Audio trails & Oral history
An audio trail builds a story, guiding visitors from one point of interest to the next. It may contain oral reminiscences, sound effects, music and/or characterisation; but every single one contains a bit of our soul.
Whilst working for the Peak District National Park Authority Dan became aware of a wonderful collection of oral history recordings. They had been saved on CD and left in the back of a cupboard. It seemed such a shame to deprive the wider world of so many wonderful stories and so he set to work pulling clips from the recordings to create the first downloadable audio guides in the UK. Shortly after Dan set up Audio Trails in 2006.
We’ve interviewed hundreds of people since that time. Soundbites from those recordings (and other archives collecting dust!) have been sympathetically used to create immersive and engaging audio trails and podcasts for a wide variety of clients.
For example, we’ve recorded the memories of survivors and family members of those who lost their lives during the 1973 Lofthouse Colliery disaster. We’ve captured the stories of residents who were relocated to a new housing estate in Birmingham. We’ve interviewed wildlife experts in all manner of habitats, during all types of weather (!) and recorded history specialists discussing countless fascinating subjects. We’ve also recorded and archived a large library of sounds to add extra layers of authenticity to our audio trails and podcasts.
So, as you may have started to gather, each one of our projects contains a bit of our soul. Not all of them are oral history focussed, some are character based; scripts carefully written to engage with a particular audience. Children love our Goblin Gwladus audio trail in the Waterfalls area of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
We love creating audio trails
One thing is for sure we love creating audio trails. They are at their most engaging when they use the voices of people who know those stories best. Involving schools in the process is a very rewarding experience too.
Audio trails (you may called them audio guides or audio tours) are unobtrusive and provide stories without visitors having to look at a screen, booklet or interpretation panel. They are a perfect solution for visually impaired visitors. They are created as MP3 files – a universal music format – and are easily added to a website, app or museum/visitor centre hardware, ready to be enjoyed by visitors.
Our GPS Audio Tour Guide is a revolutionary app platform designed for location based audio entertainment on buses, boats, coaches and trains, or visitors on foot. It is a perfect vehicle for automating your outdoor audio trails. Read more.
Our Audio Tour Guide hardware has a traditional keypad AND content can also be triggered by 3 different types of proximity tags. Audio can be synchronised with video and the guide has a unique anti-theft alarm function. Read more.
We run workshops to assist you with digital storytelling. Whether you are undertaking an oral history project and/or creating an audio trail, we can advise you on what equipment to use; what to do before, during and after an interview; how to write an engaging script etc. Plus we’ll pass on other useful tips we’ve learnt along the way.
Our workshops are fun and informal, but very informative, as the following comments testify:
“Very well done, never felt over soaked in information, all delivered bite sized in reflection on day, time to breathe between subjects…. very well done THANK YOU”
“The course was very enjoyable and interesting, went at the correct speed for the varied skill levels of the participants and was open and friendly.”
“It was really informative and pitched to the audience.”
Our workshops can be run at a venue of your choosing. Please contact us for more information and pricing.