Don't let those presentations get away

I’m going to post here a comment I made over at NetSquared about a podcasting technique I discovered because I think there’s a lot of opportunity to use it in ACS and other organizations.

Last week I attended part of a new-staff orientation for some of
our staff. I went to use my little digital recorder to catch the
remarks of one specific person. But when I arrived the whole event was
bigger than I expected, and it was in a hotel ballroom using lectern
and lavalier mics running through an elaborate PA system. So, with the
help of the AV guy, I ran a cord from an output channel of the mixing
board right to the microphone input jack of my laptop. I booted up
Audacity and recorded the feed from the PA system directly on the
laptop. So I ended up recording four presentations during the morning
session. I used Audacity to dissect the segments and turn them into
individual “podcasts.” (Not podcasts in terms of public feeds, but
audio files that we can disseminate over our internal extranet for
training purposes.) I did my own little intros about speaker, topic and
event; added some music loops from FlashKit, and, voila, I had four
useful recordings. If I’d planned ahead I could have captured the whole
event. Next week I’m going to see if I can use the Roxio Creator
program on my home PC to synch the audio tracks up with the PowerPoints
the speakers were using. I think I can turn the whole thing into MPEG
movies.

The point is, don’t
think of podcasts (meaning, captured audio events) just as something
that has to go out on iTunes or Odeo. There are many uses for audio
files. Also your laptop itself can be a recorder.   

Second
act: Thinking, “I gotta get me one of them cords,” I went to my local
RadioShack this morning and bought a cord ($4.95) with two RCA jacks on one end
and a mini-jack for the microphone input to my laptop on the other. I’m
ready for the next occasion.

While
at RadioShack I bought the cheapest earphone/microphone headset I could
get ($19.95). With a headset you can do the input for a monologue
podcast or for recording an introduction. You can also use it for VoIP
like Skype or Gtalk. I deliberately picked a cheap one because I think
for use of audio in offices to become widespread you’re going to need a
lot of inexpensive equipment. I was very pleased with the
quality/price. It was at least as good going into my laptop as the $90
noise-canceling set I bought five years ago to experiment with speech
recognition.   

So my message
is this: there’s more than one way to skin a snake; there’s more than
one thing to do with audio recordings; and you might get what you need
at RadioShack—America’s friendly neighborhood spy store.

No comments

  1. Excellent, David. I need to come spend some time with you to sharpen my audio skills.

    BTW, disaster struck my last podcast when my stereo mic’s battery died. Now, I have a spare.

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