This article shows you how to record phone or VoIP interviews, with high quality, for Podcasting or Broadcasting, with a standard PC, no expensive audio equipment and no prior training in audio production.
These steps assume you have Outlook installed (see Skylook prerequisites for details). They guide you through:
- Setting up Skype so that you can make phone and PC-to-PC calls from your PC
- Setting up recording of calls using Skylook
- (Optional) Editing of the resulting audio using Audacity
1. Follow these instructions to set up Skype if you don’t already use it.
2. If you don’t already have Skylook, download and install it from here.
3. Start Outlook. If you are running Skylook for the first time, you will see the Skylook licensing wizard and the Skylook Welcome wizard. Follow the prompts to set up Skylook the way you want.
4. Click this button on the Skylook toolbar:
then click the Recording option page and set the options as shown:
The key options are: Allow call recording, Start recording automatically when each call starts and Store raw audio in addition to the audio recorded in the format above. The Raw audio folder option defaults to a folder in your “My Documents” directory.
Setting the options this way means you will get two WAV files for each call, one which is a recording of your voice and one which is a recording of the interviewee. Each WAV file is a digital recording of the actual sound that was picked up by the microphone and played through your headset during the call, and is therefore the highest quality possible for a Skype call.
If you don’t need ultra-high quality and would prefer to save disk space and/or editing time, leave the Store raw audio… option unchecked instead. This will give you a single MP3 file with you and the interviewee combined. This is sufficient for many purposes.
If you need high quality but you don’t need yourself and the interviewee split into different sound files, leave the Store raw audio… option unchecked, and instead click the Change button and in the window that appears, set Format to “PCM” and Attributes to “48 kHz, 16 Bit, Mono 93 kb/sec” then click OK.
Click OK to save your settings.
5. If the interviewee has Skype, your best option in terms of quality is to conduct the interview over a Skype-to-Skype call. However, in many cases your interviewee won’t have Skype, in which case you will need to conduct the interview by calling a standard land-line or mobile phone using Skype.
If you need to make a call to a standard phone you will need to purchase Skype Credit. You can buy SkypeOut credit here. If you need to take a call made from a standard phone line, you will need a SkypeIn number. You can purchase a SkypeIn number here if you do not already have one.
6. Start your phone call or PC-to-PC call, either from Outlook or directly from the Skype application. (Skylook will still record calls that you do not start from within Outlook). (NOTE: Recording this way also works for incoming calls, and for conference calls started directly from the Skype application).
7. Recording will start automatically, as indicated by the Skylook call window, which will appear at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen:
8. You can see more detail about the recording by clicking the “Show Details” button:
9. Conduct the interview, and when finished, hang up the call. (NOTE: It is recommended that you do a small test interview to make sure everything works correctly before conducting a full-scale “real” interview).
10. In Outlook, click on the “Skylook Conversations” folder. Your conversation, with the attached MP3 or WAV file is listed as an item in the folder.
(Can’t find it? Choose “Go > Folder” from the main Outlook menu, then choose “Skylook Conversations” from the list).
11. To listen to the interview, click on the item. A “Play” button appears in the toolbar:
Click it to hear the recording.
12. If you chose the Store raw audio… option above, click the “Browse” button in the Skylook toolbar:
This will take you to the folder that contains the two WAV files, one for you and one for the interviewee. (The files are called “This Side.wav” and “Other Side.wav” respectively).
If you did not choose the Store raw audio… option above, just open the Outlook item and save the attachment somewhere for use in your Podcast or Broadcast. (You can skip the remaining steps as they discuss how to edit and combine the two WAV files. Your attachment already contains your voice and the interviewee combined).
13. All that remains is to edit the audio ready for podcast or broadcast. There is a free product called Audacity that allows you to do this. Download and install Audacity from here.
14. Start Audacity, choose File > Open… from the main menu, and choose the file “This Side.wav” that you browsed to above. Your Audacity window should look something like this:
15. Now add the other side of the call by choosing Project > Import Audio… from the main menu, then choosing the file “Other Side.wav”. Your Audacity window should now look something like this (expand the window if you cannot see both audio files):
16. You now have two “tracks” which can be edited independently or together. Usually the main editing you will need to do will be to remove superfluous parts of the interview (e.g. preliminary chat, closing goodbyes). To remove parts of the interview from both tracks, do the following:
- Click in the top track at the point where you want to delete from.
- Hold down the SHIFT key
- Click in the bottom track at the point where you want to delete to. (You can also drag to adjust this point)
- The selected range is highlighted in both tracks. Click the Play button to listen to the selected section.
- Press the DELETE button on your keyboard, or the “Cut” icon on the Audacity toolbar
17. When you have finished editing, choose File > Export as WAV…, File > Export as MP3… or File > Export as Ogg Vorbis… to save a single audio file with both sides of the call combined, using the format of your choice. (NOTE: To export as MP3 you will need to install a separate free program called LAME – Audacity will guide you through this process).