In this day and age it can be beneficial to record a meeting or interview. Recording your meeting or interview ensures an accurate record of the event, avoids any future issues or debates about what actually occurred on the day and can help keep remote staff in the loop
You will find though, recording vocals in a normal office environment can be challenging. Here are a 6 tips to ensure your recording is high quality and meets your objectives.
- Low Profile Microphones
To get the best result when recording people you should have a microphone placed as close as possible to their mouth. Look at vocalists in a band or any pop-star…. they hold the microphone right up close. We understand that this really isn’t practical in a meeting environment. An interview can be stressful for everyone involved, and a meeting needs people to be able to talk freely and openly – both of which may be compromised with a feeling of being recorded. To create a comfortable atmosphere you can use low profile, “perimeter zone” microphones (PZM) like the ones in the image to minimise the visual impact and help to set peoples minds at ease. These microphones work on any hard surface and ensure that all audio in the room is picked up.
- Ambient Noise
The biggest problem with audio recording in anoffice environment is ambient noise. The air conditioning, projector, fans, laptops, buzzing fluorescent lighting and even the traffic outside all make noise, and when using low profile microphones to set a comfortable mood you are guaranteed to capture all that noise. Clicking pens, clattering glasses – every noise will be recorded! Try and do everything you can to minimise any external noise. Try find the quietest location in your office and schedule your meetings for ‘off peak’ times to avoid general office noise. Use paper coasters rather than glass or ceramic, turn off any electrical equipment (fans, TV’s, laptops) if they are not in use and tell that person with the nervous habit of clicking their pen to just put it down!
- Obstructions between the speaker and the mic
It goes without saying that a microphone needs to be unobstructed to avoid blocking sound. If you are using low profile microphones, brief everyone to never put a folder or even a piece of paper over the mic. If you do, it simply won’t be captured. Similarly, people that hold their hand over their mouth or stand up and stare out the window while talking will be difficult to capture.
- Project Your Voice
When people are presenting at a conference or seminar they will be able to hear their own voice coming out of the sound system. In an environment where you are recording dialouge without amplification, it is easy for people to forget that they are being recorded and they will sometimes start to ‘whisper’ – simply because it is human nature to only talk at a volume that the individual feels is the minimum required to be heard. Brief your participants to project their voice across the room in order to give the microphones the best chance of picking up the important information that they have to share.
- Set The Scene
Having conducted hundreds (if not thousands) of conferences and seminars, we have learned that if a room is quiet when people enter, they will whisper to each other. That level of speaking will continue even when the meeting gets going. If you want people to speak up you need to set the scene. It is seriously worth considering having some music playing in the background, so that when people enter the room you set a ‘noise level’ that they need to speak over. Once the meeting is ready to start, you can stop the music but you will find that people will continue to speak and interact at a higher level – ensuring great pick up of the conversation. This is one of the most important tips I can give you – regardless of the meeting, interview, seminar or conference…. set the scene before they enter the room!
- Brief the Participants
It is essential that you tell your participants that they are being recording and give them some guidelines on how to act in order to get the best result. Here’s a sample “Rules of the Meeting” that might help:
- Speak Up!
- Avoid clicking pens, clattering water glasses, dropping heavy objects on the table etc
- Don’t Cover the Microphones
- Speak Up!
- Did I mention…. Speak Up!