Google Doc | Author(s): Mati Roy | Branched: 2019-03-05 | Published: 2019-05-15 | Updated: 2019-05-15 | Contributions: open to everyone | Discussion thread on lifeloggers’ recording set-up | Confidence: I’m still experimenting with this and will likely be updating this page in the coming days / weeks / months
Related: Should I record my life?
To audio-record, I use the app AudioRec on my phone.
To video-record, I use a GoPro Hero3 White. With all the gears, it cost me about 200 CAD without counting the storage cost. You might be able to get it down to 120 CAD if cost is an issue, or even just use your phone.
I simply use a smartphone with an app and an external SD card. The audio from my phone is acceptable to me (I have a OnePlus X).
I use the app AudioRec on Android.
It has the following features that I wanted:
It also has the following features I find interesting:
And turns out it’s free.
Audio recording takes little batteries in my experience.
Audio files also take little space. At a sample rate of 16 kHz and a bitrate of 128 kbps it takes me about 1.3 GB per day, 474 GB per year.
When I go to bed for the night I stop the recording and start a new one. When I wake up I stop the recording and start a new one. So I usually have two files every day. However, I will sometime stop and start a new recording throughout the day. For example, if I want to listen to audio from earlier in the same day or if I want to identify a specific conversation in its own file.
I name the files YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss. I will sometimes edit the name of the file to add some information after the date, such as who was in the conversation.
I keep track of my events in a Google Calendar and my tasks in a Google Sheet. If I want to retrieve a conversation, this can help me find the date and time it happened. The files have the date and start time at the beginning of their name, so I can easily find the right file and know how much to forward in it, at least if I haven’t paused the audio or skipped silences, in which case it makes finding the exact time a bit longer. I also have a Google Doc where I note some conversations I want to bookmark.
If you only want to record some conversations, one problem is you might forget or some interesting conversations might just happen without anticipation. Snip back allows to retroactively audio record (of course, it’s not magic, all it does is constantly audiorecord and then delete what you don’t “retroactively” record later on).
Otherwise, Hi-Q allows to start recording rapidly as there’s a feature to start recording as soon as the app is opened. It also has a feature to automatically stop the recording after a certain amount of time. It can also record at different quality and save on an external SD card and on Google Drive.
I used to use Smart Recorder. It can skip silences. Parrot also has this feature. But by naming the files with the start time, having the full recording makes it easier to forward to the exact desired time.
I also tried many other apps back in fall 2018, but they were all missing features I find essential.
Maybe having a mic attached to my clothing would have the additional benefits of 1) be easier to signal to people that I'm audio-recording, and 2) be less likely to miss some part of conversations because my phone is lying too far from me, and also be less likely to audiorecord something by accident when I forget/leave my phone somewhere.
GoPro Hero3 White Edition
I bought this with a “Sports Accessory Kit Bundle (40+ PCS)” for 79.95 USD on Ebay.
H/t to Alton Sun for the suggestion.
If I had more money, I might buy a GoPro Fusion to film spherical videos.
I’ve mostly been using the chest strap so far.
I have a waterproof case, and I also bought a skeleton case with lens protectors for 15.49 CAD.
To video record in HD, you need a speed class of U3 / V30.
I took a 256 GB U3 microSD card from GigaStone for 42 CAD. It will record for about 2.5 days straight at 720p. So if I leave for a few days and won’t have access to a computer, that’s convenient. It can also be transform in a surveillance video if you want to check on your property for a few days.
For a cheaper version, you can get a 64 GB microSD card (from GigaStone for 14 CAD) which will record 15 hours at 720p.
When you want to record at home, and not have to worry about batteries, you can simply plug the camera directly in a power source. For that it can be useful to get a USB extension cable.
The GoPro Hero3 White Edition battery lasts me about 2 hours. Sometimes I go out for longer than that, so I bought 4 additional batteries and a battery charger for 21.46 USD on Ebay.
External hard drive
If you record 24 hours per day and 365 days per year, this will generate 38.6 TB of content. If you film 4 hours per day, it will be 6.4 TB. You can get a 6 TB external hard drive for about 160 CAD.
A common suggestion for back-up is to have a back-up in a different location and a back-up in a different format. Most of my files are backed up on 3 external hard drives and online, but given videos is more expensive, I’ll probably only do 2 external hard drives and online.
You will need a good Internet connection to upload that much content.
You might also want to buy an Internet cable for higher speed.Online backup
I also have a MediaFire account and will probably backup my audio files there as well.
Lowest meaningful size (according to me) for…
Other features I would like for my camera:
I tried using my phone as my video recording device. It wasn’t too bad.
I looked for a way to take timelapses of many hours with my phone, but wasn’t able to.
Video glasses from aliexpress
Used to be used by theyih
Details: comment on Reddit
Nikon KeyMission 80 camera
Used by Cranifraz
Mi Sphere CameraKit
I haven’t been recording my devices screens systemically yet.
When I film myself with my GoPro, it will often be on my chest or on a table near me. In both cases, it will often also be filming the screens of my devices.
Also, my historical digital activity is already preserved in various ways other than videos (ex.: all my Google Docs keep all my edit history).
I would like an automatic way to extract all public pages I accessed from my Chrome history and then back them on the Wayback Machine. This should be a rather easy project, but I haven’t got around doing it yet.
I’ve installed AZ Screen Recorder to record my Android phone.
I only use my phone sporadically. So it would either be a high overhead to start and stop recording whenever I use it or a lot of storage space would be used to record my home screen with no activity.
Yesterday I’ve tried the Facebook Screen Sharing Chrome Extension to livestream my desktop (with the audience being set to only me). It worked well (although I could only stream one of my screens).
In the past I’ve also sometimes used the Chrome Extension Screencastify to record my screen.
Mute noise while recording screen: https://krisp.ai/blog/