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I use riverside.fm for recording remote interviews with separate video/audio tracks. I love it.

Why riverside.fm?

riverside.fm is like Zoom in that it provides an easy way for guests to connect to a conversation with just a link and Chrome. I used to use Skype, but that requires people to resurrect old Skype accounts, install software, and give me their username which is a bit of a hoop to have to jump through for what is effectively a favour to me.

There's the added benefit of higher quality recordings (up to 4K depending on the camera quality of each participant) as they're done locally and stream uploaded so that we don't have video/audio quality issues from dropouts or bandwidth limitations. It handles disconnections by buffering the upload, and even if the browser is closed too soon, you can return to riverside.fm to resume the upload.

Once a guest hadn't completed the upload at their end. It was two weeks after our recording when I realised and let them know. The resume function worked perfectly. A+.

Why not Zoom (or similar)?

I need separate video tracks per participant for editing purposes. Zoom and Google Meet only allow active speaker (could cut to another participant when I don't want it to) or gallery mode (no single participant view) which makes their recordings unsuitable for editing in the way that I do it for my shows.

Multiple audio tracks means I can also clean up individual audio problems without interfering with the other tracks. Sometimes it's as easy as adjusting levels, but one guest had cicadas in the background, and there were a few weeks where I had a persistent cough I had to edit out. Being able to edit the audio tracks separately allows me to isolate and minimise or eliminate these issues.

Several other platforms I have investigated either only offer multiple audio tracks but no video.

Zencastr is the only other competitor that I found, but they currently force a watermark on all videos which will interfere with editing if I need to crop the videos at any point.

What else can riverside.fm do?

With riverside.fm you can have a host and seven additional participants each with their own video/audio track that you can later download for editing. It distinguishes between a host, producer, guest, and audience so you don't need to worry about audience members who haven't muted themselves, and they also have a green room/waiting room for guests as well.

I really see the service as being perfect for people like me with remote interviews, but also for academic or industry presentations, panels, or conference purposes.

Who else is using riverside.fm?

This is on their homepage, but they've got Hilary Clinton, Disney, Marvel, Microsoft, FOX Sport, Verizon, and Spotify amongst their portfolio of clients. Those are some heavy hitters right there.

Have questions? riverside.fm support are very prompt, but you can hit me up on social media as well if you want to know more.

Published March 03, 2021