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Podcast Production: Corporate Podcasting Made Simple

Many people think that corporate or business podcasting is difficult and expensive.  But with the free services that are available today, cost can be whittled down substantially.  After the production itself, using these services to host and distribute your company’s content can be absolutely free, assuming you don’t mind 3rd party branding and/or a little extra work on your part.  One caveat, this method produces a non-downloadable podcast which many argue is not technically a “podcast” at all.  An example from our friends at Omega ATC is shown above.  I will be referring to it as we go along.

Let’s start with the part that is not free, but is the most important aspect of any business podcast.

Corporate Podcast Production
The production can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.  You can go crazy and produce a full fledged video talk show, or you can re-purpose existing content—like a conference call or webinar—and call it a day.  While we at AudioFile Solutions always suggest you put your best foot forward and produce a completely professional event, many businesses find that extending the life of content that has already been produced can also yield marketing fruit.  For the rest of this article, we’ll assume that you already have an event—like a webinar recording—that you want to use as your podcast (in this case, a video podcast).  Our conference call recording service and high definition web conference recording service can both be used for this application.

After the webinar has been recorded, you’ll need a 3rd party to host the video file.

YouTube Video on Your Blog
Many small businesses do not want to host the files themselves because of the cost involved in storing large audio or video files on their server.  In our example, a typical webinar can yield a 30-80MB video file.  Add up several months or years of recordings, and your storage requirements will be substantial.

To host a video on YouTube, open an account and click “Upload”.  It’s that easy.  For a webinar recording, it is important to use a high definition video as your source to keep the text and images crystal clear.  Using a low resolution video file means that large text will be blurry and small text will be unreadable.

After uploading, YouTube will create several different versions of the video.  You can access them individually by clicking the three digit number followed by the letter “p” in the lower right-hand corner of the player.  Choose “720p” or “1080p” to view the high definition file.  Immediately to the right are four arrows arranged in a square.  Click this to make the video full screen.  Using a high def video from AudioFile Solutions as your source, you should have no trouble clearly seeing all the text on a typical webinar.

Note: View the embedded video above at 30:00 to see a good example of small text.  In full screen mode, at 360p, the text is extremely blurry.  Toggle the video to 720p to see the sharpest text.

Now that your video is live on YouTube, you can embed the video directly on your blog (as we did at the top of this article) by going to the YouTube page containing the video.  From there, click “share” and copy & paste the embed code directly to your blog.  If you don’t already have a blog, there are many free blogs to choose from.  WordPress.com, Blogspot.com and WordPress.org are all good places to start.  Or see Mashable’s article 40+ Free Blog Hosts.

Note: Keep in mind that YouTube can change this process at any time, so you may have to use some common sense when using future versions of YouTube.

With the video now embedded on your blog, and because your blog is syndicated (check with your blog host if it is not), you now have a low-cost non-downloadable podcast.

A final thought, but no less important, don’t forget to have your podcast transcribed.  This will allow you to place the entire text of the podcast on the same page as the audio or video.  Not only is this great news for the hearing impaired, it is a necessity to receive SEO (Search Engine Optimization) credit.  SEO is beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say, search engines like Google must have on-page text in order to index your blog post, and a word-for-word transcript is the best way to do this.

Happy podcasting!

General Transcription Job Opening: Work-at-Home Transcriptionist

We are seeking home-based transcriptionists who have a great attention to detail and are able to work at home with no supervision as an independent contractor.  High personal ethics and a command of the English language are a must.  Be at home and work for us at the same time!

Requirements:

  1. Expert in MS Word and transcription software.
  2. Accurate grammar and spelling.
  3. Above average typing speed.
  4. Top notch listening skills.
  5. Proofreading with 100% accuracy.
  6. Proficient with Internet investigation.
  7. Attention to detail.

Job duties will include general transcription, legal transcription, interview transcription and more.  May include transcribing focus groups, meetings, conference calls, videos and the like.

This job can be performed at home with a turnaround time (cycle) of 1-3 business days.  Workload varies and can range from 0-4 hours of recordings per cycle.  Candidates are able to limit their workload based on their availability.

If interested, please read our blog articles that explain in more detail what we are looking for:

3 Keys to Providing the Best Transcription Services
The Best Transcription Companies — How to Find One

Testing is required.  Please inquire HERE (tick “Job Openings”), or call 719-477-9600 and tell us you want to apply.

AudioFile Solutions, LLC is a professional transcription company since 2002.  We are based in Colorado Springs, one hour south of Denver. We provide nationwide service to our customers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the UK.

How to Get the Best Quality Podcast Recording Over a Telephone

Do not use cell phones on podcast recordings

When using our Podcast Recording Service for your next interview, it is important to remember that our service alone will not guarantee the best quality telephone recording.  There are a few steps you must take to ensure the recording is as clean as possible.
  1. All parties should be dialed-in on a landline phone.
  2. Non-speaking participants should be muted.
  3. A handset or headset should be used, not a speakerphone.
  4. Call waiting should be disabled.

All participants should use standard landline telephones.
But, don’t fall into the trap of pressing the speakerphone button—that is the quickest way to ruin your high-quality recording.  Also, do not use a cell phone, a VOIP service, or even a wireless phone connected to a landline.  All of these technologies degrade the telephone audio in some way and should be avoided.  VOIP is getting better every day, but you should be very careful if you are going to break this rule as some VOIP phones sound just as bad as cell phones.

Non-speaking parties should be muted.
Any participant who is not speaking should press their own mute button well before the podcast recording begins.  Some conference call services allow for muting by pressing *6 or some other combination of keys.  Do yourself a favor and use this functionality.

A handset or headset should be the tool of choice.
A bit earlier, we talked about not using a speakerphone on a podcast recording.  Instead, use a headset.  Most headsets these days have very good audio quality and will allow you to talk with your hands free.  Although, once in awhile, even a good quality headset can “act up”.  At those times, pick up your old reliable handset; you’ll be amazed how good it sounds.

Disable the Call Waiting feature on your telephone.
Most telephone companies allow you to disable this feature temporarily.  Before
connecting to your podcast recording service, press your telephone company’s magic combination of buttons to disable this function—usually restored when you hang up.  *70 seems to be the ticket with Qwest/CenturyLink, but be sure to check with your local telephone company in case they have a different method.

If everyone follows these rules, your telephone podcast recording should be off to a great start.  If any of your participants sound noisy, distorted, or the quality is lacking in any other way, follow these…

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Ask the person to move to a quiet location.
  2. Ask them if they are really dialed-in on a landline phone.
  3. Ask them if they are on a headset; if so, pick up the handset.
  4. If the noisy/poor quality audio persists, ask them to dial-in again to re-establish the connection.

Tip: Poor quality audio can most often be tracked to a non-landline phone.  So, whatever you do, do not break this one rule.  Ignore all the others before you omit this one.

Finally, after you have made the most of the audio quality of a typical phone line, continue by notifying the participants of the following:
  1. Make every effort not to move the phone around while recording.  Telephone handsets are notorious for popping and clicking when played with or squeezed too tightly.
  2. Keep the handset mouthpiece at the same distance from the mouth as when the audio quality tests were underway.  Moving the mouthpiece around will cause a fluctuation in volume that will drive your podcast editor crazy and increase your editing bill exponentially.
  3. Refrain from breathing directly into the handset when you are not speaking.  Not only is this distracting to the listeners, it’s a little creepy.
  4. Try your best not to talk over another participant.  Telephone audio is not a wide frequency bandwidth medium.  This means that it is more difficult for the ear to distinguish between voices.  When two or more voices are talking at the same time, the ear loses track of who is speaking and the brain becomes confused.  Confusion leads to anger, and anger always tells the finger to click the “off” button—always!

Well, there you have it.  Follow these rules and your next podcast interview will shine.

iMeet News: iMeet Wins People’s Choice Stevie Award

PGi just won an award for its video conferencing product iMeet®.  Good for them!  And, good for you!  You can get a 30-day free trial of iMeet here.  Or review other conferencing services here.

Begin Press Release
———————-

PGi logo for press release of iMeet

June 22, 2011 03:20 PM Eastern Daylight Time

iMeet® Wins People’s Choice Stevie Award

Soul-Sucking Meeting Haters Everywhere Rejoice

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The people have spoken. Earlier this week, PGi (NYSE: PGI) was awarded a People’s Choice Stevie Award for its latest innovation, iMeet, at the 2011 American Business Awards (ABA) reception. iMeet took home the trophy in the Favorite New Computer Service category and earned a finalist nod in the New Product or Service of the Year – Computer Services category.

“We’re thrilled and humbled by the number of iMeet users who took time out of their day to vote for us,” said Boland T. Jones, PGi founder, chairman and CEO. “With iMeet, PGi set out to reinvent video meetings by making them more personal and accessible to all people in an organization, regardless of their role, location or devices. This award is further proof that we’ve hit a nerve. We’re encouraged by the positive reception of iMeet as we continue to make better meetings a reality.”

iMeet takes video conferencing to the next level by giving users their own personal video meeting room online. The iMeet experience is simple, social and enjoyable – without the hassle of software downloads, hardware investments or IT support. Since launching in January, the iMeet community has grown to more than 35,000 people who engage in better video meeting experiences every day.

More than 2,800 nominations from organizations of all sizes, in virtually every industry, were submitted for Stevie Award consideration in more than 40 categories. Finalists were chosen by more than 150 business professionals nationwide during preliminary judging in April and May.

In addition to peer judging, every new product or service nominated in The American Business Awards was automatically included in the vote for the People’s Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite New Products. More than 140,000 votes were cast by the general public from May 12 through June 3, and the winners were honored at the ABA Awards Banquet in New York on June 20.

For more information about iMeet and to sign up for a 30-day free trial, visit www.iMeet.com.

About Premiere Global Services, Inc. │ PGi

PGi is a global leader in virtual meetings. For nearly 20 years, we have innovated technologies that help people meet and collaborate in more enjoyable and productive ways. Every month, we bring together over 15 million people in nearly 4 million virtual meetings. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia USA, PGi has a presence in 24 countries worldwide. For more information, visit us at www.pgi.com.

About The Stevie Awards

The Stevie Awards are conferred in four programs: The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about The Stevie Awards at www.stevieawards.com.

Statements made in this press release, other than those concerning historical information, should be considered forward-looking and subject to various risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are made based on management’s current expectations or beliefs as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, management. A variety of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in Premiere Global Services, Inc.’s forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the following factors: competitive pressures, including pricing pressures; technological changes and the development of alternatives to our services; market acceptance of new services, including our iMeet® and GlobalMeet® services; our ability to attract new customers and to retain and further penetrate our existing customer base; risks associated with challenging global economic conditions; costs or difficulties related to the integration of any new technologies; service interruptions and network downtime; price increases from our telecommunications service providers; technological obsolescence and our ability to upgrade our equipment or increase our network capacity; concerns regarding the security of transactions; our level of indebtedness; future write-downs of goodwill or other intangible assets; assessment of income, state sales and other taxes; restructuring and cost reduction initiatives and the market reaction thereto; risks associated with acquisitions and market expansion; the impact of the recent sale of our PGiSend business; our ability to protect our intellectual property rights, including possible adverse results of litigation or infringement claims; regulatory or legislative changes, including further government regulations applicable to traditional telecommunications service providers; risks associated with international operations, including political instability and fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; and other factors described from time to time in our press releases, reports and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to the “Risk Factors” section of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010. All forward-looking statements attributable to us or a person acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

Contacts

PGi
Sara Pilling, 404-564-6599
sara.pilling@pgi.com

3 Keys to Providing the Best Transcription Services — For Transcribers

Multi-tasking while transcribing picture
Transcribing takes focus and a special skill set. Quality work, with value, will help create repeat customers for years to come.

As a transcriptionist, help your clients put their content into context and it will keep them coming back.

1. Do you offer top-notch transcription skills? You need to be a fast and accurate typist with a tremendous grasp of grammar.  You must maneuver in transcription software like you were born doing it, follow client-provided style guidelines, and never waver from the deadline-being-the-deadline. When you provide digital audio transcription services, you’re ultimately evaluated on keeping your word and delivering the words on time. Don’t dabble. Make sure you have what it takes to succeed.

2. Do you like to learn new information? Offering transcribing services gives you a view into industries and subjects that may be new to you. Don’t deliver a final draft with (inaudible) or (indistinguishable) notations when a quick search on the Internet could verify these terms you’re unsure of. In addition, ask the client if they can provide a list of commonly used terms from the recording. This will help you provide a more accurate transcript.  Offering these value-added services is not lost on the client; they know when you’re going the extra mile.

3. Are you viewing things from the client’s eyes? The transcript is the end-product delivered to the client, but what else does your client receive from you? Do you do an audio proof (not just proofing while typing the raw transcript) to review the quality of the transcription? Do you offer a final read-through to ensure comprehension? Are you alerting the client of items that may be discrepancies in their transcript? A “good enough” transcription is never an option. Deliver with the quality that you’d expect to receive.

If you’re a top-notch transcriptionist or if you’re a company seeking transcription support that meets YOUR mark, contact AudioFile Solutions today.

Podcast Production Tip: Condenser vs. Dynamic Microphones

Singing Dog with Microphone

There is a disturbing trend in podcast production that I feel the need to address.  Podcasters have been sold a bill of goods that says, “record with a condenser mic, it sounds superior”.  Without knowing any better, and because 90% of USB microphones on the market are condensers, they wind up purchasing a condenser instead of the “inferior” dynamic mic. 

Well, the problem is, condensers—as a general rule—pick up a lot of unwanted lip smacks, saliva and other noise from the human speaking voice.  While they tend to sound great on the singing voice, speaking is a whole ‘nother matter.  Hearing the saliva roll around in someone’s mouth during a podcast is not pretty and may just encourage the listener to turn it—YOU—off.

Very few of us get to try out a microphone before buying it, but it is the only way to tell if a particular mic sounds good on YOUR voice.  Yes, for some people a condenser will sound better than a dynamic, but I would wager that the opposite is more likely. 

Try out the Shure SM7, Electro-Voice RE-20 or a Heil PR 40—all dynamics.  If these are good enough for NPR, Rush Limbaugh and Leo Laporte, they are good enough for you too.  They may be a bit more expensive than you are wanting to pay, but the expense will be worth it.  Or, use eBay to find one used at a more reasonable price.

A USB converter such as the Blue ICICLE can connect these mics to your computer if you don’t already have a recording set-up, so don’t settle for an inferior mic just because it’s got USB built-in.  After all, it is the one piece of equipment that connects you to the listener.

What do you think about the condenser vs. dynamic debate for recording a speaking voice?

Recording Webinars by GoToMeeting, WebEx, MS Live Meeting and More

Laptop for Webinar Recording

Recording a live webinar by GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, WebEx, Microsoft Live Meeting or Adobe Connect can be a daunting task to someone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of video frame rates, resolutions and codecs.  We developed our webinar recording service for businesses that either don’t have the technical expertise, or don’t have the time to learn.

We’ve done extensive testing to find the best method to record webinars.  Here are the highlights.

  1. We capture the entire screen with the best video codec.
  2. We record PowerPoint animations, cursor movements and desktop sharing.
  3. All elements are in high definition.
  4. Audio editing and video editing are available.
  5. Output is .wmv, .mp4, .flv, DVD or Blu-ray disc.

We produce the best, highest-quality, highest-resolution webinar recordings possible. 

If you don’t already have a web conferencing service, we can help with that too. 

Give us a try today by calling 877-AFS-FILE.

Editing a WebEx Conference Recording

Laptop after recording a WebEx conference.

We’ve been editing a lot of recordings made with the WebEx web conferencing application lately.  Many people think this cannot be done because WebEx is a proprietary service that creates .arf and .wrf file extensions.  Rest assured, we are editing both the audio and the video of these web conference recordings with very little noticeable quality loss.

When you download the WebEx file from their website, the file extension will be .arf.  If you’ve recorded directly to your computer, expect to see a .wrf extension.  We can fully edit both of these file-types. 

Whether you want all stuttering, ahs and ums removed from the audio, or whether you made mistakes in the video / slide presentation, we can fix just about anything.  We also automatically remove all dead air from the beginning and end of the presentation.

Output format is video and ready to post on your website.  Windows Media (WMV), MP4, and FLV are all options, including many more, even for DVD and Blu-Ray…

Contact us today for more information on our WebEx audio and video editing service.

Top 4 Articles on Recording Podcasts, Conference Calls, Interviews & Lectures with an iPod

Picture from Jay Riddle of iPod Nano Recording

Looking for a way to use your iPod to cheaply record a podcastrecord your company conference call, or transcribe an interview or lecture?  Recording with an iPod is easier than you might think.  In all cases, these audio files can be used for podcasting, archiving or uploading to a transcribing company

Here are the top 4 articles we’ve found that will help you use your iPod for recording.

1. Recording a Podcast Using an iPod and a Micromemo
Author: academictechnology

In this YouTube video, Jason discusses using a standard iPod to record lectures or interviews with the Micromemo.  He demonstrates how to plug-in the device and how easy it is to record directly to the iPod Nano.

2. Recording Lectures with an iPod Touch
Author: Heather M. Whitney

This post on The Chronicle of Higher Education site is geared towards those wanting to use the second-and third-generation iPod Touch for recording audio.  This method can be used to record lectures, interviews or any other live source via the iPod Touch.

3. Recording Phone Calls with an iPod
Author: Jake Ludington

Conference call recording is typically best left to experts like, well … us.  Jake Ludington says as much in the introduction to this post.  But if you find yourself with no other choice, recording your next phone call using the iPod—while not perfect—is doable.

4. Using Your iPod to Record Audio and Podcasts
Author: Michael Miller

With the right equipment and accessories, you can use your iPod to record conversations and interviews, and even to record and mix podcasts for broadcasting over the Internet.  Read this article to learn more.

photo by Jay Riddle

PGi Leads the Way in Full-Service & Self-Service Conferencing

What are conferencing companies serving?

Years ago, web conferencing was in it’s infancy, and all audio conference calling was full-service.  To make a reservation, one needed to physically call the company to set up a conference call.  If you were lucky, the reservationist might discuss with you the ins & outs of having a successful event.  The actual conference was handled by one or more support specialists who would answer all incoming lines and connect them to your meeting.  If you felt the need to complement or complain to the company about how your call was handled, you’d once again pick up the phone to talk with a customer service agent.

While full-service continues to be a big part of the market, self-service is growing  increasingly important.  Customers want to learn about products online, sign up for services via a website, and even use their conference call account without ever contacting another human being.

Among CSPs (Conferencing Service Providers), PGi is leading the way in ensuring a quality self-service experience.  This is but one reason why we have chosen to be one of their premier agents.  See PGi’s blog for their article: How PGi Keeps the “Service” in Self-Service.

View PGi’s premier self-service audio conferencing service here.