Monday, October 24

Living off the Land: Capturing The Voice of Experts

In one project on which I am working, I have been asked for a strategy to quickly capture a lot of presentations from a lot of people to share with others.

My first thought was using Centra, but the client always uses the telephone for voice, and I am not sure if they have save capability.

A second option is to use the record voice option in PowerPoint.

A third is to use a tool like Audacity to record an MP3, and then have some one else align that with slides.

Does anyone know of either a great approach, or even great instructions that someone else has prepared to take individuals through this process?


Ben Watson said...

What kind of presentations are they?
- are you in the same room with them? (vs being remote/online)
- is this presentation being given just to you or are there others?
- does it consist of a PowerPoint and someone talking or just audio?

Personally I have used Macromedia Breeze to narrate a PowerPoint and it does a great job synchronzing and then streaming but it's expensive.

I have also seen limited success with having a bunch of narrated/audio PowerPoints available as most people do not have the time to listen to reams of audio (it is the same problem I have with Podcasts).

You are almost better off saying that those who attend the original session get to listen live and can interact with the speaker while those that access the archive will have access to the audio file, PowerPoint and a text transcript (though I bet most would simply read the transcript and flip through the PowerPoint as we read faster than we hear plus then the transcript can be indexed to make it reusable).

Simplicty sometimes works best, simply record the presentation and have it transcribed.

Richard said...

As you've probably noticed, nobody does a particularly good job of capturing such "ad hoc"' narrations.

If they're going through a conferencing service (e.g. one run by Sprint, MCI, ...), they can get a casette or CD after the fact. Otherwise, one approach is to have someone with a microphone and a computer run the "record narration" function in powerpoint and page forward through the slides as the presenter does.

The largest problem I've hit with doiung this is when presenters start paging back and forth through the slides, or skip over some quickly. I used to patch together the narrations with the slides after the fact, and would end up having to edit the presentation (duplicating or removing slides) to keep everything synchronized.

I know that PlaceWare and WebEx would record a series of screens (and audio, if you go through their VoIP system), so if you used one of these and a separate audio recording, ytou could meld the result fairly easily after.

Peter Isackson said...

Why not try a flipchart? ;)

Dave Lee said...

There is also an approach of cataloging and databasing presentations like Altus Learning Systems does if they have any longer term prospects.

To me I'd be concerned about a quick fix becoming quickly obsolete, thus shortening the possible cost recovery period. Can you convince them to take the time to create an asset versus a sort term expenditure?

ChrisV said...

Another suggestion...if the client uses a phone and Centra you can connect the phone to your computer using a box from a company like Dynametric and then integrate your audio into the presentation without much editing either.
I've done this with Webex so not sure how Centra handles it. If you wanted to add the ability to index the audio/video you could use a screen capture program like Camtasia and index the slides before outputting to a SWF file. This isn't as much work as it sounds and it is cheap and very flexible!

Anonymous said...

I'd say Macromedia Breeze
but that may be influenced by the fact that they pay my salary. :-)

Seriously, you can get 5 packs of Breeze Presenter for Flash-to-PPT conversion with audio. An average SME can do a bang-up job.

With a Breeze server configuration, you'll also get a content management solution and full-text indexing of ALL slide content and ALL speaker notes/narration for ALL the converted PPT's. Its a godsend when you're trying to find that PPT file that so-and-so did awhile back. You can even do live/recorded meetings of the same stuff AND get that full text indexed with the chat too.


Brian Mulligan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian Mulligan said...

The easiest way for me to do it is with Breeze Meeting - but that's expensive and it only streams. The cheapest and easiest way we have found is Camtasia. The killer is getting the sound right. We did a lot with very little help at our last conference - see


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