Learning about audio recording

I realize this is a very strange thing become interested in, but I really want to learn about audio recording. Why? Well, what sparked it was listening to lots of NPR podcasts, and eventually stumbling across one that was done by someone who had no experience in recording. They mentioned that he had gotten started with a website called transom.org. I checked it out, and I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the whole concept since then… not because I want to actually put anything on the radio. It’s more personal than that – I’ve been wanting to write my dad’s life story for ages, but have been completely daunted by it. So this gives me a chance to try to tackle it using a different medium.

My dad has had an interesting life – beginning in a tiny farming village in upper Austria, going through World War II as a child, moving to America, traveling around the world, finally settling down and starting a business, and starting a family later in life. He’ll be 80 this April, and since that’s a significant birthday, I thought it was a great time to get it all down.  I started with an hour and a half-long interview this Saturday, spent several hours on Saturday and Sunday figuring out the software, cutting, editing, re-arranging… and have about 15 minutes of audio story at this point.  So far we’ve just covered his childhood, and I’m still not quite done putting it together.  I’m guessing I’ll have another 10-15 minutes by the time this section is done.

Thanks to Transom.org, I found some really simple audio editing software called Hindenburg Journalist.  It was really easy to learn, and not too terribly expensive.  I figured that the $65 was worth it… certainly better than the $250-350 I’d be looking at for Pro-Tools.

As part of the research involved in learning all of this, I stumbled across a few sites that I thought were helpful:

50 Questions for Family History Interviews

How to Interview a Relative

Audio Interview Tips

This site if for teens (I wonder what would have happened if I stumbled across this as a teen)… but since I know basically nothing about audio recording and documentaries, the basics are just right:  Radio Diaries

I should also mention that in my scouring for resources, I came across Audacity: open source (FREE!), cross-platform, sound editing and recording software.  I may have to give it a go at some point, since I am a fan of all things open-source.

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