Audio: Tips for gathering audio

Great quality audio recordings are very important particularly if you are uploading your audio recording as a podcast, using it for a radio news bulletin and/or using it for an audio slideshow. Here are a couple of tips you can use when gathering audio for your story:



  1. It is important to know and understand your audio recording equipment before collecting any audio or conducting any interview.
  2. Always be aware of any background noise that might be picked up by your audio recorder. Always try to take your interviewee to a quiet place or a place where there is less background noise.
  3. Take note of any ambient sound that might contribute to your story. Ambient sound is useful because it helps set the scene in the mind of the listener and also provides for a more colourful audio story, instead of an audio story filled with endless talking.
  4. Let your interviewee do all the talking while he or she is answering your question. Do not fill that piece of the audio recording with your “okays” and “uh-huhs”. This will only create problems during the editing process. If you do want to acknowledge that you are listening and paying attention to your interviewee just make strong eye contact and nod while he or she is answering your question. Do not add on to what the interviewee is saying. Listeners want to hear the interviewee, not you.
  5. If you can, make note of any key points made during the interview and the point (time on your recording) it was made. This is especially useful in cases where you need to edit your work quickly.
  6. Always make sure that your recorder is recording before and during the interview. If you can, make notes while you are recording in case your recorder does not end up recording.
  7. Make sure that you have enough memory on or tape for your recorder and also make sure that your recorder is fully charged or that you have brought enough batteries along with you.
  8. Do not place your recorder on any hard surfaces that might result in noise during your recording. If you are collecting audio within a controlled environment, an environment with soften surfaces is preferable.
  9. Your interviewee should never hold the recorder.
  10. If it is a controlled environment, always brief your interviewee before the interview.
  11. Ask your interviewee if he or she has anything extra to add after the interview. This is usually where additional valuable information collected.
  12. Be natural, be conversational. This will help with the flow of the interview and help the interviewee to relax.
  13. However, if you have limited time to collect the audio, get straight to the point.
  14. If you are going to have difficulty identifying the interviewees in your audio during the editing process, ask them to introduce themselves at the beginning of the recording.
  15. Wear headphones while recording. When you wear headphones you can pick up on how the audio sounds and so, also, better judge and adjust the quality of the audio.

Do you have any other tips that you would like to add? Do you have any stories you can share with us about lessons learnt while gathering audio? Please share with us.


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