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skype_logo_recordingAs a writer who publishes primarily on the Internet, I find myself in need of an easy method to conduct interviews almost every month. Most of the time the interviewee is perfectly content to answer my questions through email, which saves me a lot of time and effort. However, there are times when the person being interviewed prefers a phone conversation.

In those circumstances I need a good tool that can record the phone call so that I can later transcribe it into a text interview. If you want to know how do you use skype for these sort of interviews – my tool of choice for this task is HotRecorder. HotRecorder is one of the most effective tools to record any VoIP call, not only Skype. However, if you are a Skype user you can rest assured that it’s a tool that’s very well integrated with the Skype application.

Getting Set Up to Record a Skype Call

Installing and using HotRecorder is about as simple as it gets. There’s virtually no setup. After you run the install and launch the application, it attaches (literally) to your Skype window. Whenever you move your Skype window around the screen, the HotRecorder window stays attached at the upper left edge.

how do you use skype

There are a few things that you may want to configure in HotRecorder depending on your preferences. For example, in the options menu, you can assign a folder on your computer to save all of the audio files. The Sound Quality and Recording Type settings are also important because they’ll ultimately determine how quickly the size of your audio file grows.

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record skype voip call

If you have a huge hard drive and are only recording the call for yourself, by all means keep the sound quality high and use Stereo sound. However, if your intent is to email the file or you’d like to store it on smaller media that doesn’t have quite as much storage capacity, you may want to consider using Medium or Low quality.

Recording a Skype Call

When you hit “Rec” and then dial a phone number or connect with another user on Skype, you’ll see the HotRecorder display status change to “Recording” and the size of the audio file updates as well so that you know how much space the audio file is going to consume on your hard drive or USB drive.

how to record skype conversations

The current time duration of the call is also displayed, so if you’re running a Podcast or radio show and you don’t want the conversation to go beyond a certain time interval, you’ll know exactly how long the discussion is going. If there are parts of the conversation that you don’t want to record, just click on “Pause,” and then when you’re ready to start rolling again you can click “Rec” again and the call will continue.

how to conduct an interview

Once you click on “Stop,” you’ll be presented with the screen above so that you can fill out details about the phone call including who you talked to and anything else you want to note about the call. The important field is “Conversation with” because the listing of your calls shows this clearly, and it’s one of the best ways you’ll have of remembering your calls. You can use any filename convention you like, so keep it in a format that you’ll be able to organize. In my case I sort all of my interviews by date, so I keep the date in the filename.

how to conduct an interview on skype

Once you click on save, you’ll see the application encoding the audio and saving it to file. One interesting thing to note here is how the audio will get encoded when you choose audio. HotRecorder saves the conversation in 2 channels – meaning that during playback your interviewee’s voice will play on the left and your voice will get played on the right. This is actually pretty cool if someone has stereo headphones. Unfortunately if one of your listeners has mono headphones or will be listening to your audio file on any mono device – the conversation will seem oddly “one-sided.”

Playback and Extra Options

Playing conversations back after you’re done recording is as simple as clicking on the “Player” tab.

conduct a skype interview

When you click on the Player button, you’ll see a list of all of the conversations you’ve had. As I mentioned above, the saved recordings are displayed by who the conversation was with. If you accumulate a lot of conversations over time, there’s also a search feature available (this is where your description and keywords will come in handy).

how to conduct an interview

There are a couple of cool extra features with HotRecorder, and one of them is an answering machine. Personally, I don’t use this feature – but I have to admit I like the fact that unlike your typical answering machine, HotRecorder will record the message that your caller leaves, attach the file to an email, and send off the email to any email address you like. You can be anywhere in the world and never miss a phone message again as long as you have Internet access to check your email.

If you run a podcast or a radio show, another cool feature are the “emotisounds,” which let you embed various sound effects into the conversation. This can get really hilarious if you play it right. Whenever someone says something that you don’t like, just click “boo” or if they’re boring you to death just click on “Snore” – you’ll have your listeners in stitches.

If you use HotRecorder the way that I do – that is, recording phonecalls for later playback and transcription to text, the free version is more than enough. I don’t care what format the file is stored in and I really don’t care about the advertisement panel at the top. However if you want to convert your files over to MP3 or WAV format so you can use them anywhere, you’ll need the inexpensive premium version that comes with an embedded AudioConverter.

You might also want to check out earlier Simon’s article that lists a couple of alternative programs to record Skype calls Record Your Skype Calls On Windows and Mac Record Your Skype Calls On Windows and Mac Read More .

How do you use Skype to do interviews? Do you have your own solution for recording VoIP calls? Share them with the MUO readers in the comments section below!

  1. Ollie
    February 24, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Well explained. I'm using this appliaction for years now, to my satisfaction.

    Irrelevant to the subject: it's such an irritating website with all those Twittterest icons flying around. Too much distraction for 'readers', as a 'writer' you should know better...

  2. deke
    January 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Here is a great sound recorder for Windows 7 http://www.abyssmedia.com/isoun7/
    Could be used as VoIP recorder, but also can capture streaming audio.

  3. Michael Martine
    August 20, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    It's either not compatible with the latest version of Skype, or it doesn't run on 64-bit Vista. Once you register, you can't right-click on it and do anything.

  4. Ryan Dube
    August 18, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Marion - thanks for your comment. You're right, Skype now charges for landline calls (other than toll-free numbers that is). However, despite the fact that the article has "Skype" in the title, HotRecorder is a "VOIP" recorder. So, you could potentially use it with any VOIP app of your choice, not necessarily only Skype.

  5. Marion S
    August 18, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    I thought Skype was free? It looks like in order for people(without Skype) to call you, you must purchase a phone number. To call landlines through Skype, it costs money. And if you want Skype on the iPhone, to send SMS texts, it costs $.11 per message (in the US). What gives? Skype is expensive!
    Using my cellphone with its SMS and free long distance is cheaper. So what's the big deal about Skype? Aside from free Skype-to-Skype calls?

  6. Ryan Dube
    August 18, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Hey Mike - thanks for your comment. I downloaded the trial version a year or so ago, and I used it for recording a number of interviews including some that went well over an hour. I can't say they might have modified the trial version to add that limitation - and if so, my apologies for not spotting it. However, I'd recommend to readers who are interested to give it a shot anyway because I know my trial version was only limited in terms of converting the files over - that's why I bought the premium, but there was no limitation on time. I hope that's still the case!!

    Thanks for spotting that though - nice find, and something for readers to consider before trying out the product if they don't want to purchase premium. For what it's worth, the full-version is a great app.

  7. Mike
    August 18, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    From the website for HotRecorder you linked to:
    "*The trial version of HotRecorder for VoIP is limited to two minutes of recording."
    That's a pretty big handicap. Useless for conducting interviews, etc. Are they wrong about that? Does it actually record past 2 minutes?

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