Summersell Interviews: Digitization and Editing Overview

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This workflow presupposes the existence of at least one recorded interview with the ZOOM recorder.


  • DS=Digital Services
  • SC=Summersell Center


Backup of MASTER audio files

1. SC copies the interview from the ZOOM recorder to their computer hard drive. This is the MASTER audio file and should be stored with the intention of archiving it long-term (external hard drive backup, etc.) per SC's goals.

Creation of ROUGH-CUT audio files

1. SC listens to MASTER/s on their hard drive using Windows Media Player (or any player that shows timecode information). SC documents in the project spreadsheet what superfluous segments, if any, of audio they want deleted from the recording along with the corresponding timecodes. These are the AUDIO DELETION NOTES. This is done in order to make the subsequent job of transcribing the interviews easier. Furthermore, we must prevent making a transcription and then deleting extraneous segments of audio which would invalidate the timecodes notated in the subsequent transcription. Obviously, it takes listening/skimming through to the interview once through to hear and note these things although drastic interruptions should be documented during the interview itself. Ideally, there won't be the need to delete anything. If you don't remember anything dramatic happening during the interview, then there's probably nothing to delete. Also, it's best not to get carried away in regard to deleting segments as the interview may start to sound unnatural. When in doubt, don't delete.
2. SC then delivers, simultaneously, the following to DS:
a. SD card containing the recording/s, via interoffice mail.
b. An email to DS (to Nitin, CC: Jeremiah) with the project metadata sheet "Summersell_Interviews_metadata_template.xlsx" attached.

The spreadsheet will have the following fields updated per recording (note: and interview can be spread across multiple recordings):

  • Title:
  • Interviewee(s):
  • Interviewer(s):
  • Date(s):
  • Summary:
  • Transcript Filename:
  • Audio Recording Filename:
  • Recording Environment:
  • Audio Deletion Notes:
Audio Deletion Notes, if any, must be in the following format:
Delete [start_time] to [end_time]. Justification/Reason;
Multiple entries will be separated by semicolon.
Delete [04:04] to [14:15]. Silence; Delete [01:15:17] to [01:37:18]. Interviewee answered telephone.
  The first parts tells DS to delete from [4 minutes and 4 seconds] to [14 minutes and 15 seconds] because there was nothing but silence.
  The second part tells DS to delete from [1 hour, 15 min, and 17 seconds] to [1 hour, 37 minutes, 18 seconds] because someone walked off to answer the phone.
  Justification/Reason is needed by DS to ensure via aural confirmation that the appropriate segment gets deleted and also serves as an editing history.
5. DS edits the MASTER with the appropriate segments deleted, if applicable, based on the information provided by SC. This is now called the ROUGH-CUT-MASTER.
6. DS will create an .mp3 version of the ROUGH-CUT-MASTER and place a copy it on the same SD card from Stage 2: Step 2a. This .mp3 file is the ROUGH-CUT-DERIVATIVE.
7. DS returns the SD card to SC via interoffice mail.

Transcribing the Interviews (this stage does not involve DS)

1. SC copies the ROUGH-CUT-DERIVATIVE from the SD card to their computer.
2. SC listens to ROUGH-CUT-DERIVATIVE on their hard drive using Windows Media Player (or any player that shows a timecode information).
3. SC will transcribe the interview as a plain-text ASCII file (using Notepad) per the format in the attached file "sample_transcript.txt" and save the file with the appropriate file name (see Stage 2: Step 2b). *This is the last chance for SC to propose further deletions to the ROUGH-CUT-MASTER, although ideally this should be avoided as it should have been done in Stage 2 : Step 1. Any deletions proposed at this point must be absolutely essential (i.e. serious rights or content concerns) and must be noted in the appropriate column, Audio Deletion Notes, in the spreadsheet. If such deletions are necessary, email DS (to Nitin, CC: Jeremiah) the updated spreadsheet so the ROUGH-CUT-MASTER can be further edited.
4. SC will email the transcript as an attachment to DS (to Nitin, CC: Jeremiah).
5. SC deletes the ROUGH-CUT-DERIVATIVE from their computer and the SD card.

Producing the FINAL-CUT audio files (this stage does not involve SC)

1. If last minute changes are needed to the ROUGH-CUT-MASTER, they will be implemented and the file re-saved as the FINAL-CUT-MASTER. Otherwise, the ROUGH-CUT-MASTER becomes the FINAL-CUT-MASTER.
2. DS will create .mp3 and Real Audio versions of the FINAL-CUT-MASTER for the purposes of online distribution. These is the FINAL-CUT-DERIVATIVE.

Sending/Receiving of FINAL-CUT audio files

1. DS will send SC the FINAL-CUT-MASTER and the FINAL-CUT-DERIVATIVE (.mp3 only) on a Compact Flash card via interoffice mail.
2. SC will copy the FINAL-CUT-MASTER and FINAL-CUT-DERIVATIVE to their hard drive. Files should be stored with the intention of archiving them long-term (external hard drive backup, etc.) per SC's goals. In addition to the project spreadsheet, SC now has the following per recording: MASTER, FINAL-CUT-MASTER, FINAL-CUT-DERIVATIVE, and transcript.
3. SC confirms via email to DS (to Nitin, CC: Jeremiah) that they have transferred FINAL-CUT-MASTER and FINAL-CUT-DERIVATIVE to their hard drive.
4. SC returns DS' Compact Flash card via interoffice mail.

Online Distribution of Content and Wrap(this stage does not involve SC)

1. DS's Metadata Unit applies subject headings and normalizes the metadata, then loads it into our delivery system for online access (i.e. FINAL-CUT-DERIVATIVE (.rm) and corresponding transcript go online).
2. DS deletes ROUGH-CUT-MASTER, FINAL-CUT-MASTER, FINAL-CUT-DERIVATIVEs, Transcripts, and any current copy of project spreadsheet from their hard drives.
UPDATE: 082809, this is likely out of date as we may move away from ContentDM and Real Audio. DS will have to discuss the possibility of retaining derivatives only on Storage so that the content can be delivered via the new system per Tonio Loewald of OLT and Jody deRidder. - nitin arora 082709
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