This page is intended to set out best practice, technical requirements, and ethical considerations of submitting audio and/or visual content to the ‘Solidarity and Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic’ project. The guidelines mainly refer to initial submissions made through the online form, with additional information about subsequently contributing to the archive.
The below advice is for recording moving-image and/or audio in static settings. ‘On-the-move’ recordings will naturally be more idiosyncratic. While this is often to their benefit, they still need to be of sufficient quality and with due attention to things like lighting (visual) and distortion (audio).
- Record at a minimum of 720p, preferably 1080p (most smartphones can record 1080p). If using a DSLR, record at 25fps. Do a test shoot to check audio levels, and adjust distance between sound and camera if necessary.
- Where possible, record footage horizontally. If conducting an interview or yourself either direct the subject to look directly into the camera, or position them to one side with their gaze cutting across the picture plane. Ensure the eyeline is straight, and their eyes are in the top third of the image.
- Consider the composition. Simple tips for good composition, including the ‘rule of thirds’ and ‘leading lines’ can be found here. This also applies to still photography.
- Ensure good lighting (preferably diffuse daylight) and avoid stark contrasts. Make sure the subject is not lit from behind and is brighter than the background, and unwanted shadows are not in shot. This also applies to still photography.
- Use a tripod (or stand) for static shots. If shooting moving subjects ensure the positioning of the subject remains consistent (i.e. avoid panning up and down as well as left to right).
- If possible, record spoken language in a quiet indoor space. A small, furnished room away from a main road is best. Avoid loud home appliances, and be aware of other ambient sounds.
- To test the echo of a room, clap loudly and if there is no (or a short) echo this will likely be suitable.
- A professional microphone on a stand which records via USB to a laptop will produce the best quality. If this is not possible, a microphone incorporated into headphones, recorded into the phone or computer, is second best (headphones with a microphone have three stripes on the jack). If not, recording directly into a smartphone (on a stand if possible) or laptop will suffice, using a Voice Memos app. Position the built-in microphone about 15cm from the voice, and do a test before starting – if there is distortion try re-positioning the microphone. Windows has a ‘Voice Recorder’ app, iPhone, iPad and Apple computers can use ‘Voice Memos’, Linux can use ‘Audio Recorder’.
- Speak clearly and slowly, directing your voice towards the microphone (keeping the head fairly still). Ensure all participants in the conversation are equally audible, and avoid talking over one another!
- For field recordings, there are many handheld options. Look for a pcm recorder that records in wav, or a recent smartphone.
- To record your screen on Windows: Navigate to ‘start’ bar, search ‘XBOX game bar’, press ‘record’. File will be saved in Videos> Captures.
- To record your screen on Apple (macOS Mojave): Press ‘Shift – Control – 5’. Options for previous OSX versions can be found here.
SHARING YOUR WORK WITH US
We will need you to upload your audio and/or visual content to a host site in order for us to preview it and – if it is selected – publish it on our site. The audio-visual platforms we support are Vimeo, YouTube, Soundcloud, Libsyn, and Flickr. Illustrative images meant to supplement a blog post should be embedded in your text file on the submission form, or shared via Flickr with a link in the ‘About your submission’ box. The access and ethical requirements remain the same.
In order to include any of this work in our project archive, we will follow up on your initial submission via email, and will need to receive it as a file in one of the following formats:
- Audio: wav or Aiff 24 bit (ideally) or 320 Mp3 (at least)
- Video: mov or mp4 containers with H.264 (MPEG-4) or H.265 (MPEG-H) codec
- Image: TIFF files for the archive, JPEG (with sRGB color space where possible and 750 pixels on their longest side) for images uploaded directly alongside blog posts.
We will need a transcript to accompany the publication of audio content. Please include this in pdf form, shared via a Dropbox link in the ‘About your submission box’. This will likewise be required for submissions to the archive.
When making your transcript, please include any background noise, sound effects, and other relevant sounds that accompany the spoken word. If you use transcript generating software, please check the auto-generated content for errors before sending it to us.
Please ensure you have checked that the automatic closed captions on YouTube are accurate and enabled in your video, or add in your own. Sample instructions on how to edit these can be found here. Please think about including:
- Names of people
- Names of things
- What is happening in the video
- The setting of the video
These closed captions must be downloaded as a transcript, to be included as a pdf when the video file is submitted to the archive.
Please ensure full image descriptions are included in your captions on Flickr. When submitting to the archive, this will also be required in a pdf document.
If you are embedding single image files to accompany a blog post, please include image descriptions in the blog post document.
When you upload your submission, you will be asked to confirm that reasonable efforts have been made to gain consent from all identifiable parties. This includes consent to both make the recording and offer it for use in this context.
You will also be asked to confirm that you are the copyright owner, or otherwise able to confer rights in this respect.
In addition, when filming in a public place there should be evidence that the person making the recording has given reasonable notice to other people who may be included in a shot.
It is acceptable to use (short) audio and/or visual recordings from other sources (e.g. the news), in line with ‘fair usage’ laws. This requires it to be clear the excerpt is being used for i) research or private study ii) the purposes of criticism, review or quotations ii) reporting current events (this last point does not apply to photographs).
All contributions will be licensed using CC-BY-NC-SA license. This means there is a universal understanding that the copyright of the content belongs to the author, but that non-commercial reuse if permitted on the same terms on which it was originally licensed.
Please read our Ethics Statement for this project here