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THE ANTENACLES!!! AND THE END OF ALL THINGS (this semester)

And we have hit the home stretch boys and girls, the semester has drawn to a close, and with that we have our final project for Online Journalism. This time we are going to be looking a individual SoundSlides projects, which are exactly like our group projects but done on our own, hence the individual part. So the purpose of this assignment was the same as the group project, get some journalism done by interviewing people, do some photojournalism by taking pictures of those people, and finally storytelling and editing and technical stuff when we had to put it all together.

For this assignment I interviewed a band from Casper, The Antenacles. I went to a practice/recording session, got pictures and audio of them playing and then sat them all down to do an interview. I wanted to do a group interview because I thought it would be dynamic and interesting as they fed off one another, but mostly there were parts where it was just annoying because they would talk over one another, it didn’t seem so bad when I was doing the interview, but on playback it was pretty bad. So that was an issue, also the quality is ok, but my video camera still doesn’t make the best audio recorder. Even so I think the sound of them playing turned out all right, you just can’t hear the vocals too well. During the practice it was funny when Ben broke out his melodica, a breath powered keyboard, and started playing Legend of Zelda songs on it. Other than that just getting to sit and listen to them practice was fun.

As for doing this individually as opposed to a group, I’m pretty solitairy anyway so I prefer to do things on my own anyways. So I liked this project more than the group one, I didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s schedule to get photo taken, I was in charge of everything and if things went wrong then it was all my fault no-one else’s.

Also for this project I decided to try out Audacity, the audio editor most of the rest of the class has been using. Since I record on a video camera I usually just edit on Final Cut Pro, but since I had some more time I decided I would see what Audacity could do. Personally I was 50/50 on the thing, there were stuff I feel should have been in the program, like setting in/out points not dragging the little line where you wanted it to go as well as having to transfer the audio segments between two different projects. Those and the interface is not that intuitive, it took me a while to figure out how to move segments on the timeline. However I was able to do much more with fades, and adjustments on the audio in Audacity, so that was really nice. I would say I should have looked at the program sooner instead of deciding to do things my own way.

(Quick edit at 8:45 Dec. 10th) So I forgot to mention that at one point sean says “cheapass” now I feel that the people that would be reading the publication that a story like this would be in would not be offended by the term, I just felt that it was important to point out, plus I really liked what he was saying here and didnt want to cut that out, and I had issues trying to cut out “ass” to make him say cheap headphones. It was my call to leave it in and I decided to do that.

Since I can’t post a link directly to my project here is the link to the class project webpage, have fun looking at everyone’s project.

Well that does it for my semester in Online Journalism, so I bet that this will be my last post here, for well, probably eternity. Good Bye.

Blergh.

SoundSlides Critque (Still not Clever)

So its time again to take a look at the work of my classmates, and since it is what I did last time, I’m going to break out the dice to decide who’s project I am going to take a look and listen to.

First up is Dyann Diercks and Brooke Eades. So this story was about the Wyoming Cowboys basketball team, and I think that this was pretty much a perfect project. I think that the pictures worked well, showed nice action and there were really good faces, the ambient audio leading into and out of the story was good, also the use in the middle to make break up the story a bit was nice. The ambient noise throughout added the feel of a basketball game to the whole of the story. I liked it, a few parts where the audio seemed to pop a bit, but that was so minor that it didn’t matter to me very much.

Next was Tiffany Le Gal and Anna Rader, and was about International Night at the University. So this project was good, but there were places where the audio was really rough, when the second individual started talking the ambient noise was overwhelming him, and was tough to hear. I liked the use of ambient noise throughout the project to give a feel of an event, but the biggest compliant was that the background noise was much too loud at points. There were also a few rough transitions. I think the pictures worked well, they did a good job of depicting the event and had nice faces on people, I think that they used the photos to supplement their story well.

Finally was Brad Estes and Tom Hesse, whose story was about the wrestling team at UW. The story was good, but the audio sounded weird, there was an echoy noise that sounds like it came from where the interview was done, you could hear fine but the audio sounded hollow. The ambient noise once again since you could hear the sounds of people hitting the mat made it feel like the story was at a wrestling practice. The photos matched the story well, a few seemed a bit out of focus, but I think they did a good job with their project.

So there are three of the SoundSlides that our class worked on, and I don’t have much else to say, except I’m glad that this semester is almost over. X-mas break is looking fantastic, I cant wait until I don’t have to think for a month.

SoundSlides (anything clever escapes me atm)

Ahhhh the holidays, so much fun to have to travel in the wonderful Wyoming weather. The trip to Casper was so much FUN, driving back in the dark on roads covered in black ice. But the worst was getting back to town where it is cold and windy and just plain awful. And the weather knocked my internet out. So its time to sit here on Word and pre-type this blog post.

So we recently finished a SoundSlides project in class. The classes stories are posted on our class blog for anyone who wants to check them out. Now what this is, is taking pictures and syncing them to audio to try and tell a story with visual and audio elements. With the project the objective is to introduce us to programs that allow us to tell stories in a new way.

So personally, I dislike group projects, I hate the fact that I am dependent on another person and that another person is dependent on me. I prefer to be responsible for my own work and if I mess that work up then the most that happens is I personally get a bad grade. No I understand that in the real world I’m going to have to work with others but for school, working in a group is not a personal preference.

While working in a group, I don’t feel that we had any real issues, other than when we went to get all of our information, pictures and audio, both of our cameras batteries died, so my partner had to run home and get her battery charger.

As far as SoundSlides goes, I still haven’t gotten around to fixing our project to SoundSlides, but once I get all the pictures redone for SoundSlides then it shouldn’t take too long, and I plan to have that fixed by the end of the week. So what I did so far is worked the audio into final cut, but I also imported the photos Rachel took so that I can add them to a timeline to create something similar to SoundSlides, then went in and added captions to the photos. I think as a final cut work the project turned out well, however it wasn’t what the instructor wanted so I need to get change it to a SoundSlides project. The issues that I have are exporting some of the other pictures that we had in the project, just because, since my camera died, I needed to use the video camera that I use as an audio recorder to try and take pictures too. Now I have had issues with exporting video stills in the past, so hopefully I can make the pictures working for fixing the project.

As far as my personal project goes, I need to make sure that I have a charged camera, that way I know for sure that there wont be any issues when working on this last project. Other than that just making the effort to piece together a good story with well taken photos and decent sounding audio.

So it’s almost 4 am on Thursday and my Internet finally came back, so there is my excuse for late posting. I just typed this up on word and took a nap and watched the Walking Dead till I could post. Hope everyone has a fun turkey day.

Brainstorm!

The next big assignments we have for online journalism are SoundSlides stories, and this is just a little brainstorming bit to try and get a few ideas rolling for those assignments.

Ark performance, Ark is an organization that works with mentally handicapped individuals, and they occasionally do different kinds of performance arts with the individuals that they work with. I don’t quite know what the performance it at the moment, but it is on Thursday the 18th, so can talk to the people and get some photos of the performance, as well as audio from the performace, then interview the people involved.

Music profile. I could try and track down a local band from Laramie, talk to them about difficulties in being a band in such a small town. Would hopefully be able to get some sound and pictures of the band either practicing or playing a show.

 Finally what I will probably be using for my personal SoundSlides project, it to talk to people I know that are involved in a little internet sketch comedy group. I would go back to Casper and hang around while they do meetings, shoot skits and then interview some members about what they like about what they do.

These are just a few general ideas that I came up with for possible stories. How interesting or practical they will be to do is up in the air, but I’m terrible at coming up with story ideas.

Checkin’ out the Sounds of the Class

Since we just finished another project in Online Journalism, it’s time to check out what my fellow students chose to do for their interviews, and to see how they did putting those interviews together. Since there are quite a few students in the class 21 including myself, to be precise, I took a 20-sided dice to randomly determine which classmate’s interviews I would be looking at (pretty nerdy right).

First up was Bailey Gallo. Bailey interviewed fellow student Alex Newman. It’s interesting to learn about your fellow students, and I think that she put the interview together rather well. I did notice that there were some rough transitions in the audio, and that when Alex switched topics it was rather abrupt, I think that if the question had been briefly restated, the flow would have worked better, but as an introductory assignment I think that this went well. At the beginning of the interview, the audio could have been clipped a bit closer to get rid of the “alright” before she stated her name. It was a bit weird when a name came up without any context, when you follow the story you get the idea that it was a teacher, bit when the name came out of nowhere it was somewhat confusing. I don’t feel that the story would have been enhanced by any ambient sound, it would have distracted from the story.

Next up was oddly enough Alex Newman, who interviewed, Bailey Gallo. This interview was also well done for a first attempt. It has many of the same problems that people who are new to the process have, there a few rough transitions, you can hear Alex’s voice in response sometimes, the audio is poppy where she cut the clips together, and it messes with the flow a bit. Overall I feel that this is a good first try with audio editing, and like any other skill practice makes perfect. The interviews themselves are fairly basic, but for a two-minute interview with a fellow classmate I think that they work just fine.

Finally, after a few rolls that revealed the people who are no longer in the class, I listened to Dyann Diercks interview with Brooke Eades. Another interview with a classmate, it was interesting to hear about her experience working in the media field as an intern at K2 Radio in Casper. I think the interview flowed really well, the topics leading into each other nicely, and there weren’t many technical issues other than a few rough cuts in the audio. However the audio sounded really hollow and has s slight buzzing noise. Also the end is rather abrupt, and it seems that “experience” gets just barley not cut off.  But other than that I think that this was a really nice piece.

I enjoyed listening to these audio profiles, and they pointed out things that I need to be aware of when I do my own interviews, to be careful about where I do interviews, and to make sure that I get clear answers from my interviewees. The editing is not an issue that I have; it is more with finding a way to piece my content together into a cohesive hole that is interesting that is what I feel is my greatest weakness. So getting more chances to do projects is fun, it gives me the opportunity to try and overcome that issue. My interview is below or you can listen to it here.

Poetry Corner

Here is an interview with Mr. Hanz Olson.

Editing an audio interview is an interesting task. I am a video guy, and while the audio does play a role in television, movies, etc. it is mostly a visual based media, cutting together and audio interview is quite a bit harder in my opinion, not really technically, but as far as telling a story. with video I can use voice over footage to create a transition and it works well visually, and I can match some background noise to that video. I find it much harder to make those kinds of transitions in a strictly audio media.

Getting the interview going was pretty easy, I just had to set up a time with my friend Hanz, and we did the interview at his kitchen table, the interview wasn’t too bad, although I think that I need to polish my interviewer skills a bit. Getting the audio into Final Cut and then working on it was easy, the hard part was deciding on a direction and making the piece flow well.

For this interview I enjoyed doing the project, I like the technical work, even if I don’t much care for the act of reporting. I wish for one that I had a better quality of audio, it sounds scratchy to me, and also I wish that I would have gotten some more clarification on a few points, and especially not talked over Hanz, because that just ruined some audio clips that would have worked out much better for the project. I found through doing this that I much prefer to work with video than audio, I think that audio as a medium is harder to work in and hats off to those people that can put together a really nice audio piece.

I liked having the poem recited for the interview, but I also feel like I could have gone a different direction with the interview, because I also thought when he was talking about the collage poems, that that was fairly interesting. I may have some parts of the interview that weren’t really necessary, and I don’t like the transition into talking about poetry, but that was because I was talking over Hanz when he said it, and did not have a decent sound clip of it.

Raw audio from the interview

Expressions Magazine

Casper College

I CAN COUNT TO TEN!!!

Since we recently started working on using audio in our journalistic endeavors, we first had to learn how to record sound, the upload it to our computers, then finally get it up on the web and into our blogs. It is fairly simple work, but for some could pose a bit of difficulty. I have quite a bit of experience doing video editing, and an important part of that is sound. So I have worked with this kind of stuff before, and since I decided to use a video editor and a video camera to do my recording on, that made this even easier in terms of technical issues.

The assignment this time was to record ourselves counting to ten out of order. We then had to edit the track to put the numbers in the right order. All-in-all it was a fairly easy assignment.

The purpose to doing this was I find very simple, this was to introduce the class to audio editing. This was to explain how to, after uploading a file to your computer, edit it do get a desired result. For this assignment we needed to take a recording of the numbers one through ten, counted out of order and then edit them into one cohesive unit that is counted in order. Knowing how to edit audio is a vital part of being able to produce audio stories, be it a news radio story or a feature that you put together using exclusively clips from the people you are interviewing.

Since I have experience with video editing this was a very easy assignment for me. An in-point here, an out-point there, drag-and-drop to the time line, repeat ten times and BAM, an edited timeline that fixes those pesky out of order numbers.

Here is the original, me counting out of order, (I messed it up a bit, two, three and four are in order….oops. But I edited them anyway.)

and here is the finished product, look at that, one through ten in order. MAGIC!!!

Playing with Sound

So for a recent assignment I needed to go out and collect some ambient sound samples and then get them onto the computer and then into this blog post. So it wasn’t too bad, I recorded the sounds on my video camera, and then used Final Cut to remove the video track and then export the audio as a AIFF files that I could then upload to SoundCloud.

So without further ado, here are my sound files.

This is the sound of my keys that are hanging from my belt loop as I leave for class. You could use a sound like this if I were doing a story about janitorial work.

This is the sound of leaves crunching underfoot as I walk to class. You could use this sound in a story about fall coming, or about people raking their yards, fall cleaning or a Halloween story about trick-or-treaters.

This is the sound of a deck of cards being shuffled. I was at home and decided that it may be a neat noise to record. I suppose that you could use this noise if you were doing a story about poker players, or maybe a magician… yeah magician would be great.

This is the sound of a gentleman from my apartment complex lighting up a cigarette outside the building. The implications of this sound are pretty obvious, story against smoking, why someone smokes, etc. etc.

So this is the sound of a toilet flushing, which I took from my very own bathroom! can use this in a story about water conservation, or about waste management plants, or contamination in rivers/lakes.

Finally I was at my buddies apartment and he was playing some online games and typing on his keyboard, so I just grabbed the sound from that. That sound can be used for stories about students, people playing video games on computer, or anything that may require someone to use a keyboard.

I had quite a bit of fun doing this assignment. It was fun to be able to use processes I know, such as video editing and apply them to audio files, like trying to find how to export the audio in a form that would be able to be uploaded to SoundCloud.

Stop, and Listen.

Listening to a story can increase out emotional attachment. We hear the people who the story is about. Instead of just reading a quote from a person, we can listen to their voice, we hear inflection from the person, and it increases the impact that the story can have on you.

The first story I listened to was The Bar Fighter, and it was about a young man who is looking back on his life and regretting some of the choices in his past, getting into fights, tattoos, he regrets the image that strangers have of him. I felt like this was a person who I would make the same kind of judgments about, the pictures that go along with this story show what we stereotypically associate with a white gangbanger. I liked that the journalist looked at what this man had done and moved from that into the present, and how the gentleman lives everyday just loving his life.

My second story was from NPR and was about the flooding in Pakistan and how the people are reacting to the government response this is less a feature like the One in a Million series, but it does well as a standard radio news story, with word pictures. You hear the sound of peoples voices, but since they are Pakistani, instead of the people you hear a translator, which is just something you have to deal with.

Finally I looked at another One in a Million series, this one called The Rookie Detective. This is very similar to the first story, with a guy talking about doing surveillance, and how people react differently to him being a certain age. He reveals some of the issues with tailing people. I liked listening to all the stories that he had to tell about his career. The reporter chose some great stories to place on the site.

I liked this assignment; it was a nice different change from most newsgathering, seeing what a reporter can do with just an audio track. Since I don’t listen to the radio much, I really enjoyed the assignment.

Web Reporting Reflections

My Online Journalism class just recently finished a web reporting project, and all the stories from the students were posted by our professor on a website for viewing. Looking at the other professors that students have interviewed, I noticed two are professors that I have taken classes from or am currently taking classes from, Professor Gladney in Communications and Professor Ward in Religious Studies. I decided to see what my fellow students had to write about these professors.

In the article about Gladney, I liked the reading about his history in the journalism field, because I like learning about the people who are teaching me. I think that the sections are well split up, that there is a nice division of chunks in the story.  Also there was a nice use of links in the story. There were some things I did have issues with, there seemed to be just little wrong word choices in the story, which made it a little hard to read, not terribly, as it is easy to understand what the author is trying to say, but it is still a little unprofessional, not to say that my work is perfect. I also didn’t care for the similarity in two of the pictures for the story. The author could have gotten up close to the bookshelf, so that we could see titles or something, instead of two pictures that so closely resemble each other.

The article about Professor Ward I enjoyed as well. Once again it is nice to see what influenced the teachers that I have had or currently have. I thought that it was well put together, but at the end where there were a few sentences then quote, few sentences then quote, and it felt like he could have said some of that better in his own words. Also it seems like the images were not resized correctly and are squished.

Lastly I looked at the Engineering discipline, having been an engineering major myself for a little while. I liked the article, it was clear and took a different approach by talking to two separate professors in the field, I thought that there could have been a few more hyperlinks, like to the schools that the teachers came from as well as a link to a review or something about Denzer’s book. Other than that I thought that it was a well put together piece.

Personally from my story I learned about some different kinds of mushrooms, and got to know a professor in a department that I would have otherwise had no real contact with. I was interesting to learn about the amount of travel and the interesting places that Professor Miller has been to. Also we talked about how for one of his classes he grows mushrooms that take on various different colors, like blue, yellow, and pink. It was also nice refreshing how to enhance the story with pictures using web design, I have worked with Dreameaver before but not the coding, just the design portion. So it was nice to learn the basics for the assignment.