Tips on making your recording
Below you will find some helpful hints and tips for putting together your audio or video diary. You can also find more help on our FAQ page.
Make sure that your video or audio recording is in a typical file format:
Video: .mp4, .mov, .m4v
Audio: .wav, .mp3, .ogg, .m4a
For many people, the easiest way to record is to use your phone and a built-in app, like your default camera app. For audio-only recordings, you can use Apple Voice Memos (iPhone) or Sound Recorder (Android). There are many apps out there though, so feel free to use whatever you like. Headphones often come with a built-in microphone and using these can help reduce the amount of outside noise that’s recorded and make your voice sound clearer.
If you have a digital camera or sound recording device, you can also use that make a recording.
You can also make your video/audio recording using an in-built app on your Windows/Mac computer:
Windows 10: Voice Recorder, Camera
Apple Mac (OS Mojave and later): Voice Memos, Photo Booth
We invite you to edit your recording in any way you like. In fact, you don’t have to edit at all if you don’t want to. The important thing is that it expresses what you want it too!
Remember if you include other people in your recording, make sure you have their consent.
We want what you say to come through as clear as possible! Here are some tips:
Noise: Try to make sure the environment around you is as quiet as possible. So, you might want to check no one in your house is washing dishes, having a video call or playing piano in the adjacent room while you record (unless you’re trying to capture that!).
Reverberation: Reverberation makes a recording sound echo-y (like in a Cathedral). It can be lovely for music but can also make speech harder to listen to. To reduce reverberation, try recording in a room with lots of soft material in it, e.g. carpet, curtains, pillows.
Microphone issues: The most important tip is to try to keep the microphone a constant distance from your face. If you’re using a headset microphone, it’s usually better to keep the headset off your ears and hold the microphone around 10-20 cm in front of your face. If you’re using a studio grade microphone, your face should be around 20-30 cm away and you might want to use an anti-pop shield between your mouth and the microphone. (You can make a DIY one out of a coat hanger and tights!). Otherwise, to avoid pops and whistles from the force of your breath, try not to talk directly into the microphone but just past it.
Input volume: In your audio settings, check your microphone input volume isn’t too quiet (so we can hear you!) but also not too loud (this will make the recording sound distorted). If you open input sound options and see the input volume hitting the top of the scale a lot when you speak, you’ll need to turn it down a bit. Default phone settings for recordings are usually fine!
For more information of making videos: here’s a nice list of resources from the Coronavirus Time Capsule project:
Have a look at our “Participate” page, where you will find some ideas about what you can talk about.
There’s no set structure or time for video or audio diaries, however we would recommend that your recording be between 5 and 20 minutes.