Oral History

The inital collection is a set of oral history tapes and interviews amassed by Dr Liss Jeffrey as background to her doctoral thesis (“The heat and the light of Marshall McLuhan”, McGill 1998) and by the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology. Throughout the fall term of 2002, this collection of analog tapes was re-mastered into digital format by Dave Harkness of the InSounds Project.

In this process, analog tapes were recorded to .wav file format through Sonic Foundry’s Soundforge. A second copy in .cda (CD Audio) format was created for archiving, and for the ability to listen to these files on external audio devices. The audio files were equalized through an external audio mixer. Some post-processing of the files was also conducted through Soundforge. This included normalization between files (roughly equal volume output levels) and equalized (appropriate balance of low- to high-range frequencies). For files with excessive levels of ambient “white” noise, noise reduction processes (“gates” and filters) were applied.

The next stage of the media capture process will be the integration of video into the project. The McLuhan global research network holds a substantial library of video material and the McLuhan program also has video. For the purposes of this project, only material directly related to the McLuhan Sound and Video Project will be processed. The project has a template designed for the integration of other material into the database. For this process, analog VHS tape will be run through digital video capture software such as Adobe Premiere and stored as MPEG files for archival purposes. Post-processing for web-access will involve converting these files to Real Media Video.

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