With Hindenburg, editing a podcast doesnt take an age and you will feel like a broadcasting pro

By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

One of the challenges with content creation these days is the complexity of the technology. And when it comes to creating audio content for podcasts, although GarageBand is a great tool, it’s more suited for music-making. One alternative to that is Hindenburg. In the SPEAK|pr Mastermind which stands for Storify, Personalise, Engage, Amplify, and to Know, the backstory of a company is always important. Hindenburg was created in 2008 in Lusaka, Zambia by two friends sitting on a porch in a garden. One of them was working on a community radio, but couldn’t find an audio editor that was simple, reliable, and affordable. This guy, Nick, along with his friend, Preben, who had experience as a software engineer, then came up with their business idea. 

The problem Hindenburg solves and the features that make it worth using

Photo from Transom

Hindenburg addresses the need for intermediate and dedicated technology for audio where the engineering side has almost taken over, because for those that just want to do one thing, technology can be a barrier and not a tool anymore. The inspiration behind the name is that in 1937, the Chicago reporter Herbert Morrison witnessed the Hindenburg disaster where the German passenger airship caught fire and crashed. The interesting part about that is it was the first ever live broadcast, which got these two guys thinking about this being a tool for journalism. It solves the problem for intermediate technology for people dedicated to one task, which is radio editing.
The Hindenburg user interface is simple and sleek, and it enables you to choose different tracks. It has a clipboard where you can create clips and cut and paste them into little areas on the right hand side of the dashboard, which is a very useful feature, among many. You can record directly, but you can also drag and drop audio from the desktop. Hindenburg also has an auto-level feature and it lets you control the audio across the screen. With GarageBand, one has to scroll back and forth to scrub the audio, and it’s not possible to play the audio back at different speeds to find where the voice stops, probably because GarageBand is made primarily for music. It’s not really an issue when making music, but the ability to scrub back and forth, and to hear where the words start and stop is a dedicated voice issue, which Hindenburg addresses. It’s easy to remove or add a clip, with the cutting and pasting on Hindenburg resembling a word processor effect. There are options to cut, copy, paste, insert, clear, split, and in and out, so you can choose where you’re going to do those edits. The functionality has made it perfect for editing, providing options to have multi-tracks, different interviewees, and different pieces of music or audio on different tracks. There’s also a crossfade feature that is especially useful when doing interviews.

The next part is the display. The audio monitor can be seen on the channel itself, but also on the bottom of the screen, as well as the clock. Some might find the slightly more utilitarian interface on Hindenburg even relaxing. It also shows the voice level and the time counter with the waveform on the file. On GarageBand, if you edit and delete a section, the section to the right does not automatically shift to the left which means you would have to painstakingly move everything, but on Hindenburg, they understand the user workflow and so when a section of audio is deleted, all the audio tracks and clips shift to fill the gap, saving a lot of time and hassle. 

Getting your money’s worth with Hindenburg

Publishing this is where Hindenburg really comes into its own as a dedicated broadcast app. With a publish macro in the program, there are options to publish it to an mp3 podcast, an enhanced podcast, a file upload, save it to the computer, SoundCloud, Libsyn, Buzzsprout, Podbean, PRX, and podcast.co. In other words, the content can actually be syndicated directly from the computer to all these podcast players, although it’s missing Apple and Google. In terms of pricing, with the Journalist package of Hindenburg that comes with a multitrack editor, automated levels, the clipboard, publishing, and a number of other features, it will cost £78. For the Journalist Pro plan, which has all the previously mentioned featuers plus multitrack recording, noise editing, noise reduction, and noise profiler, and 10 times publishing, that will cost £299. Though it’s not cheap, this workhorse seems to be worth the price. If you’re going to be creating content frequently as a way of monetizing your podcast and of making something that you can be proud of and use daily, then you will get ROI in no time.
While there are apps that are free and get the job done, Hindenburg could possibly be a better alternative albeit a paid one. Undoubtedly, the two friends who sat on that patio in Lusaka in 2008 deserve the credit for creating a functional, utilitarian, and professional piece of audio equipment that is amazingly simple and intuitive. As you create content, treat yourself to the best tools you can afford, because it really does make all the difference, not just to you, but also to your audience.

This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photo from Seanwes

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