Monday, August 23, 2010
Using iPhone Voice Memo ap to record your reading
(image from Metro Technologies)
Several months ago, I was asked by 410 Media to record a reading from Punk Rock Saved My Ass to post on their website. Between finishing my classes and a hectic summer, it never got done. This Tuesday, I decided I'd put it off long enough. Grabbing my copy of the book, I turned to the introduction I wrote and started practicing reading it out loud. The intro tells my own punk rock story and explains what inspired the anthology, so it felt like a good piece for 410 Media. But what was the best way to record it? 410 Media gave several options: call it in; call it in via Skype; record and burn it to a CD for mailing; record and email. I didn't like the sound quality of recording something over the phone, but the computer with the recording equipment was buried under a mountain of other computer work (my husband's a tech).
That's when I remembered that my iPhone comes with a voice memo ap. It's really simple to use. Touch the Voice Memo icon to load the program, push the red button on the lower left of the screen, and start talking. When you're done, push the button again. To see what you've recorded, push the list button (lower right side with three horizontal lines). A list of your recordings will appear. Tap the time/date of your recording to listen. If you want to share, tap "share" and you'll get the options for Email or MMS.
I practiced with several short recordings, only a couple of paragraphs each, which I emailed to myself easily. Then I decided to see how well the ap would record a longer piece. I read the entire intro, all five pages, which produced a recording over 8 minutes, and was surprised the ap could record something that long with that good of quality. But then the file was too big to email. I sent it to myself using MMS, then connected my phone to my computer to open the file in iTunes. After that, I had to figure out how to turn the file into an MP3 and compress it.
A quick Google search brought me to the how-to page on Apple Support for transforming a MP4 file into an MP3. Click the link to see how it's done. The info for compression is there, too.
Once that was done, I emailed the file to 410 Media. Quick and easy and the sound quality is very good. And it was great being able to listen to myself read. I now know how long it takes to read my intro (8 minutes), what parts to cut, and how my reading style sounds. There were places I upped the intensity of my reading for dramatic effect, and other places I spoke quietly, and I could hear whether doing that worked. Using Voice Memo to record yourself reading before you go out and read in front of an audience is a great way to prepare. And if you have an iPhone, there's no excuse not to. You don't need to set up a microphone or recording equipment, or try to find time at home to sit in front of your computer. Read in your car before the event to make sure you're reading is strong. Are you mumbling? Articulating? Too soft? Too loud? Are you boring? How can you make your reading more exciting? Or is your reading falling into melodrama? Plus, you can record several sections from your book and post them to a website to promote your book.
Once 410 Media posts my reading, I'll post the link here.
The more I play with my new toy... I mean work with my new tool... the more I love it.