Recording In The Cloud
Consider your device: It is best to conduct cloud calls on a laptop, desktop or tablet device rather than a smartphone. Sound quality will be better and access to advanced features of the cloud-based platform will be more readily available and easier to use via a larger screen/device. It also makes for a more relaxed call as the respondent’s hands are free to take notes or type, if required.
Security: Ensure the choice of system you are planning to use is secure. Zoom have recently introduced new security systems which put respondents in a waiting room – don’t forget to keep an eye out, top right, until all your respondents have arrived as it’s easy to miss the prompts that they are waiting!
Prepare: Distribute a simple ‘cheat sheet’ to attendees ahead of the call, walking them through how to test their basic video-conferencing audio-visual setup, in order to minimise wasted time during the actual interview troubleshooting issues.
Mute microphones: Once your respondents are settled ask them to mute their microphones until they are ready to respond, this allows for a clearer recording and less distraction caused by unexpected sounds in the background. With Zoom you also have the ability to mute all microphones and then respondents can unmute as they wish to respond. Be aware of your own environment. If you are taking notes put your own mic on mute as Zoom will pick up the keyboard or pen strokes and prefer it to the respondents answers.
Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom and other cloud-based solutions: Usually, recording via the microphone in your computer will produce a passable audio file. However, you can find recording software online to download which is usually quite inexpensive or even free of charge that will produce a better-quality recording.
Google Plus conferences: A very clever way of sharing your Google Plus video conferences is to upload them directly to your YouTube channel; then simply provide a link for transcription.
File exchange via video-conferencing: You can use Skype/Zoom to exchange files, photos, maps – even links to video resource that can be watched real time and commented on during the actual interview.
Have a contingency plan: Cloud-based solutions obviously rely on the internet, so if you or your respondents have unforeseen ISP issues (peak-time traffic, signal loss, electrical interference) the connection could potentially drop or break up, leading to data loss. Make arrangements at the start of the call to switch to phone if the video link becomes unavailable or insufficient – don’t forget to hit ‘record’ if this happens.
Zoom focus: This software allows you to focus in on one person in a group and just isolate what they are saying. This is especially helpful when conducting large groups, where there could be a lot of over speaking, and will allow more content to be captured in the transcript.
Sharing: When the time comes for you to upload your recording for transcription if you have used Zoom upload the audio file only as this is smaller, so faster to upload, but still has great quality audio. If you need respondents identifying then obviously the video will be required though!