We had formal and informal interviews for this project. To conduct an interview, our job started from nominating, selecting, contacting (emailing & phoning), arranging (emailing & phoning again), questions preparing, background researching, oral history interview training, role-playing, before we reached the actual interviews. No, it did not stop here; the real hard job begins; transcribing, proof-reading, and editing.

 

We were working very hard to make the project happen – training, discussions, brain storming, debates. We actually reached our decisions without fighting!!

The interview venues were also very exciting (selected in order to suit the interviewees), we’ve been to luxury a 5-star hotel, back offices, hotel room, stunning residence, and even by the bed side of a hospital ward (oh, no photo there)!!

I believe all the team members have their own expectations from the project, some of them met theirs and some have not. Learning is not only the skills, but more about understanding and tolerance. The moments I enjoyed most were the processes, not the end product.

- by Chungwen Li

 

Transcribing audio interviews, cutting interview files, and editing transcripts in accordance with edited recordings are some of my main tasks during the post-production stage of this project. I would take the following steps to take care of such an assignment:

Upon loading the original interview wave files onto the Magix Music Maker and exporting them as mp3s, I open them with i-tunes and start transcribing the full-length audio interviews. It is easy to flick back and forth through the recordings with i-tunes in case I have missed to catch a word or a sentence. The transcription of the interview provides me with a chance to feel each interview’s ‘sound’ and ‘flow which makes subsequent editing easier.

The cutter has to take a careful approach and avoid manipulating the content because interviewees are entitled to represent themselves: their personality is shining through during the interview.

After loading the mp3s onto Magic Music Maker, I remove any sound occurring before the interview is actually starting. The ‘beeping’ sound, generated by the camera when being switched-on, would constitute such a sound. This beep indicates: the interview is about to start with the opening information. The actual interview then commences with the posing of the first question. For documentation purposes, we, editors, produced two versions of the same audio interview: one version containing the opening information for reference and archive, and one without for the project’s multimedia website.

During the Q&A of the interview, I cut out external noises disturbing the interview, long pauses between spoken words, instances in which interviewees need to catch their breath to get back their composure, and where they need to recuperate a thought after side-tracking for too long. The end-product, the interview on the website should convey a natural and fast-flowing conversation to the listener.

Simply ignoring breathing patterns during the interview when cutting and pasting would make the listening experience an uncomfortable one. The interview would appear not only fast-flowing but breathless and the listener subconsciously adjusts to that pattern. I learned that while working for a state-wide Radio station in Bavaria, Germany.

The ‘thank yous and good-byes’ interviewer and interviewee exchange when the Q&A part of the interview is finishing are marking the ending of the interview and my desired recording. I would capture them to close the recording.

Upon exporting the edited interview as mp3 and opening the edited file in i-tunes, I would bring the first full-length transcript in line with the recording.

After finishing this, I would hand the edited recordings and transcripts over to my colleague Haiping. She would proofread the edited transcript while listening to the edited audio interview to fill the gaps I have missed. I would do the same with interviews she has passed to me.

- by Martin Kuroczik

 

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