Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to Record Skype Conversations

Day 42

I remember using AIM in late 1999 for voice chat. Sure, it was a beta feature - there was some serious delay and the quality was sub par - but the feature was available none the less. So when I first fired up Skype, I didn't see what all the hype was about. I soon learned the true potential is hidden behind skype credits ,which gives the caller the ability to call ordinary phone numbers.

It's just over 2 cents a minute to call anywhere in the US, so I thought it was worth experimenting with. I purchased $10 in Skype credits and punched in my wife's cell number. Since Skype ships with the Asus Eee, I figured there would be no problems, and I was correct. The connection was clear with only occasional digital distortion.

But there's really no need to spend my credits calling my wife when my own cell phone does the trick. Instead, I wanted to see the potential in using Skype for podcasting. Phone interviews are a great way to keep a podcast interesting - if you can get a quality recording.

While recording Skype conversations in Windows is fairly easy, there are not many resources available for doing so in Linux. Googling the topic brought up many pages, but few solid answers. There were a handful of tutorials for setting up Audacity to take the Skype signal, but they were either too difficult to follow, or led to dead ends in the program settings. One tutorial gave suggestions for recording through the command line, which was a concept I simply couldn't grasp. There was even a website that detailed how to connect two laptops with a series of patch cords going to and from the microphone and headphone jacks. All these "solutions" almost made me give up on recording a Skype conversation. Until I found Skype Call Recorder.

SCR is a simple-to-use addon for Skype. When a call is placed, it saves the recording as a stereo mp3 track. The convenient thing is that the caller is recorded on the left speaker track and the callee is on the right making it extremely easy to edit (If you want to know how to edit this using Audacity, leave a comment, and I'll post a quick how-to).

Skype Call Recorder can be downloaded here as a .deb package that is specifically for the Eee, so there should be no problems installing. There weren't any for me. Just click on the link and let the Eee do the hard part.

Skype Call Recorder is great for podcasting and recording phone interviews.

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