Exploring Hidden Histories: Recording & Gathering Material

Having done your initial planning and research, you aree now ready to gather material for your Hidden History. You may already have stumbled across some interesting documents in a library or archive; you may have identified some people you'd like to interview; or you may want to take some photos or record some video / audio footage.

Download our Recording TemplateRecording Consent Form (for permission from your interviewee, or event participants); Interviews Cribsheet (to plan questions); Speaker Recording Cribsheet (if you're recording at an event or talk).

Jump to:       Equipment & Apps       Digitising Documents & Images       Audio & Video Recording       Oral Histories      Documentary Guide

Equipment and Apps

Alot of people worry about needing to get, or having to learn to use, professional equipment or complicated computer programmes. If you are producing a big programme for the BBC then you might need to... But for our Hidden Histories the aim is to to make them as easy and enjoyable to produce as possible, whilst also learning some very useful skills along the way! Depending on what you / your group want to produce, the sort of equipment you might need to access could be:
  • Smartphone or iPad / Tablet. There are apps available to do ALL of the functions below direct from a phone or tablet, and we would recommend using these as the most accessible means for most Hidden Histories projects. However, it's really important to be sure that you have enough memory and battery on the device you choose to use every step of the way; that you install the apps / programmes you will need to work with; that you save your work and back it up externally as you go along (to the cloud, or to a hard drive).     
  • Scanner. A flatbed scanner can capture documents at high resolution for the very best quality. For ordinary usage, apps like Scanbot, Camscanner or Evernote Scannable - or even your phone's camera - can capture most documents well enough for your project.
  • Camera. A digital SLR (single lens reflex) or will capture best quality images eg for phootgraphic exhibition / publications; however most smartphones have cameras and built-in software of more than sufficient calibre for capturing images for digital stories and online albums.  
  • Video Recorder. As above. Example apps include iMovie, Adobe Premiere Clip or Video Editor.
  • Audio Recorder. As above. Example apps include Smart Recorder or Hi-Q
  • Editing Software / Computer. As above - you can search for user guides / tips online.
  • Notebook, and any props needed (eg discussion objects, backdrop / logo / image)
  • Spare batteries, memory cards and chargers.

If you need help accessing equipment, Wales for Peace work with People's Collection Wales who have a network of over 20 digital heritage stations in locations across Wales. For specific projects working directly with WCIA or PCW, we may be able to loan professional recording equipment by special arrangement. We also offer training on how to use equipment to best impact.

Digitising Documents and Images

Most things you've read or watched about historical events and people will probably have been illustrated with documents, images, maps or pictures of objects that enable us to visualise and understand the people, the place, the situation. If you can find old documents or images to help tell your story, as long as you get permission to share these publicly they could be of enormous interest and value to people reading / watching your Hidden History, as well as to other pupils / students or historians. By sharing on People's Collection Wales, you are adding to the nation's heritage for posterity. 
  • Secure permission from the copyright holder. More information.
  • Scan the document (either as individual pages, or a 'multi-page' document)
  • Edit if neccessary - you may need to 'crop' the scan
  • Save as a GIF, PDF or JPEG file.
  • Register and log in to People's Collection Wales
  • Click on 'Upload / Edit & Create' - and then select your files, or 'drag and drop' (either as 1 image, or a multi-page document).
  • Complete the information so others understand the background to the document (title, description, creator / credits).
  • Complete tags for categories, dates and mapping information, so users can find it through different searches. 
  • Publish! It will be moderated and approved by the PCW team within a few days. 

Guidance for Digitisation Projects

Background to People's Collection

Recording for your Project

Recording Video - Top Tips

If you plan to produce an interview piece, short film or digital story, the following 'top tips' may prove helpful whilst recording

Recording Audio

If you plan to produce a short audio feature,or record a lecture or event, the following 'top tips' may prove helpful whilst recording.

Recording People or Events

You will probably want to interview several people as part of your project - and this can be one of the most interesting parts of any Hidden History! But whether you are capturing a short opinion piece "vox pop" or a more in depth story for a feature, you will need

Oral History Projects and Interviews

Capturing oral histories - where people’s memories, attitudes and experiences are recorded, can be a useful way to explore heritage. Oral history allows people whose voices might not otherwise be heard to share their experiences and fills gaps in our history. Everyone, irrespective of their background, has a unique story to tell. This guidance gives advice on how to plan all aspects of your oral history project and to make sure it achieves outcomes for heritage, people or communities.

A guide to producing your own documentary project

Photographer Lee Stow, in association with Wales For Peace and Ffotogallery, discusses her experiences from working on 'Women, War, and Peace,' and shares advice for young photographers who plan to develop a strong and coherent documentary project. Lee's insights and tips give professional context to our step-by-step practical guide and video (below).

“Poppies” A comprehensive guide to producing your own documentary project. from Diffusion Festival on Vimeo.

Download Guide (PDF)

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