When I first came to the IHR two years ago I had to learn pretty fast all about podcasting – how to use the recorder, post-production, metadata and so forth. I quickly learnt the first rule of audio recording – get the audio volume clear whilst recording as there is just no way to clean it up very well in post-production. There is still the occasional recording that doesn’t come out too well but I think for the most part we do quite well.
Recently, my new learning curve has been video filming and editing. When I applied for this job no one warned me that I might soon need to learn how to become a film director! Well, I’m no Steven Spielberg and whilst the thought of blowing lots of things up as rampaging robots charge through Senate House has its appeal aka Michael Bay-style, the extent of my filming career will be somewhat more ‘amateur’ than Hollywood. Let’s put it this way, I’m not expecting a call anytime soon.
My first video was a screencast; a merging of a slide show with the audio recording. So far I’ve only done this the once – for the session Following ‘The Absent-minded Beggar’: A case-history of a fund-raising campaign of the South African War. Looking back at it now I think it needs to be in a higher resolution as it looks quite blurry, but otherwise it seems to work fairly well. Since then I’ve created various ‘edited’ cuts from the live stream videos. These are low quality videos anyway as they are made using a webcam designed more for live streaming the video and audio, than for later use. Nonetheless I’ve slowly learnt how best to incorporate slides with the video and switch between the two.
At the moment I’m working on the live stream material from Magnus Huber’s talk for the Digital History seminar. This time around I’m not only reliant upon the live stream video but also have back-up camcorder footage to play with. I’m hoping to merge the two – if I have time and if the quality of one video doesn’t look too different than the other.
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Yesterday was the first Digital History seminar this term and, as what has become a continuing thread for many of the papers, the focus was again on the Old Bailey Proceedings. However, this time the topic was rather different – at least from an historian’s perspective – Magnus Huber (Gissen) is a linguist and his area of investigation was to look at what – if anything – the proceedings can tell us about spoken English in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
If anyone would like to watch the recording it is currently available on the ‘past live streamed events’ section of History SPOT. Over the coming week’s I will be reviewing the video and audio to produce a smoother edited edition which will then be archived in the Digital History seminar section of History SPOT. So watch this space!
As per usual I was sat in one corner of the room monitoring the live stream for the session while seminar conveners Peter Webster (IHR) and Richard Deswarte (History Data Service, University of Essex) entered the ‘Twitter-sphere’ to keep the digital world abreast of what was happening in the room and to field any questions from the online audience that were not directed through my ‘chat’ pop-out.
Those who were watching, either in the room or online, will have been aware that we started with a few technical issues, however – thankfully – I was able to resolve these fairly quickly. The problem amounted to the failure of the wired internet connection (either the cable or the connection itself). We were therefore reliant on wifi which was far from ideal but did nonetheless seem to withstand the high broadband usage I was chucking at it.
The next session promises to be something of an interesting experiment for us as the speaker, Dan Cohen – will be speaking from his home institution of George Mason University in Washington DC. Dan will be using the same live stream system that we use while we in the room will maintain a skype connection with Dan in the background to deal with any technical hitches and for the post-paper questions. Those of us in the room, therefore, will be joining our other online viewers by watching the seminar on the computer screen (via a projector in our case). I’m quite excited by this prospect as I have not yet had the opportunity to watch any of our live streams in real-time for obvious reasons.
Digital History Seminar
Dan Cohen (George Mason)
Finding Meaning in a Million Victorian Books
The next session will be live streamed at approximately 5.15pm GMT on Tuesday 6 March 2012. For those of you who would like to attend the event in person we will be gathering in S261 on the second floor of Senate House (a slight change from normal). This can be reached either through the Senate House North Block stairs or via Stewart House (instead of turning left towards the usual room (ST276) keep on going forward.
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Just a quick reminder that we will be live streaming the Digital History seminar tonight at 5.15pm GMT. Tonight’s session is given by Magnus Huber (Giessen) who will be talking about spoken English in the 18th and 19th centuries derpived from evidence in the Old Bailey corpus.
For more information or to view this show click here.
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