HCPT/Session 2: Recording

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1 How to Record an Event : The Equipment[edit]

Make sure you also consult Tutorials/Audio recording/Fostex FR2-LE with EW112P, which gives a picture based tutorial of recording and the FR2-LE functions.

Editors: Feel free to borrow pictures from that tutorial for the present page!

1.1 Before Recording[edit]

  1. Remember to book the equipment (stored at the Humanitarian Centre) via the googledocs ............. If you do not have access to this contact Phillida (phillida.strachan(followed by the at sign, then)humanitariancentre). You cannot book or collect equipment unless you have previously received training in recording at the Humanitarian Centre
  2. Contact the Speaker Contact for the relevant event, ensure you have permission to record.

1.2 Using the H2 Zoom[edit]

This recorder is not as good quality as the Fostex FR-2LE but is easier to transport and use. Only use this if the other recorder is unavailable. To record do the following

  1. Check there is a memory card (should be 4Gb) in the recorder (open the slide at the bottom-front of recorder)
  2. Check there are two rechargeable batteries inside (open the back slide)
  3. Try to ensure you use the power supply - plug it in.
  4. Turn the recorder on (switch on left hand side)
  5. Check there is enough space on the card (Menu - SD card - remain). If not delete some files (Menu - file - select - delete)
  6. Check the specifications are correct (menu - rec mode - WAV 96Hz/24 bit- select)
  7. Press Record once, this checks the levels, set the recorder up as if for real, and get someone to speak as the speaker - the levels on the screen need to be between -48 and -12 (not one end or the other), to change this select L(low), M(medium) or H (high) from the switch on the right side of the recorder.
  8. You are now ready to record press Record (this should be the second time) - the timer should be running and the light beneath the screen should be constant and red.
  9. To stop recording press Record. It is very important not to turn off the recorder before you have stopped the recording, otherwise you will lose all your material.
  10. When you have access to a computer you can plug in the USB cable and transfer the recorded file to your computer. The recorder should turn on automatically when you plug the USB cable in, then you will be faced with two options select
    • Storage

Your laptop should pick up the hardware immediately and from there you can download the file to your computer. Then you are ready to publish it online.

1.3 Using the Fostex FR-2LE[edit]

This recorder is good quality and can be used in conjunction with various different microphones. If you have the choice, always choose this recorder over the H2 Zoom.

1.4 Before you start ensure that you have[edit]

  • Charged the batteries
  • Deleted all files on the memory card (must be SD check it's in the recorder). For troubleshooting memory card problems, see below. To delete files follow this procedure, for each file, on the fostex screen:
    • Menu/Enter
    • File
    • Enter
    • Remove
    • Enter
  • Got all the accessories i.e. headphones, power cable, batteries, memory card
  • Have plenty of time (at least 30 mins) before the event to set up

Troubleshooting memory card problems

We have had a problem where even though you have manually deleted all files from the Fostex so that the memory card is empty, the recordings aren't actually deleted from the memory card, and the card may unexpectedly run out of space. E.g. the recording stops half-way through the talk displaying a screen which reads 'Disk Full. Press enter to return to the main menu'.

To ensure this doesn't happen, when you turn on the Fostex for a new recording, reformat the memory card. You can do this by pressing 'Menu', then selecting 'Disk', and then 'Reformat'. This will clear all files from the memory card. It will also, however, reset the Fostex settings so you will have to enter them again. (You want the settings to be BFW44-16.)

If for some reason the card hasn't been cleared, and you suddenly get the "disk full" warning in the middle of a talk, just exchange the memory card and keep recording. It doesn't matter too much if there is a small break in the talk. This is why it is important to LISTEN TO THE RECORDING AS IT IS HAPPENING wherever possible.

1.5 Setting up and recording[edit]

  1. Ensure you are connected to a power supply - the batteries will not last for an entire talk.
  2. Attach the radio mics (see below for further instructions on radio mics) or other mics to the XLR connectors on the left side of the recorder.
  3. Set the file type:
    • Menu/Enter
    • Setup
    • Def. FS/BIT :
    • Select the correct setting, BWF files are larger and better quality so if you're recording just one talk and have a lot of space on the memory card should choose "BWF 44/16", which is CD quality. For most talks, the normal setting should be BWF 44/16, but if you need to record a lot of material, and you do not have a spare memory card, you could use the MP3-192 setting. This is the smallest and worst quality file type.
  4. Select the right source (i.e. the microphones):
    • Menu/Enter
    • Setup
    • Source Sel:
    • Choose Input
  5. Select the correct battery type:
    • Menu/Enter
    • Setup
    • Battery Type:
    • Choose NiMH
  6. Now you need to check your audio levels, if you are using a radio mic, get it attached to your speaker, if you are using the table top mics, get someone to speak into them, and then:
    • Press the REC STBY button on the front side of the recorder, a green light should come on
    • While someone is speaking into the mics, check the levels marked MIC PEAK are between 48 and 12. To change the levels turn the knob below on the right.
    • You should also be able to hear the recording through the headphones, if you can't try turning the MONITOR button on the front side of the recorder and ensure that under the - Menu - Setup menu the Speaker Out option is On.
  7. Finally you are ready to record, to start push the red REC button on the front side of the recorder to the right. The red light should come on and the timer on the screen should run.
  8. To stop the recording press the STOP/CANCEL button on the top of the recorder.

1.6 Transferring the recording from the Fostex FR-2LE to your computer[edit]

  1. Connect the fostex recorder to your computer using the USB lead (socket in fostex is on right hand side)
  2. Connect the fostex to a power supply and turn the fostex on
  3. Press
    • Menu/Enter
    • USB Mode
    • USB Device Mode
  4. The fostex should now be recognized by your computer, export the files (by dragging them) onto your computer.
  5. Press the STOP key on the fostex to disconnect the fostex from the computer.

N.B. Don't forget when you return the equipment to the Humanitarian Centre, please sign it back in, ensure all the components are there and recharge any batteries you have used.

1.7 Using the Sennheiser Ew112 Radio Mics[edit]

These are to be used in conjunction with the Fostex FR-2LE. They enable you to capture recordings whilst a speaker moves around.

  1. Ensure the batteries in the front compartments of each radio mic are fully charged.
  2. Turn the radio mics on by pressing the ON/OFF button after undoing the front compartment.
  3. Ensure the frequencies of both mics are the same (this is indicated by the number at the top of the screen. Also make sure there is a strong signal (this is indicated by the green light on the receiver). To change the transmitting frequency do the following:
    • Press the SET button after opening the compartments on both receivers
    • Now use the side arrows to find TUNE
    • Press the SET button again
    • Now use the side arrows to select a different frequency
    • Make sure the frequencies on both radio mics are identical.
  4. Now connect the microphone to the radio transmitter. It is a very small mic, attached to a longer lead which fits in the top of the radio transmitter. You can attach the mic and the transmitter to the speaker.
  5. Attach the receiver to the Fostex FR-2LE recorder using the remaining lead in the microphone bag and follow the instructions for the Fostex FR-2LE to make sure the recording comes through.

N.B. Always remember to carry a spare set of batteries around for this piece of equipment as it cannot run off mains electricity. If you are using it for a whole day, consider taking the battery charger too.

And remember please be careful to look after the aerials on the radio mics, they're very easy to break and do not come cheap!

1.8 Using the Audio Technica 8004 microphones[edit]

These microphones are ideal for panel debates, but remember to take the table top stands to go with them. They're simple to use and work best with the Fostex FR-2LE recorder.

  1. Attach the mics to the Fostex using the 10m XLR cables and attach the mics to the stands, set them up as you want.
  2. Follow the instructions under "Using the Fostex FR-2LE Recorder" for how to adjust levels etc.