The San Diego Union-Tribune had an interesting article on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 entitled "How Can I Preserve My Family's Memories?" by Jennifer Davies. The article has practical tips on how to capture the message, timing, location, preparation work, and other great suggestions related to recording audio memories.
On the technology side, Jennifer recommended the following potentially helpful resources:
Other technology options that I might consider recommending is a good USB microphone connected to a computer or if you wanted a hand held unit, I've read good reviews about Zoom H2 Handy Portable Stereo Recorder (but I've not used one).
I started a new media/advertising tracking side project over on Twitter with a new account called adwatch.
I'm going to tweet references to content providers and their advertisements that I find interesting from the media that gets into my attention stream.
If you want to participate you can send me a link @adwatch, RT a post you find interesting, or you can just add your own by tagging #adwatch in your related tweets. The search stream for #adwatch is the feed I'm going to be interested in.
I've had this idea for a while to see where and how advertisers and new media content creators are coming together, and this seemed like the easiest way to get started. Plus, it is as open as possible and not something that is closed like other services.
If you have any other thoughts or ideas, please either add a comment to this post or drop me a message via adwatch @ Twitter.
There is a new version of Audacity v1.3.7 (beta) and I've loaded it up on my Mac Book Pro. I used it to mix down the Jersey Boys Podcast #66 without any issues. I've been using the previous version - v1.3.6 (beta) - without any major problems, and I consider this release to be production quality.
Some of what I think are the most important fixes and updates include:
Fixed periodic exported stereo files issues
Fixes for Nyquist effects, Compressor and Noise Removal
Fixed WAV corrupted issue related toi overwriting the same file
MP3 and WMA now export correctly with all supported metadata
Platform-specific bugs for: Vista, Windows, Mac, Linux
Improved F11 Full Screen mode
Improved Windows DirectSound API support
Improved latency correction using fixed correction value
It is rough times for most everyone with the world-wide economic downturn and uncertainly.
In the podcasting world, Podango has announced potential shutdown plans. For the digital picture world, the wonderful magazine & online site JPG has also announced plans to shutdown. Even "big media newspapers" are reportedly on their way to Washington DC for potential handouts.
In situations like this, I think turning back to fundamentals is key. Here are my three suggestions:
Do what you do best and do that better. If you offer three services, pick one, and focus all your energy on that one service making it the absolute best.
Focus on key partnerships that are mutually beneficial. Going it alone is miserable. Branch out and find a partner that makes your one focus area shine for both you and them.
Plan for investments. If you haven't, then you need to start. Even with cost cutting, you need to make sure you are devoting a good percentage of your available resources into future research & development (R&D) to "catapult" you forward when the market turns positive.
I'm pretty sure there are other great suggestions out there. If you have one or many, then please let me know what they are by commenting below.
NOTE: I would be remiss if I didn't point out a great discussion thread by Michael Geoghegan on the "Podango" annoucment on his MWBlog.
I have created a set of WAV files that will make up my examples and demos that folks who are attending might want to download if they plan to try to follow along during the presentation. The link is here (34-MBs .zip file).
I also have posted a copy of my Audacity 101 DAU eLearning 2008 workshop slides in PDF format, and a link to a Blip.TV movie that includes the screencasts that are embedded in the presentation. Unfortunately the movie is not sync'd with audio so you have to work your way through them without narration.
NOTE: I will be doing my demos at PME 2008 using the Audacity v1.3.5 (beta) release.
Both Paul and Victor Cajiao at the Typical Mac User Podcast helped me setup the configuration of my unit - which is done manually with a small screw driver. I also borrowed Paul's unit diagram of a Telos One for my picture. Thanks Paul!
I am pretty happy with how this is working now, but I would recommend doing some post production processing on the phone track (usually your guest) with something like SoundSoap.
If you are new to podcasting, audio editing, or to the open source multi-platform Audacity audio editing and production tool, then this will be a great session for you to attend. This year's expo looks to be as good or better than previous years.
If you can't wait for New Media Expo 2008, here are some references that I've done on the topic of audio editing with Audacity:
NOTE: There is an audio version of my Podcast Academy 3 presentation in the archives of Podcast Academy, but those are being transferred from GigaVox Media at this time and are offline. As soon as link becomes available, I'll post it.
The article also mentioned the option of ebook publishing using the site PayLoadz.com. They provide a service to sell downloadable items such as: ebooks, software, music, movies, digital art, manuals, articles, certificates, forms, files, etc.
The most interesting thing about the article was that Kevin did a little test where he wanted to make $1.50 a purchase no matter what medium or method. He sold them on Amazon for $9 (using B&W batch printing), then on Lulu for $27 (color print on demand), and then as a $2 PDF version on PayLoadz.com. In the end he sold 10x the number via digital than print, but still made the same amount per transaction. Neat!
PodcastFreeAmerica.com reports that eMarketer is has published a new report that the United States (US) podcast listening audience has reach 185 million in 2007, and that advertisers are increasing the use of podcasts to reach audiences.
I am not sure how this really fits into individual podcast producers other than it looks promising that their shows could be potential advertising avenues if that is something they are interested in.
It is also good news for the medium in that is appears that more and more people are tuning in with their attention and time to new media vs. traditional media options.
The same could be said about Podshow's spending rate, business plans, or financial status which little is known publicly. One good thing is that they appear to still be hiring. And they continue to have the annoying pre-roll advertisements on many podcasts on their network.
Given the apparent implosion at PodTech.net there is a lot of uncertainty in the technology new media arena as we close out 2007.
It will be interesting to watch how TWIT, Podshow, and Revision3 play out their relationships in 2008.
There is a new mobile device coming out that lets users listen to streaming media while not connected to a network. The device is called the Slacker Digital Player and Walt Mossberg @ WSJ.com recently did a review. There are also some recent pictures posted to Gizmodo.
I think the device would be ideal for distributing traditional podcast material using a 'station' format based on topics or music. An indie music channel seems like a natural. Maybe a technology talk & news channel would be another logical topic cluster.
The first example is Minyannville Publishing & Multimedia which provides small animated clips of business and other headline news to major sites like Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, AOL Money, and Fox Business News. The main reason is their ability to offer fresh content that brings something new and different to these big sites so that their readership remains loyal. Independent content providers have a growing amount of leverage and opportunity to let their creative talents shine in front of many with those that focus on niches becoming hot commodities. More information for those that get the WSJ via an article entitled "Portals Think Small For The Latest News: Niche Sites Offer Access To Content As Gateways Battle Traffic Slippage."
The second, is from another newspaper article, this time from the Union-Tribune with an article entitled "Background-music provider puts shoppers in the mood." What I liked about this article was that PlayNetwork leveraged the basics of what they know with audio as a purchasing tool into a bigger business that also enables their customers to tie into new media outlets like web video, podcasts, and other multimedia services.
This year I volunteered to be part of the post production and helped with the mix down of scenes into the final version with Kevin Devin.
I learned some great lessons:
Work with the best people possible. The FIT team is giving, helpful, encouraging, insightful, and very talented. It makes the project very enjoyable and you'll have fun doing it.
I did all my editing of my parts (the outside scenes) in Audacity. I didn't have any major problems or issues other than at times the scenes mix downs were very complicated with 24+ individual segments. I ended up in situations like this to do 3 intermediate mixes with each one having ~8 individual segments.
Having a vast special effects (SFX) library of audio is very helpful. Using sites like freesound is good, but some of the royalty free material other FIT members had was very impressive.
When recording lines in a remote situation take at least three takes for each line.
It really helps if you can do your remote lines recording with another person saying the other lines around your lines.
Use a wiki to develop the first drafts of the script, but then migrate to a script writing tool for final production.
Scripts file names and titles within the document should have version numbers or clear dates on them so you know what you have is the most current one.
Tools like BIAS SoundSoap2 for cleaning up audio are pretty important if someone makes their recordings in a noisy environment.
I think #1 is important because if the domain becomes a popular user site then it will be a great site to promote material.
I am interested in #2 because it could save time in post production for any video podcasts.
#3 is cool because I hate DRM solutions for most of new media.
I think #4 should be tracked to see what effect the new version has on consumption of new media products as they move from the web to email. What does your content look like from RSS reader to a forwarded email that ends up on Gmail mobile? Could you make it better?
I added #5 because not everyone is happy with Audacity. Here is an option that might fit your style better.
The pointer to #6 is because you might want some new sounds in your library.
And you should check out #7 because it is full of great information.