[Air-l] audio/video at IR conferences

Chris Ward drpoo at drpooville.org
Mon Jul 2 04:26:35 PDT 2007

I like the screencast idea synced with audio a lot! If the capability is 
there to make this possible easily, then that seems the way to go.

 However, honestly, I don't think video needs to even be part of the 
equation. Video is overkill, and adds WAY to much overhead in most 

Usually, video only adds additional stimulus to the recording. If the 
speaker is good, and knows ahead of time that he/she will be recorded 
via audio, then words alone should speak for themselves. Just imagine, 
before TV we only had TEXT, then before TEXT even, we only had VOICE.

When I listen to conference podcasts, I almost never feel the need to 
actually see the slides they are talking from since the speakers usually 
explain what I would otherwise be seeing in the slide-show if I was 
physically present at the conference. In fact, when I attend 
conferences, or when I attend some class where the instructor is reading 
from slides, I try to avoid looking at the slides and simply listen. 
That way, I am able to better understand what he/she is actually saying, 
not what they are flashing in front of my eyes. I really don't like 
slide-show presentations because they're distracting. Let the speaker 
talk, I say, not the pretty pictures and bullet points.

With this in mind, I believe recording and archiving sessions of all 
types should be very simple and straightforward, more or less anyway. 
There are always exceptions, and since I have very little experience 
with recording conferences myself, I'm not one to really talk, but I can 
envision it being pretty elementary to get the basic audio recordings at 
least. Perhaps the quality of them might be on the low side at first, 
improving with time, experience and additional support...plus I'm sure 
there are things I am not considering, but if we continue to throw out 
suggestions and do an inventory of what IS already available and what 
would be needed, and there is enough support for getting it 
done....key....then it can get done. It would be worth it too, I 
believe! Just imagine how many of the readers of this list alone will 
not be able to make it to the conference but would like to participate. 
The availability of podcasts makes secondary participation possible like 
never before.

My proposal would be to just figure out, based on the session type 
(roundtable discussion, keynote, panel discussion, etc) and the 
configuration of the room and whether or not audience will participate, 
where best to set up one or maximum two good microphones tied into a 
simple audio recorder. One for each room where sessions will be held. 
Then at the beginning of the session, hit record, and at the end, hit 
stop. Mini-DV recorders would work great for this, and these days they 
are very cheap and of pretty damn high quality. They're durable too.

Once the archives have been collected, send out a notice to this mailing 
list, and ask for volunteer editors. Pass them on the originals, with 
any additional audio you'd like to see added in for consistency 
(intro's, sponsor notices, etc.) then have them send you back the edited 
copy. OR if there are no volunteers, then just archive the audio AS-IS. 
Personally, I would prefer to have the audio un-cut and a bit ugly than 
not have it at all. So if one of the barriers to making the recordings 
is post-production editing, then well, knock that off the show-stopper 
list and push it out to the community anyway. I would guarantee though 
that there would be at least a few interested parties. Anyway, it's only 
once per year, and there aren't hundreds of sessions or anything. This 
community is full of volunteer spirited individuals I believe, we could 
get it done.

-Chris (long-time lurker who speaks only when I think I have something 
valuable to say, and silent participant reader and critic when I do not :-)

Nancy Baym wrote:
>>  While the actual recording itself would still require hardware and 
>> at least one
>> person to man a microphone / camera, hosting the resulting files via one
>> of the online vid services could externalize that cost.
> Storage is not the issue. Cameras and at least one person per room to 
> do recording and ensure that the hardware/cameras don't go walking 
> are. Given that no one wants to man a camera in one room for a full 
> day, it really means a team of probably about 20 or more volunteers 
> willing to not only record, but also manage the editing and 
> uploading. That is not trivial, and except for a couple of people 
> saying "I'll audiorecord my session" this list has not now (nor has 
> it ever) overflowed with those willing to offer their own labor for 
> the fruits they wish to reap.
> It's not that it can't be done. It's that it's much more human labor 
> than most people recognize and far more people want the product 
> delivered without doing the work to create said product.
> Nancy
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