Recording the Event

The KUOW Ask A… recording team has two primary goals:

  • Record interviews with participants as they arrive at the event. These are used to produce features for both broadcast and posting online.
  • Record longer post-event one-on-one conversations between participants, generally for use on our website.

 

We gather the following equipment before each event:

For the feature interviews:

  • Marantz digital recorder (with power pack and batteries)
  • EV RE50B omnidirectional mic
  • XLR cable

For the one-on-one conversation recordings:

  • A small portable soundboard (We use a Mackie. It’s possible to record two lines out of a digital recorder, but setting levels can be tricky.)
  • A cable to connect board to recorder
  • Marantz digital recorder (with power pack and batteries)
  • Extension cord
  • 2 Audio-Technica shotgun microphones
  • 2 15’ XLR cables
  • 2 microphone stands

 

Pre-Event Prep:

  1. The Producer/Archivist compiles a list of interview questions with the help of an editor assigned to the event and the moderator. These will be used for the feature segments.
  2. The Producer books recording equipment.
  3. We hire a reporter to conduct the interviews.
  4. The Producer/Reporter arrive an hour before the event to set up. The area chosen for the one-on-one conversations should be away from the main activity area if possible.
  5. As people arrive, the team welcomes participants and points them to the reporter for pre-event interviews.
  6. Reporter uses the compiled questions to conduct interviews (general with Answerers) as they arrive. Takes notes. Makes sure to have each person state their name. Gets ambient sound for editing.
  7. During opening remarks, the moderator introduces guests to the producer and reporter and explains that they will be recording post-event conversations.
  8. Producer and reporter eavesdrop on conversations during the round-robin to identify suitable candidates.
  9. At the pre-meal break the moderator introduces the producer/reporter again and says something like “If you had an especially meaningful conversation you’d be willing to put on tape, please see our producer.”
  10. The producer and reporter work quickly to approach possible candidates, queue them up and start recording ASAP. Some people are excited to record. Some want coaxing. Shoot for a good mix of participants, gender mix, etc. We generally record conversations between Askers and Answerers but have experimented with recording a conversation between two Answerers, for instance, with beneficial effect.
  11. The producer simply starts each recording session by saying something like “This time is for you to continue your conversation as you’d like or help us capture a part you especially appreciated. We like to keep it to 5 minutes or so. Please start by introducing yourselves again.” (The conversations almost always flow very naturally. We haven’t found any need to direct the pairs.)
  12. Arrange for a photo of each pair post-conversation. This has been a great element of our online presentation. These photos often capture the spirit of the event nicely.
  13. Get as many recordings in as you can. Take notes. Break everything down.

 

Post-Event

  1. We use Adobe Audition to do our editing.
  2. Reporter: Working with producer, pull cuts for the two distinct broadcast features (1.5 and 3 minutes for us) and an online feature that can be longer.
  3. Write intros and back announces for all three. Meet with editor to review. Voice and mix. We use a music bed with the intro and back announce.
  4. Producer: Fix levels and make a mix down of the trimmed-up conversations you recorded.
  5. Create the web post, leading with an event photo and the feature, followed by the conversations with pair photos. Publish.