Phew! This week’s challenge was an easier one. I figured I could definitely squeeze this challenge in between the swamp of work I’ve been wading through.
This week’s challenge was more of an informative type of challenge, and it was all about how you setup your recording space to record audio for online training. For me, this was an easier challenge because I don’t have a whole lot of setup that goes into my audio recording…because I don’t tend to do a lot of audio recording – this is typically a task I sub out to other e-learning professionals because 1 – I find recording audio tedious, 2 – I’m not an audio learner so I find it extra tedious, 3 – I don’t have nearly enough time to prep things as I’d like to have, and 4 – I’m Canadian (and many of my clients aren’t), so the revision cycle tends to be a bit more frustrating with me trying to take on a different dialect for just a couple of words (which is SO HARD if those words are in the middle of sentences…you know…like people use).
For this challenge, I took a photo (with my iPhone) of my setup, and then I took a screen capture of my software setup. Presto! Tada!
There were three questions for this challenge:
1. Tell us about your recording setup.
I will say that the setup I have at home versus setups I’ve used in the past is quite different. I’ve married into some software (shout out Camtasia) that I love using, but haven’t taken the leap into purchasing a professional microphone or anything. At the university, there is a real fancy microphone – I don’t even know what brand it is, but it requires a line-in input and it’s HEAVY! Needless to say, a post-secondary institution can definitely afford these luxuries…but I’ll digress! Basically, my set up is the opposite of what you’d find at a university.
When recording audio, I use my Macbook Pro’s internal microphone. I open Camtasia up to create a ‘new recording’. When you do this, a little window pops up (see below), and I turn the screen off and the camera off, but leave the microphone on. Unless I’m doing a screencast, in which case I leave the screen on and the microphone on.
I record in my office, and once I finish recording, I often have to edit out background noise and/or my beagle’s barking, in Camtasia. Once I finish my recordings, I export the audio files to MP3 (or MP4 in the case of screencasts) format.
2. Show us your audio setup.
3. Share your three favourite audio recording tips.
Here are my tips:
1 – If you’re recording audio often, invest in a professional microphone. I would recommend Blue Microphone’s Yeti Pro or Audio-Technica AT2020 – I’ve heard good things about both of these and have used the Yeti Pro.
2 – Create an audio script – Sure; you might think you can wing it and for a lot of things you can…just not professional anything. Especially not training courses. Especially not if the training course is procedural and the steps are exact. Trust me, it will save you a lot of heartache (and revisions) in the long run.
3 – Be consistent. Try to use a consistent voice, tone, and background whenever you record. It may also be good to record all audio in one fell swoop, if possible. I’ve found in my experience that if I record audio for the same project in different sessions, my tone tends to vary more. When I say background, I mean record in the same space for all recordings. This is important for anyone using their laptop.
4 – Bonus tip: Don’t feel obligated, by a client’s needs, to record the audio yourself. If audio is a component and you really aren’t the best person for the job, sub-contract the audio portion out to someone who knows what’s up. The result will be a lot more professional, and you’ll be able to focus your attention on more important aspects of your role.
Jackie Van Nice says
Thanks for the inside scoop, Ashley! It never occurred to me that anyone would “wing it” in an e-learning piece, but that seems to be coming up as a topic. ::shudder:: Good job pointing out that scripting is the way to go.
I’m amazed you can use an internal microphone to get the sound you want, but then again I’ve never tried it with a Mac. With a PC I think you just get a terrific recording of what the internal fan sounds like when you do that. 🙂
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Rebecca Haugh says
Great article Ashley, all on point. I loved that you mentioned not to wing it too. It is shudderable, like Jackie says above. Even thinking you know all the points, if you want to at least make an outline of bullets so you don’t forget and go in sequence, it’s better than winging it.
And yes, if you don’t normally use audio and don’t like working with audio, please do hire a pro (like me). But I really like that you admitted that you don’t use it. It’s important to know there is that variable out there of what people focus on, but to include the audio includes the part of your learning audience that likes it. So I think that’s important to mention.
I have a background in corporate training and facilitation, so I let many groups and assisted those taking individual courses. I’ve learned that everyone has their unique way of learning, and there’s so much data on that out there. For others who need tips on audio production here are two more links: http://elearningindustry.com/5-tips-for-elearning-voice-recording