Tag Archives: Audio

Video production basics for social sustainability

Recording equipment

Of course, blogging should be only one of the weapons in your Social Sustainability arsenal.

Other tools you should be using include, FaceBook, Twitter (obviously), LinkedIn (their Groups feature particularly), Flickr and YouTube. I will be dealing with all of these tools in future posts – for now I’m going to have a quick talk about my video setup.

I publish videos for GreenMonk reasonably regularly over on the RedMonk TV channel on YouTube.

I’m often asked about the equipment I use to create the videos and, to be honest it is quite basic.

For remote interview videos, where the interviewee and I are not together, I typically use Skype video calling and a plug-in for Skype called Call Recorder which allows me to record both sides of the call. I then edit the video using iMovie – all very cheap and simple to deploy and yet the results can be surprisingly good.

But for higher quality videos you really need to be there with a decent video camera.

My video camera up to recently was my Sony Handycam (seen above on the right). I used it with a bluetooth wireless microphone to capture the audio and the resulting audio and video was quite good to be honest.

However, when I recently upgraded my personal camera for photographs, I chose a Canon EOS 7D (above in middle – see also on Amazon). This camera, as well as taking stills, can take full HD video so I now use this for stills and video and have one less camera to carry with me. Also, the camera, when coupled with a good lens like the EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 (see also on Amazon) on it in this picture, takes excellent quality video.

The biggest drawback of using the 7D as a video camera is that its inbuilt audio recording is poor. There are a number of ways of getting over this, such as the use of shotgun microphones connected to the audio input of the camera but I heard mixed reports on the quality from that.

I decided instead to opt for an external audio recorder. After a bit of research, I went with the Zoom H4n (seen above on left).

Now I record the audio on the H4n and the video on the 7D. I then import both the audio and video tracks into iMovie and splice them together. It’s a little bit extra work but the results are great.

Recently Adobe were good enough to comp me a copy of their video editing software Premiere Pro – I’m currently learning my way around that and looking forward to trying to use it for some real video work.

If you have any questions on video production, feel free to leave them in the comments – I can’t promise to be able to answer them but, if I can’t, perhaps someone else reading the question will!!!

You should follow me on Twitter here

Exporting to mp3 from Audacity on an Intel Mac

I upgraded to a shiny new Intel based MacBook Pro recently and I love it.

One problem that I hadn’t anticipated was that the Audacity plugin for exporting to mp3 is not available for the Intel Mac. I use Audacity all the time for editing my podcasts and for creating the mp3’s which I publish on PodLeaders.com and on the it@cork blog.

I kinda cheated in finding a way around this – I downloaded the Windows version of Audacity and installed it on my Windows XP installation on Parallels on my Mac. This version of Audacity can export to mp3 no problem.

So now, I am editing all my podcasts (and exporting to mp3) using Windows on the Mac – (yeuch!). I’ve no doubt there is a more straightforward way to do this but this is the hack I came up with being a blogger of very little brain!

Audacity aiff import problems

Audacity is an open source, cross-platform sound editing application. It is the sound editor I use for producing the PodLeaders and it@cork podcasts.

The process I use for producing the podcasts was:

  1. Record the interview using Skype and Wiretap Pro (with Wiretap Pro set to save as mp3)
  2. Import the mp3 file to Audacity and edit
  3. Export as mp3 and publish

After a recent conversation with Doug Kaye, I decided to try his Levelator application to get the levels on the recordings the same. This meant I had to change Wiretap Pro to output to aiff ( a lossless format) instead of mp3.

I did this and recorded a number of interviews successfully, saving the interviews as aiff. However, yesterday, when I went to edit the first of those interviews, I was disappointed that the Levelator couldn’t work with the files (gave an error and stopped trying to level them).

However, I was horrified when I tried importing the files into Audacity only to find that the imported files had massive echo problems, echo problems (!). No matter what I tried I couldn’t get rid of the echo and it made the audio useless.

Finally, I hit on a solution:

  1. Import the aiff files into iTunes
  2. Export from iTunes as mp3
  3. Import the mp3 file into Audacity – no echo (phew!)

I should have hit on this solution sooner but it had been a long day!