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50 leading cultural experts. 500 places in London. 50+ hours' audio. Arriving in June 2021.

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Guidelines for recording a viewpoint

It’s easy to make crisp, clean audio recordings on your smartphone. We’ve outlined a few tips, below.

(Here’s an example of an audio recording made using this method)

  1. By far the biggest positive impact you can have on your viewpoint is to do the recording under a duvet or blanket. Seriously, it works! You can make a kind of den, perhaps draped over a clothes dryer. Or simply sit under it, like a draped buddha. If you don’t record under a duvet/blanket, it’s almost impossible to eliminate ‘tinniness’ and echo.
  2. The second biggest positive impact is to speak slowly – much more slowly than feels natural.
  3. Wear natural clothes. Synthetic clothes make sounds that the microphone picks up
  4. For the recording, simply use a voice recorder app on your smartphone. The audio file needs to be MP3, so if you use an iPhone, the ‘voice memo’ app is fine. On Android, we recommend you download an app called ‘MP3 Recorder
  5. If you can, use a lapel mic plugged into your smartphone. Attach the mic to your chest, above your heart
  6. If you don’t have a lapel mic, no problem. Simply hold your smartphone out in front of your chest, about 30cm away from your mouth
  7. The first few seconds (i.e. before speaking) are the most important for the listener – there must be no jarring sounds at all! If it turns out there are, simply trim them off afterwards (see point 12 below)
  8. Feel free to express yourself. People don’t want to hear an actor, they want to hear a unique human being – you!
  9. Please begin your viewpoint with, “We’re standing outside/in/near [the building or place]…” It works whether the listener is at the actual place, or virtually in Google Street View, or looking at photos
  10. Keep it simple. It’s better if a viewpoint contains one, single narrative. Don’t try to fit in multiple stories. (Make a new viewpoint for each one)
  11. Do ensure the viewpoint is ‘perennial’. E.g. instead of saying “last year,” say, “in 2020”
  12. After you’ve made your recording, transfer it to your computer: simply press ‘share’ on the audio file, and the app will give you a list of options, e.g. using Dropbox, or Gmail etc.
  13. Finally, once the audio file is on your computer, you might upload it to Audio Trimmer. This is a really easy, free, online service that allows you to trim the beginning and end of your audio. Having a smooth beginning, especially, makes a huge positive difference to the listening experience
  14. You now have a fantastic, clean audio file, ready to be uploaded into your viewpoint.
  15. To create your viewpoint, simply visit your Dashboard and get started from there.
  16. If you have any questions please do contact us at [email protected]

MOST IMPORTANTLY – HAVE FUN 🙂

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