Record-a-thon: Guidelines for Recording

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1. Find a quiet location with as little background noise as possible.

2. Place the camera close to the person being recorded - about 2 - 3 feet away will give a good view of the face and upper body. This is important for or hand and body gestures, which are part of language too.

3. When recording two or more people having a conversation, try to place the camera in the middle, about 2 – 3 feet away. Make sure everybody being recorded is in the frame of the camera view.

4. Try not to move the camera around, or back and forth between people in a conversation. Rather, place the camera so everyone is in view.

5. Speakers – try not to move around too much while being recorded. Some movement is okay, but you want to make sure you are always in the camera view so you can be seen and heard clearly.

6. If the person being recorded would like to demonstrate or point to something (like a wordless book), move the camera back so that both the speaker and object are in view. A view of what is in the speaker’s nearby environment is important information too!

7. Try to have the recording be in the native language as much as possible – avoid going back and forth between languages if you can.

8. Please start all recordings with this script (read by each speaker):

    My name is __________ and I am originally from _______. I am making this recording on July 30, 2011 for the Record-a-thon at the Internet Archive. I’m going to talk about _________ in the _________ language. I dedicate this recording to the public domain.

9. Here are some ideas for things to talk about:

  • Tell a traditional story, one you were told as a child.
  • Talk about something important that happened in your life.
  • Talk about an important day and what happened.
  • Talk about a time you were surprised.
  • Tell a joke (“clean” ones only, please!).
  • Talk about how you met the person recording you.
  • Talk about what your languages mean to you.
  • Talk about something special you know how to do or make, like a skill, activity, or recipe.
  • Talk about words that you think are funny or interesting.
  • Say some common words – count to ten or more, recite words for colors, talk about words for family members / kin.
  • Sing a song or lullaby in your native language.
  • Role play how to say standard greetings and goodbyes.

10. You can make and upload as many recordings as you like. Each video should be 5 – 10 minutes in length.

11. Don’t edit the video – upload it “as is”.

12. Last of all, remember to press the “record” button!

The Rosetta Disk

Fifty to ninety percent of the world's languages are predicted to disappear in the next century, many with little or no significant documentation.