You may need to record yourself or a relative telling old stories. The best thing is to purchase a small digital recorder that you can plug into your PC or use your digital camera. However, you can use your laptop or PC and record your voice. It’s cool, it’s fun and it’s FREE.
When I was a Radio DJ for Star Trek Radio…this is what we used for recording commercials. In fact this is what many radio stations use for recording radio commercials. It’s pretty easy to use…play around with it before you actually have to use it…you shouldn’t have any problems.
Click on the image on the left to take you to the homepage. Follow the link tab and download and install the software on your computer. It is all pretty straight forward. You will not get any spyware or viruses. The only other thing you will need is to install the MP3 LAME Encoder which will allow you to export your file to MP3 files. I have no idea why this is not built in. I have made it simple for you my providing the link for both Audacity and the MP3 LAME Encoder for you here:
Download and install Audacity first…make sure it is closed and then download and install the MP3 Lame encoder. Follow the prompts. (you can safely ignore any warnings that the “publisher could not be verified”)
Follow the Setup instructions to install LAME for Audacity, making sure not to change the offered installation location of “C:\Program Files\Lame for Audacity” (or “C:\Program Files (x86)\Lame for Audacity” on a 64-bit version of Windows).
Troubleshooting — Occasionally you may run into issues. I can’t help you. 🙂 The site will offer you the best help. The software is pretty straight forward…if you want to do some tricky stuff their forums are a wonderful source. For example…I needed to convert a mono source to stereo…I found out how to do that in the forums…but for what we are doing you will not need to do that.
Oh ya, you will need a microphone. You don’t need a super expensive one. If you are recording yourself, I would recommend a headset so you are hands free. If you are recording a family member one that is omnidirectional with a good pickup…and do a test to make sure you are picking them up…nothing worst to do a 2 hour recording to get home and realize that your laptop only pickup part of the interview (you asking questions).
Try not to make the person you are interviewing self conscience. Let them know you are recoding…so that you don’t forget anything…then engage in casual conversation…relax them (and you)…don’t interrogate…talk to them. Instead of asking yes or no questions…as hem questions that force them to tell a story…for example, “What is your memory of Aunt Mayme?” Then let them tell their story.