A Priest and a Rabbi Walk Into a Recording Booth...
November 13, 2010 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Uploading audio from weekly church sermons to online playback site (speaking only, no music). That part is simple. Getting the audio files from several different churches in different locations (even cross-country) is the tough part. How to set up a relatively dummy-proof system to record and transmit audio files to me?

Options I have considered include:

1) Record with Audacity on laptop or desktop computer (line out from desk; or room mic; etc). Have AUP file emailed to me. I edit/process, export mp3 to playback site. Challenges: Initial computer setup, as each church may have a different computer/OS to deal with; troubleshooting from afar as needed; how to proceed if the computer doing the recording is not hooked to Internet at church? What if some audio setting gets changed mid-week and no audio gets recorded on Sunday?

2) Record with some sort of portable mp3 recorder and save to SD card or USB stick. Have that media physically mailed to me. Rotate 2-3 cards/sticks for each church; mail empty cards back. I can tolerate a one-week turnaround on these. If price is right on equipment, I will set every church up the same way and have a simple, though lower-tech, process.

3) Some hybrid of the two. Or another altogether.

Obviously I prefer the first one, but it seems fraught with potential snags as the churches I will do this for will likely not have computer-savvy volunteers to properly set things up each week. I will be at a distance from these places on Sundays, as well as have a home base church that I work from myself each Sunday, so I will not be available for troubleshooting when it might be needed.

So, any suggestions that beat these? improve on them? Any hardware suggestions, in terms of mp3 recorders, computers, etc?

The human element is the real bottleneck here, so if I have to compensate with something not quite as convenient for me, I am willing to entertain that possibility.
posted by skypieces to Technology (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you can have the AUP file emailed to you, why not the mp3 file from the voice recorder? You can use the snail-mail method for churches without internet, but it shouldn't too difficult to find someone in the congregation who knows how to pull an mp3 file off of a media card and upload it somewhere.
posted by Phire at 1:39 PM on November 13, 2010

2) Sounds the easiest here. I would also add that you should include the return envelopes already addressed and stamped when you return a blank card/flash drive so all they have to do is replace and drop the latest recorded drive in to the envelope then mail. A talk i attended this week for a talking newspaper does this with flashdrives and pouches with a double sided card with home address on one side and arrival address on the other and they just flipped the card to return it. No additional actions. Color code the flash drives as well.
Depending on the recording device you may also want to include new/recharged batteries as well and a check sheet of things to do each week before, during and after the recording.
Anytime someone accesses the drive there is the potential for deletion and corruption. Minimize that by putting that pressure on yourself.
If you could find cheap enough recorders just cycle 2 for each location. ( dealextreme has $20 4gb flash drive voice recorders , this mic will not be adequte but its a direction to look)
posted by stuartmm at 1:46 PM on November 13, 2010

I'd use recorders like the Tascam dr-07 or the like, not a computer, unless they are reasonably tech-savvy, and it sound like you're working with a lot of different levels of that...

I'd suggest getting them to put the recorder in a native .wav file mode, just to preserve the quality pre-editing. This would generate a big 'ole .wav file.

Then if the people are REALLY low-tech, you could do the card swap thing you were talking about. In theory, no computer required on their end.

But an easier solution, if someone has a computer, ANY idea how to use it, and decent internet connection speed at home, is to use a filedrop service like www.yousendit.com. With that, you could even set up a file upload page on your website. They attach the SD card to their computer (or cable the recorder to their computer and mount it like a drive) and do the upload to you. It will take several minutes or even a few hours to upload or download, but I'd still rather do that than mail cards all over creation. They can do their uploads at night - yousendit also has a utility that can run in the background and do uploads, but in that case they have to have credentials.
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:46 PM on November 13, 2010

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