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