Recording Audio in an Open Office Environment – A New Approach

2 Jun

I’ve always had problems recording audio for Captivate files. The main problem is where I record audio – usually in an open office environment!
One of the most repeated concerns about an open office environment is noise. Noise is unavoidable and unescapable in an open office. From telephone conversations to the churning out of a document from a printer, noise is everywhere.
However, I’m not a stickler for silence. I advocate discussion and debate, communication is vital.
Yet, when you want silence, noise can be infuriating. For example, when I am recording audio for Captivate files, open office noise is seemingly amplified ten fold. Even the slightest sound (someone stapling a document being a recent example) can be picked up by the microphone.
And why is this a problem? Well, this sound becomes a distraction. Rather than listening to the words, the listener/learner’s ear picks up on the strange and unfamiliar (e.g. the sound of a stapler). Not exactly the learning experience that I was hoping to create!
So what’s the answer? Find a room! The only problem with this solution has been availability of software/PC in meeting rooms (the issue being there is no availablity). And while Captivate is installed on my PC in the office, my PC is literally tied to my desk.
So fed up with open office noise, I’ve gone mobile. In Captivate, you can import audio files into slides. However, this audio can only be in mp3 or wav formats and I have an iPhone with a voice memo app that records only in m4a format. Problem? Not completely.
So I find a room and record the audio required for Captivate files on my iPhone. The audio sounds amazing – crystal clear and no distracting open office noise. Next, thanks to iTunes, I convert my m4a files into mp3. The steps are outlined here:

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1550

Now I have a new approach to recording audio. Yes, it is somewhat convoluted, but the end result is the best audio I’ve ever recorded. Perhaps now learners will be talking about the content they have just heard and not the strange noises of my open office environment.

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