Yesterday morning I got a half hour interview with my main interviewee and it went brilliantly. The content was wonderful. Everything she said fitted into the angle of my feature. There was lots of material so I knew I would have plenty of choice.
I got it home, played it back and to my horror discovered that there was an evil, incessant hiss all the way through the interview. I think this kind of hiss is called 'white noise' because it was generated by the camera I was using. I had been using a microphone (a good one) plugged straight into a Canon 5D to record my interview.
Lesson One: You know those little nagging feelings you get when you're doing something wrong and you have a feeling it might be wrong and you might pay dearly for it later? Listen to them. They are there for a reason
Lesson Two: There are some mistakes you will never ever be able to correct. Even if you sit there for many hours, trying as many different softwares as you can, reading pages and pages about white noise reduction and the best frequencies to use.
After a whole afternoon of fiddling with noise reduction and a few tears, I realised I had a choice:
I could use the beautiful interview with it's lovely content and horrible hiss...and get raked over the coals by Paul for recording such bad audio when I should know better.
Or I could shamefacedly ring my contact and beg to go and record the interview all over again.
Lesson Three: The satisfaction of redoing a piece of work which results in higher quality outweighs the embarrassment and discouragement of getting it wrong in the first place.
This morning I exchanged the camera for a laptop, the average microphone for the one I use to record music and headed off into the world to get some broadcast quality audio.
What I ended up with was two interviews from two interviewees with clear, crisp quality, good levels and as good a content as I could ever hope for.
Lesson Four: Don't be lazy. If you know you should and you can - redo