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Bonkers Blog November 2013

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8 November (Part 3) - Recording council meetings

Deputy Mayor and councillor Don MasseyThe mayor‘s generous decision to allow “filming” at last Wednesday’s council meeting before the revised Constitution was formally approved was, as far as I know, totally ignored, in the literal sense at least. I am not aware of any video recording being made but I did have a bash at making a sound recording.

With only a few hours notice I dug a couple of old microphones out of the loft and knocked together a makeshift stand for them; I doubt anyone would appreciate the real thing stuck in the doorway which is where I had to agree to operate from.

I decided to record on four channels simultaneously in the hope that at least one would produce the goods. In the event, microphones pointing at councillors’ backsides were perfectly adequate, the voices are clear if not always as loud as they might be, but the dynamic range created by bangs on my desk had to be accommodated and there is such a thing as a playback volume control. I made one silly mistake and overlooked the obvious fact that four channels would fill the memory card twice as fast as stereo so I had to nick the reserve card out of my camera half way through the meeting. Silly when I had a larger card going spare at home and I should have known that a two and a half hour recording would get close to flattening two fresh Duracells. Things will be better next time.

One advantage of the notebook and pencil method is that the highlights are written down and anything I cannot remember is lost for ever. Now I have a surfeit of information and transcribing it takes ages. I suspect we are about to see more council meetings reported one Agenda item at a time.

The photography was useless due to the council imposed position having no view of the proceedings. It’s going to take a bit of practice to choose the best of many auto-focusing options or maybe I’ll go for an extreme wide angle lens for its extensive depth of field and rely on an excess of megapixels to blow up the main subject. I hope Teresa O’Neill doesn’t report me for that comment, it’s probably worse than pitchforks! Maybe a simple ‘point and shoot’ with its huge depth of field is the better option, but there again the poor lighting may defeat it. I suspect I will rarely bother, who wants to see their mugs anyway?

 

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