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Audio Stories Tips on Equipment and Process

Page history last edited by Digital Explorations 13 years, 6 months ago



 Reasons to Make Audio Stories


  • The equipment is relatively inexpensive and easy to use. You just need to practice a little and get comfortable with it.
  • A microphone is less intrusive than a video camera. People can be more natural – more themselves n the company of a good interviewer or group.
  • Audio is intimate. When you hear someone's voice on a podcast, it seems as if they're talking directly to you. Swedish researchers have found that audio creates more of a sense of co-presence than does text.
  • Audio forces the teller/catcher to be creative and pay attention to words, sound and language. 

                                                                                                                                                                       Adapted From NPR's Radio Diaries


Talk-based Stories






  • Show, don't tell.  Make it visual by helping us to see what you are describing.
  • Use the small details that tell the big stories--what do people really need to hear that makes this story unique?
  • Make sure the microphone is about six inches from the speaker.
  • Wearing headphones will ensure that you hear what is actually being recorded.
  • For interviewing tips, see here.
  • Podcasting, in Plain English, a wonderful video tutorial
  • OurMedia's Tips on Oral Histories 


Equipment Needs


  • Recorder

High quality: Digital Voice recorder; high-end digital video camera capturing sound only; high-end external microphone with DAT or computer. There are many excellent models out there, from Edirol, Sony, Marantz, H2,and Olympus.  The models change so frequently that it is a good idea to check with professional folklife centers (though they often recommend high-end models as they are professional ethnographers).  The same goes for microphones.

Medium Quality: iPod with iTalk

Medium-Poor Quality (depending on your computer)  Computer microphone


  • Headphones

Helpful while recording:you hear how the recording will sound


  • Editing Software

Audacity (free download and easy to use) :  How-to manual here.  A Google search will give you many options for free tips on Audacity.

Garageband (for MACS)

Many other free audio editors, listed at wikipedia


  • Storage space

Many online options including Soundcloud, The Internet Archive, OurMedia, Yodio



Publication Venues


Community Almanac

Website, Blogs and wikis

CD for the town

Radio: Example from Rural Voices Radio







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