In the first part of this two week unit, we started by listening to audio and finding / recording sound files. In this week, we break out the audio editing tools and start putting audio together to create something new.
You are welcome to use any audio software you have available; but we will be demoing and encouraging new audio folks to use Audacity, a free / open source audio tool. While there are many interesting audio apps for mobiles, to do the kind of audio editing we describe you need software that lets you manipulate audio in multiple tracks, so you can layer your sound. See the Audio Tool Guide for links to Audacity and some useful tutorials we have found.
We gave Brian and Alan the week off from doing a new video, but in case you missed it, see last week’s video.
If you have not noticed, for each You Show video we produce, there is also a “making of” post that let’s you see behind the curtain. We even had enough material left to produce a video of outtakes from Episode 4 (insert laugh track here).
For those on scene at TRU, you are welcome to come to these events; and you will get more out of the experience by joining in and meeting/learning from others (who may be equally or more confused as you). Do not expect lectures from the Film Academy, many are working/practice open studio sessions.
This week we are running hands on demo sessions with Audacity geared at showing the basics for completing two of the assignments this week. All are held in Open Learning Innovation Lab, Room OL 346. The links below have screen recorded demos showing what we covered:
We also have a drop in Open Studio session scheduled 10:00am to 12:00pm on Thursday. And… to go even more crazy, because we know you are busy, we are offering
House Office Calls. Schedule a time with Alan, and he will come to your desk. (see our emailed update for details).
The Breakdown Sheet
Open the sheet for suggested activities to work on for this first part of Unit 4. We will not start using or dealing with audio editing software until next week, but you might want to keep track of the Audio Tool Guide in the Prop Room. This does include a collection of mobile apps for recording audio, which you may need this week.
We also recommend that you create a free account on SoundCloud which provides storage for up to two hours of uploaded audio. It’s a bit like a YouTube for sound, and offers a very easy way to embed your audio in your blog.
Create a Sound Effect Story
Last week we suggested recording or finding sounds you can use to edit to s single piece something that might introduce your eportfolio or web site readers to the environment of the place you work. The story can be about a project you are working on, or an accomplishment, or something related to a research project you may be engaged in (or just uses sounds related to one of your strong interests).
If you have not gathered sounds (cough, homework), here are the sources we offer to find ones that are licensed for reuse.
- Freesound (free but you need to create an account to download)
- McCauley Library (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) offers wildlife sounds.
- public domain sounds shared and recorded by people around the world.
- SoundBible free sound effects
- SoundTransit field recordings
- Wikimedia Commons Sounds by Type
And we even built a place for you to keep track of them; check out the Sound Pool.Activity: Create a Sound Effect Story
Assemble the clips in Audacity to tell a story. Use multiple tracks so you can overlap as needed, and or use fade in / fade out so there are no abrupt changes. Think about using an ambient sound as a background. The basic steps for doing this (and some useful things to know about Audacity) are shown from this week’s demo session
and as well in this screencast
Here is one such example done for a school project
And you can find many more as responses to the DS106 Sound Effects Story assignment.
You should either upload your final audio (exported as MP3) to your blog or you can host it on SoundCloud.com – the latter is handy for WordPress users since you can embed the sounds just by pasting it’s sound cloud URL into a blank line of your editor (other blog platforms can use the SoundCloud HTML embed code).
With Soundcloud we get something like this
Single Sound Composition
In this assignment we ask you to duplicate, alter, many times one single sounds that is related to the kind of work you do or the place where it occurs– and turn it into a kind of musical composition.
For example, Jon Fulton recorded the sound of an inhaler. This what you should aim for this week. Listen to what Jon created from that one sound:
See a screencast demonstrating how to do this assignment
Your Own Radio Commercial
If your eportfolio or web site were advertised on a radio station, what might it sounds like? Consider trying to capture the essence of your site in a 30 second audio clip. Consider the genres of commercials that might lend themselves to the kind of message you would want. Is it a loud fast talking sales pitch? A sultry smooth comfort?
Or you may want to use an old fashioned commercial, and record your version of it in modern times, with you as the “thing” being advertised.
Some places to find inspiration
- Wav Central commercial archive (downloadable MP3s)
- Internet Archive Radio Commercial Collection (downloadable files)
Now this need not be overly self promotional. How can you create an interest in your site in only 30 seconds? What kinds of sound effects, background sounds would make it more than just a voice recording?
Now put it in your blog- write a post about it, but also try to think about a way you can get this on your front page (contact the You Show tech crew! The answer might be “we can show you how to out it in a widget”).
You Interviewing You
This is a new idea, inspired from a ETUC Fall Meeting student participant who told me about a class self-assessment activity. The expectation was a written document, but she decided to submit an audio interview of herself interviewing herself. I was intrigued, because the concept calls on you to step outside of yourself as the interviewer, and also, as an audio project, would need some deft audio editing.Activity: Create An Audio Interview of You Talking to You
How should you do this? This is the creative part. You will want to try to create a different facet of your person as the interviewer, someone who does not know everything about you. Thing about maybe five questions you might want to be asked of you that would lend themselves to answers that might help your eportfolio / web site audience understand you better.
The questions could be about how you got into your field, or what about your field you are most passionate abut, the most important thing you are working on now, etc.
I suggest that you record all of the questions first in a single audio file, and leave a few second space between each. Try to get into a different personality; do not try to fake a different voice, but maybe a different tone.
Now when you are ready to do your answers, maybe play back the recording of your questions so it feels like you are responding. When you put this together, use your audio tools to separate the sounds, space theme out like there was a conversation. Thing about an opening with the interviewer welcoming, and maybe some intro music.
When doing your own recordings, here is a helpful tip I learned from radio/podcast guru Scott Lockman. Put up on screen, or a photo, of someone who know / care about right behind the mic or computer. Pretend you are talking to that person. Use a natural, conversational tone.
Hopefully you can get inspired by the kinds of audio Radio Lab produces on a regular basis, such as this episode on the Black Box. Pay attention to the use of quick cut edits, music, sound effects, and background sounds.
You can produce this kind of audio with the tools and techniques we have introduced in Unit 4.
Yes, you can.