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Step 7: Record the Narration

Written by Paul Bogush
January 09, 2013

On the sixth day of the project, we recorded the narration. In my school, given the schedule and the need for coverage, I decided to have us do the recording in a single day. If you have the flexibility to spend more days, I would recommend that: one day for practice and two days to record groups with multiple takes. However, the reality for me was that one day was the most I felt I could devote to the recording.

Because we were short on time and quality computers, I had a crazy set-up.


I had two computers hooked up.  I had two videos set-up when the class walked in.  One group would be recording using one, then I would switch to the other.  While the second group was recording I would save the first movie that was narrated and then load up another video on that computer.   It is very important to remember that you need to mute the volume in the original video so that their narration is the only audio.  So looking at the picture above, the students are recording their narration on computer #2, and up on the screen #6 their is video playing at 5x speed.  I used a very simple microphone #5 that I threw into the middle of the table.  While they were doing this, computer #1 is saving the narration from the last group. I then will load up a video for the next group on #1.

So how to switch between the two computers?  I had a microphone #3 and speakers #4 hooked into the computer the girls are recording into, and as soon as they were done I would flip the microphone and speakers to computer #1.


To get the video up on screen I had to take the cable that ran to the projector #1 and simply switch it to the computer being used to record.  Since my desktop computer obviously does not have a monitor directly connected to it, after you disconnect #1 from it you would have to reconnect the monitor #3 to where #1 was so that you can see what is happening on the desktop while kids are recording using the laptop.  Easier than I made it sound! The recordings went smoothly, some kids came back during lunches to either re-do it, or to do it again because they simple kept making mistakes the first time.

We added music just messing around to one and what we found was interesting.  I think the music is necessary because the kids simply are not great script writers yet and the music makes it more interesting.  It also helps fill in the dead air when they got stuck or had nothing to say.  Because they did not see the videos before narrating they had no way of knowing how long each step would be, and I only had time to make each video 5x faster than normal, so if we had time we could have messed with the speed, or even changed the speed throughout the video, but again we had 5 minutes per group.  The music also helped block out the background sounds of feet shuffling, sniffles, and doors opening and closing.  We just threw a bunch of songs into a folder and just slapped on into each video.  Again if we spent more time I think choosing the right music and matching it to the action would have been awesome.