Mar 162012

After years of using Audacity as my main audio editor I am now trying out the Hindenburg editor to see if I can improve the quality of the sound in the Absolutely Intercultural shows for which I am responsible. I have always felt that I was not getting the high quality I needed and could blame this on my mike, my recorder, my Skype connection, my Spype recorder program or my editing on Audacity. I now have a good mike and a good recorder. The Skype connection is always a gamble dependent not only on the quality of my Internet connection but also on the quality of the connection of the person I’m speaking with and that I have no control over. However the quality of Skype calls has improved over the years and it’s rare now that I have problems with call quality. To record my calls I have been using Pamela software since 2006 and one irritation has been that since getting a Vista computer I have been unable to record separate tracks with Pamela. This affects my behaviour in the conversation because I know that you cannot edit out any sounds I make whilst the other person is speaking.

I now have a one year trial of the Hindenburg editor as my reward for being a judge in the 2011 European Podcast Awards. That was a real challenge because my batch included the really short to the extremely long, all manner of topics, from the documentary, almost archival approach to the highly edited and artistic approach and if I hadn’t had a scoring sheet with which to work I think I would still be wondering how to make a decision. I must congratulate the organisers of the European Podcast Award for coming up with a scoring rubric. Rubrics are a topic which often come up in the teacher training I do and this just reinforces my opinion that a well written rubric can make the job of evaluation so much easier. A badly written rubric on the other hand will be much more trouble than it’s worth and may get in the way of creative responses. So rubric writing is an art.

Back at my own podcasting efforts, after working with Audacity for so many years, what I need from an audio editor is that it is intuitive to get started and that it ends up being better than Audacity, otherwise there is no incentive to change. Fortunately Hindenburg have produced a set of short helpful YouTube videos to help people get started. And one winning feature straight away is the integrated Skype recording feature which records two tracks! So this means that I can have a more natural Skype conversation safe in the knowledge that if I make an inappropriate sound while the other person is saying something important, then it can always be edited out. The other feature which I really hanker for is a way of recording the audio off webinar recordings since I often want to share snippets from these. I know that this is more of an operating system problem due to Vista and Windows 7 but I also know that it is technically possible in spite of the default bans on recording sound from the computer. So far I haven’t discovered that the Hindenburg software can do this. That would certainly be a killer feature for me if it exists.

Late news! The winner of the non-profit category in the Danish section of the European Podcast Awards, The Faroe Islands Podcast,  was also chosen as overall wnner of that category Europe-wide! Wow!

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