Way back in 1995 a friend and I started putting together three books for a Spanish course designed for adult learners.
Of course, audio is an important component of any language course so we gathered together a bunch of Spanish-speaking actors in a proper sound studio and recorded the ‘diálogos’.
The resulting audio was edited by a sound engineer with a dozen platinum albums to his name, who then put it onto a DAT (Digital Audio Tape), which was then put onto a Bin Loop at a Sound Production company, which was then mass-produced as audio cassettes.Fast forward a few years, and no one had cassette tape players any more, so the same Sound Production company put it onto CDs. This was great for us – the sound quality was better and the CD had ‘tracks’ on it which allowed people to go directly to the track they wanted (as opposed to perpetually rewinding and fast forwarding on a cassette).A few years back I turned all of the Módulo 1 audio onto videos in preparation for a DVD that was produced for a test course. This was a massive amount of work as all my illustrations had to be colourized. 400 hours later a DVD was produced for a test course, but this didn’t work as well as hoped. The instructors were constantly moving forward and back on the DVDs (sort of like they did with the cassettes) and this crashed their laptops.
Then I tried putting the course up on Youtube. This worked well from the teacher’s point of view but there was rampant downloading, a real problem when you’ve spent thousands of hours and piles of money putting together a course and you’re not making anything from it!
Vimeo has better password protection so that is what we’ve been using for our first level.
But although we are still including audio CDs with our Spanish course, we are finding that less and less people have CD players. So now I have to put the audio for the second and third levels onto videos. Only to find myself reluctant to put in the hundreds of hours needed.
My business partner told me to just create one image for each dialogue and put it up with the audio, the most important thing being that it is there for people to access. After all, she says, people won’t be looking at the video, they’ll be looking at the book and listening to the audio.
This is the image I did for a dialogue that takes place at the Alhambra in Spain. But I’m feeling that the words need to be there. I guess I’m still thinking about the way those 400-hour level 1 videos look.Anyway, I just put a ‘work in progress’ video up on Youtube. But I see that even in this simplified version each video is now taking about 5 or more hours to put together and I have 52 of them to make for levels 2 and 3.
Anyway, it’s been nice talking to you – after this discussion (mostly with myself) I see that I am going to take my business partner’s advice and ‘just put them up there!’ with a title page and single image.