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How to make good audio recordings in the field? held January 2006 at the LSA meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico Sven Grawunder Max Planck Institute for.

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Presentation on theme: "How to make good audio recordings in the field? held January 2006 at the LSA meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico Sven Grawunder Max Planck Institute for."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to make good audio recordings in the field? held January 2006 at the LSA meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico Sven Grawunder Max Planck Institute for evolutionary Anthropology, Dep. of Linguistics, Leipzig, Germany

2 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig2 How to decide on what I need? What is good? Everybody will tell you: “It depends on… What do you want to do? What for? What is the field (recording) situation like? What can You handle? How big is your budget?

3 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig3 Costs Feasibility Field situation Purpose Quality Technology

4 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig4 Costs (technique, transport) Feasibility (Power supply, Know How) Field situation (recording environment, speaker) Purpose (documentation, specific elicitation) Recording Quality (frequency range, S/N ratio, quantization ) Technology (Microphone, Recorder)

5 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig5 Goals (purpose) Recorders Microphones (incl. wind shield) Setups Field situation (recording environment)

6 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig6 Analysis Transcription Annotation Human hearing ( Hz) Pitch Intensity Formant estimation VOT Voice Quality Common practice in acoustic phonetic analysis ( Hz)

7 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig7 Why field recordings? language documentation (variety of linguistic genres, incl. musical genres) conversational analyses oral history specific elecitation of paradigms for a decent number of speakers (morphosyntax, phonology, phonetics) Wordlists Narrative interview Short stories

8 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig8 Special in Endangered Language Documentation Context multiple speakers (varieties) multiple tasks for multiple purposes multipurpose recordings demonstration of the language in use demonstration of a paradigm basis for transcription and annotation basis for acoustic analysis

9 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig9 Example 1

10 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig10 Field situation Ambient noises (people, animals, natural sources, vehicles, machines etc.) Climate (temperature range, humidity) Long Distances (Transport) Energy supply Interacting in foreign languages (working language, contact language, elicited language)

11 Equipment

12 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig12 Recorders Analog/Digital (costs, formats, media) Digital Formats (16bit PCM, 22.05kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz) Quality (signal-to-noise ratio) Power Supply (accumulator / battery) Metering (details, delay, channel split) Media (costs, durability, long-lasting)

13 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig13 Barely acceptable to acceptable Acceptable (but not recommendable) IPod PC/Mac Laptop internal soundcard dv-camera tone (ext. mic) Barely acceptable (but not recommendable) Micro cassettes via Dictaphone

14 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig14 Good to Very Good Good (but not recommendable) Tape recorders (analogue, DCC) (Hi-)MD recorders Very good DAT-Recorder Solid State Recorder

15 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig15 DAT-Recorders Sony TCD-D100 TASCAM DA-P1 Fostex PD 4 MK II

16 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig16 solid state recorders But: Power supply via Accu Price

17 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig17 A good solution for the field? e.g. Marantz PMD 660 Battery powered Individual Channel metering Mono recording possible 44.1 & 48 kHz / 16bit Speakers + Line Out Professional XLR Input

18 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig18 Not bad, but … It needs E-net connection for direct USB-copying to PC/MAC  card reader Bad circuit insulation: phantom power current influences the recording  Never run out of batteries  shielded cables, self powered mics Actual presets are invisible

19 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig19 smaller siblings

20 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig20 Saving Raw Data To your computer Via Card-Reader or Directly via USB-cable (Electricity needed!!!) Another solution: Direct Copying to a “mobile photo hard drive”

21 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig21 MD and Hi-MD ATRAC  opaque format ATRAC  WAV : Don’t betray yourself MD-WAV  MD-PC: Beware losing your data Still Open Software “needed”

22 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig22 Microphones Frequency range Frequency response directionality powering

23 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig23 Microphone types built-in mics only in case of emergency!!! bad quality machine noise omni directional Dynamic mics mic-mouth distance crucial Self-powered electrets (condenser) mics Rather than phantom powered condenser mics

24 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig24 Frequency response Frequency range Directionality Omnidirectional (cartoid charcteristic) Directional (hyperbolic characteristic)

25 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig25 Microphone stands On a tripod or stand? On the table? In your hand? On the speaker? Head mounted mic?

26 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig26 21 / 02 / 06

27 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig27 Mono or Stereo??? Mono Elicitation (One-to- one) 1 Speaker (+ close standing interviewer) Stereo More than 1 Speaker Moving Speakers Music

28 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig28 AKG C100 S Sony ECM-MS957 Stereo Mono Shure Beta 53 B

29 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig29 windshields

30 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig30 Don’t ignore… Phantom power (48 Hz) Electric circuit (55-60 Hz) Cable (kinks and adapters) Cable shielding (microphone cable, NOT monitor cable) Connections (jacks, plugs etc.)

31 Field conditions

32 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig32 The 7 enemies of your equipment Dust Heat Humidity / Water Cold Hard shaking/sudden motion/vibration Thieves Yourself Insolate your devices! Watch the cables! Keep the equipment dry! Protect your devices!!! Watch or let watch! Take save backups with you!!!

33 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig33 Some Rules 1 (Time) Have a time buffer  Expect that the recording (setup) takes twice as long as in the lab Practice the record setup (microphone settings, cable ports/jacks, recorder settings) Check “Recording Onset Time” (especially for Tape-Recorders of all types: MC, DAT, DCC)

34 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig34 Some Rules 2 (Equipment) Get to know your equipment before you go to the field You don’t want to play with settings in a real situation Consider that the field session may be a ‘stressful’ situation You need to focus on your subject (plus Monitoring, Metering, Prompting paradigms, Making notes, …)

35 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig35 Some Rules 3 (Supply) Make sure that you never run out of Power (Batteries)! Accumulators Solar panel for recharging? Make sure that you never run out of storage (Cassetes, Cards, etc.)! Consider a ratio of 5:1

36 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig36 Some Rules 4 (Field Situation) Get aware of the recording environment The more “natural” the more “distorted” – Lower sometimes your expectations Nonetheless try to control the recording environment

37 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig37 Recording environment Choose a possibly quiet location Close doors and windows Cover large reverberant surfaces Ask for turning off lights, refrigerators, fans, air conditioning etc. Remove anything that ticks, buzzes, bangs, rattles, squeaks, hisses, or otherwise makes itself heard

38 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig38 Speaker Find the appropriate Microphone – Mouth distance (Headworn M. / Static M.) Watch hands and feet Ask for reiterations

39 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig39 Some Rules 5 (After Recording) Control your data again – listen through your recordings Make notes (on settings, solutions, etc.) Don’t lower the quality requirements for digitization

40 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig40 References: EMELD: DOBES: Oral history: df Radio feature literature

41 S. Grawunder MPI EVA Leipzig41 Good luck with your recordings!!!


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