Recording Interviews on Skype
My new office doesn’t have phone service (because I’m too cheap to buy it), so I’ve been looking for ways to record interviews with my iPhone. The solutions I’ve read about sound not-quite-reliable to me — also, I have the cheapest iPhone plan, meaning I don’t have many minutes.
My writing buddy and fellow FLXer Elaine Grant mentioned to me that she’s recorded calls on Skype. In case you’re not familiar with it, Skype is a free program that lets you make phone calls through your computer. If you have a video camera in your computer, you can even make free video calls. (My husband video Skypes with his mom often so she can see her new grandson!)
I did some research, and here’s what I found out:
- It’s free to call another Skype number, but to call a non-Skype number, you need to buy credits (in increments as small as $10) or sign up for their monthly service (which is around $13 per month and gives you unlimited worldwide calls — cheaper if you want only a US plan).
- Calls to US numbers (and many non-US numbers) if you use credits cost just over 2 cents per minute. There is a small connection charge per call.
- Ecamm Network is one of the companies that makes a Skype recorder for Macs. They give you a free one-week trial, and if you want to buy it, it costs $14.95. (If you’re looking for a Skype recorder for the PC, try this one).
Last week I bought a $10 credit on Skype and downloaded the Skype recorder. Whenever I open Skype, the recorder automatically pops up. All I have to do is press the Record button — it automatically stops when you hang up the call. The recorder saves the call as a .mov file. The files are pretty big, so instead of e-mailing them to my transcriptionist, I upload them directly to her server using Fetch FTP. This usually takes three minutes or so.
I’ve done three interviews this way so far, and have made a few other short calls, and I still have $7.45 left on my account.
The sound quality on Skype has been excellent; I’ve asked my interviewees, and they say they can hear me just fine. Do test the system out before jumping in with all your cash, though…I’ve heard reports from other writers that they experienced terrible sound quality.
Anyway, thought I’d share in case anyone is looking for a cheap, good call recording solution!
How do you record calls? Have you found a really cool set up? Please let us know! [lf]