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The Central Midwest District UUA merged in 2013 with the Districts of Heartland and Prairie Star to form the MidAmerica Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
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Recording Your Services and Events

gretchen1105Here are some notes from our staff on what we've found in the process of recording workshops that you may find helpful:

I’ve discovered recently that it’s even EASIER to phone into a conference call with Skype. Then all you have to do is set up the open source Audacity audio recording program (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) to record audio from “stereo mix” rather than microphone. Et voila! No extra equipment required. Then you can save the Audacity file and edit at your leisure without having to transfer a file from another device. DO mute your microphone on Skype though, since it does tend to create echoes and other unwanted sounds. You do have to have the landline feature on Skype enabled — it takes $10 to buy a bunch of minutes or somewhere around $30 per year for unlimited long-distance dialing.

I get better sound quality and connection on Skype than I do on my [major carrier] cell phone!

Gretchen Ohmann, Communications Coordinator

 

As we have been partnered with the Prairie Star District in presenting online workshops on many different topics, one of the most important parts of our providing online access to audio content has been in recording these and presenting those recordings as podcasts…

Sounds simple, right? Well it was… once we knew what we were doing.

The first problem was mine… I never bothered to check my office phone to see if it had a headset jack. I just went out and bought a cable and adapter that would allow us to plug our Digital Audio Recorder (see the previous article) into a headset jack on my phone. Low and behold, when I got home there was no such jack! Luckily, my phone system came with two cordless phones, and they both had headset jacks.

So, the phone you hold has a headset jack, but the one at my desk does not. Counterintuitive, right?

The next challenge was one that has come up several times. We missed a whole recording because we did not know that you have to press record twice in order to actually be recording anything. Tricky…

The next challenge with recording from a telephone was that the recorder needs to be set to mono. If it is not, you only get one channel… and not the channel that is published when we used our software to turn it into an MP3 file for the web. So, we had a recording, but I had to do a lot of fancy editing to make it work.

Also, mute your own phone when you are recording and don’t try to talk on the phone during the recording. It makes for all kinds of interesting sounds if you do.

So, here are the lessons learned for our congregations seeking to record telephone workshops and meetings…

1) Make sure your phone has a jack
2) You need both a cable, and an adaptor for a telephone headset jack.
3) Make sure you are set to mono.
4) Make sure that you are recording in MP3.
5) Mute your phone, and if you participate in the call do so from another phone, possibly in another room.

Yours in faith, David Pyle, District Assistant 2008-09

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Probably the greatest bottleneck we have run into in our Virtual Accessibility project of getting audio and video recordings of district workshops and the like has been editing. Part of the reason for this is that I had very little experience at doing this kind of editing when we started.

The other reason has been learning to use the software we had, and choosing to spend a little more money to buy some new editing software.

We began (and I am still using, because I like it) a free audio editing software called “Audacity”. You can find it here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

I will be the first to admit that when you look at it, it is a bit intimidating. I have found some tutorials on how to use it online, but there is not a tutorial in the software. When I got familiar with it, it is really simple to use and does not have a lot of bells and whistles to confuse you. It allows you to import the recording, edit out parts you don’t want, add in an introduction and closing recording, and do some basic clean up on the sound.

It is a great tool for congregations to use… but it only does audio.

As we began to need to work with video, we choose to purchase a fairly inexpensive software package that does both audio and video editing, called “Roxio Creator”. You can find it at: http://www.roxio.com/enu/products/creator/suite/overview.html?rtrack=flashHPstart

This software does about everything a congregation would need to do with audio and video media, to get it ready to share on a congregational website or to give CD’s or DVD’s to congregation members. It edits audio, Video, and even burns DVD’s and CD’s. It even has a photo editor.

We are just now getting to play with this software, and will let you know more about it later… but it appears to be just about everything a congregation would need to do virtual accessibility… and unlike audacity and many of the other software sets we looked at, it has excellent tutorials and is really easy to use.

Yours in Faith, District Assistant David Pyle