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- Multimedia Journalism Multimedia Journalism Audio Recording and Editing Simple Tools for Post Production Sec. C1 March 2, 2009
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- Topics well cover today Your audio/stills ideas News Us tips on getting quality audio: Why sound matters Planning Editing and Production How to edit using Audacity Assignment for next time (Due 2 weeks from now)
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- Getting quality audio Why Sound Matters: It is vital to broadcast (obviously) and online journalism. It is often a strong/the strongest element in a video or multimedia piece. (Remember: Web video isnt good for subtlety.) Sound brings life to a story in many ways: Interviews: They capture the voice and tone of interviewees andas in the Virginia Tech story we discussed in week 1can be the/a centerpiece to a story. Virginia Tech story Ambient/atmospheric sounds: Sounds that occur naturally at a location. They capture the mood or feel of that area: e.g., a babbling brook evokes calm. Natural sound: The sound that exists in the real world when were taping action sequences. (e.g. traffic, crowd noises, hammering/construction, etc.) Voiceover: Weaves the story together through descriptive narration (example: I conducted once that obviously wasnt originally meant for broadcastI originally did it to get audio for this NOVA piece and therefore didnt structure the side-questions questions the way I normally would. Through narration, my colleague managed to take my audio and make a coherent podcast out of it.)this NOVA piecepodcast
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- Getting quality audio Why Sound Matters (Continued) Remember what we discussed during Week 1: If your audio is good, it will add to video and slideshows; if its bad, it will take away. Audiences forgive bad video before theyll forgive bad audio. One exception: Very old/historic recordings necessary to your piece. Listen to examples from NOVAs Forgotten Genius.Forgotten Genius Use subtitles with the audio if you have no other options or (rarely) to reinforce an important point. Avoid using background music for straight news pieces. Web compression will already take away from your sound, and music will make it worse.
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- Getting quality audio Why Sound Matters (continued) It can make good narratives great: As with good print stories, audio stories can use the reporters descriptions to set the scene. But a good audio story also makes use of other sounds. As weve discussed, other sounds (besides voice) can evoke emotion and create a sense of place. Examples of stories told better with ambient and natural sound: NPR: First International Body Music Festival NPR: First International Body Music Festival Palm Beach Post: Walking with Angels Palm Beach Post: Walking with Angels NPR: Old-School Keyboard Makes Comeback of Sorts NPR: Old-School Keyboard Makes Comeback of Sorts
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- Getting quality audio Planningalways plan ahead. In the field, you often have just one shot to get the audio you need: A great quote, a surprise sound, a live event that goes on whether youre ready or not. Choosing your story: Most stories can benefit from accompanying sound, but some stories are better for this than others. Public events are great because theres not only usually some sort of speaker, but also an audience, who will respond (through applause, gasps, whispers, boos, etc.) There are also plenty of interview opportunities and there could also be music or other interesting sounds. (For example, think of the circus.) Other Possibilities: Is your story about a dog park? Be sure to include sounds of dogs barking, people calling their pets, children, etc. Doing a feature on a new restaurant? Try to get sound of glasses clinking, food sizzling, people talking. Think about factory sounds, church bells, traffic, the sound of feet on leaves the possibilities are endless.
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- Getting quality audio Planning Choosing your story (continued) It can be more difficult to find sound elements for stories that unfold in sound-sterile environments: If reporting a business story that isnt about what the business does, it might benefit you to go to outside: Shots/sound of cars zooming by a company about to go under in a lawsuit Shots of employees chattering in a busy cafeteria of a company thats about to go into public trading on the stock market. Remember: You dont have to (and shouldnt) rely just on interviews here. Scout the Location: When planning a narrative with audio, your background research should involve more than basic fact finding or internet research. Scanning locations and the characters you meet can determine your approach to a story or whether you even choose to take it on. Always know something about the places and voices in your feature. (I had a friend who once didnt bother scouting or pre-interviewing, and thus didnt know that the business owner he wanted to interview was deafuntil right before going live. )
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- Getting quality audio Planning Pre-interviews: Will give you a sense of the caliber of talent youre dealing with and allow you to Find better talent (perhaps someone unexpected) Talk to them about where the interview could be conducted. Lets say youre interviewing the head of a manufacturing plant. Your interviewee could let you know if interviewing near the floor (like youd hear in an NPR story) is OK. Dont just assume that you have free access. Construct better questions. What if you structure your questions with the hustle and bustle of the manufacturing plant in mind, only to find out the guy youre interviewing wants to meet in his office? Restructuring questions on the spot is tricky. Set up a time to speak in a quiet spot if necessary (say in an oft- booked but acoustically friendly conference room) What if you need the quiet, but your locale is loud?
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- Getting quality audio Planning Your Gear: Youll need a microphone and a recorder (often one in the same) as well as any accessory cables, batteries, tapes/memory, headset for playback, etc. Always be sure that you know how your equipment works before you go to your location. Theres no excuse not to read your manual. If youve lost yours, you can probably find it online via Google. If you can use a camera or cell phone, you can use a recorder. Always be sure to have extras of everything to go along with your recorder (batteries, cables, etc.) Definitely monitor your audioat least at first. If youre outdoors, the traffic behind the person behind you might sound light to you, but it could be all that your mic picks up. Also check your levels! Is your subject too close to the mic?
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- Getting quality audio Planning Your Questions: Most journalists know to not ask yes/no questions. The only way to get decent quotes is to make questions open-ended. In audio recording, its important that your subject knows to rephrase the question in his answers. Give him examples. If an interviewee is a professor, tell him to respond to the question What do you teach? with I teach world literature. If you dont hell likely just say world literature, giving you a useless clip if you want the interviewee to be the main voice, not you. Ask him the same (important) questions in multiple ways This will bring life to your story and give you more room to edit later on. Ask him to be as descriptive as possible in his answers. Doing this can turn a back-and-forth interview into a seemingly seamless narrative: Kanzi the Bonobo or A Tale of Two Mice Kanzi the BonoboA Tale of Two Mice
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- Getting quality audio Planning Collecting extra audio: Whether its an interview or ambient sound, always collect more audio than you think youll need. Interviews: You might find that youll build a better narrative than you thought you would because side-questions took you down an interesting path. Ambient sound: You might need it to fill gaps. Also placing such sound under interview audio can help in two major ways. If there are noticeable audio differences between an interviewees phrases because of when/where you recorded them, ambient sound can mask that. If your audio isnt as perfect as you wanted it to be, ambient sound might help hide any light noise. Natural sound: Sounds of waiters shouting orders or cooks banging pots can make the narrative interesting/cohesive. Be creative: Narration isnt the only thing you can use to tie interviews and other elements together.
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- Getting quality audio Editing In the studio: A final element to your story might be narration. Does your piece fit together without it (think Kanzi the Bonobo or a Tale of Two Mice from a previous slide) or does it need a reporters voice to bring it together? If you narrate, be brief. Let the story tell itselfyoure only there to keep things together (think about the Mayan podcast from an earlier slidethats an extreme example of narration.) Narration should be conversational. Your listener will relate to you and your story more if they feel youre talking to them. Have a script, practice it a few times, and drink lots of H2O. Be aware of the sounds around you. You should always record narration in a quiet, sound-proof room if possible. Or, under a blanket (IT WORKS!) Be aware of sounds youre making: Remove jewelry, practice your Ps When you close your eyes and listen to your piece, do you feel like youre there? If not, keep working.
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- Editing with Audacity Audacity Audacity is a streamlined Mac & PC audio tool available free of charge for anyone to use. It lacks a lot of bells and whistles necessary for advanced audio editing and production, b
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