According to many media accounts, when a new thing comes along the old thing is automatically useless.When television appeared, radio was supposed to disappear. After helicopters began to be produced commercially, why would people drive cars? Some folks can’t understand why a person would want to use audio alone when video is an option. But anyone who listens to NPR or talk radio knows the power of sound-only recordings, whether they are the moving accounts of Story Corps, the hilarious antics of Tom and Ray on Car Talk, or the fiery rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh.
At Notre Dame, Wimba Voice Tools are very popular foreign language classes; students and faculty use a laptop microphone to record and share sound bites through a browser window. Anthropologists appreciate lightweight field equipment that is low-tech and non-invasive; recording a live interview is much easier than trying to transcribe it in real-time. In several courses students are assigned an audio recording project.
Notre Dame resources
- Audio recorders and wireless microphones are available for loan to students and faculty through the OIT in 115 DeBartolo
- Audacity software is installed on the Mac “side” of all public computers and can be installed on the Windows side by request.
Video versus audio
- Cost – sound recording equipment is less expensive
- Simplicity – sound-alone is easier to record and edit
- Economy – sound files require less storage space and bandwidth
- Focus – with sound there is only one sensory channel
- Richness – visuals convey additional meaning and emotion
- Appeal – many people think video is cooler
- Attention – video is in your face, sound can be in the background
- Comfort – people commonly feel less threatened by audio equipment
Image credit: Photo by Dennis S. Hurd