(NOTE: “Apartment Life” has a new installment)
In the past seven days, Ben has seen grandparents from far away, and from very far away. When one of these folks walks into the room, Ben’s mood ratchets up above the tenth notch. His voice goes higher, if that’s possible, and he talks so fast he almost stutters through that megawatt smile.
Inspired by my own grandfather’s recently re-discovered recordings of family events and tapes my brother and I sent to him, I armed myself with my Olympus DS20 digital recorder (just like the DS2, but with twice the storage space) and my Rode VideoMic. I let Ben and his grandfolk do all the work, and captured a few choice moments that I hope will live on at least as long as Granddad’s tapes.
I’ve kept the clips here mercifully short, except in the case of bedtime songs, which usually are short anyway and lose their impact when edited.
I’m posting these in no particular order, unless accidentally chronological. Nobody out there get any ideas about preferential treatment. Although, Dad, I have to admit, Ben picked a stinker of a book for you to read. You did what you could with what you had. Plus, Grandpops had a longer stay, so naturally I had more source material.
The mic was six inches behind the reader’s head for some of these, and a foot above for the others (like a boom mic).
Ben discovers the microphone and makes friends with it. (0:13)
Grandpops enunciates his “B” sound. (0:25)
Ben tells what’s atop a dinosaur’s head. (0:11)
Grandpops asks if dinosaurs wear socks. (0:07)
Grandpops and Ben debate the finer points of identifying a flying dinosaur. (0:15)
Classic case of toddler twisting his tongue, this time on “apatasaurus.” (0:05)
Ben guides Gigi to the beginning of “Worm’s Wagon.” (0:19)
Gigi impresses with her command of the “W” sound (first time ever reading this book) (0:21)
Ben finds and names items at the end of the book. (0:29)
Papa reads the intro to the book Ben picked for him. (0:09)
Ben finds and counts eight snails with Papa, after proper encouragement. (0:19)
My mic was about eight or nine feet behind the singers, who were singing directly at Ben and his bedroom wall.
Grandpops sings “Lavender Cowboy.” (1:04)
Gigi botches “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” but Ben saves her and helps her finish. She obtained special permission before starting.(1:04)
Papa sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” very softly. Very nice. I didn’t know my father knew the words to this song. (1:38)
About 10 seconds after this clip, Ben tipped over and skinned his knee, ending the outside play time.
All sound files recorded with Olympus DS20 and Rode VideoMic, the recorder in dictation mode and set on SHQ (stereo high-quality), which records a .wma file at 128kbps. Converted to .wav in Winamp; edited for length in Audacity. Converted to 128kbps .mp3 in CDex using LAME MP3 encoder version 1.30, engine 3.92 MMX. Songs were amplified in Audacity prior to .mp3 conversion. Video recorded using Kodak Easyshare Z730 and uploaded without editing.