairly reliable and low-touch scheme for managing a talent’s breathing noises. I wanted the listener to hear natural breathing rather than eliminate it altogether. Check it out.

BEFORE

AFTER

Let’s build something amazing together.

Want to learn more about Elevated Studio? Click here.