Me and my Robot

So, for this assignment, I remixed one I had done before, and I added some twists. In the original, I just made a digital copy of myself. For this one, I was going to make a video of the same, but the tool I found that lets me make a video avatar of myself had a robot that gave me an idea. I used the robot and let him have my normal voice, and then I made my reply and I turned my voice into a robot voice, or at least I attempted. The tutorial I used, the guy was far more soft spoken than me, so my results were not as good.  I recorded both videos, and stuck them together in Movie Maker. Then I opened the video in audacity to work on the audio track. I triplicated the track, then made my edits to the portion I wanted to sound like a robot. I changed the pitch and tempo of the various tracks and added echoes.  Here is the result.

Western News Broadcast

So, this week was a far more exciting week for our radio show. I spent most of the week thinking about different stories and approaches to telling Western news. I settled on a few ideas, and then changed them, and then changed them again. I originally planned to do a piece on a gambling tournament that my character was winning, but I used him in my commercial for playing cards, and I have given him so much attention as far as playing cards in saloons that I decided to give it rest for my news segment of the show. That, in turn, freed me up to kinda go with the flow and watch as my group created their pieces.
The one thing I planned from the outset was to do a breaking news bulletin on a train robbery. I found some alerting sounding music and a telegraph sound, to indicate that the news was fresh, to use as an intro and outro for the bulletin. The other segment I ended up adding was a piece about a woman whose husband had died on their foolish journey to California because he swore they would find gold. After being alone with her children for a few years, though, her and her son actually did miraculously find some gold in a cavern after feeling the presence of the deceased husband and father. After listening to the basis for the other news pieces from my groupmates, I decided that it would be nice to end more upbeat. We already had a tornado, a shootout, a robbery, and an interview with a dislocated native American. Additionally, I liked that the gold find story had all the traditional story elements, and even some of those characteristic of westerns. It has a conflict, a climax, a rise and fall of action, and a climactic ending. It also contained some tough steadfast characters whose triumph over the odds gave them potential to become successful pioneers. I originally planned the story as an interview, but since two of my other group mates were using that technique, I opted for a more traditional story with a couple of supporting soundbites… or maybe it was just my history with print journalism rearing its head that made me chose that format.  The only downside to that was that the story did not get as much detail as I could have added using a traditional interview. It did have the basic cut and dry just the facts, get to the heart of the matter, effect that characterized journalism, however, so it was appropriate for the context.
Another interesting part of the experience was that I put the whole segment together. I tried where I could to make it sound like a uniform news broadcast. In addition to my segment, I also recorded an overview intro to outline the stories we would cover like many news programs do. I tried to arrange the elements in a way that made sense, an exciting breaking story about a tornado, then the top story of the shootout, bringing it down with the interview with an Apache woman, then an alerting news bulletin about fugitives to stir it up again. Finally, a story with a happy ending to end on a final note and then a hand off to Julianna who had created a closing for us.
Another thing I considered when arranging the elements was how to put in the bumpers and commercials. I used all of our bumpers and it just so happened that a few sounded like they were breaking for a moment and a few just sounded like station id’s. I put the ones that indicated an upcoming break before the commercials and put the others after, and then Liam’s bumper, which used the same some as I had in the intro, came after the bulletin to indicate a return to the same programming as before. The commercials I just moved away from each of our segments so that they would be mixed up and not just sound like each of us had a few minutes of programming and stuck our work all together. In fact, I did not put any two pieces of work from a single person side by side.
After I was done, I used my new audacity editing techniques to make it all more uniform. I used bass and treble boosts to make the sound more full. I used fade in and outs between segments where necessary, but used a full blast lead in for the news bulletin. I used amplifier for the quiet sections, then compressed it all to make it more full. I threw on a hard limiter to get rid of some of the peaks that might pop, then I normalized the whole track to fill up the quieter sections.  Overall, I am pretty pleased with the turnout and was pretty happy about working with the people in my group.

Quality Cards

For this assignment, I decided to make use of the fact that since I need a commercial for the radio show, I might as well get some stars for the week making one. I have mixed feelings about the final product. Probably some of that is due to the lack of copyright free music that I can use. Maybe I need to acquire some musical talent and make my own…  Also, I tried to make it sound like the spoke person and the commercial announcer were different people, but I don’t know that I modified my own voice to really sell that. It was difficult to do without making my voice sound unnatural. To create the project, I found a song on freesound.org, looped it in audacity, they set about recording a few takes of the script I had written. I used a tutorial on youtube about how to improve the quality of my recording, the success of which I am still up in the air about. Then I cut, edited, refined, and re positioned tracks until it was all in order, and I uploaded it to soundcloud.

Merrell’s original adventure.

So, for this assignment, I am supposed to tell ann important life story in under two minutes. I decided to put a little twist on it, however, and do it from the perspective of my character, Merrell Shale. This story is his account of the story I included in his background that accounts for how he got to the life he is leading now. Completing the assignment was rather easy now that I am becoming proficient with audacity. I recorded the track, leaving useful spaces between sections to make edits easier. Any time I made a mistake, I just paused, they read that section of script over so I could edit out the bad section.  I used some effects, normalizer, noise reduction, compressor and equalizer, to improve the overall quality of the recording.

Doobie Polyphony

So, for this assignment, I decided to relive a bit of my own past in a way. Back when I worked as a line cook at Applebee’s, the other cooks and I would sing the end of Doobie Brothers’ Black Water in a polyphony pretty frequently. So, when I saw this audio assignment, I knew that was what I had to do. But, with just me, it takes a little more to round it all out. So, I recorded myself singing 3-4 tracks of each of the two sections. Then I layered the section to start 1.5 second off each other for the first part and 3 seconds off for the second part. I noticed that the noise was a little intense at times and that it was detracting from the effect, I had the tracks alternate left and right channel so that people listening in stereo will hear a sort of fade back and forth.  Here is the final product.

Slooooooowwwwmmmmmetal

This assignment was to slow down a song using audio editing software. I used the Paulstretch effect in audacity for the slowing part. The song I chose was Poor Millionaire by August Burns Red. It is pretty heavy metal-core, I thought the rapid shifts in pitch and tone would make the result interesting. The idea is to make it sound like ambient music, but I don’t know that my final result reflects that very well. I tried a number of effects, pitch shifting, compression, reverb, so on and so forth and found very little that moved it in the direction that I liked. What I did do, in the final product, was cut out non vocal sections, split the audio tracks, added different echos to each track, and reversed the left track so they sounded different from one another. The result has some of the qualities that I wanted, but there is too much hum in each track; that is the best way I can describe it. I tried noise reduction to remove some of it, its effect was moderate at best. Perhaps metal-core was not a good genre of music for this assignment. Anyhow, this is the final product, for better or worse.

Daddy Daughter Dancing

For this assignment, I thought for a second about a song with really strong, attached memories. The song I chose isn’t a song I really listen to on my own, so when I thought of it, it was perfect for the assignment.

 

As far as the assignment portion, it was rather straight forward. I just recorded myself reflecting on the song. I let a black spot to get a noise reduction profile. I made sure to put long paused after mistakes and I let the recording stream. I realized after my take that I did not name the song, so I made a second recording where I said the name of the song and spliced it into the original. Audacity takes quite a bit of the trial and error out of recording a voice audio file. Mistakes are easily removed or corrected, so I did not have to start over every time I messed up. I have rarely, if ever, recorded myself for any reason, but if and when I do in the future, I will remember that audacity is an indispensable tool for doing so. Anyhow, here is my recording.

One final realization I had while making this assignment was that embedding files is easier than I though. For both soundcloud and youtube, all I had to do was make sure that in the ext editor, they were on a line entirely their own. No more adding the
embed and /embed markup to get things to appear.

Effect sound effects

I created this assignment because I was impressed with what a wonderful utility freesound is, and felt like inspiring people to not only utilize the sounds there, but also to contribute wherever they could. I was actually inspired to do this assignment originally because a particular sound that I needed for another assignment was just not available. I just set my mic in a decent place, hit record on audacity, and recorded several takes of myself throwing a handful of cards down onto a table. I edited out the bad ones and kept the best few, then uploaded them all to freesound.org for other people to use if they ever find it useful or necessary.

As a side note, as of the time of this posting, my sound effect still had not been moderated, and I think it is causing the embeded post above to fail to load properly. My sound effect is also posted here.

Bad Deal

A man playing against the infamous Merrell Shale decides that it will be better to try his luck with a pistol after seeing his hand. I don’t think he knew what sort of place he was in, though, and the barkeep made short time of him.

This assignment was quite a bit of fun actually. I used all of my newly acquired audacity skills, and a few I acquired just for this, and put together a western audio story. First things first, I needed looped background and ambient sounds. I found some crickets chirping and country sounds that I had to cut down to remove traffic sounds. I collapsed the track into mono and found spots at the beginning and end where the wave crossed the zero line to clip the audio. Then, I fused several sections of it together over and over to make sure it was long enough for my whole story.
I repeated that process basically with my bar sounds, but I had to keep it in stereo and find places where both tracks crossed the zero line at the same time to splice those. It didn’t sounds the same in mono, it lost the feeling that you were surrounded by the sound. Then, I imported the following sounds which I had edited, amplification and cutting mostly, to suit my purposes: shuffling cards, cards being dealt, a chair sliding, a revolver cocking, a glass dropping, a punch, a body thudding on the ground, a body being drug from the bar, and saloon doors opening. I also created an assignment and made my own sound effect for the cards being throw on the table. I put them all together in that order and created an envelope for the bar sounds so that you could hear the crickets chirp and glass fall when the man who was angry about his hand pulled out his gun. After he is thrown out of the bar, people resume chatting and the shuffling starts over again. The interesting part of this assignment was that as I was putting it together, my ears were constantly telling me what was missing… what seemed out of place, what needed to be louder or quieter. It was as though, without my knowledge, they had become accustomed to listening to audio stories all along. I think it really highlighted the importance of audio in stories that employ it.

Update: I think every time I listen to it, I notice something that I need to fix. My latest update was to turn down the crickets a bit so they don’t sound like foreground music during the part where the man is being dragged out of the bar.

DS106 Radio Bumper: Puns and Guitars

So, after learning the basic of audio editing from audacity, I started this assignment. I searched around on freesound after reading about its existence from a fellow ds106 participant on her radio bumper post. It was a fairly straight forward process after I watched the tutorial. I just found a guitar bit I liked to go behind it on freesound.org. Then, I wrote a short script, puns included. I took a few tries as recording it in a somewhat western accent. Then, I used a few methods I found for noise reduction and to take out a couple of pops and ssss sounds. After that, I stuck the pieces together, created an envelope for my voice over part so that the music would quiet down while I was speaking. I threw on a fade in and fade out, and exported it to mp3 format. Maybe I am just lazy, but I preferred the simplicity here that I employed. I added in a couple other sounds and such, but I don’t think they added anything to it so I took them out.