A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Audio Recording of Workshops and Seminars

The AHDS made audio recordings of recent seminars with the aim of transcribing the recordings, and presented them to seminar chairs to facilitate their task of completing reports on each event. This case study looks at some of the issues that occurred as the AHDS recorded and transcribed the material from these seminars. While its findings are based on roundtable seminars, some of them may also be of use to those doing other types of audio recording - interviews, field notes etc.

AHDS (2006). Articles>Collaboration>Multimedia>Audio


Behringer Multitrack Audio Mixer

Introduces how to perform multimedia audio mixing and editing using a Behringer multitrack mixer.

Pratt, Andrew and Dave Long. Studio for New Media (2004). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Audio


Developing a Personal Voice in Audio: Adding Inflection

Lack of inflection pretty much defines the reading voice. If you read a paragraph of text in a normal reading voice, you won’t hear much inflection. But if you listen to a real conversation, or especially if you listen to actors on TV, their voices move up and down the scale with a lot more inflection. It seems the more emotion you add to what you’re saying, the more inflection you end up including.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Screencasting


Developing a Personal Voice in Audio: Avoiding Phlegm in Your Throat with Voiceovers

One of my biggest problems when narrating a screencast is that my throat gets all clogged up. I have to hit the pause and resume key every minute or so to clear my throat. Voiceover actors have learned to deal with this problem, since they often don’t have the benefits of a pause and resume key. You can reduce the amount of phlegm that accumulates in your throat by chiefly doing these two things.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Screencasting


Developing a Personal Voice in Audio: Avoiding Plosives and Breathing Noises

Getting close to your microphone usually results in something called “the proximity effect.” As you get close, most microphones amplify your voice in a rich, deep way. The proximity effect can make you sound like a late-night DJ. Some microphones give you the best proximity effect when you’re practically kissing the mic. Unfortunately, as you get closer to a microphone, the microphone starts to pick up more sounds from your mouth.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Podcasting


Developing a Personal Voice in Audio: Breathing Correctly

The final tip in my list of techniques for developing a personal voice in audio is to breathe correctly. This is actually the hardest technique for me, so I have saved it for the end. Strangely, in normal conversation, most of us don’t have any trouble breathing. But when we start recording voiceovers, we start talking a little faster, with more energy and fewer pauses.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Screencasting


Developing a Personal Voice in Audio: Finding an Acoustic Environment

For several months I’ve been looking for a quiet room to record screencasts at my work. Our building has four floors for more than 600 IT professionals. I investigated more than 20 conference rooms, poked my head in empty offices, walked around unfamiliar floors, inquired here and there. When people see my looking, they don’t understand what I mean by a “quiet” room. What does quiet mean?

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Screencasting


Developing a Personal Voice in Audio: Fixing Fumbled Sentences

One of my first recommendations for achieving a natural, believable voice is to employ more free narration rather than always reading a script. I recommended this because all the video tutorials on Lynda.com are narrated at the same time as they are recorded, and the less you read, the more natural your voice sounds. However, I realize that unscripted narration, even just a few sentences, can be problematic.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Screencasting


Developing a Personal Voice in Audio: Recording with the Right Microphone

I’ve postponed writing about microphones for several reasons. First, there are hundreds of different microphones suited for all kinds of situations, from vocal music to kickdrums to broadcasting and more. Also, microphones can get expensive, and not everyone has the same budget. So there is no right voiceover microphone for every person and situation. However, I’ll try to present a simplified view of microphones.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Screencasting


Developing a Personal Voice in Audio: Smiling While You Narrate

Voiceover professionals often recommend that you smile while you narrate. Smiling injects a touch of warmth and charisma in your voice. Just a few touches here and there can make the entire tone of your voice noticeably warmer.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Podcasting


Examples of Companies Integrating Podcasts into their Mix of Technical Communication Deliverables?

Podcasts aren't very good at delivering step-by-step technical information. Concepts are where podcasts excel.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2007). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Podcasting


Getting to Know Mic

For a presenter, a high-quality microphone, combined with the right sound system, will give your voice a rich sound that can be heard throughout a room. Here are some things to consider if you want to add a microphone to the company conference room or your presentation traveling kit. The basics A microphone is essentially an energy converter that takes in sound waves and converts them into electrical energy. Two main types of microphones are available: condenser and dynamic. A condenser mic uses a power supply to provide a charge that works with a thin diaphragm inside the unit to create a signal. A dynamic mic creates a signal when the sound pressure moves a coil or ribbon across a magnet. Because they usually produce a richer sound, condenser mics are the more popular of the two; however, they require batteries or a power supply and are more expensive and more fragile than dynamic models. Dynamic mics are usually considered less accurate in sound quality, but they are generally more rugged and can withstand varying temperatures, humidity levels and a lot of abuse. These qualities make dynamic mics ideal for use outdoors or on the road.

Hill, Julie. Presentations (2002). Articles>Presentations>Multimedia>Audio


How to Build a Laptop Studio on Any Budget

Although there are many reasons for choosing a laptop for music making, we've focused on three common scenarios: the software-only, all-in-the-box setup for the composer-performer; the songwriter's studio, which will need mics for recording voices and instruments; and the multitrack live-recording rig. Even if what you do doesn't fit neatly into one of these areas, our reasons for choosing particular pieces of gear may help you with your own buying decisions.

Electronic Musician (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Audio


How to Build a Personal Recording Studio on Any Budget

Recommendations for gear for building audio recording studios on a wide range of budgets.

Electronic Musician (2002). Articles>Multimedia>Audio


Multi-Track Mixing for Location Dialogue

Stereo is rarely recorded as such in the field. Instead, we record monaural sounds and wait until post-production is nearly complete to re-assign these sounds to the audience's left, right, and in-between. Until the film is edited, there is no way to know just where all of the audio elements need to end up. For instance, out on production, it might seem logical to record a car that passes from left to right in stereo, so that you can hear the 'pass by' in your phones whoosh from the left ear to the right ear.

Ginsburg, Fred. Equipment Emporium (2006). Articles>Multimedia>Editing>Audio


(Novice) Audio for Television: Mixing the Basic "Event"

Here is a breakdown of how we might handle the typical 'low budget' television demo or competition, such as a local cooking show, sporting event, or how-to-do-it.

Ginsburg, Fred. Equipment Emporium (2006). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Audio


Podcast Metrics: A Panel Discussion

There are a number of approaches to getting meaningful data from podcast usage, each with their own advantages and drawbacks.

Federico, John, Dave van Dyke and Alex Laats. Podcast Academy (2006). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Podcasting


The Problem with Speaking Conversationally in Video Tutorials

This week while watching TV I’ve been listening closely to the voices (separating them from the visuals on the screen). Actors aren’t soft-spoken, reserved people. Actors inflect all over the voice spectrum. They have a lot of energy and drama in their voices.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2008). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Screencasting


Producing for the Ear

'Writing for the ear' is an effective way of making content engaging and interesting. Examples of this are audio-based sentence structure, writing around audio clips, making informed word choices and creating a narrative arc for your podcast. Listeners, who are often occupied with other things while listening, need audio and content that transports them to another state of mind. With this in mind, Bond explains techniques and provides examples of how podcasters can anticipate what their audience expects to hear, and how they meet listener expectations while still providing something new.

Bond, Stacy. Podcast Academy (2006). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Podcasting


Production Design for Dialogue Recording

Bad audio will certainly sink an otherwise good project! That being said, let's look at how other Departments can help the Sound Department improve the quality of the recorded dialogue.

Ginsburg, Fred. Equipment Emporium (2006). Articles>Multimedia>Audio


Recording the Spoken Word: Expert Tips on Producing Voice-Overs

Opportunities for voice-over (v/o) production have increased dramatically for project studios, mimicking the DIY paradigm shift that continues to rock the music industry. Increasingly, clients needing v/o talent and related audio services are bypassing bigger studios to hire more cost-efficient producers for everything from commercials to interactive voice response (IVR) systems.

Norton, Perry Anne. Electronic Musician (2007). Articles>Multimedia>Audio


Selection and Use of Lavalier Microphones

Hiding a microphone under clothing requires a great deal of attention to detail. Not only must the mic be hidden from view, but you must also contend with the problems of clothing noise.

Ginsburg, Fred. Equipment Emporium (2006). Articles>Multimedia>Audio


Sennheiser Wireless Lavalier Microphones

Discusses how to use Sennheiser EW112P(A) Wireless Lavalier Microphones to ensure high-quality audio in video multimedia projects.

Tesdell, Ramsey and Zach Paskiet. Studio for New Media (2004). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Audio


The Ears Have It: Podcasting in the Enterprise and Out   (PDF)

Podcasting is more than a platform for reviews or polemic. It's also a powerful tool within the enterprise for training, for marketing, and for documentation. Imagine being able to carry product information or supplementary material with you and not have to worry about stacks of paper? You can do that with a podcast.

DMN Communications (2008). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Podcasting


The Perfect Voice — Professional or Authentic?

One trend I think we’ll see more and more is the decrease of professional voiceover actors in screencasts when those voiceover actors are merely reading a script they don’t understand. As an example, watch some of the tutorials at lynda.com. The narrators may not be professional voiceover actors, but they are subject matter experts. You can tell they’re not just saying words they don’t understand. They’re narrating and showing intricate parts of the screen at the same time. They’re describing processes and tips with the right articulation and inflection that shows they understand the software. I’m willing to bet most users would trade a professional voice for an authentic voice.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Professionalism



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