We held an community arts forum on Tuesday discussing the future of the local arts scene with the heads of some major theater and performing arts organizations. We had around 80 people turnout for the event, which was great for our first off-site Community Media Lab event.
Going into the forum, I knew I wanted to try and record the audio from the forum for a podcast, but, after talking to the folks who operate the theater at the local college where the meeting was held, I realized there was no "Live Sound" setup and getting one there would be difficult.
After visiting the space and seeing how it was setup - more for an intimate, small audience rather than a packed house of thousands - I hoped that the acoustics of the room would help the sound of the recording.
Of course, without a sound setup, I wasn't able to record the way that we've been doing our podcasts so far (with two microphones and a USB preamp). Instead, I decided to use my iPhone and a $1 app called Audio Memos. In doing previous research, I had read that this app had some better features than Apple's built in audio recording app, so I grabbed it and set my phone on the table next our moderator for the duration of the forum.
An hour and a half later, I grabbed the phone, popped in my headphones and gave the recording a quick listen. The results weren't half bad considering none of the speakers actually had a microphone in front of their mouths. The app even picked up for audience questions fairly well.
The next day, I dragged the audio file out of iTunes (via the Apps menu on my iPhone), threw it into Levelator, and was able to import it into Audacity and work with the file like any other podcast we've done.
I just wanted to share the fact that this method does work well, since this could be especially useful for anyone looking to do mobile podcasts or interviews in the field without lugging the higher-end audio equipment around.
I'm hoping to launch the podcast of the forum sometime tonight or this weekend as a "Bonus" episode, since we're releasing new episodes once every two weeks and it would throw our schedule off to try and jam it in later on.
Here are some videos of the full forum for anyone who'd like to watch -