How to Record Family Stories

Asia's Tech News Daily

Recording loved ones’ stories ensures they’re available for future generations. Luckily, with a variety of high-tech (and low-tech) options available, it’s never been easier to record your family’s most personal stories than it is today.

Steps

Part 1 Part 1 of 3:DIY Recording Basics

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Record in a location with good acoustics. Capturing good audio in your recording is crucial. Use a decent-quality digital recorder, a peripheral mic connected to your computer, or a recording app on your smartphone and follow the directions below:

  • Position the mic as close to the storyteller as possible. If you’re participating and you only have one mic, put it between you. Be sure to speak into the mic.
  • Pick an indoor spot that’s as quiet as possible. Background noises like airplanes and construction sounds get picked up by mics easily.
  • Avoid places with lots of bare, hard surfaces like empty rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and so on. These places can give your recording a noticeable echo. Soft furniture, rugs, blankets, and wall coverings can help.

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

For video recordings, make sure you’re getting a good image. Video recordings of family stories present their own challenges. Use these tips to ensure your recording looks as good as possible:

  • Keep the storyteller’s face and upper body centered in the frame. You don’t have to shoot head-on — slight angles are fine.
  • Use a tripod or prop your camera on something sturdy to keep the frame still.
  • Shoot somewhere with soft, even lighting. Avoid harsh fluorescent lights and the outdoors.
  • Consider putting a gentle light in front of the storyteller to completely eliminate shadows.

Advertisement

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Make a quick test recording. Nothing’s worse than making an hour-long recording only to discover that something didn’t work. To avoid this, take 10 seconds to test your recording devices.

  • If the storyteller’s voice is too loud, move the mic away or reduce its recording volume. If the storyteller’s voice is too quiet, move the mic closer or turn up its recording volume.
  • If you’re picking up background noise, move to a different spot or turn off whatever is making the noise.
  • If the storyteller’s face has distracting shadows or is being lit too harshly in a video recording, adjust your lighting or find a different spot.

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Get stories directly from the source if possible. It’s often best to get stories from the people who experienced them firsthand. These people tend to have the most reputable version of events because none of their story has been affected by hearsay or secondhand accounts. Exceptions to this rule exist, so use your own judgment; only you know your family.

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Make your family member as comfortable as possible. Most family members will be willing to cooperate so you can get a good recording. However, children and the elderly can sometimes be hard to work with. Make the recording process as smooth as possible by ensuring everyone is comfortable before you start. See below:

  • Make sure the storyteller understands that s/he is being recorded and consents to this.
  • Offer the storyteller a rough time limit for the recording so s/he knows when it will be over.
  • Ask the storyteller if s/he would like a drink or snack before you begin.
  • Make sure the storyteller has a comfortable place to sit or stand. Offer a pillow or blanket if needed.
  • Offer to take breaks if the story is a long one.

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Ask open-ended questions to get personal responses. It’s perfectly acceptable to say something like, “Tell us about the war, Grandpa” to get the ball rolling. To keep the interview going, try asking lots of open-ended questions rather than factual or descriptive ones. These allow the storyteller to explore his or her thoughts and even come to illuminating new conclusions. Below are just a few example questions:

  • “How did that make you feel?”
  • “What were you thinking at the time?”
  • “What was your relationship with this person like?”
  • “What are your thoughts on how things stand now?”

Advertisement

Part 2 Part 2 of 3:Choosing Recording Options

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Try a digital audio recorder. One simple option for recording family stories is to use a digital audio recorder. These portable devices allow you to capture audio files and transfer them to a computer. Best of all, they work roughly like tape recorders, making them easier for older members of your family to use.

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Try smartphone recording options. Many different apps allow quick, easy recording of family stories on the go. Just a few recommendations are below:

  • Story-recording apps like StoryCorps. This app comes with built-in recording functionality (using your device’s mic) for up to 45-minute recordings and a “question-maker” option that can suggest interview questions (or help you figure out your own).
  • Other digital services like StoryWorth and FamilySearch Memories offer comparable experiences.
  • Simple voice-recording apps like Smart Voice Recorder (available on Android) usually offer streamlined options for recording, sharing, and saving audio.

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Record from a computer. All you need is a cheap peripheral mic to turn your computer into an impromptu recording device. Most modern computers come with some form of audio-recording utility installed. If you don’t have this software, you can also try downloading a free recording program (like Audacity).

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Capture video to add a visual component to stories. Video recordings are slightly less convenient to capture than audio recordings, but there’s nothing like being able to see a family storyteller in action. Future generations are likely to appreciate having a visual component to the story.

  • The easiest video option is to point a cheap digital camcorder at the storyteller and simply hit “record.” Most modern camcorders offer at least a few hours of storage space.
  • For short stories, a smartphone will often suffice. Nearly all modern smartphones come with the ability to capture video. However, many lack the storage space and image quality for anything other than a few short clips.

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

If you lack access to technology, take notes. If all else fails, you can always type or write down a family member’s story as it is told. This is the most labor-intensive option, but having a written record of the story is usually better than simply trying to remember it and record it later.

  • It can be tough to capture an entire story in your notes while someone is speaking it. Try this: as your family member tells the story, take only broad, cursory notes — enough to make a rough outline. When s/he is done, try to tell the story yourself using your notes as a reference. Fill in any details you left out the first time and note any corrections your family member makes.

Advertisement

Part 3 Part 3 of 3:More Ideas for Recording a Legacy

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Make a scrapbook to go along with your family stories. Scrapbooks are a great way to save important family memories for decades. One idea is to try filling your scrapbook with old pictures of the people in the stories. You can also include documents like newspaper clippings, diplomas, certificates, and so on — anything that goes with the story.

  • See our scrapbooking article for lots of ideas.

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Make a compilation of treasured family footage. Any family story is better if you can see the people in it in action. Restoring old home videos and compiling them on a DVD with your recorded family stories makes a great present for a grandparent. You can also try setting your family stories to a slideshow of old photos if you don’t have home videos you can use.

  • Many locations that develop photos can perform these services for you if you can provide the raw footage. For example, Costco Photo Centers can compile footage from VHS and film reels on a DVD for under $20.

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Make an archive of family stories. Once you have a few family stories recorded, store them together so that they can be shared and passed down through the generations. You may want to consider making copies of the recordings and giving them to multiple members of your family. As you record more stories, add them to your archive for safekeeping.

  • Today, cloud storage services offer a convenient way to store your family’s memories. Cloud drives like Google Drive, Apple iCloud, and others let you store several gigabytes of information for free.

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Write a family memoir. Written accounts of family history can be major undertakings, but they’re prized for a reason. There’s nothing quite like having a book of your family’s entire story in your hands. Knowing that all there is to know about your family is contained in a single tome is a remarkably satisfying feeling.

  • See our memoir-writing guide to get started.
  • Self-publishing is probably the most convenient option if the book is just for yourself and your family members.

StoryWorth, Smart Voice Recorder, here, Life History Services

Consider enlisting professional help. Looking for a unique way to preserve your family’s stories? Using a professional’s services will get your family a high-quality recording that’s sure to stand the test of time. Some non-profits even do this for free.

  • StoryCorps (the maker of the app mentioned above) operates three permanent recording studios: one in Atlanta, one in Chicago, and one in San Francisco. In addition, one mobile studio regularly tours the country. Click here to make a free appointment online.
  • Other companies like Life History Services offer the ability to pay for professional-quality recordings and other products.
  • Another option is to pay for time at a recording studio in your local area. The advantage of this is that a sound engineer will be able to ensure you get a good-quality recording. Hourly rates can vary by location and services provided.

Advertisement

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Coronavirus: 4,791 new cases confirmed in Ireland

© Rollingnews.ie File image of Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan. Public health officials have confirmed 4,791 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland this afternoon. As of 8am today, 536 ... Read more »

Headmaster among three dead in Storm Arwen

© Twitter lagan 2.jpg At least three people have died and more than 100,000 homes were left without power after Storm Arwen battered parts of Britain. Dad-of-four and headmaster Francis ... Read more »

Is the Copa Libertadores final on TV tonight? Kick-off time, channel and how to watch Palmeiras vs Flamengo

© POOL/AFP via Getty Images Palmeiras celebrate their triumph in the most recent edition of the Copa Libertadores – POOL/AFP via Getty Images Palmeiras will seek to make it back-to-back ... Read more »

Ellen Adarna Has Best Response To Comment Asking Why Her Cleavage Has 'Folds'

A woman’s body goes through a lot of changes over time, more so during and after pregnancy. If anything, these changes only prove a mother’s strength. So, it would always ... Read more »

Security minister criticises French claim it's too ‘difficult' to patrol long coastline for refugee boats

© Getty Images Fallout Continues Over Channel Drownings France cannot use the excuse that it is “difficult” to police “hundreds of miles of coastline” to duck tougher action to stop ... Read more »

Journalist drops two-word Spurs transfer message involving ‘amazing' striker likened to Suarez

© Provided by Transfer Tavern Copa Libertadores – Group D – River Plate v Santa Fe Taking to Twitter in reply to a Tottenham supporter, Sportitalia TV’s transfer ‘insider’ Gianluigi ... Read more »

Mikel Arteta admits Newcastle wealth will be challenge to rest of Premier League

© PA Wire Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta admits the rest of the Premier League will have to respond to Newcastle’s new-found wealth (John Walton/PA) – PA Wire Mikel Arteta has ... Read more »

How Do I Keep My Computer Awake Without Touching My Mouse?

This wikiHow teaches you how to prevent your computer from going to sleep when you’re not actively typing or moving the mouse. This can be helpful when you’re downloading something ... Read more »

David Moyes content for West Ham to build gradually ahead of clash with big-spenders Man City

© REUTERS David Moyes West Ham nov 21 David Moyes has echoed new West Ham shareholder Daniel Kretinsky’s long-term view of developing the club ahead of facing Manchester City. The ... Read more »

Storm Arwen: Second man killed after being hit by falling tree

© Getty Images storm arwen.jpg A man has died after a tree fell on him in Ambleside, Cumbria Police said. Police, ambulance and fire service personnel all attended Vicarage Road ... Read more »

Music therapy for better sleep and stress relief … in a Canto-pop song? Jocelyn Chan explains her use of tuning forks in Sound of Silence and the theory behind it

Do tuning forks have any place in a pop song? Yes, says Hong Kong singer-songwriter Jocelyn Chan Ming-hei – her song Sound of Silence, which recently topped city public broadcaster ... Read more »

England vs Austria live stream: How to watch Women's World Cup qualifier online and on TV today

© The FA via Getty Images GettyImages-1349227394.jpg England will look to continue their perfect start to World Cup qualifying when they host Austria in Sunderland this afternoon. Sarina Wiegman’s side ... Read more »

More countries to be added to red list as new Covid-19 variant emerges

© AFP via Getty Images heathrowpassengers The British government has drawn up plans to ban travel to more countries after a new Covid-19 variant was detected in Europe for the ... Read more »

Tory MP denies suggesting women playing ‘male' characters such as Dr Who pushes young men into crime

© Parliament TV Nick-Fletcher.jpg A Tory MP has denied suggesting women playing ‘male’ characters pushes young men into crime after he was comprehensively roasted for making comments that appeared to ... Read more »

Storm Arwen - latest: 80,000 homes without power as UK hit by heavy snow and 98mph winds

© PA PRI179974004.jpg LIVE – Updated at 08:15 The Met Office said on Saturday that the rare red warning for Storm Arwen has now expired, but added that the amber ... Read more »

Queen was urged to 'slow down and concentrate' while driving Saudi Crown Prince

Queen Elizabeth II has recently been resting on the advice of doctors amid health concerns for the 95-year-old monarch. Her Majesty underwent tests last month as she was admitted to ... Read more »

New Covid — Health Chiefs preparing to take every precaution in fight against ‘game changer' variant

© Provided by Extra.ie Health chiefs are preparing to take every precaution in the fight against a new mutant strain of the Covid-19 virus, which has set alarm bells ringing ... Read more »

Pink Is a Hot Color Trend for Car Interior Modification in 2021

© Provided by Esquire Philippines Many car buyers are satisfied with their purchase and don’t do anything to their vehicles when they take them home and drive them every day. ... Read more »

HSE to step up booster jab roll-out amid threat of new variant

© REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne The roll-out of booster vaccines will be stepped up amid fears the new potentially highly infectious Covid-19 variant will spread to this country soon. There are concerns ... Read more »

South Africa: Today's latest news and headlines, Saturday 26 November 2021

© Provided by The South African We’ve got the latest news stories and headlines in South Africa on Saturday 26 November 2021. After news broke earlier this week that a ... Read more »

Mohamed Salah told to leave Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp issues Ralf Rangnick warning

After losing some momentum before the international break, Liverpool appear to have got back on track again quickly. The 4-0 win over Arsenal was an emphatic show of strength from ... Read more »

How to Have a Foster Child Removed from Your Home (Emergency and Non-Emergency Removal)

Fostering children is a great way to provide some stability in a child’s life. However, there may come a time when you and your foster child just aren’t meshing well ... Read more »

Kurdish woman, 24, who wanted to live with husband-to-be in UK becomes first named Channel victim

© Krmanj Ezzat Dargali/Facebook Maryam ‘Baran’ Nuri Hamdamin died after a dinghy she was in deflated in the English Channel – Krmanj Ezzat Dargali/Facebook A young woman who dreamed of ... Read more »

Ralf Rangnick's Cristiano Ronaldo issue as Man Utd frustrations emerge on WhatsApp

Big changes are coming at Manchester United The sacking of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears set to trigger a new era at the club, with Ralf Rangnick the man expected ... Read more »

Hundreds of thousands of trees to be planted across England

© PA Wire Autumn weather Nov 7th 2021 Hundreds of thousands of trees will be planted in England following funds awarded as part of National Tree Week. The initiative, funded ... Read more »

Ken Bruce recalls ‘stress' of broadcasting Queen's Christmas message

© PA Media Ken Bruce birthday Ken Bruce has revealed the BBC used multiple back-up tapes and an extra power generator as a precaution during its broadcast of the Queen’s ... Read more »

Renault Arkana: Quite a likeable car

© Renault The Arkana looks quite handsome and contemporary, without being too aggressive – Renault According to the press release for the new Renault Arkana, “In a completely saturated and ... Read more »

SNP members told ‘stand up and be counted' to defend devolution from Tories

© PA Archive SNP Conference Devolution is being “hollowed out” by Boris Johnson who secretly wants to take back powers from devolved parliaments, John Swinney will claim. Scotland’s Deputy First ... Read more »

New Moms Will Love These Thoughtful And Functional Christmas Gift Ideas

It’s Christmas in a few weeks! If you’re already feeling the rush, you better not pout because there’s a one-stop-shop to help you tick all items off your gift list. ... Read more »

Storm Arwen - latest: People urged to stay indoors as winds hit 78mph and man killed by falling tree

© PA PRI179974004.jpg LIVE – Updated at 23:04 People have been urged to stay indoors and avoid driving as Storm Arwen sweeps into the country, with the Met Office issuing ... Read more »

Marjorie Taylor Greene hits out at Kevin McCarthy, says he ‘doesn't have full support' to be speaker

© Getty Images Marjorie Taylor-Greene – Getty Images Marjorie Taylor-Greene has hit out at Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy and said he does not “have the full support” to become ... Read more »

McDonald's staff hid in fridge to avoid customer who started a fight after restaurant ran out of menu item

© WSB-TV 2 Atlanta Cell phone video caught the encounter between McDonald’s staff and a customer in Henry County, Georgia – WSB-TV 2 Atlanta Staff at a McDonald’s in Henry ... Read more »

‘Critically flawed': Review of new Tesla sparks debate after writer claims problems with autopilot

© AP A Tesla Model Y Long Range is displayed on Feb. 24, 2021, at the Tesla Gallery in Troy, Mich. Consumer Reports says electric SUVs generally are among the ... Read more »

David Moyes warns against ‘quick fix' cash injection from new West Ham investors

© PA Wire West Ham manager David Moyes believes hard work on the training pitch rather than just the transfer market is crucial to long-term success (Adam Davy/PA) – PA ... Read more »

Government's rail plans ‘disgraceful sell-out' and ‘betrayal of North' – Labour

© PA Wire Labour Party Conference 2021 Labour will accuse the Prime Minister of betraying the North and “robbing Ashton to protect Ashford” after scaling back plans for rail investment ... Read more »

HSN Has a Bunch of Nintendo Switch Deals for Black Friday & They're Selling Out Fast

© Image: Nintendo. Right before Black Friday, we discovered that QVC had out-of-this-world deals on Nintendo Switch bundles, which never happens. And on this Black Friday, we’ve been handed another early ... Read more »

HSN Has a Bunch of Nintendo Switch Discounts for Black Friday & They're Selling Out Fast

© Nintendo. Right before Black Friday, we discovered that QVC had out-of-this-world deals on Nintendo Switch bundles, which never happens. And on this Black Friday, we’ve been handed another early holiday ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic