When I first came to the IHR two years ago I had to learn pretty fast all about podcasting – how to use the recorder, post-production, metadata and so forth. I quickly learnt the first rule of audio recording – get the audio volume clear whilst recording as there is just no way to clean it up very well in post-production. There is still the occasional recording that doesn’t come out too well but I think for the most part we do quite well.
Recently, my new learning curve has been video filming and editing. When I applied for this job no one warned me that I might soon need to learn how to become a film director! Well, I’m no Steven Spielberg and whilst the thought of blowing lots of things up as rampaging robots charge through Senate House has its appeal aka Michael Bay-style, the extent of my filming career will be somewhat more ‘amateur’ than Hollywood. Let’s put it this way, I’m not expecting a call anytime soon.
My first video was a screencast; a merging of a slide show with the audio recording. So far I’ve only done this the once – for the session Following ‘The Absent-minded Beggar’: A case-history of a fund-raising campaign of the South African War. Looking back at it now I think it needs to be in a higher resolution as it looks quite blurry, but otherwise it seems to work fairly well. Since then I’ve created various ‘edited’ cuts from the live stream videos. These are low quality videos anyway as they are made using a webcam designed more for live streaming the video and audio, than for later use. Nonetheless I’ve slowly learnt how best to incorporate slides with the video and switch between the two.
At the moment I’m working on the live stream material from Magnus Huber’s talk for the Digital History seminar. This time around I’m not only reliant upon the live stream video but also have back-up camcorder footage to play with. I’m hoping to merge the two – if I have time and if the quality of one video doesn’t look too different than the other.