Friday, February 22, 2008

Recording the talk

February 12 was the date of the first 'live podcast'. As the Tuesday lectures are held on days when I work for another organisation we had a dress rehearsal on the Friday.

The first step was to set up the new microphone on its stand and position it close to the podium. With the amplified microphone there as well it looked a little like the set up for a press conference. The adaptor was connected to the end of the microphone cable and plugged into the microphone port (with a microphone emblem) on the front of a lap top computer positioned on a table at the front of the room.

The audio files were to be recorded on the computer using the program, Audacity, a free audio editing and recording program - - available from SourceForge.

It was time to experiment. We had already checked with the speaker that he would not be using Power Point so we would be able to use the microphone at the podium to record the talk.

Recording in Audacity is not difficult. Open Audacity on the computer. In the Audacity toolbar there are six (6) circle buttons which control recording functions. The third button with the red dot is the Record button. Press the button to start recording. The button next to it with two blue parallel lines is the Pause button used to pause and then restart the recording and the next button with the yellow square is the Stop button used to end the recording. When recording starts a series of lines - peaks and troughs appears on the screen.

Making sure that the microphone was on and everything was connected time was spent experimenting with positioning the microphone so that a clear recording could be made. We were also concerned to avoid any feedback or interference from the micro used for amplification.

Once the recording is made it needs to be saved. As we were later going to do some editing we saved the audio file as an Audacity Project File. The file could have been exported as a WAV file or a MP3 file (another file (LAME MP3 encoder) needs to be downloaded from the SourceForge site to do this -

We also experimented with the digital recorder. Once the battery was in the recorder we were asked to select a folder in which the file would be stored. When the lead to the lapel microphone was plugged into the microphone port we needed to confirm that it was to be used. The buttons on the side of player are similar to the buttons on the Audacity program. The Record button was used to start recording (this also functions as the Pause button) and there is a Stop button to end of the recording. We experimented with the lapel microphone in different positions and also had people in different parts of the room to hear if their voices would be picked up by the microphone. The audio file on the digital recorder is saved as a MP3 file.

At the weekend I prepared basic notes on recording using Audacity and emailed them to Ged. Ged copied relevant pages from the manual for the digital recorder in case they were needed. It was then fingers crossed that all would work well on the night.

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