James Bilsbrough is a SquadCaster and the host of Crossed Wires podcast. On this episode of the SquadCast podcast, we’re featuring an episode of his show! This episode is a conversation between James and our co-founder, Zach Moreno.
At SquadCast, we love showing off the podcast episodes and content recorded on our platform by incredible creators.
Here’s what happens in this episode
“In this episode, I chat with SquadCast’s co-founder, Zachariah Moreno, about how things got started, what problems SquadCast aims to solve, and some of the really cool behind-the-scenes technical details of how shows like Crossed Wires get recorded through their service. I’m genuinely excited by what’s coming in the next version of SquadCast, and I’m eternally grateful to Zachariah and the team for creating such a reliable platform. I should probably also say that I really should make local backup recordings too, I know things can go wrong with any service, my point was more that I didn’t feel as worried about not doing so with SquadCast.”
Also in this episode
- James Bilsbrough
- A pre-roll ad from About IBD
- Get your podcast featured on the SquadCast podcast
- Learn more about SquadCast’s New Studio and Backstage
- Join our community
- Written and produced by Arielle Nissenblatt
- Mixed and designed by Vince Moreno Jr
- Artwork and logos by Alex Whedbee
- Music by Shawn Valles
- Hosted by Zach Moreno and Rock Felder
- Transcripts by Sabeena Singhani
AMBER TRESCA: Before we get to this week’s episode of The SquadCast Podcast, I want to tell you about my show About IBD. I’m Amber Tresca. On About IBD, I talk to people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis who share what they’ve learned from their journey. I also talk to experts for their perspective on topics such as nutrition, mental health, intimacy, and healthcare activism. I want to help people touched by IBD live a better life and feel less alone while navigating the ups and downs of chronic illness. Subscribe to About IBD in your favorite podcast app.
JAMES BILSBROUGH: Hi, and welcome to The SquadCast Podcast. The show is hosted by Zach and Rock, SquadCast co-founders. But today I’m here because in a moment, you’ll hear an episode of my podcast Crossed Wires. Usually on this show, Zach and Rock chat about remote content production. They share recommendations, they discuss product updates, and more. And lately on this feed, you’ve been hearing a bunch of SquadCast recorded podcasts. That’s because the SquadCast team loves showing off the amazing work of the Squad community. Here’s what you can expect to hear on the episode we’re about to play from my podcast. It’s Zach. After using SquadCast to record our episodes with great success, I invited Zach to come and join me for a chat to for why, what, and how are SquadCast. We get into some of Zach’s passion for podcasting and hear a bit of a sneak peek from a soon to be released version five. Without further ado, let’s get to Crossed Wires.
JAMES: Well, hello everyone and welcome back to Crossed Wires. We have a fantastic guest this week, I’m really excited. Zach from SquadCast is joining us today to talk all about SquadCast. Now, for those you don’t know and haven’t seen me tweeting how much I love this product, this is the tool we actually used to record this podcast to get people in and to record the calls because, to be honest with you, I’ve done podcasts for so long, I didn’t want to endure setting up more and more Skype recordings and trying to sync audio coming from different people’s machines. So SquadCast really solves that challenge. But Zach, thank you so much for joining me.
ZACHARIAH MORENO: James, Appreciate you having me on.
JAMES: So before we dive into sort of the ins and outs of Squad Cast, do you wanna tell people a little bit about yourself? What’s your background? So how you came to SquadCast?
ZACH: Happy to. Yeah, so I have. I have loved podcasts, uh, for, for a long time. First as a, as a listener because, uh, I, I love learning new things. And, um, I have a, I have a background in, um, computer science. I’m a software engineer, uh, design, fine art, uh, just like love creativity and love, uh, how collaboration can enhance, uh, the creative process of making something new. And, uh, I’ve applied that in a number of different mediums across my trajectory. And, uh, that’s really what I see as like my personal mission is to, is to connect creatives and, uh, kind of two heads are better than one kind of thing when you’re, when you’re, when you’re making something new. So, uh, so SquadCast is the application of that same approach of, um, ways that we can enhance the collaboration through, through the creative process. But in this case, it’s when it comes to audio and video. Um, that’s not how we arrived at the kind of concept or idea. It was more so rooted in wanting to create a podcast but not having the, uh, the luxury or, um, like logistical possibility of getting in a physical recording studio with my collaborators. Uh, we’re, we’re kind of spread out across California here. That’s where I’m located, is in the Bay Area in California. And, um, and my brother is a audio engineer. Um, my best friend is like a playwright and author. I’m also an author, and, uh, we thought we’d get, uh, way outside of our, our comfort zone as creatives, and, and work on like a science fiction audio drama together, like a very scripted, uh, you know, highly polished, narrative podcast. Um, and, and that was gonna be a real challenge to us, but there was kind of this extra challenge that we couldn’t get in the same studio. Uh, and that was really discouraging for, uh, for, for that project. Um, but it wasn’t until we kind of started seeing that as a, as an opportunity to build something new, and, and solve this, uh, this problem of kind of, you know, uh, how do we record in, uh, in studio quality without being in the same room. Uh, and that, that’s really, you know, SquadCast has really become the answer to that question, five and a half years later.
JAMES: Absolutely. And I think you’ve hit the nail on my head there. You know, I’ve done podcasts. This is the second iteration of Crossed Wires. But first was, it worked well, but we didn’t have SquadCast. We, we actually managed with, now I’m the last person to say the Audio Hijack is not a good app, because it is a fantastic product, and it’s great for recording locally. But the reality is it’s still capturing the voice, the voiceover IP quality audio, say for example, from FaceTime or Signal. That’s right. Or, or whatever you’re using, and ultimately, as you said, but best quality is going to be, you know, multiple people sat in the studio properly, you know, sound, uh, sound treated, good microphones, um, and you know, a decent audio interface and decent recording software, but you know, geographical distance is a huge challenge to that. So I guess before we sort of talk about how SquadCast makes this much easier, I guess it’s worth talking about, you know, as we said, some of the challenges, because it was all very, you know, you could just take the VOIP audio, and it would sound okay. But if you had, say for example, someone’s connection dropped, you’ve got a break in my audio. You’ve possibly got a lag, and I don’t know if you’ve ever run into this, I’m guessing you have. You get people to locally record by their own means. And then sync it up later. I’ve never been able to nail that. What would you say have been some of your pain points with recording in the past, before SquadCast came along?
ZACH: Yeah. And we’re very much like students of, uh, the innovations that have, um, afforded us the opportunity to kind of step into this, um, step into this technology and, and move the ball down the field, so to speak. And in that, uh, kind of research, because we didn’t assume, like, we knew what we were doing, and we could build something new. We assumed this was a solved problem and that we just were naive and hadn’t been exposed to the solution yet. Um, and that’s really where our research started. Um, and, and just by the way, the, the process of creating a startup that I, I, I recommend, or, or any project, you know, I recommend validating your assumptions kind of in that way. It’s really, really helpful. Um, and at least it was for us in, in our case. So what, what we did was, uh, you know, you just described a couple of the ways that people have figured out how to record when you’re not in the same room or studio, uh, through time. So, uh, kind of started with this, this approach of radio stations like, uh, the so-called double ender where they are in two studios, uh, either end, both ends, or as many people as you want are, are in, in physical studios, and then they would just record themselves, and then sync it up after the fact. Maybe, you know, it was on tape and they put that in the mail, and, and they sent it over and then somebody cut it together. So that’s kind of where things started. And then digital makes that a little bit easier. Right? And, and the, the quality, uh, when it’s. Analog in the very beginning was really high digital. The quality went down a little bit, but it got a little easier. So this is very much a trade off, as many engineering pursuits are, and technologies are, is a, is a trade off between. On one hand you have kind of the quality, uh, we know how to record really high quality audio. People have been doing that for a long time. Um, but then the convenience on the other end, uh, you know, trying to balance these trade offs. So what you see is like when people aren’t in the same room, they end up having a, either a trade off of decreasing the quality, and the convenience goes up, or you can increase the convenience. Let’s say something super easy and convenient, like accessible, like a phone call. But the quality goes way down to like eight kilohertz sample rate, right? So, uh, you kind of teeter totter on those two constraints. And in SquadCast, what we try to do is, is really balance all those constraints, prioritize quality, and provide an experience for, uh, even, you know, guests, uh, who are, who are invited to record on SquadCast. They’re not professional content creators, so it needs to be convenient enough for them to, to say, connect from like an iPad or, uh, really anywhere in the world. We’ve, uh, helped people record in over 190 countries around the world. We’re proud to say.
JAMES: Which is a huge achievement and I, you know, the feedback I’ve had from every guest that I’ve had on the show up until yourself has been, wow. This is super easy and…
ZACH: Glad to hear that. Thank you.
JAMES: Yeah, I mean, I had someone join from her iPhone, and I mean, it’s fair to say that’s been a big challenge for you guys.
ZACH: Yeah. It’s, it’s still currently in beta to be fair, and we’ve been working closely with Apple in the WebKit, open source community for a long time to add the, uh, open web standards needed to support an application like SquadCast and be able to, you know, record in the ways that we have, uh, developed, and um, to preserve that quality and make it easy to use. And, uh, there were some kind of, uh, nerdy pieces missing from the WebKit story that were preventing us from, uh, from doing it in a standards-based way. There are, there are less standards based ways, let’s say, to do something. But we, we want it to be accessible. We want it to be, you know, uh, backwards compatible, all of those things, that make, uh, accessibility magical on the web.
JAMES: And I guess if you are using open standards, you’ve then got a whole community behind you guys to say, oh, this isn’t quite working as we want it to work. Or we found a bug. Rather than it just becoming a SquadCast problem and your mechanism, it becomes a WebKit problem, and they’ve got more of an incentive cuz the web kit team, uh, are fantastic from what I’ve seen. And now the thing, what’s worth mentioning is SquadCast does not require any extensions. It just works in, you know, every desktop browser. Um, I’m using Chrome at the moment. Um, Safari on desktop is now out of beta.
ZACH: Yeah. I’ll make it easy for you. Yeah, it’s, it’s, uh, all of them, and iPhone and iPad are beta. So, uh, so, you know, Firefox, Opera, Brave, uh, Edge, you name it, we’re the only cloud recording studio, uh, that is supported across all of these devices. And because the, the web kit pieces just came out of beta. We, we still have those in beta on our end, and we’re kind of monitoring how that is producing, uh, for creators.
JAMES: Now, of course, I do have to ask a very important question, and this is a deeply serious question. Do you support Internet Explorer Six?
ZACH: (laughs) No.
JAMES: Good. Okay.
ZACH: No, no, no. I, uh, we support everything that is currently like, you know, not end of life by, by the browser vendors. Um, and, and up with the exception of, uh, of yeah, Safari. And, uh, an iOS and iPad that’s, uh, 13.4 and higher, I believe, because of those missing pieces. And, uh, I did my, I didn’t mention it during my background, but I did my internship on the Chrome team at Google and working on, you know, collaborative developer tooling. And, uh, you know, that that exposed me to a lot of ways that, um, that those teams build software, and, and, and the web standards process and how that’s, you know, critically important to, uh, applications like SquadCast that are using a lot of very forward leaning, let’s say web. Web technologies.
JAMES: Absolutely. So stepping away from the web technology side, let’s, let’s take it back a little bit more about the, what I like to call the magic of SquadCast, cuz we’re right now on a, a video and voice call. Um, I can see you clearly, I can hear you fantastically well. Which that in itself, by the way, is something I really want to praise you guys for because…The call quality. It gives a certain amount of confidence when you’re recording it. I think you guys even put up a little banner where it says, recordings will always be higher quality. Why? Why is that? Why are recordings always higher quality? What’s, what’s going on in my background?
ZACH: Yeah. So we’re, we’re proud to say that, uh, We’re the only cloud recording studio that has a, a unique collaboration with Dolby, so that, that’s the same Dolby that you see in the movie theaters, and on, you know, music albums and things like that. Uh, so Dolby is providing the, uh, real time audio and video that we’re having as a conversation right now, and, uh, and that conversation quality, while it is high, and awesome, uh, thanks to Dolby, it is, uh, it is still about half the quality of our recordings that we produce and provide, uh, the creators that use SquadCast, and, and their guest. So, uh, so you mentioned before that you know, few years before SquadCast like the, the, um, you’d be recording the, like host locally, but the guest, their audio would be traveling over the, over the web, and kind of compressed on, compressed and stepped on while in transit there. So, uh, one person would sound great, but the other person would sound less than great. Like with SquadCast, we kind of equalize that and everybody sounds equally awesome in the recordings, um, because we prioritize, uh, the, the recording quality. Um, and then we do a bunch of other things that are really, um, designed to set creators up for success when it comes to their workflow and post production. You know, having a high degree of reliability and confidence that you’re going to get those recordings when you click the stop button. Uh, and, and not just get them, but I will say that, uh, you get them very quickly. SquadCast is, by far the fastest when it comes to, uh, producing those files, rendering those files, and that’s because we do have intellectual property that is at the core of our application. We call it our recording engine. And that is, uh, is, I’m proud to say very, very close to being awarded, uh, it’s patent. So we’ve been in that process for the last couple years, and, uh, you know, had a good relationship with the, uh, with the examiner, and all of those things that are necessary to get the patent across the finish line. So we’re very proud of that. And I think it speaks to the, the level, you know, commitment of, commitment to innovation that we have at SquadCast.
JAMES: You hit the nail on the head on get those recordings quickly. I’m not gonna name any other products, but I’ve used other cloud recording studios. I’ve used a couple of them, and one of the biggest challenges is waiting and waiting and waiting for the files to be processed. And now one, one thing I really love is now I’m, I’m just gonna be…
ZACH: Why is that?
JAMES: Well, as in why are they doing that?
ZACH: You shouldn’t have to.
JAMES: Yeah. No, you shouldn’t. It should be a seamless thing. I, I shouldn’t have to ask my guest to make sure they stay on the line.
ZACH: Never, never. It’s, it’s a huge security risk as well. I mean, you’re asking somebody to leave an active web RTC connection open, uh, for, uh, you know, however long in the background, and talk about a hot mic, you know, like that’s, that’s not secure, let’s say.
JAMES: No, it is nice. Of course, once you stop the recording, you do still have the, the VOIP call. Uh, cuz I think certainly we’ve, we’ve quite a few of the guests, these are people I’ve already known, so we just end up having a chat. And actually sometimes it’s been better than a FaceTime call. But of course what else is happening is the audio. So my audio right now is being sent up by VOIP to you. Your servers are recording by VoIP copy, but more importantly, on my local machine, through WebRTC, through the browser, we’re doing a local recorder as well, which means that was a full local copy, local high quality copy, but then now are you guys doing progressive uploads? So that’s getting uploaded as we wait or…
ZACH: Yeah. We invented that technology and I, I believe we’re the only ones actually doing that. And that’s how we are able to render so quickly. We don’t have to wait for uploads to finish, because they’re already in our cloud, uh, in their source, awesome quality, and then we just give them to you. So that’s why it’s, uh, it’s really fast. It’s, you know, it’s, it’s non-destructive, and uh, it also prevents the need to, to wait around, um, while kind of, you know, preserving the quality. So we’re actually doing both to answer your question. We’re doing progressive upload with local, ISO recordings for everybody connected to the conversation, that’s up to 10 people at once. This is a conversation between the two of us right now. But we can go up to 10. And no matter how long you record for, we’re going to produce those files in a couple seconds and uh, you know, you can kind of carry on with your, your next meeting, your next recording session, and really be efficient when it comes to producing lots of content like, you know, some of the customers where we have the privilege of working with like ESPN and Google, like they record daily shows with us. You can’t really slow down or accept that, hey, this is gonna take a couple, couple hours or minutes even to, to upload. It’s kind of onto the next one. That’s something really unique to SquadCast and we’re proud to, you know, that, of that difference.
JAMES: Oh, absolutely. Do you know, I just, I was just thinking back to, this was years ago, this was, this must have been over 10 years ago when Apple still actually bothered to put podcasting features into Garageband. Those days have gone. Long gone, but they had a really, I, I dunno if you remember it, but they had a feature, and it never really worked. But the idea was if you re, if you did your audio call on iChat, which is pre-FaceTime, and recorded that with Garageband, it would actually do separate tracks for each iChat, which if, but of course it was still just the cloud audio. It wasn’t a local recording being transmitted.
ZACH: Yeah. There’s like, Speaker Diarization Technologies existed for a while when it comes to like, like AI and, and machine learning and things, uh, along those lines. So, um, you know, you can split apart, uh, kind of after the fact, but it’s best if you just record everybody, uh, at the source. And then that gives you like uber flexibility when it comes to editing and post production. Like let’s say if I have some background noise like my dogs barking or snoring while you’re speaking. Um, that’s really easy to remove when it’s, uh, when it’s, uh, you know, ISO tracks for each speaker compared to like, premixed. Um, so that’s, that’s, you know, with SquadCast, you really have the best of both worlds. You have those, you know, awesome quality, uh, local audio and video recordings for every speaker. But then you also have the cloud recordings, which are provided by Dolby, recorded server side. And those are, uh, more like you would get from like a Zoom recording. So, yeah. Um, I get people all the time asking me like, oh, I just use Zoom. Like, why is SquadCast better? And it’s like, it’s only additive. Like you still get your, your Zoom cloud recordings, if you need them in the less than 1% chance you do. Uh, on, on our platform, they’re there for you. Just so we can always make sure that next episode is out and your relationships with, you know, your, your partners are, you know, monetized ad relationships, let’s say. Your next episode is, is out on time and, uh, mm-hmm, all good there. Even in the worst case scenario that like, yeah, our, our fancy recording engine doesn’t produce your file. Uh, you still have that. Um, in that kind of worst case scenario, there’s never a situation where you don’t have your content, uh, we can produce that and then we do it, yeah. Very quickly.
JAMES: Now you hinted at something that we hadn’t really talked mentioned before because we talked about this being a video and voice call, but SquadCast, you have a nice range of plans and on the upper plans, it’s not just audio. We’re getting, uh, am I right up to 1080p?
ZACH: That’s right.
ZACH: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And you’re my guest in, in this case, in this conversation. So, uh, I am on, I’m on a video plan. So, uh, so we’ll have the video from this conversation as well. And again, it’s, it’s, uh, similar to what I just said, it’s, it’s, uh, only additive. So you still get the audio, uh, ISO tracks and WAV and mp3. To get nerdy for a second. 48 kilohertz sample rate, 16 bit depth, um, mono WAV uncompressed, uh, for, for all those speakers. But, and then if you’re, if you have video enabled, or you’re on a video plan, yeah, you just get, uh, those videos in addition to the audio, pre-MUX. So you have options if you wanna produce your audio show differently than your video show, or you want to use those videos for social media, or, you know, publish the full long form conversation, uh, in all those formats, on multiple platforms like the world’s, your, your oyster here, your content oyster to uh, you know, produce your show however you like. It’s, it’s very flexible in that way.
JAMES: I’m just pulling up your price plans now and do you know what, these are great prices, I’ve gotta say. So for audio plan, if you are just maybe doing a monthly show, and you only need up to two hours audio recording time. Now that is recording time. It’s not time sat in the green room, and it’s not, you know, time chatting before you hit record. It is recording time. And one thing I discovered, of course, is um, it banks. So if I, so I, for example, nearly ran out of audio last month, but I had say 25 minutes left, when my, uh, plan renewed, I, I’m on, I’m on five hours in the audio plan. I got that additional 20 minutes bolted on top of my five hours, which was really nice cuz again, a lot of plans won’t let you do that.
ZACH: Yeah, so they reset at the end of every month. It’s kind of, I’m glad you brought that up. You’re, you’re, you’re totally right. And yeah, we’re, we’re the only ones who, who have rollover and then that’s much like, it kind of builds off of people’s mental model of like, you know, when you’d go, and rent a booth at a physical recording studio, it’s much the same way. You know, rent it by the hour. And, um, yeah, we feel that that’s, that’s your time. So yeah, you can, you can bank that up. And then also if you’re, if you’re getting low, we have a built in grace period. We, we’re not like Zoom where we’re gonna cut somebody off. Like, you know, content creation is hard. Uh, getting guests on your show is not always easy, so we, uh, we never want to interrupt that. Um, and there’s total, total grace period. And, uh, and yeah, you can buy an, like an hour on the fly if you, if you need more, but it’s, uh, yeah. Yeah, it’s, it’s something that we’re excited with as we look to the future, to, to simplify our pricing and make, uh, make video, yeah, more accessible for, for more creators.
JAMES: Awesome. But the other thing I wanted highlight as well. Again, I’m not gonna call out any other platforms, but other platforms, you have to be on a higher tier to get the, the WAV, get the uncompressed audio.
ZACH: Yeah. That’s ridiculous.
JAMES: Yeah. But it goes back to your analogy of being in a studio. If you’re in a studio, they’re not gonna give you like a, you know, a cassette tape version if, if you only pay for two hours and the guys who pay for, you know, six hours get, you know, a hard drive with, sorry, with the WAV files. I’ll say this as well before we move on to a future cause it’s something we want to sort of talk about and give a little bit of a sneak peek of maybe some cool things coming. Since I started using SquadCast, I’ve stopped doing a backup recording on Audio Hijack, because I’ve got that much confidence in SquadCast. Now that’s gonna probably come back and bite me one day. But for now…
ZACH: It’s got, it’s uh, it’s got built in backups with the cloud side recording, so, uh, with Audio Hijack or we have some customers who like record directly to SD on maybe their audio interface, you know, has that, has that as a feature, like some do. Yeah, that’s just like a third layer of backup. So, you know, uh, we, we didn’t get to the moon by being perfect. We got there by having redundant systems. So that’s what, uh, you know, we, we know audio engineers like to have backup cables, backup recordings, all of those things. Myself included. So, uh, that’s very much part of our culture and design of the application.
JAMES: Absolutely. Being really honest, the only thing I would love one day to see is a partnership between yourselves, and the guys at Rogue Ameba where I could just hit a button in Audio Hijack and have a SquadCast session.
ZACH: That’d be cool . So we’re big on collaboration. Uh, thanks for, thanks for the inspiration. Yeah, I’ll see what I can do.
JAMES: Awesome. So talking about the future, um, before we started, you, you mentioned something that’s sort of coming up, but do you wanna tell people a little bit about sort of what, what’s got you excited for the next version of SquadCast? Cuz we’re on version four at the moment if I understand correctly.
ZACH: That’s right. Yeah. 4.905. Yeah. We’re very close to V5 and that’s, that’s the next major release that-
JAMES: Are you one of, are you one of those sensible software houses that doesn’t go four (dot) ten (dot).
ZACH: No, no, no. We stop at nine. Yeah.
JAMES: Good. Well done. Yeah. But, but number of times in, I used to work for a company whose version numbers became something like 1.15.2. I’m like, no, stop with that please. Controversial opinion maybe, but anyway. Sorry. What, go for it. Yeah, go for it, what have we got to look forward to in version five and beyond?
ZACH: Yeah, there, there are so many things. So like, just to kind of where we started thinking about, you know, what’s the next iteration, what’s the next version of SquadCast gonna be like, wasn’t like some feature or that we wanted to add, uh, like, like maybe we, we have in the past it’s was more a reimagining of the full experience, kind of going back to our roots of our, our mission is to amplify collaboration. And for the reasons we’ve been discussing so far, I think we, we do that really, really well when it comes to the, the actual recording session, the, the production, um, on SquadCast is very collaborative. It’s, you know, highly dynamic, um, and is is all kind of, you know, very real time and keeps you in sync. And so you can produce these, these awesome sounding and looking, you know, files, uh, for your audience to, to really engage with. And we asked ourselves like, what about collaboration in pre-production and in post-production? Increasingly, podcasters and content creators that we serve are kind of collaborating as teams working across, you know, um, maybe more than one show, and, uh, forming networks. And, you know, companies or doing multiple podcasts like some, uh, private internal for, for their, uh, for their, you know, teams to, to, to listen to things as people are increasingly geographically distributed. Uh, how do we collaborate with massive companies like, like, uh, Google or ESPN? So that’s really where, uh, where we started from and redesigned the whole app. We have, uh, you know, new branding, new colors, new typeface, new logo, all of those things. Um, and then a full redesign of the app, kind of applying those, uh, those design primitives and, uh, and doing so, you know, cohesively with audio and video in mind, with teams working across multiple shows and being able to have kind of shared access in, uh, in both like yeah, pre-production and post-production, um, and kind of invites for all of those things accounts for, for all of those people to, to get in and collaborate. Uh, whether that’s, yeah, setting up sessions and pre-production with guests and sending invites or post-production, kind of working with those files and sending them off to the next step of the workflow. Um, and SquadCast has a number of integrations. I, I think, uh, the most in our category, we’re the only ones with like a public API, for example. So we have a lot of integrations because of that and, uh, and that really makes the, the workflow potential really exciting in V5. So let’s say you, uh, after this recording session, James, you want to send us off to script or your Dropbox or, um, or Trint for transcription. Like all of those things can, can be done, uh, with, uh, as many recordings as you want and just kind of a quick connection to those other services, and you have that available to you. So we, we, we definitely know SquadCast is part of a larger workflow for creators to get their content production out on time. And we want to empower that and kind of reduce the number of steps when it comes to like downloading and re-uploading and renaming and sharing and all of those things. So that’s really, you know, SquadCast V5 focuses on, on those things as well as some, some, uh, other really, really exciting things that I can get more into the nitty gritty on. Like I mentioned, pricing, um, we’re, we’re, um, simplifying there, uh, SquadShots in the, in the recording session, like, uh, being able to take pictures with your, with your guests. And kind of collaborate there. It’s something that’s kind happened organically in our community. People just, you know, take screenshots and share it on social media to like hype that the next episode’s in production. Uh, so, you know, we can help collaborate, uh, and create that form of content in addition to audio and video. And we’re doing it in a very SquadCast way, providing like the source images in addition to the composite, you know, so there’s a lot of creative potential there.
JAMES: That’s really cool. Yeah, because again, people might want to take, say you’ve done a say, we’ve done a SquadShot of this session. I might want to do the album artwork and have nice, fancy little old style Polaroids, but because I’ve got the source images and they’re captured, I’m assuming, locally…
ZACH: They are.
JAMES: Yeah. There you go. Yes. Now, of course a FaceTime HD camera is not ideal, uh, for these, but it works. Um, I could, you know, I’ve got, that’s a nice single course. Is that because you are using native APIs and native tools, I can use any device that browser can see. So for example, on this Mac, I’ve got, if I wanted to do to, I’ve got EP cam installed so I could use my iPhone as a, as a webcam. Because I’m not, because this isn’t a video show, I, I don’t do that. But that’s something I just wanted to highlight of course, is that if you are doing, you know, video interviews, seriously consider SquadCast, because I’ve seen this…Particularly through a pandemic. We’re actually gonna be talking on a future episode to, uh, a minister at my church, and his struggles because, you know, obviously really nice guy. His name’s Mike, and I think it’s fair to say he really struggled to get used to the concept of having to do everything remotely. I think we saw more of Mike’s garden through the lockdown than anyone’s ever seen, and he had to figure out audio, and all of that, and he did a great job, but I thought we’d come chat to him. One of the challenges certainly my church had was, um, doing video interviews, doing Zoom interviews. I mean, I kid you not, they had to teach all of our staff workers how to use OBS.
ZACH: That’s some heavy stuff. Yeah. Yeah. OBS is great. Um, we have, we have some customers who, who use it in conjunction with SquadCast, but yeah, you, you, to your point, you need to know what you’re doing. It’s, it’s not, uh, you know, it’s, it’s not very intuitive user experience. It’s some, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s some pretty professional stuff. So, um, and so is SquadCast, but we do our best to like put that under, under, you know, a very nice experience that is accessible to, yeah. No matter if you’re coming in with a, you know, a, a, a, on the pro end, like a 10 channel mixer, some, some really nice stuff or, or just, you know, a lavalier mic on headphones, uh, or, or just your iPhone. Like everything in between is fully supported and, um, you’re gonna sound your best, uh, regardless of, of what equipment you’re coming in with.
JAMES: Absolutely. It’s kind of almost like, don’t look behind the curtain moment with SquadCast. Um, but behind the curtain’s really nice and professional and you know, it works. It’s not quite Wizard of Oz style. You actually do have genuine stuff going on behind there. But , that wasn’t meant to be derogatory, I realize as soon as it starts over, hang on a second, James. Um, but, but I mean, again, it’s a, it’s a testament and I’m not just saying this because obviously I use SquadCast and you are here. I, I will be very honest, I fought long and hard about what service to use to record, and I did look at the others. Um, as many of the listeners know, I’m not working at the moment, so budget was a major concern, and I actually chose, being really transparent. I chose to put the budget into SquadCastrather than going for a more premium podcast hosting package. So we actually use Substack to host all of our…Um, yeah. Oh, it’s great. Um, completely free. Yeah. And you can do paid subscriptions. Um, not, you know, not to promote another product, but, um, you know, I’m a big fan of, of other podcasting platforms. If I had a budget, I’d be really honest, I’d be, I’d be back on Fireside again, you know. So we’re talking about podcast hosting services. Now you guys don’t offer podcast hosting services, but what’s, I guess one question be, what’s the reason behind that? Cause it would almost seem like a one stop shop. You could.
ZACH: We could, uh, we are hosting the actual source quality in multiple formats. So if anything, I, I think what, what we’re hosting for creators is, uh, while it is accessed and downloaded less, it is higher quality. And, you know, there, there’s trade-offs there. But yeah, it’s just the way we see it is that, um, there’s a lot of really great options when it comes to hosting, and uh, we see it as essentially a solved problem. So, we want to innovate and create something new, not just like, repeat, um, and provide another option for, for people to consider. So that’s really why we, we stay focused on, you know, the, the creator experience and less so on, like the distribution. Um, and, you know, we’re seeing great free options to your point, uh, arise. So, uh, there’s, there’s a lot that are, are available. And my co-founder, Rock, has said in the past, if I can quote him, that like, when you invest in something like SquadCast, or maybe it’s like a microphone to send to your guest. When you, when you invest in, in those aspects of your podcast, um, production, you’re actually creating something that is better quality, right? It is, it is actually a better product. Um, yes, your, your, your audience is gonna have the same experience, whether you’re hosting on Fireside or Substack, sorry, to both of those companies. But, you know, that’s, that’s the reality is that you’re, you’re gonna, they’re gonna get the same listening experience whereas…
JAMES: It’s the, it’s the same MP profile through the same, effectively the same has HTML5 playback technology. Yeah. Um, and I think it’s fair to say, unless you’re doing a music in a, like going back to your sort of sci-fi audio drama, unless you’re maybe doing something more dramatic and musical, most podcasts are going out 64 kilobits, probably mono.
ZACH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And, uh, you know, standards there. Um, but we also have creators that, that aren’t just working on podcasts. We have, like, our largest customer by recording time is actually an audiobook production company. Uh, so there’s people who record, you know, for YouTube on SquadCast. Um, things have been published on, on Netflix and YouTube, and all, all over the place, right? Like we, we don’t have many opinions about where the content, uh, is, is distributed or, or are published. So that’s really where we focus on setting up that creator for whatever’s next in their production workflow. That could be publishing directly, like raw, what they recorded on SquadCast, right up to say the YouTube or your, or your podcast hosting platform of choice. Um, or it could be something that’s highly edited, you know, and has a bunch of, uh, production value in between.
JAMES: Um, that’s, do you know what? I will say I hadn’t thought about that because I was obviously being a podcast, although, you know, Crossed Wires does have a YouTube channel, but it’s usually just muggings in front of a camera explaining stuff, but, I hadn’t thought beyond, I’d been very much in my podcast sort of scope, but you’re right. You know, you could take yourself, as I mentioned, you could take me over, You know, if you were a church and you’re just wanting to show an interview on the screen on a Sunday morning, but you pre-recorded, well, you just hand that over to your, whoever’s editing that video, or they’ve got, again, pristine quality. You know, up to 1080p with really great audio that they can just pop into Premiere or Fil Cut, DaVinci Resolve or LumaFusion, you know? Um, and we talk about editing audio, I’ve mentioned many times I use Ferrite on the iPad to do my, um, production work because, just being able to take an Apple Pencil, just drag over a bit you want to delete. So where my chair’s been squeaking, uh, I need a new chair. If, if anyone wants to send me a new chair, folks, please do. Uh, if anyone from a chair companies are listening, you know, would be appreciated. Um, but the point is: So much flexibility. So, Zach, I really appreciate your time. I realize we are, obviously, we had a few delays because of my new weird new router, which just did not seem to like something, um, about the SquadCast session. It was nothing to do with SquadCast, it was entirely on my route. So we’ll have to investigate that. That’s on my side. Um, but kind of closing out, Zach, if people are sort of looking at options and looking at why they should choose SquadCast, if people are up and saying, Oh, why should I pay for this? When again, I can just use Zoom, or I can recall with Audio Hijack and do Signal calls or FaceTime calls, what is it that you would say to them? What would be your one message?
ZACH: Yeah. If you’re, if you’re at all interested in, in monetizing your podcast, then your content is really a product that people are going to pay for, not necessarily with dollars, but by their time, consuming, consuming that content. Or if you’re, if you’re doing premium, that, and it might be dollars, right? That’s, that’s even better. So, um, that’s really where your content becomes a product and the, the, the quality of your product is, is gonna impact your customer’s experience. So, we want to nurture that relationship and, and have a quality product so that people will stay engaged with our content. You know, a lot has been said about podcast, podcasting and the intimacy that we, we share as creators with our audience. But, but, if you’re providing something that’s lower quality, you’re, you’re not really preserving that intimacy. It’s, if anything, it serves to distract from it. So, uh, so that’s really where the quality can translate to a really great audience experience and have a, you know, a high quality product that is, uh, gonna be that, that much easier to monetize. Um, for, for creators to really have a sustainable business as a creator and can continue doing so for as long as, you know, it serves them to, to reach their audience.
JAMES: That’s a really good point. Yeah, I, a hundred percent agree. And that’s why, you know, I’ve personally invested, you know, I’ve had this gear for a while, but I’ve tried to get a decent mic. I hope it, you know, it sounds really good. This is, you know, I think I’ve said this before in the show, this is a Blue Yeti Pro, you know, spending that money and investing in the quality of your podcast, I’m not saying I, I don’t think Gogi is the same by the way that you have to do if you are just starting out as a podcast. Choose gogi, you don’t necessarily, at least in my opinion, you don’t have to spend a fortune on some for like a RØDECaster Pro, although they are amazing, and I would love to have one here, but just make sure you’re choosing the good mic. Make sure you’ve, you know, trying to do a little bit of work on your audio and then use great tools like SquadCast. So, um, you can find out more about SquadCast at squadcast.fm. And I believe is a seven day free trial for, for all friends.
ZACH: That’s right. Yeah, that’s right. And we have, uh, you know, we have some, some programs if you’re like, uh, government, nonprofit, education, um, we love to serve creators. If you need more than seven days, let us know. We, I don’t think we’ve ever not done that. So we’re, uh, we also invest a ton in the community, so even if it’s not a subscription to SquadCast, we have like monthly webinars for creators. Um, we produce a lot of content. We have the Between Two Mics, remote recording podcast, and, um, you know, a number of ways that we are, uh, always trying to serve the creators that are working hard to produce content that their audiences love. So, um, yeah, uh, come to one of those events or come to a community event in podcasting and you’re likely to catch, uh, catch us there, and we’d happy to, to help wherever you’re at with your production.
JAMES: Cause you would just add a podcast, um, I guess festival. Yeah.
ZACH: So it’s alright. Work down there. Our community manager, Arielle and I, um, were, um, were privileged to speak at, uh, Outlier Podcast Festival in Austin. And then, uh, just like a week or two before that, we were in LA for Podcast Movement Evolutions. Um, and did a presentation there on some of the history that we touched on today. The evolution of the technologies that have led to cloud recording studios, um, that, uh, you know, we’re, we’re proud to be a part of. So that’s really, uh, just, yeah, the latest examples of all the ways that we’re, uh, in support of the podcast and creator communities.
JAMES: Fantastic. Well, Zach, thank you so much for joining us. Um, you are on Twitter if people want to follow you.
ZACH: Yeah, my Twitter handle is Zach with an H. Z-A-C-H. Zach in space. And, uh, yeah, that’s, uh, that’s where you can, uh, you can connect with me there. Appreciate that.
JAMES: So folks, make sure you check out crossedwires.net for all the show notes for this episode. We’ll put links to a lot of things we talked about and of course we’ll put a link to SquadCast on there as well. Make sure you check out crossedwires.net for slash YouTube for the YouTube channel. That is a video in the works. Um, at the moment it’s going to be about, um, a network TV tuner, the HDHomeRun. Now it’s an old version. I wanna show you how that’s set up with Plex, how that’s set up with channels, and just how cool it is to have a centralized TV tuner and all the TVs in your house or your iPads, everything like that can connect to that. It, it’s such a great system, so keep an eye out for that. Of course, follow us on Twitter at crossedwires mg. And make sure you like and subscribe to our podcast and please do leave a comment, uh, in the podcast show notes. And I always try and respond to those. And you can email us at email@example.com. Until next time, thanks ever so much for listening.
Arielle Nissenblatt is SquadCast’s Community Manager. She’s obsessed with all things podcast-related and is the founder of EarBuds Podcast Collective, a podcast recommendation engine. In her spare time, Arielle enjoys hosting zoom trivia for friends and strangers all over the world and rollerblading.