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).
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
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!
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.
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.