How to Record Classroom Lectures

Dec 12, 2009 | Better Audio & Video | 0 comments

There are several things you need to consider when planning to record a classroom lecture. If you’d like to record a lecture that you are going to attend as a participant, then this article will give you some helpful tips. If you’d like to record a lecture that you are going to deliver, jump to this article.

Here are some things to consider when you’re planning to record a lecture that you will be attending:

  1. Where you are going to be seated during the lecture?
  2. How long the lecture will be?
  3. Will the lecture room be quiet?
  4. Will you be the only person listening to the recording?

Answers  to these questions will help you decide what kind of recording equipment you should use. Let’s take a look at each of these factors and how they can affect your recording.

Distance is your enemy

The farther you are from the presenter, the harder it will be to get a clear recording.

If you are going to use your phone or laptop to make a recording, try grab a seat in the front row (or near it) so that you’re close to the speaker – that way you’ll get the best sound quality.

If however you’re sitting let’s say in the middle of the room, you will need an external microphone to capture the presenter’s voice clearly.

If you’re going to be in the back row, it’s best to get a digital voice recorder (ideally combined with an external microphone) so that you get a clear recording.

See how to choose a digital voice recorder and best external microphones for digital voice recorders for more on this.

Carry a power bank

The battery of your phone or laptop can run out quickly while recording audio. Do some test recordings beforehand and make a calculated guess about how long the battery of your device will last. If your lecture is going to last longer, you should either invest in a power bank or check if there’s going to be a wall-socket around.

If you are going to use a digital voice recorder, check what kind of batteries it comes with. Many voice recorders include rechargeable batteries. If yours doesn’t, you may need to carry additional ones.

Check for background noise

This is extremely important if you want to get a clear recording. The inbuilt microphones of most digital voice recorders/phones/laptops are not powerful enough to cut out background noise or chatter. What you’ll need is an external, unidirectionalcardioid microphone that can be easily connected to your device. You can get one under $30 at Radioshack or Amazon.

The microphone should be unidirectional because you don’t want the noise in the classroom or the clickity click from your laptop to be recorded. It should be Cardioid because that’s the best kind of unidirectional microphone for recording speech.

If you’re planning to use your laptop’s recording software then consider get a clip or mount to attach the microphone to the laptop or the front of your desk so that your hands are free to type and take notes.

Who will listen to the recording?

In the end, think about how you are going to use the recording. If you are the only person who will be using it, then you can probably get away with a lower quality recording supplemented by your notes. However, if you plan to share the recording with others, you may want a clearer recording. If that’s the case, be sure to test your recording gear to see if it’s able to delivery satisfactory audio quality. If not, consider upgrading. There are many voice recorders in the market that deliver high quality audio without breaking your budget!

That’s it! If you take care of these four things, you’re all set to get a great recording of that lecture.

(One last note: Take plenty of notes during the lecture, because when you sit down to hear the recording or send it for transcribing, the notes will help decipher any technical terms or particularly difficult parts of the lecture).

Happy Recording!

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