Accelerating Innovation | Podcasts | Skype Journal | Social Software | VoIP

Unbound Spiral: Skype + Podcast Recorder = SkypeCasters

December 20, 2004 06:58 PM

Introducing instructions for SkypeCasting. The front-end solution for podcasters to create great sounding audio recordings from interviews and conference calls using Skype. For the last few days I've been recording podcasts using Skype. As the call ends with a couple of clicks it is converted to mp3 and uploaded to a blog. This is a real bloggers solution providing podcasting in almost real-time without resorting to studios, or fancy gear. Let the New Year ring in with new voices, and new conversations. Audio and podcasting will make a difference. Let's get the thoughts out into the world. Innovate in 2005 --- start podcasting. This post contains my first podcast and the instruction on how (links at the end).

The SkypeCasters' recipe is simple and we have written it up in detail. Add together Skype, Virtual Audio Cables, Windows Sound Recorder, a simple Wav to mp3 converter MT_Enclosures and iPodder and you can be Podcasting later today! The solution will cost you $40.

Why podcast? Why record? Where are immediate opportunities.
There are many situations on the phone or Skype where you would like to be recording. Professional interviews are a prime example. Makes it easier to write up your notes later while you can completely focus your attention on the interview. Then we have the equivalent of "panel" discussions. The mini conference call fueled by good chatter and a great topic. Perhaps you are a budding poet wanting to spread a reading to a small group? Want to send a joint message or birthday greeting where the parties are dispersed, record a Skype conference call and e-mail the mp3. Similarly, finishing up a conference call --- create a simple 5 minute SkypeCast of the key action points. Blog it to your group. An hour in five minutes. It's over to you now. Tell us how you use it.

Approaching podcasting like this is different to staged professional recording studios, and big production values. We know that if you have a talented studio behind you then mixing and turning out a professional Podcast will be no problem. This is the solution for those with no money who are happy to create SkypeCasts on the fly.

multiparty recording.jpg

What we have done: (GET INSTRUCTIONS)

  • A simple Skype recording solution for capturing "great" audio.
  • No extra overhead. It all works on one Windows XP PC.
  • A blog platform - MT- that "reads" for podcasts.
  • A lowcost way to distribute podcasts without running up bandwidth bills (podcasttorrent)
  • Quick and simple to do.

    Here is the recipe. I'd never have completed it without BIll Campbell's help. Our "proof of concept" SkypeCast is here. We are still learning some of the mic and audio tricks. It is converted at 32mbs... although perfectly passable at 16kps it begins to sound more like a telephone... and that might not be the best Skype proof of concept test.

    Looking forward to your feedback. I'll move the recipe details shortly to a wiki so they can be updated. In the meantime let us have your comments and learnings.

    Lastly, unleashing the capability to record Skype calls isn't meant to bypass common courtesy and the smarts of asking permission before you start recording. You could get yourself into trouble sending out a podcast without permission. You may want to get it via IM when you hit record. It's clear to me that recording without permission is going to happen. I'd appreciate getting some more insights in this area. I'd note that one can SkypeOut and record this way without the other party knowing or even the caller ID being identified currently.

    Podcast on SkypeCasting

    Comments (9)

    WOW !!!

    Posted by: dina at December 20, 2004 10:36 PM

    Just a suggestion. Why not use MP3DirectCut? It's just like Windows Sound Recorder except it records direct to MP3, allows you to edit sections out, cut bits out, cut out blank gaps, and so on.. all without ever touching a WAV file. I use it to record and edit radio shows, and it costs nothing. Google for MP3DirectCut.

    Posted by: Peter Cooper at December 20, 2004 10:38 PM

    Thanks for the suggestion. I've not tried it out. Can you choose the sound sources for direct cut? Many of the programs out there... just use default settings. Thus you can't redirect the second client to the recorder.

    Posted by: Stuart at December 20, 2004 11:21 PM

    Stuart and I have been speaking briefly via e-mail, and he suggested I post some of my ideas here as well for the benefit of everyone..

    If you have a Sound Blaster sound card (and possibly others, I don't know), you can set it to record from a source called "What You Hear" in your Creative/Windows sound mixer. This should eradicate the need to buy Virtual Audio Cables and save you $40.

    What you'd do is set the recording source to "What You Hear", run up a recording program (Sound Recorder, as before, or MP3DirectCut), make your calls and just record the whole thing with no set up process involved (except getting MP3DirectCut running, if you chose that option).

    For those of you using the regular on-board sound, this *might* not work, although it may, I only have experience with Creative Sound Blaster products unfortunately. It would depend on the chipset of your sound card. Either way, this works for me on my SB Live 5.1, and you can pick those cards up now for about $30 I think, plus it gives you a nicer sound quality than using onboard sound. You should also be in luck if you're using something like a Creative Audigy or Extigy. I'll try and make a blog post myself about this once I have every detail sewn up.

    Posted by: Peter Cooper at December 20, 2004 11:39 PM

    I think there's an easier way than this.
    1) Skype Options, Handset, disable auto sound setting
    2) Open Windows mixer, unmute the microphone. Set low. Set Wave Out to the same level
    3) Open Windows Mixer record, select Wave out mix. Set low.
    4) Install Audacity with the Lame MP3 encoder
    5) Set Audacity to 44Khz, 16 bit mono
    6) Set MP3 encoding to 64K or 32 K
    7) Start Audacity recording
    8) Use Skype to call Echo123 for testing.
    9) Stop recording, check it and then Export to MP3
    10) Done.

    The trick is geting the levels right so that there's no clipping. Audacity has lots of effects too. And it's all free.

    Posted by: Julian Bond at December 21, 2004 3:58 AM

    I tried Skype, used it, uninstalled it, reinstalled it, uninstalled it... After about four days my firewall would start to be hammered on and my local drive was humming with too much sharing. So I am an X-Skyper.

    Now on the iPod that might a little different.


    Posted by: Anne Stanton at December 21, 2004 5:35 PM

    Re Peter Cooper and Sound blaster cards. Recording "What you here" will not include your own voice. So you'll only get the other participants. You only need a conventional sound card for this, nothing special. Just set your favourite recording program to record "Wave Out" or "Wave Out Mix".

    The trick we're trying to solve here is to record your Mic mixed with Skype's Wave Out without feeding your Mic into your headphones.

    Posted by: Julian Bond at December 22, 2004 12:01 AM

    Does anyone have instructions posted somewhere that explains how to set up recording of Skype calls on Mac OSX platform. I'm unclear how to capture the vocal stream during the phone conversation. I assume I will be armed with headphones/mike set, but not sure how to capture and pass through the call to a MP3 program for capture.

    Posted by: John Kranz at December 31, 2004 9:14 AM

    Hi, I don't think it has to be this complicated. I recorded a Skype call using Audacity (Stereo Mix selected). No Virtual Cables, no extra software configuration, on WinXP. I had the Skype call open then pressed record. Hey Presto!

    Posted by: Richard Drake at January 13, 2005 10:48 AM