I keep hoping someone, like Storycorps, will create a smartphone app for capturing oral histories.
The app would include a step-by-step about where to place the phone, and a little super-simple and
large-button recorder control. Maybe also a way to directly upload the oral history to Storycorps or
Archive.org or some other appropriate venue. I really think the emphasis should be audio-only,
because video makes a wide swath of people nervous and thus they clinch up on answering questions or
any other participation in the interview. The beauty of putting a phone on a table, hitting record
and talking is that it's super-unobtrusive, even less so than a 70s cassette recorder. The goal
would be a friendly app that is made for people with no technical experience, particularly family
members who want to get the old-timers voices and stories before they pass on. I think it would be a
very popular app.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Lou Judson" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2016 2:41 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Cassttes - Re: [ARSCLIST] One more sticky-shed data point - Richardson
Indeed it would! I was once hired to record oral histories of SF Port people before they passed on.
We had four couples around a table in the Ferry Building, responding to questions and conversing.
Each had a lavalier mic and we used a Dugan System auto mixer into Pro Tools. Two sessions like that
before they ran out of funding. ’Twas fun while it lasted and sounded darn good!
I had a few dozen cassettes of a famus psychologist to transfer from classes at a college back East.
I noticed that the last few words were repeated on the other side, and sure enough later on they got
the original reels, and I got to do it all again but better. Been there, done that! :-)
Good move to make them more affordable - ethics trump (Ooo, hard to use that word any more!)
It has amazed me how good a recording can be made with an iPhone laying on a table - they are so
thin, it is like a PZM, and can be enhanced for pretty good clarity!
(I recommend Retro Recorder for this - been using it for meeting records and darn good for that!)
<http://mcdsp.com/2013/08/06/retro-recorder/> and they got the visual design just right:
<http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/review/retro_recorder_1.1.1> More than a toy!)
On Jan 21, 2016, at 11:14 AM, Richard L. Hess <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On 1/20/2016 8:49 PM, Lou Judson wrote:
>> I wish people would hire engineers to record oral histories!
> Wouldn't that be Nirvana?
> I recall that there was one client who had a mix of reels and cassettes of oral histories. They
> started out with reels. Someone made cassette copies of the reels so the client wanted me to
> digitize the cassette copies, but she didn't want to pay the extra cost of digitizing from the
> reels (the reels needed baking). I dropped my price on the reels as I refused to do it from the
> cassettes when the reels were still transferrable.
> The reels were good--even the 1.88 in/s ones, though the odd 7.5 in/s one was spectacular. Anyway,
> I convinced myself that the reels were recorded by someone who knew what they were doing with a
> good external mic (like usually came with a Uher).
> So then they got to the cassettes...yup, $29.95 drugstore cassette recorders with built-in mics
> sitting just far enough off tables...