Virtually School | Virtually school, real learning

Audio for Video Recording Tips

When we make a video, it’s easy to overlook the audio. This can, and will lead to problems, because from my experience, getting the audio right is at least twice as difficult as getting the video right.

Here are some tips and tricks I have learned the hard way over the years. Mike Removed

1. ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS do an audio check before shooting.

2. Generally speaking, the closer the mike is to the sound source, the better the audio will be. *

3. Try to avoid moving a mic, or ipad/ipod once you start recording.

4. For interviewing people in a place with lots of ambient noise, use an external mike. We use the iRig mikes for iPod recordings, and they work fantastic!

5. When kids are doing voiceovers, use headsets with attached mikes. (For Mac users, that means going USB-pretty much)

6. It doesn’t matter how good your setup is, if the subject doesn’t speak loudly and clearly, it won’t help-spend time COACHING your students on how to project their voices. Even right before you press record can help.

7. If you are using backing music combined with a voiceover, the music should never be more than 10-15% of the total audio output.

8. Avoid recording in room with a lot of ambient noise and echo. (hard, straight walls) If you have to, see rule 2*

9 When conducting standing interviews, make sure the interviewer keeps hold of the mike.

10. ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS do an audio check before shooting.

* A short technical not about “gain”.

Gain is quite technical, but you can think of it as being the amount of work your microphone is doing to record a sound. The higher you turn the gain, the more energy the microphone will use to record the audio. So if someone is speaking softly, or the microphone is far away, we have to turn the gain up. The problem with doing this, is that the microphone doesn’t actually know which sound we are after, so by increasing the gain the microphone will record EVERYTHING it is hearing louder-the sound of the air conditioning, people talking in the background, even fluorescent lights! That is the problem I had making this video. I didn’t want to use a hand held or table mike, so I had to pump up the gain on a mike back out of shot. End result-the resonance of the room (echo) was recorded beautifully along with my voice! That’s why it is always best to get your mike as close as possible to your sound source.

A good level of audio gain is shown in diagram 1 as being the yellow box. Above that in the red box, you run the risk of distortion if the subject suddenly says something louder. Below that in the green, you run the risk of the audio not being loud enough in your final cut.

diagram 2

via Virtually School | Virtually school, real learning.

iPad vs Laptop Typing. Where is the edge?

I hate typing on my iPad.

There is just no way anyone can type as quickly on an iPad as they can on a “proper” keyboard. 


(Apologies for the awful audio.)

So the ipad won. Amazing. I think it’s important to bear in mind that even though I have never had touch typing lessons on an iPad, I have on a computer keyboard. As you may have noted from the video, my technique on the iPad was about 70-80% consistent with “correct” touch typing technique.

I think it would be a dangerous mistake to assume that students will type faster on an iPad if they do NOT at some point in time learn how to touch type.

Technical Stuff

  • To help both students and teachers, we have developed a site called ihelp by providing lots of self help videos and tutorials.
  • Lessons are in HTML format when possible-not documents
  • We use an open source WordPress installation on our own servers.
    Any other software or sites that allows for open collaboration would fit the bill
  • Audio Visual files are hosted on our media server (Tiger Tube) and embedded back into the site.
  • Backup occurs through the regular school backups.
  • Central link location held at (Grade level resource sites are NOT linked from here, but all others are)

Digital Desk

What’s in a digital desk?
 Example 1 (iWeb splash page) Example 2-Wordpress

  • A majority of the student’s published work
  • Much of the students reflections and responses to lessons that can be more efficiently done on a computer. (Tends not to be as much mathematics)
  • Comments from other students and people.

Digital Desks are created, managed and maintained by individual students.

Example 1 (iWeb splash page) Example 2-Wordpress

What are the advantages of a digital desks?

Motivating for students-what do the kids say? 

  • Provides parents with a clear picture of what their child is doing.
  • Allows for parents to interact with their child directly in regards to their learning.
  • Provides access to an authentic audience that can feed back on work.
  • Allows for collaboration between students from within and outside the classroom.
  • An ongoing record of a students growth throughout their schooling.

Digital Classroom

What’s in the digital classroom?
Example 1(WordPress), example 2 (iWeb) example 3 (WordPress) 

  • Daily Schedule linked to lessons on grade level site
  • Class specific lessons
  • Class calendar
  • Links to class members digital desks
  • Class specific information
  • Useful links for students

The digital grade level is created, managed and maintained by the classroom teacher.

What are the advantages of a digital classroom? (comment from homeroom teacher new to the grade. Comment from grade 5 support teacher)

  • Easy to create
  • Provides support teachers with a clear picture of what is happening in the class.
  • Provides parents with a clear picture of what is happening in the class.
  • Can be managed from anywhere with an internet connection. (great if you are sick)
  • Absent children can still follow the days program either from home or when they return.
  • Massively reduces the “What are we doing now?” questions.
  • Allows children that need it the opportunity to reread instructions and see examples.
  • Cuts down on paper use.

Digital Grade Level

Inside the digital grade level you will find;

The digital grade level is created, managed and maintained by the extended grade level team.

It is organized primarily by subject and unit.

The advantages of the digital grade level are;

  • Enables efficient and effective collaboration
  • Synergy
  • Lessons are often multi-medial, hyperlinked and rich in content.
  • Launching pad for new teachers
  • Provides continuity as teachers leave
  • One Stop Shop