How do you record a crystal clear digital interview ?
Recording an interview can quickly turn in to a horrific experience when not done right. Imagine the horror of my journalist friend when she found out that the interview she’d painstakingly recorded was hardly audible. After months of chasing after a reclusive activist, and truckloads of homework, all she could hear was incoherent mumblings.
“Imagine my shock when my clever and witty questions sounded like alien speech” she rued. Almost all of us have our share of, recording horror stories. If you record digital recordings you need to keep a few things in mind.
Here are the steps to follow :
- Remember that the further a mike is placed away from the speaker the more atmospheric noise.
- Sound check prior to the interview. Make your interview recite a few lines and check the recording level meter. Adjust settings according to your recording.
- If you are using a single microphone record in left right mono settings. Record in the two channel stereo format when recording with two microphones.
- Is it a field recording? Then make sure that you are recording in an uncompressed format.
- Compressed formats such as MPEG can be used for studio recordings. Though it offers more recording time be prepared for a slight loss of audio quality.
- Invest in a file size calculator to calculate the storage space of your interviews. It can be of enormous help when you copy your digital interviews in to the server.
- Try to set record levels manually through a limiter. An automatic one may be functional but doesn’t produce spectacular results.
- Set your input level to between -6 and -12 db.
- Use a Lo-Cut filter to remove background noise such as airconditioner hiss. Most digital recorders provide you this option.
- Finally choose a microphone that is compatible with your recorder, you don’t want to make the uncomfortable choice of dumping either one!
When you realize that your recording’s gone awry it is almost always too late. A few precautions before setting out can save your recording from becoming a complete disaster.