I tried to watch few of the lang.next presentations but it seems the audio recording is botched in quite a few of these (all three videos I tried to watch!).
If we were all lip readers, then quality HD video would be critical. But I doubt many of us are, and thus testing the audio recording setup is something worth scheduling time for.
It seems like many of the presentations were recorded too "hot" and clipped when turned into bits.
I don't know who recorded these, but if you don't have ability to test record, live meter (recording level display) the recording and adjust the recording gain so that there's plenty of headroom (15 dB if it was "test 1,2,3"), then the last resort is probably to have your target audience (to be recorded) all talk loudly over each other, take quick sample of that and listen it back (ideally with well isolated headphones if your recording equipment lacks volume level display).
There are some portable recording boxes that would allow setting a more professional level recording up relatively quickly but you'd still be looking at good 10 minutes to setup (after practising) and a bag full of stuff to haul around. Probably too much hassle compared to just taking 5 minutes to verify that your audio on the camera isn't clipping by getting the interviewees to talk loud for a moment.
I've seen it on the Ping show too. Taking five minutes to set levels and to use a limiter on the input would do wonders for the audio quality.
@androidi: Thanks for the note. Unfortunately, the maxed-out audio signal is the audio signal we were given by the house. The venue did not have a sound person monitoring the mics/lavs. We just took what we were given which led to little wiggle room for us since we only had one person capturing everything. Next year, we'll host this event in a better venue with better audio to ensure maximum quality.
@spivonious: the Ping show peeks would be my fault. I will work on making sure this doesn't happen again.
@golnazal: Oh, you weren't even on the team when Laura was clipping on Ping. She is very dynamic.
@spivonious: SCORE! that makes me feel better about my audio skills
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