More than a gambling man

For this assignment, I did more voice acting for Merrell Shale. The instructions were to make a public service announcement, so I just thought of someplace that Merrell’s voice might be useful and decided to make a video about gambling addiction. I added a slide with some stats, but I could not find enough useful stats to fill it out as well as I would have liked. At the end, I switch from the information slides to a few images I thought fit what was being said better. I recorded the voice with audacity, then added it to movie maker. I added the pictures and captions to the audio. Then, I found a song that fit the mood, and I made sure to add credits again to give credit to freeplay for the music.

Morse, bet you cannot figure it out.

For this assignment, I created a video using old fashioned playing cards to create some Morse code. I used a few different playing cards to distinguish consecutive dots and dashed, and I used transitions to split things apart so it could be deciphered. Highlight the section between here (The right side up cards are dots, the sideways cards are dashes, and the transitions indicate new letters) and here if you want to know how the cipher works.  After I arranged the images, cut them to the times that I liked, I found some appropriate music. Then, I added some credits to include my twitter handle and attribution for the song that I used. If you don’t want the take the time to figure it out, highlight between here (the answer is Merrill, my characters first name) and here. Likewise, you can click the link in that invisible section of test my mousing over it for a hint that really spoils the answer. I wanted to keep it short, just one word, so that it doesn’t take long to decipher for anyone so inclined.

3 Inspiring Video Moments

So, for this assignment, I made a video of a few really powerful and influential scenes. The one from Band of Brothers and Pay it Forward instantly came to mind when I saw this assignment, but I had to put a bit of thought into coming up with the third. Accordingly, as I viewed the scenes while making the assignment, the former 2 still, repeatedly, inspired quite a bit of feeling. The scene from Band of Brothers is really a great moment in film and in history, since the event actually took place. The scene in Pay it Forward, however, has a significance all its own. I delve into some of that in the video, but it really made a lasting impact or at least coincided temporally with a period of drastic change in my life. The last scene I included because of the single line that actually made me want to see what was really a sub-par movie in the first place. I waited the whole movie for that scene, and I can’t honestly say I was disappointed when it came. The line, “canceling the apocalypse,” gives me goosebumps when I think about it.
To create the video, I added the three clips together in movie maker and then extracted the full audio with audacity. I used audacity to lay my audio over the audio from the films, then I re imported both the audio and original video into movie maker.

Journey Out West

So, I tried, unsuccessfully, to get this map to embed. I eventually gave up and decided the best way to go about it was to just share via twitter and embed that. Even the tweet, sadly, does not display a thumbnail or anything. So, for this assignment, I made a story map with a twist. I was looking for ways to incorporate other characters and this seems like a pretty good idea. I created a journey out west where I encounter several ds106 characters along the way. To create the assignment, I just opened several tabs with characters and organized them in a way that made some geographical sense. That I have been all over the country certainly helped there… After that, I just made a story out of simple interactions with the characters. The upshot of it all is that I am not more familiar with ds106 characters. I may have to use that familiarity to create a far more extensive “which character are you” buzzfeed quiz in the future.

Buzzfeed character quiz.

So, for this assignment, I reviewed a plethora of the characters from fellow ds106ers and pulled out a couple that I thought I could get into their mind the best. I typified their personas a bit, but isn’t that the point of a buzzfeed quiz? I created 4 questions to try and prevent ties, but in retrospect, 5 would have been best.  The hardest part of the assignment was trying to find out how to embed a buzzfeed post, but I never did figure it out. In the process, I found a few ways to just make the quizzes though word press, so if I develop the quiz more, I might try that instead. All I could do is post it to twitter and then embed it. That is probably better anyway because more people might see it now and actually be able to take it.


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.

World Wide Western News Logo

I designed this logo for our radio program group using gimp. I had a rough plan at the outset, a circle with w’s twisted to different angles, but I did not like the outcome. So, I just experimented keeping things I liked any moving on until it looked complete. I used one of the western fonts I had downloaded for other projects to make the w’s. I created a slogan of sorts and stuck it on the design. I was satisfied with it all, but since .jpg cannot handle transparencies, I had to add a background circle to the whole thing to make it complete. Here is the result,

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, 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.