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Music Technology- Recording Devices

Hello all!
     I am searching for a simple, portable, recording device I can use in my choral classroom.  I would like video as well as audio and for it to be easily uploaded onto a computer. Being able to make recordings for my students to analyze and listen to, make assessments from, as well as post on the classroom website is the overall goal.  
 
We have apple and microsoft in the house as main computers.
 
1) What products have you liked?
2) What products should I stay away from?
 
Thank you all for your time!
Claire
 
on August 5, 2014 2:53am
Hi Claire,
 
I may (very well) be wrong but in my limited experience it's better to record video and sound separately. Reasonably-priced video recorders just don't 'cut it' for sound quality. The digital recorders from Zoom are excellent (I have the H2) and well worth the investment. Combine the sound from that with a video taken by a budget video recorder and you have the best of both worlds. For audio editing I use Audacity, which is free and open-source. I have never done any video editing :)
 
 
hope this helps
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on August 5, 2014 4:08am
Hi Claire,
Don't know if you have access to an ipad, but that is what I use to do the things you described.  For assessments I use it to video my students and/or I use a free app called Voice Record Pro.  It is a pricey investment but I have found that it suits my needs very well.
on August 5, 2014 5:24am
 
Claire--
While agreeing Derek on the audio quality of zoom products, this might be a good compromise on both as I know adding another step is time consuming. 
 
 
 
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on August 6, 2014 6:19am
Hi Claire,
 
I don't have much experience with video recording, but like Derek said, it's better to record video & audio separately and then bring them together when you edit. For audio recordings, there are a number of reliable, inexpensive plug-n-play USB microphones (basically, they don't require an audio mixer or fancy cables to use). My personal favorite has been the Snowball mic by Blue.
 
 
For video, you can use something simple like an iPad, a laptop, or one of those small Go (GoPro?) video cameras. Honestly, even a high-quality smartphone video taken on a tripod or sturdy surface should suffice, provided that you're recording audio on a separate device.
 
Since you have an Apple computer, it'll have iMovie pre-installed. You can quickly upload the video & audio to iMovie without it being too time-consuming. If you're not looking to do anything fancy with the editing, the trickiest part will be getting the sound to line up with the video. There are quick tutorials available online (like here, for starters: https://www.apple.com/support/mac-apps/imovie/)
 
This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but generally Apple products work most smoothly with other Apple products if that's the route you choose to go. For Microsoft, Windows Movie Maker is also quite reliable and should come standard on most computers. The same editing principles apply (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/getting-started-with-windows-movie-maker)
 
I'd stay away from any video/audio editing software that costs a lot of money. Most computers come with software installed that's capable of what you want to do. And if not, there are plenty of reliable, free-to-download programs.
 
If you have any technology-related, or how-do-I-get-this-file-from-here-to-there types of questions, please feel free to email me at mhd65(a)mail.umkc.edu
 
Best of luck
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