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Activity #20

Make An Audio Documentary

What To Do

Make an audio documentary about your family


How To Do It

Step 1:

Get a voice recorder. Many phones now have apps for recording voice memos.


Step 2:
Pick a person or a family activity you would like to document.
Some ideas are:
  • A birthday: think of the preparation of making the cake, lighting the candles, blowing them out
  • Your mom, dad, or sibling as they're doing a process around the house
  • A conversation with your parents
  • A trip to the store with a family member


The idea of an audio documentary is a little different than recording an interview with a family member. In an audio documentary you want to do more than ask questions and record answers. It’s like making a home movie, you want to record as events unfold. The reason for focusing on audio is that you capture and focus on different things. Also, people respond differently when you have a voice recorder versus having a camera.


Step 3:

Record your activity. If you’re able, aim your microphone at whomever is speaking or where the most action is taking place. Also, try to record 30 seconds to 1 minute of what’s called “room tone” just record the room or space you’re in for a bit while nothing is happening and no one is speaking. This way when you make cuts, you can slip in a little room tone if needed to break up the things people say and give a natural flow.---I know there are better ways to say this….

Step 4:

Upload your program to your computer. You can use a free software called Audacity, which you can download from the internet, to edit your documentary.  



How Is This Family History?

Audio documentaries are like home movies but highlight different aspects. People’s voices come to the fore. It’s really special to listen to someone’s voice. Someday you may be far from your loved one and you can listen to their voice that you treasure. People also may be more relaxed around an audio recorder, they may be more likely to forget it’s there.



Make Records.

Make History.




Additional Resources:

( is not repsonsible for the content in other online links)

Here is a link to several audio docs made by K-12 students

Here is a link to several audio docs made by college students

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