First off, get comfortable with the equipment. Play around with the recording device (minidisc recorder, DAT machine, tape recorder) on your own until you are very familiar with all the buttons and knobs. It's important to do this before you begin; if you're relaxed with the recorder and the microphone, the people you're interviewing will be too.
* Get organized
Always make sure you have enough minidiscs, DATs or cassettes and an extra set of batteries. Don't leave long cables hanging out, or you'll have to spend time untangling everything. Get a shoulder bag to hold everything. The more prepared you are, the more you can concentrate on the important things.
* Do a test
Always do a test before you begin. Record a few seconds, then play it back to make sure the sound is good.
* Label your tapes and disks
Always label everything before you start. When you're in the field it's easy to forget and tape over something you've just recorded. (It happens.) And after you're done recording, pop out the safety tabs to make sure you don't erase over anything.
* Always wear your headphones
Recording without headphones is like a photographer taking pictures without looking through the viewfinder. Headphones help you focus on exactly what you're recording. If something sounds weird, stop and check it out.
* Beware of the pause button
When recording, make sure the tape is rolling and that you're not in pause mode. Don't use the pause button. It's a very tricky little button it can make you think you are recording when you're not.
* Keep the microphone close
The most important thing of all: keep the microphone close to the sound source (your mouth or the mouth of the person you're interviewing). About 5-6 inches is good, the length of your outstretched hand. If it's any farther away you will still be able to hear what people say, but the recording will lose its power and intimacy. It's also best to keep the microphone a little bit below the mouth to avoid the "popping P" sound.
* Collect good sounds
Every time you record, collect all the specific sounds you can think of: dogs barking, doors slamming, the radio being turned on, the sound of your blender, or even your mom snoring. Be creative. You will use these sounds later when you produce the story.
* Record everything
Long pauses are okay. Umms are okay. Saying stupid and embarrassing things is okay. Often the stuff you think is weird, worthless, or that you initially want to edit out, will end up being the best and most surprising parts of the story.
For More Information Contact:
Abbie Kealy, 5316 Glen Falls, Reisterstown, MD 21136
(443) 570- 9482 | E-mail: AbbieKealy@hotmail.com