Thursday, April 30, 2009

What's That Noise?

Recording your WWII veteran's tale is a good idea, but before you begin taping, make sure the room you're conducting the interview is as quiet as can be. Sometimes we take background noise for granted, but the recorder won't tune it out.

Here's a check list of sounds to avoid in the interview:

1. Other conversations
2. TV or radios
3. Heating or cooling systems. Air conditioning can be noisy.
4. Chiming clocks
5. Fluorescent lighting

The National World War II Museum is working hard to preserve the memories of the Greatest Generation. Visit their web site here.

Naval Gazing

The story of the USS Champlin, a wartime naval escort (left), is well-told online. The ship, built in 1942, saw service across the Atlantic, traveling to Italy, Casablanca and Bermuda. The website authors have wisely kept the design simple, and divided into easily navigable chapters: "history", "crew" even some recorded "sounds" - a series of sound files - and a link for reunions. The crew page has created pages for anyone who served, which is especially welcome. This is a good example of how to center wartime memories around an object (the ship), and divide a multi-faceted experience into easily accessible segments.

A Simple, Well-Told Story

Sometimes a straight delivery of facts is all you need to let audiences experience the joy of a homecoming. St. Louis TV station KETC has a six-minute feature on Lavern Parker, a Missouri resident who fought in Italy with the 91st Infantry Division. He talks movingly about returning home to his family once the War ended. Note the camera zooming in on Parker's B&W portrait as a young soldier than dissolving into video of him, 91 in 2007, hugging one of his great-grandchildren today.