This week’s focus was on audio editing and how manipulating audio and sound effects can create a narrative all on its own. I had a lot of fun getting to know Audacity and playing around with different audio assignments. Some of them took longer than I anticipated but they turned out well for my first try with it.
First, we watched some videos and wrote some reflection blog posts about our thoughts on audio storytelling after going over the source material. I brought up the example of audio storytelling with the video game That Dragon, Cancer. I used this as an example because it contains minimal narration, and the story can be absorbed fully without seeing the screen. The sound design and music are wonderful and do a great job of conveying the tone of each scene in the story. Another source material we studied was a piece called “Moon Graffitti” which told an alternate ending to the Apollo mission of the moon landing. This story set a great example of what the goal of audio storytelling is. You want to build an immersive experience that feels three dimensional. It’s like you’re expanding the listener’s imagination of when they’d be reading it off a page. Adding sound and voice creates this extra element to storytelling that breathes a spark of life into it, making the overall listening experience better.
Projects and Assignments
Two of the first projects we were assigned was to create a Radio bumper for the ds106 radio station and to participate in the station while it was on the air.
My radio bumper was pretty fun to make. I wasn’t super confident with the idea of using my voice in a recording but I became more confident with it as I tweaked it a little bit. After making the bumper and listening to people’s dramas on the radio station, I came to appreciate how a radio talk show host or performer may feel vulnerable or exposed for using their bare voice. Mine in the bumper is only mildly altered so that it sounds like it’s on radio, but I never would have felt confident enough to speak to thousands of people on the radio. I don’t know why, but it was something that stood out to me after doing that assignment. We were also given the task of coming up with some radio show ideas, which I began to write a list for here.
My other assignments were for the 12-star mark. I did 4 assignments:
The first one I made was a mashup of song covers of an 80s hit. I chose to use the song Maneater by Hall & Oats and made a video of multiple covers filling in parts of the song. Originally I posted it on soundcloud but it got taken down for copyright issues. So instead, I posted it on Youtube.
My second one was to retell a movie scene (keeping with the 80s theme) only using sound effects. I chose an action scene from the movie Highlander. It took me a while to make this one due to all of the sound effects to sift through and then editing those effects to create the scene I had in my head. I posted it in a blog post along with the original to show the comparison.
Third, I took up the task of editing a sound bite or piece of a song to the point where it sounds nothing like the original piece. I simply used effects from Audacity and layered them until I had them where I wanted. It was pretty fun to let loose with this one. There wasn’t an expectation of what it had to sound like; it just had to be different from the original. I had a lot of fun with this one.
My last assignment that I did was honestly my favorite one (I keep listening to it). The audio assignment was for editing a song so that it sounds like it’s playing from another room, and then to write a description setting the scene for why you’d be listening to it this way. The example was someone waiting for a taxi outside a nightclub. Another was lying awake in bed because their neighbors were throwing a party late at night. It was cool to see others’ examples of it. I had already known what song I wanted to use; I’d been itching to edit and play with this song in Audacity for a while. I took my scene to be the listener being in their car in the rain and hearing loud music playing in the car next to them. To avoid the copyright police of Soundcloud (and to add a little ambiance) I mixed in some rain and wiper sound effects–which turned out amazing! I absolutely love this piece I made.
My three daily creates consisted of the mashup of quotes, a drawing of a favorite character, and a picture of nature that we enjoyed. The quotes one was interesting, and I had fun making characters from different 80s films interact with one another. The nature photo was an older photo originally but literally later that day I snapped a steller photo of a staircase on campus under some trees. I was a little blown since the latter was a one I took that same day, so I’ll just put it in this post to share with everyone. The final one was fun for me since I could stretch my drawing muscles a bit. I haven’t drawn in a while so it was nice to whip out my little sketchbook and markers and draw one of my favorite characters.
All in all, it was a busy week, with lots of time spent in Audacity, but the products of those hours plugged into it were well worthwhile.