Once you have determined a method for recording sermon audio, you need to get it posted online so people can listen and/or download. If you chose the option of recording straight to a computer, you can skip the first step here. Your digital audio is already in your computer.
Getting Audio Files into Your Computer
If you are recording to an external recording device, you will need to get that audio onto your computer. Many standalone recorders record to an SD memory card. If you have a card reader and a microSD adapter, you can just insert the card into your computer. You can also use a USB cable to connect the recorder to your computer.
At this point, you can just drag on drop the files onto your computer using your file manager. However, since you are likely going to need to do some editing anyway, you can skip a step and import them directly into your editing program. I recommend Audacity because it is free and easy to use. There are other software options out there and the process will be similar. Here is what is looks like to import from a Tascam DR-05 into Audacity:
Editing (Trimming) Your Audio
In most cases, there is not much need to actually edit the sermon audio. However, unless you are a master of hitting record and stop at the right time, it is likely you are going to need to trim. Usually, the easiest way to handle recording is to hit record as the service starts and stop when it ends. That way no one needs to remember to hit record when the sermon starts. Even if you manage to hit record and stop close to the beginning and end of the sermon, you are likely going to want to trim a little bit off the beginning and end. This is what that looks like in Audacity:
Now that you have trimmed or edited your sermon audio, you need to export it in a format that you can upload to the web. The most common format for sermon sharing is the MP3 format. MP3 is a compressed file format, meaning that your files will be small enough for people to easily download. It is also playable on nearly any computer or portable device. From Audacity, this is either a one-step or a two-step process. The one-step process involves a little technical knowhow in that you will first have to download and install a library of files called LAME. These are the files that allow Audacity to encode the MP3 file. Audacity will prompt you to do this and let you know where you can download the files. If this sounds a bit complicated, there is an easier way that adds another step. You can see how that works here:
The conversion software we demonstrate in the video is called Media Human Audio Converter. Again, there are other options out there. If you can figure out how to get the LAME library installed in Audacity, you will save some time every week as you prepare your sermons for upload.
Now you have your audio ready to upload to the web. For the not-so-tech-savvy, this might seem like a bit much. However, once you work through it a couple of times, it will only take you a few minutes each week to get it done. If you have a volunteer with a little computer know-how, this is a great ministry to hand off. There are some other methods and some other software available. If you have questions, drop me a line in the comments below.