Week 4: Audio

Just a little audio experiment I did a while ago, thinking about the changing sounds of the web.

9/16/16 – 9/23/16

All work is due by midnight on 9/23/16

This week we will dig into audio storytelling. That goes beyond the words and tone of voice to include sound effects, background noise and music. We will be asking you to consider how these subliminal elements impact the story. We are also introducing ds106 radio (an open, Web-based, community radio station) this week, where we will be broadcasting stories Monday – Thursday from 9-10PM. We will also begin experimenting with audio production. We strongly recommend Audacity, a free and open source audio-editing program, further details below. If you have access to and experience with a different audio editing system, you are free to use it instead. Along with Audacity, you will need to download and install the LAME mp3 Encoder.

NOTE: This week, we’ve put together an Audio Resources page which includes lots of information and resource to help you complete the week’s assignments. We strongly recommend you read it and refer to it during the week.

Download and Experiment with Audacity: Unless you have a lot of previous experience with audio editing, you should plan on spending some time this week getting comfortable with Audacity. It is recommended that you do this right away, because you will find that audio editing can be quite time-consuming. If you have another audio editing platform that you’re familiar with, you can skip this step. But everyone needs to get their hands dirty with audio editing. If you’re overwhelmed by Audacity, make an appointment with at the Digital Knowledge Center for help: http://dkc.umw.edu.

Think about Audio Storytelling: Review the following readings and examples, as well as the various links/information on the Audio Resources page. Write a blog post (tag: audioreflection) discussing audio in storytelling, the way audio is used in film/video, and the use of audio in horror. Consider what we watched, read and listened to this week and in the previous weeks. How does sound drive stories? How does it impact mood and create atmosphere? Use specific examples and embed them in your post. Make sure you complete the ds106 Radio listening exercise below and discuss your impressions of what you heard in your post, as well. (There is a lot to potentially reflect upon here; if you wish to divide it into a series of posts, using the “audioreflection” tag, that would be a good idea.)

Listen: “ Moon Graffiti” This is an excellent example of audio storytelling. Think about how the sounds, both the sound effects and the changes in sound, tell you what is going on, how they create a sense of place, a sense of space and a sense of atmosphere.

Listen: Participate in a live “tweet-along” with ds106 radio this week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 9:00-10:00 PM. Use #ds106 hashtag in your tweet responses in order to get credit.

Complete 3 Daily Creates: You must complete and correctly tag at least three daily creates this week. Make sure you also blog your TDCs.

Create a Radio Bumper: Once you’ve familiarized yourself with ds106 radio, try your hand at making your first radio “ bumper ” – a 10-30 second short audio that announces a radio station that is played between songs to remind listeners what they are tuned in to. This should be saved as an MP3 file, and then upload it to SoundCloud. Make sure in Soundcloud that you enable to option to allow downloads (so we can add it to ds106 radio!) Your audio must be embedded in your blog post summary of this assignment. You can embed Soundcloud audio just like you have done for YouTube and flickr, put the plain text URL on its own line, and when you publish, WordPress will create a player to allow visitors to listen. The radio bumper is an assignment in the Assignment Bank (so you should tag your blog post correctly when you’re done), but it won’t count to your star total this week. Sorry!

Complete 12 Stars of Audio Assignments: This week you must complete at least 12 stars of assignments from the Audio category in the Assignment Bank.

 Involve the course theme in at least one of the assignments in some way. Maybe you could take advantage of the list of questions the class generated. One assignment everyone must do is the sound effects story (3 ½ stars): This is a challenge to tell a short story (no longer than 90 seconds) using nothing but sound effects! We highly recommend using http://freesound.org to find free sound effects for this project.

Make sure all your completed assignments are uploaded to SoundCloud, and write up a post for each assignment in which you embed that audio from SoundCloud.

Brainstorm Radio Show Ideas: In a couple of weeks, you will be forming groups and creating a radio show as pre-recorded audio. In preparation, we want each of you to brainstorm an idea for a 20-30 minute radio show—somehow related to or inspired by the theme of the course —on your blog. This post can just be some random ideas, thoughts, and/or a rough sketch. We want this to be a space where you share your ideas and people start to congeal around a few so we can be prepared to form groups soon! This post should be tagged radioshowideas.

Commenting: Comment, comment, and comment some more. You should all be looking at each others’ work and leaving feedback. We recommend going to the course site every day and leaving feedback on a few posts. That’s the main way we do class participation in this course.

Weekly Summary: You all know what this is.

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