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Oooh, My Pledges Paid Off!

Glen Weldon has a nice little piece up on the “Monkey See” blog at the NPR site in praise of Tara Chace (the fictional one, not the real-life one, though certainly the real-life one deserves praise all her own). It’s a nice bit, and talks about the release of Queen & Country: Definitive Edition, Vol. 3 and the merits of the character, in relation to an ongoing discussion about the portrayal of women in comics.

Which puts me in mind that I really have to get my ass in gear on the interviews for Vol. 4, which, in turn, puts me to a question for those of you who might have experience with these things – I’m looking to record the interviews (which will be conducted by telephone) as MP3s, but I have no idea what technology is required to do such a thing. Details that may be pertinent: I have a MacBook Pro, and, uhm…a telephone. Anyone who has advice for what I’ll need to record the conversations, it’d be appreciated.

In other news, everyone in my household is down with the Hacking-Death-Cough-Bug that I had a couple weeks back. So, yeah, they’re all very grateful to me for sharing. I’m hard-pressed to think of a sadder sound than that of my bride, my son, and my daughter all bark-coughing in unison. It’s a symphony of misery, and Delsym seems to provide little relief.

21 Responses to Oooh, My Pledges Paid Off!

  1. kozemp

    Actually I think the PW article wsa much better than the one on NPR. And, dude, the winter hat and glasses, that’s impressive, I couldn’t pull off that shit if I tried for a thousand years.

    In re: colds, I’m telling you, man, Rite Aid brand yellow cold pills. I know they’re just Comtrex in a different bottle, but god DAMN if those things aren’t tactical nukes to the common cold. Take a day or two off work, Rite Aid pills during the day, NyQuil at night, and your cold is like a mini-vacation.

  2. technoir

    The guys over at iFanboy turned me on to the first Definitive Edition of Queen and Country. I picked it up and loved it. I have since picked up the others as they came out. It really impressed me.

    As to recording a conversation there is a simple solution. Get skype and then pay the 10 bucks or so for Pamela Pro. Pamela is the software which allows you to record skype calls. It records to a wav or mp3 format but go with .wav as it is higher quality.

    After that you might want to invest in a good microphone to improve your sound quality. I recommend a mic called Snowball. It is about a hundred bucks but worth the money. High quality sound and it is USB.

    There are some good resources out there on podcasting sites about this. look up podcast411 and read some of their tutorials.

    Sorry I am a podcaster and part time amateur voice actor so it is kind of a thing I pursue.

  3. nealbailey

    When I interviewed Geoff via phone I used a plain old tape recorder with a special adapter that hooked up to my phone. I think I still have it, if you need to use it. Then there was a golden wire that made a wav that went into my computer that I plugged in through the sound card. I’m sure there are better ways currently, but that’s what I use when I phone interview.

    Jeffrey might know better than I about this, but mine came through crystal clear. The only problem (non-technical) was when I asked about a story and Kristen unthinkingly flushed the toilet in the background, so it was like, “So, Geoff, what do you think will happen in Infinite Crisis with regards to-”

    (Flushing noise)

    Geoff: What was that?

    But all in all, that aside, it recorded a rad tape version which I translated easily. I even put it online, flush edited out. It was my improvement after that digital thing I used with you which recorded next to nothing well.

  4. jeffrey

    I’m not really sure how to record from a phone, but you might give Gizmo a try. It’s free, available for Mac or PC, and works like Skype only it has a built-in feature that lets you record calls.

    We’ve used it for over a year now to record commentary tracks on our shows, and it works very well (although it works better the less people you have on the call… if you get up to around 8 or 10 people on a call the quality starts degrading).

    For just two people, though, it should work fairly well and is available to everyone and the price is right. :)

  5. planetx

    I used Skype and Audio Hijack Pro for my podcast interviews and it worked for me (depending on what the person on the other line was using). If you have a MacBook Pro, you probably already have GarageBand, so that should be all you need to tidy up the sound file. You should also get a decent headset mic.

    Episode 103 of my podcast the Voice of Free Planet X used this method, with people on cellphones, landlines and Skype mics, with varying quality (surprise, surprise, if the other person is on Skype, the sound quality is great). But it’s easy to use and I’ve never had any problems with the programs.

  6. will_eslinger

    What’s going to be in Volume 4? The declassified minis?

  7. alexotica

    What I would use back when I (a) did interviews and (b) had a landline phone was an inline recorder like this one:

    http://www.radioshack.com/sm-buy-the-mini-recorder-control-on-http-wwwradioshackcom–pi-2104040.html

    You can plug it into any recording device. Microscassette, voice memo (with a line in), or your computer. On a Mac, I’d use Garageband or Audacity (free download; Google it) to actually record to hard disk and you can easily export it as an MP3 with or without tweaking the sound quality.

    Looking forward to the next volume.

    Alex.

  8. tawang

    I’m on PC, but one of my colleagues is on a Mac, and we sometimes do script meetings via Skype and record the audio for later reference. We found him this, Wiretap Studio, which is useful for recording just about anything, whether it’s plugged into the computer (microphone, record player) or even streaming audio and Skype calls–it will literally record any sound that plays on your computer while active. (So turn off anything that might beep suddenly.)

    For PCs, for anyone else who’s curious, I use Replay Music, which isn’t as useful as Wiretap itself–I just use that for streaming audio and Skype calls–but I also have Adobe Audition, which handles all the rest of my sound editing needs. (I may be an artist-in-residence at our theatre company, but I still do all the sound design, too…)

    What’s amazing to me is, there’s an app for the iPhone called iPro Recorder, which I actually wound up using to record a sound cue last week–I did it with both that and my regular headphone/mic/laptop setup, and the iPhone audio sounded better. Amazing, and maybe just a little bit scary. One thing I like, it turns the iPhone into a wonderfully high-end digital recorder with a ridiculous amount of storage space, so goodbye dinky little Sony recorder…

    Was that more about penguins than you really needed to know? Sorry… Hope everyone gets better. We went through that, or something like it, not too long ago, and it was all hot tea and Ricola here.

  9. abc_evie

    For recording interviews…

    Hey Greg,
    I have an Olympus TP-7 Telephone Recording Device, only $17 from Amazon, which is a teeny little earbud microphone, that I plug into a digital voice recorder (mine is an Olympus WS-311M, $70, but you can use any digital voice recorder that creates mp3/WMA files and has a microphone jack). It records both sides of the conversation perfectly–it’s how I interviewed you for PW :) . Of course if you’re interviewing people in person you don’t need the TP-7, but it is a godsend for phone interviews, never once had a problem.

  10. stealthbunny

    I will yet again sing the praises of horehound throat drops (or candy drops, because they will help in the same way and taste yummy) and horehound tea — which tastes horrible, but works better than anything I have yet to find for coughs and sore throats. And if you (or anyone) CAN find anything that makes the taste of horehound tea BETTER, I would worship you as a god.

    The candy drops are much better. I lived on them last fall and winter and looks like I’ll be living on them this year too. Plus, kids like them.

  11. admin

    See, those little tactical pocket nukes make work wonders for us adult-types, but I have a teensy problem dosing my 5 year old on those and NyQuil.

    Though don’t think I haven’t considered it.

  12. admin

    Very cool – thanks for the pointer.

  13. admin

    Ah-hah! See, I’ve got me on of them durn fancy (or should I say “elite” or “academic”?) iPhone things…gonna check out iPro Recorder, because that would be ideal.

  14. admin

    Re: For recording interviews…

    Hey you! How you doing?

    Excellent advice–now I have a fall-back plan, too!

  15. tawang

    Out of curiosity, I just tried iPro Recorder to see if you could record a phone call, but it seems to tune out or ignore any sound in the background. (The Retronym “Recorder” app is also quite good–and also tunes out background noise–but iPro allows for CD quality recording.) So if nothing else, it would do a good job recording your side directly.

    I’d go with “durn fancy” meself. These days, elitism is academic…

  16. admin

    Nuts. I think you’re right. Seems to me odd that there isn’t an app out there for iPhone that allows you to record your phone calls (with all the privacy issues that entails, of course).

  17. tawang

    Nuts indeed. Went searching, asked one of my iPhone developer friends, and it seems to be an Apple thing, they’re not letting anyone do that. Yet. I’m not sure how they could limit its use to interviews and other perfectly harmless things, but it’d be nice if they could figure that out.

    The Wiretap/Skype method works pretty well, mainly because it’s not tied into the phone program itself. Means dealing with Skype, but it comes out as an mp3 with no muss or fuss.

  18. kozemp

    Well, you know, your kids are going to be grown-ups some day, and they’ll be addicted to NyQuil just like the rest of us, so you might as well get them started early so they know how to manage it.

    “Now remember, kids, if you lose the little plastic cup, two gulps straight from the bottle is just about one dose.”

    In terms of ways to NOT turn your children into addicts, I have had some success with that Airborne stuff as well, but I can’t imagine getting a 5-year old to drink the disgusting fizz-water. I’m a grown man and I can barely do it.

  19. gabbicus

    I think that there is a way through I-chat to record the whole things, and pull out the audio in I-recorder maybe? Or garage band? Check with the Apple-master. :)

  20. jacoblb

    Hey Greg, I would have thought John S. of Word Balloon would be the ideal resource. Maybe you can ring him up, that is, if he hasn’t already read your blog and offered some advice.

  21. admin

    Great minds think alike — Jen suggested the exact same thing!

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