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Created: May 21, 2009
Last modified: July 23, 2010


bridging science
and parascience

This protocol governs the use of audio recorders by the Kitt Research Initiative. This particular protocol has proven itself reasonably solid as for its intended function and ease of use, and upgrading it is a very low priority. However, future modifications will likely address the following problems:

  •   Equipment upgrade - the Olympus series currently in use captures a very high frequency range, and we suspect that the built-in microphones are inadequate to make full use of that range, resulting in a substantial amount of base-line white noise. After further testing, we may either look into adding microphones, or replacing the recorders. Addressing this problem has been put off until such time as the Initiative can afford buying and testing more high-end equipment.
  •   There are no stated repercussions for investigators who fail to review their audios on a timely basis. This problem appears to have been addressed by the radical action of cutting the team away from the SPRG. With fewer investigators, evidence review is greatly simplified, and with limiting the team to only those with sufficient motivation to do the job it seems to have become a non-problem.
  •   Experiments using these recorders in-line to provide synchronized audio tracks for some of our non-capable CCTV video equipment have proved so successful we've updated this Protocol to make that its secondary function. It is quite likely that if we do end up purchasing better quality audio recorders, the old Olympuses will be repurposed entirely to working in this capacity.
  •   We expect to be adding other functions and uses, including loose procedures for recording more non-investigation situations (seances, ceremonies, etc.). So far, we are treating these situations as investigations to quite good effect.



Primary Use

WS-331M WS-321M WS-311M

Equipment:
  •   Olympus WS-3x1M Digital Voice Recorder

Settings:
  •   Record Mode: XQ Stereo
  •   Microphone: Conference Mode
  •   Voice Activation: Off
  •   Low Cut Filter: Off
  •   Beep: On
  •   Backlight: On
  •   LED: Off

Function:

The primary functions of audio in a KRI investigation are to monitor participants' whereabouts and interactions for the purpose of separating their voices and actions from evidence, collect that evidence, and allow for straight-forward validation of timing between incidents by providing a constant flow of interrelated data. Secondary and lesser protocols make use of the same equipment but on an "as available" basis.

Mike and Raina at Scenic Theater

Set Up:

All files should be removed from each recorder and appropriately stored, each recorder should have its memory formatted, and prior to (pre-investigation equipment) "case check" recorder should be placed on Hold status (slide switch on left side) until equipment is unpacked at the site. Proper settings should be confirmed and fresh batteries installed immediately upon arrival at the investigation site. Set time / date to match Lead's watch. Each procedure should be annotated appropriately on Audio Checklist.

Each participant (investigators, mediums, and all other persons) must wear an audio recorder on his or her arm at all times while in the investigation area. No exceptions. Recorders are to be attached to the upper left arm using KRI supplied armbands.

Recorder is to be encased in the armband with the left channel microphone towards the front of the individual so that the recorder panel is visible through the armband window. Activate by pressing Play on right side of the unit. Upon activation, state the name of the individual wearing the recorder clearly, and visually confirm the sound level bars move with your voice.

Investigator's name should be noted in the appropriate row of the Audio Checklist. Recorder numbers are labeled on the back of each unit.


Investigation:

Once all recorders are confirmed running, the participants should congregate in a close area for an audible "time mark".

Approximately each hour, every individual should reconfirm his or her recorder is still operating. Anytime a recorder is found "off," it should be restarted with a new file (automatic feature), the time noted audibly into the recorder after restart, and the investigator's name restated.

Should any recorder shut down or otherwise fail for any reason during the course of an investigation, that failure should be noted in the appropriate section of the Audio Checklist.

Investigators should speak at normal volume levels. Please, DO NOT WHISPER! If anything is "present," it won't be offended by you speaking normally, but whispers are very difficult to to cross-check during evidence review.

At the close of each investigation, recorders will be shut down and returned to the Lead Investigator. Files from each recorder will be distributed to the individual investigators on CDs some time after the investigation, usually within a week.


Evidence Review:

Investigators need to listen to his or her own audio recordings. Inactive participants (such as property owners, law enforcement, etc.) are exempt, as are individuals acting solely as Medium in the investigation. Mediums are exempt to eliminate the possibility that feelings of self-consciousness might negatively affect their future performance.

Every investigator has the right to access any other recording made during any investigation in which he or she participated, except when that investigator is the proprietor of the site being investigated. This limitation exists so Mediums will not feel they have to "edit" their readings to prevent the proprietor from being offended or frightened by what he or she states.

Required – noise-canceling headphones, and time devoted solely to listening. Also, these recordings are distributed as computer files, so they may or may not work in a CD or other media player. They should be played on a computer with software that allows volume control, pause, and time check (where you are in the recording).

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Procedure – we are not listening for EVP (voices) only, but any anomalous sound. This could be music, shifting furniture, etc. If you can’t identify it or are even a little unsure, make a note of the time mark of the audio. Format should be xx:xx:xx.x (hour:minute:second.tenths). Also, please note any comments regarding the segment (if voice, what you think it said; if not, the closest natural comparison of that sound). The goal is to get as many people listening to each recording as possible, and compile a list of possible anomalies. Each anomaly will be checked against the other recordings, and against other sounds known to be present. Those that still can’t be identified will be presented to the investigative group for further consideration. A Log Sheet Template (MS Word) is available here, or through a link along the left margin.

Helpful hints for your first few times (shortcuts will be discussed at a later date):

  •   Only listen to 10 to 15 minutes at a time, pause it, then do something else for at least a few minutes.
  •   Close your eyes while you listen.
  •   Try focusing on everything except the voices of the people you know are present in the room during the time of the recording. If you have trouble with this, you may want to listen to the whole recording straight through and only listen to what everyone is saying. Then, when you go through it again, it will be a lot easier to ignore everyone's voices.

Secondary Use


Standard Equipment and Settings:

As per Primary Use, except Volume should be set to max (30).


Function:

The secondary function of audio in a KRI investigation is to amplify and record sound in conjunction with video equipment thast doesn't have built-in microphones.


Set Up, Investigation & Review:

Follow all Primary procedures regarding equipment setup. Log the recorder by the camera's name it is attached to. Ensure the volume level is set to maximum (press and hold the Up button until the display reads 30), then connect into the video equipment's recording device by connecting a male / male stereo jumper / line-in RCA converter combination. The jumper cable should be connected to the recorder's headphone jack (on top, labelled Ear). State camera's location into the audio recorder, Time Mark, then place recorder conveniently.

The audio files off the recorder should be preserved in the archive, but review of the audio will take place as the video is reviewed. Should anything unusual on the audio track of the video review be noted, the audio recorder's file will be reviewed during the synchronization process (by Andy).


Interviews and Notetaking


Standard Equipment and Settings:

No requirements. Recording of interviews is intended solely as back up for notetaking. All files, as always, should be preserved for archiving.


Set Up & Review:

Make interviewee aware that he or she is being recorded and audibly note time and date of recording. Shut recorder off and remove from view if interviewee insists.

Equipment checks are only necessary at the discretion of the interviewer. Audio files are expected to accompany any interview, but not required.

Interview audios should not be deleted under any circumstances. The files will be downloaded and saved into the investigation archive, and possibly used to validate other data.

These recordings are for reference only, and only reviewed as necessary.



There are no further audio equipment protocols except to say the equipment is useable as needed, as long as it doesn't interfere with higher ranked functions.