Field Guides to Food

Preparing to Record a Call

Install Skype and Call Recorder for Skype

Compared to other VoIP programs, we've found that Skype offers the highest audio quality and lends itself most readily to recording. However, because of legal issues related to call recording, it is not possible to record Skype calls using software native to the program. Instead, you must also download call recording software, such as Ecamm's Call Recorder for Skype.

This recorder is simple and easy to use. In order to specify input sources, file types, and save locations, just open Skype's preferences and notice that Call Recorder's settings are embedded there upon installation. Make sure that you either 1) remember to press record when you begin a call, or 2) set up Call Recorder to record all calls automatically.

Ecamm's Call Recorder costs $30 per installation, but it is also available as a free trial if you plan to conduct just one or two interviews in a short time-span.

Hardware and Set-up

You'll want to test your external microphone well before the call in order to make sure that your computer recording with the intended input. Position the mic between you and your computer, but try to avoid setting it close to your computer's fan. Audio quality will sound best if you keep the mic away from surfaces that will reflect your voice, and we've found the placing a small pillow behind the mic helps immensely with this problem.

A related issue has to do with echoes or "feedback" from your computer's speakers. In order to avoid recording your interviewer's voice as it comes out of your computer speakers, wear headphones or earbuds during you call. Careful, though: many earbuds also come with a build-in microphone that your computer may switch to by default. If this happens, simply switch the input back to your external mic.

Also, make sure that you connect to a high speed network. We recommend 20 Mbps download or faster if possible. Consider plugging directly into a network with an Ethernet cable in order to avoid common speed problems related to wireless router usage.

Finally, do not run your laptop on battery power. Plug it in!

This page has paths: