A simple way to record

Thanks to a loyal student, I’ve started recording the classes I teach. I’m like most people: I’m not fond of my own voice but she said she wanted to keep up with the class when she was gone.

Who can say no to that? This is a voluntary class; she can miss whenever she wants.

English: Audio levels shown on a Zoom H4n whil...

 Zoom H4n (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m now saving the recordings to my hard drive and plan to produce a CD of the entire class when it’s done. And it’s very simple to do.

Here’s my approach:

  • Use a good digital recorder. I have a Zoom H4N. That’s a bit of overkill in this situation.  On the other hand, we get great recordings.
  • I utilize a portable PA system which projects my voice to throughout the classroom plus gives more volume to the Zoom. If I didn’t need the PA amplification, I could just speak right into the Zoom as a portable microphone. I’m hesitant to use a lapel mic because of the extra noise that comes from the wire rustling on clothing. Plus that microphone wire would tether me more than I’d like.
  • We place the Zoom on a tripod at the front of the classroom. I have wonderful assistants who monitor the volume and adjust when students make comments so that their voices can be heard. The Zoom has a tripod socket on the back side. I could also adapt to a microphone stand.
  • The recording is stored on an SD card. I’ve chosen a 16gb SD card so that I can get many weeks of discussions on the card. That’s also a short-term backup to my hard drive.
  • After class, I copy the day’s recording onto my computer’s hard drive. The recording is a WAV file that I’ll want to convert to MP3.
  • Because this is such a simple process, I’m using Audacity – free audio software – to convert from WAV to MP3. Audacity also allows me to bump the recording volume and I could do a lot more editing as well. At this point, all I need is the conversion.
  • When converting to MP3, I am also cued to include information about the title of the recording, title of the artist, track title and number, year of recording and genre. I will use this information when I create a CD of all the classes. Each class recording is about an hour and forms one track.
  • I’ve created a folder system on my hard drive with the name of the class as the folder name, plus sub-folders for each individual class. Audacity creates a project folder for each recording so my sub-folders let me find the project at a later date.

This is a pretty simple system for recording but I’ve used it at several speaking opportunities and it works well. Audacity will also allow me to edit each recording and I’m planning to add a musical introduction to each class. Just to jazz things up a bit.

If you speak, think about recording your speeches so that you can create a library that may be re-packaged into something that can be sold or given away to students who couldn’t come to class. It’s easier than you might think.

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