Learning Technology jottings at Goldsmiths

Thoughts and deeds

Recording an audio presentation – quick and dirty (but good enough)

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There’s a general feeling in the podcasting community (even trailblazers like Oxford) that good-enough is good enough. Production perfectionism for its own sake is not going to win a lecturer or institution any extra points. It’s the design and relevance of the recording that counts.

A member of staff contacted me at short notice to sort out recording a lecture. With the above in mind, we went together to the room in which she would be recording, armed with:

  • Laptop with Audacity, the free audio recording and editing software
  • Unfamiliar Olympus digital voice recorder (precursor to this one) borrowed from the Media Equipment Centre
  • A handheld mic, plus fuzzy (aka windshield), ditto
  • A video conferencing headset (earphones and backup mic)

Then we experimented, me at the back of the room scraping my chair and coughing to provide background noice.

  • First with the voice recorder round the the presenter’s neck, but there was way too much rustling
  • Then with the handheld mic – turned out we’d been lent the wrong lead, so we ruled that out for the minute
  • Then simply holding the recorder – this worked very well, quality-wise.

The recorder has integrated USB connection so we easily downloaded the test to the laptop. It was in WMA format, so we imported it to Audacity (after a straightforward install of the relevant libraries), and exported it to mp3, with metadata, and from hard-drive to the VLE.

It was very straightforward.

To know:

  • The original amplitude was a little high and there was clipping – you can’t see this until it goes into Audacity, so it’s just something to know – make a note of the volume and adjust accordingly. Not critical though.
  • Let the students know a) a recording is ongoing and b) to keep superfluous noise to a minimum
  • A headset mic would be ideal for hands-free presentation
  • The presenter should take their mobile phone far away or turn it off – it can interfere with the recording.
  • On this digital voice recorder model
    • Turn the recorder off before exposing the USB connection
    • To pause, press record; press record again to resume

Written by Mira Vogel

June 3, 2009 at 17:05

Posted in podcasting

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