Audio Recording at Face to Face Events for Sharing Out to the Wider World


Objectives

  • Replace the obsolete tape recording of meetings with digital sound recording because of increasing difficulty in finding this equipment, high cost of operation, low sound quality and reduced accessibility.
  • Decrease the cost of production of verbatim records,
  • Digitalization of the workflow,
  • Recoding of the master discussion of the event plus all translations simultaneously and in separate channels.
  • Immedate publication of the recordings on the web.

Resources needed:

Hardware

The key component in the whole system is a digital audio converter and mixer. This device has an excellent performance: Audio 10x10 at 24-bit/96kHz or 6x6 at 24-bit/192kHz. There are 10 analog audio input channels and 10 digital audio output channels all mixed together and delivered through a FireWire cable to a computer. The quality is just perfect. The cost of this device is minimal. (FAO has 6 working languages and the floor)
Any computer with a standard sound card and most importantly with a FireWire slot, can do the recording.
Using laptops may be the best solution because this makes the system very flexible and mobile, thus enabling us to serve meetings anywhere;

Software

The application records the digital signal in all possible formats and quality levels. It contains built-in compressors (MP3 and GSM) and filters of all kind. Then the software allows you to individually treat each channel and store files in preferred location; it can automatically deliver registered files over to network drives, FTPs or send them via e-mail. Sound files can be of practically any length, depending on your needs (we created 20 min files for transcribers and 60 min for archiving). On top of everything, the recording can be set to start automatically only at a certain sound level and the whole system can also operated remotely via Internet. The software also creates a database with all the elements of each recording produced, which makes it easy to analyze the results and identify eventual problems.
Again the cost of the application was minimal compared to the output it provides.

Podcasting

The database created by the software is converted in xml and made compliant with RSS format. mp3 and xml files can be posted on an external server, thus are available on the web.




Podcasting.jpg

Tips and Lessons Learnt

  • excellent sound quality;
  • 15-20 min saving on each recording compared to previous tape system;
  • full control over the workflow through a shared Excel spreadsheet.
  • integration of submitted statements by delegations;
  • savings from not employing temporary staff
  • savings from not renting tape recorders and foot pedals.
  • full archive (audio and video) of all meetings.
  • Immediate availability of sound files to the public

Related Pages


Who can tell me more?

  • Maria Grazia Bovo (mariagrazia.bovo [at] fao.org)

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Photo or image credits

Ed Seminars - Apple