When thinking about media types for use in multimedia presentations consider images, illustrations, charts and graphs, audio, and video files. All of these media elements will help translate written copy and strengthen the message. For your assignment this week, you will need to record either an audio or video file. The choice should be based on the initial presentation outline and take into consideration the content and the other supporting materials.
Choosing Media Types
The first thing to consider about audio files is the experience a viewer would have. What else will be going on while the audio file is playing? Will there be images going across the screen so they are engaging visually at the same time, or will the screen be blank while they listen to the audio file. Using an audio file while also putting text on the slide can make it difficult to digest all of the different information.
Secondly, how will the audio file fit in with the flow of the entire presentation? Are all of the other slides full of text and imagery? If so, then will the audio section be out of place?
When considering whether to use video in the presentation, again think about the viewer’s experience. Video has the ability to capture attention in a way that other types of media don’t. Are there elements of your organization that would be best shown in video format? If you have a particularly strong point to make, video may be an excellent option.
If you do choose video, the image you capture should be interesting. You wouldn’t, for example, want to have video of yourself simply sitting in front of the camera speaking. You might have similar video of someone unique and well-known in the arts or important to your organization.
Working with Audio
Recording digital audio files is really quite easy. You will a microphone and some very basic audio editing software. Most laptops, and many desktops, have built-in microphones as they are equipped for easy video conferencing. You may also be able to record audio on your phone. The iPhone, for example, allows you to record audio and do some basic edits with their built-in software. Some other options to consider might be handheld dictation devices, video recorders that will also record audio, tablets, or smartphones.
Tips for Recording Great Audio
Since this may be your first time recording an audio files, here are some tips to ensure the best quality audio recording:
- Get rid of as much ambient noise as possible
Try to be alone in a room with as much technology (computers, fans, etc) turned off as possible. If you have a space with soft walls (think hanging quilts or padded cubicles), even better!
- Experiment with the position of the microphone
Having it too close and too far away will result in a distorted pitch and allow more ambient noise to be picked up. You want it to be 6-12 inches from the speaker.
- Make sure your script is easy to read
Read through the script several times to make sure there aren’t portions with difficult to pronounce words or phrases that might trip you up.
- Write a script
You may think it will easier to ad lib, but often you will find this type of recording peppered with ummms and other fillers. Having a script to read from ensures you sound polished and professional.
- Read slowly
Reading too quickly can make the recording feel rushed and if you are out of breath. Pace yourself to read slower than normal.
- Record blank space
Record a few seconds of blank space at the beginning and end of your clip to make editing the clip easier.
Editing Audio Files
You will be relieved to know that you won’t be expected to perform professional level audio editing in this unit! You will need to do some basic edits that will ensure that the clip starts and ends appropriately, clipping off any blank space or ambient noises. After a few recordings you should have one that runs smoothly through the script and only needs the beginning and end adjusted to make it ready to use.
If you don’t have a recording device that can also edit audio files you will need software to do so. Luckily there are several free software options for both Windows and Mac platforms. Both of these are excellent options and each site has instructions on how to use their software:
Working with video
Much like the audio files, you will need a device that captures sound and also video. You may be able to use your same computer or smartphone. The iPhone, for example, allows you to record video and perform basic editing with their built-in software.
Tips for Recording Great Video
Here are some tips to ensure the best quality video recording:
- Start with a script
Just as before, be sure to plan out exactly what you will be saying. You might even consider using a teleprompter app to play the script as you speak, or even using a PowerPoint or word document with large type to serve as a teleprompter.
- Use a tripod
If you don’t have a tripod, be sure that your device is stabilized on a hard surface. A stack of books works just as well–feel free to improvise!
- Check the focus of your shot
The distance of the camera from the subject can drastically affect the focus. Be sure to make the camera close enough to the subject to fill most of the frame.
- Check your lighting
Make sure the lighting is bright, but not blinding. Always check this in the camera and make adjustments as needed.
It’s important that you come across cheerful and engaged, and the best way is to make eye contact with the camera lens and smile.
- Prepare before you begin
Once you hit record, take a moment to pause and smile at the camera. This will help you when editing your video and also allow you a moment to prepare for the recording.
Editing Video Files
If you have a Mac, then you already have easy-to-use video editing software built in, iMovie. There are some basic tutorials available online at http://www.apple.com/findouthow/movies/
Windows machines began shipping with movie editing software this year. If you happen to have a computer running Windows 8 then you likely have Movie Maker installed. There are basic tutorials available online at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-live/movie-maker-get-started
If for some reason you don’t have either of those programs you can also try the YouTube video editor. It lets you easily upload video clips and then trim and edit them as needed.