So you’re looking to record audio for your e-learning courses but you don’t have a big budget.
First, let me clarify something for you. A Mercedes is going to cost more than a Daewoo. The price difference will become ultimately clear when you drive them. A Mercedes is a higher quality car than a Daewoo. The same thing goes for microphones. That doesn’t mean that a Daewoo is all you need to get to where you need to be.
I don’t own a Mercedes microphone but got a couple of very simple but sufficient microphones. I’ve got a simple Logitech USB desktop microphone and a basic Logitech microphone headset. Both where below €28,- and more importantly both have a noise canceling feature. I mainly use them for screencasts with voice-overs, video tutorials etc. and they work brilliantly. The price is great as I record anywhere and everywhere, so when it breaks I just get a new one.
There are a couple of basic things you need to take into account though.
1. Always record in the same place
For a single project I always record in the same place. That way the background noise and acoustics are the same throughout my entire course. So that doesn’t mean I’m in a single spot every time I record my audio, you can find me in my home office in the attic, at the kitchen table or in one of the many meeting rooms at the office, but it does mean that I use a single spot per project. When selecting a spot I check a couple of things:
- Is there an air-conditioning system and how much noise does it make (I prefer to be in a room without)
- How much traffic is passing by this spot (co-workers walking to the coffee machine, cars and trains, that kind of background noise)
- How are the acoustics of the room
- What is the availability of the room
If I think it’s a place I can record, I setup my laptop and microphone and do a little random recording and listen back to the quality of the recording on my headset and listen for the before mentioned background noises. If they’re hardly there you’ve found a good spot.
2. Use the same tools during your project
Now when you start recording, and this may seem obvious, within your project, always use the same tools. Don’t switch microphones and use the same recording program. These things simply effect your recordings, making them stand out from the other files you’ve already recorded.
I sometimes use Audacity to record my audio but usually I record in Articulate Storyline, Studio or Replay using the built-in recorder. They’re simple and effective and give me the quality I need.
Tip! Check your recording levels before you start recording. For some reason my laptop ‘resets’ the recording level to 80, which means I have to manually set it to 100 before I start recording.
3. Let others know you’re recording!
Very thoughtful, those colleagues that pop in to ask if they can get you anything to drink or, when working at home, your wive that comes up to tell she’s going to the market. For some reason this is always in at the end of a long take… So tell them you’re recording, put a post it on your door and get rid of those well intended but annoying interruptions.
This post is part of the weekly Articulate challenge on Audio Recording.
Read many more tips right here in the challange recap.