2. How to Record a Memoir Session


In this module you will learn how to record a memoir session.

You and your client will decide the number of recording sessions needed to complete the memoir.

The length of each recording session will depend on your client’s willingness to continue.

As a guideline you can expect:

  • three or four sessions to complete a memoir

  • each session to run for up to an hour

The best environment for recording

The best environment for a recording session includes the following:

  • A quiet room with no external sounds such as traffic noise from an open window, refrigerator or air conditioning or heater motors whirring in the background. Also, make sure your computer fan is not causing background noise. 

  • A furnished room with carpets such as a living room or bedroom will be best.

    Offices are usually not acceptable.

    Why? Because sound bounces around a room in waves. Sound will reflect off anything that is hard but will be absorbed by anything soft. Desks, tile floors and glass-paneled walls are all culprits that lead to a large amount of reverb and echo in a room. So avoid these environments.

Recording a Session

Here are some guidelines to follow when recording:

  • Turn on your recording app
  • Allow a 2-3 second moment of silence before your client starts talking.  This silence will help filter ambient noise and eliminate any low-level hum.
  • Begin the recording session. (If necessary, review the module titled, ‘How to Start a Recording Session.’)
  • If you or client make a mistake or your client goes off on a tangent, it’s OK! Let the recording continue. 
  • Leave an audio cue in the recording. 

An audio cue is a statement from you to remind you to edit out a mistake. You can clap your hands together, so that there is a spike in the audio recording’s soundwave which help you spot the point you will need to edit later.

Or, you can say something like: “Ok, let’s take that last part out (pause) starting again now.”

Your soundwave may look a little bit like this:

Remember to pause for a second or two to allow for enough editing space and start again. 

Just make sure that you insert the audio cue message, so you know what to edit; "OK, let's start again," and then give your client a hand signal to start talking.

Never be concerned about mistakes or glitches. You can clean almost anything up in post-production.

  • Mute when necessary – if you’ve done everything you can to optimize your recording environment and audio gear but are still getting some funny noise, don’t be afraid to mute your mic when you’re not talking. 

  • Especially if you know you battle things like a hum, echo, or background noise. 

  • Muting your microphone will save editing time on those long stretches when you’re not talking during an interview.