Back to nature: Clean Labeling

 

Drafting the Audiostory

Creating the draft for my audiostory was a long process.  The interview I held ended up pushing 40 minutes, so with a 3 minute maximum length, I had a lot of editing to do.

I started by cleaning up the original interview: cutting out some of the verbal pauses and other word vomit. Once I had a clean track to work with, I then listened to the interview and took notes of moments to highlight during the story. Once I had a good beginning-middle-end set up, I cut the soundbites I wanted to use from the interview using the razor tool and placed them in a new track in the order I wanted them to play.

Next, I wrote the narration that would play between the interview moments. I used the introduction to explain the interview topic and how it relates to my blog; I also used this as a way to provide my interviewee’s credentials. The narration throughout the rest of the piece was used as a tool to help keep flow by connecting the different points made throughout the interview.

Once the narration recorded, I cut the soundbites out and placed them accordingly.  I had to adjust the levels between my voice and the interviewee, as there was a noticeable difference between the two separate recordings once combined.  Using the yellow bar in Adobe Audition, I was able to adjust our voices for a better blend. I had planned on using a “breaking news” type sound for the beginning and end of my piece, and found one at freesound.org.  Once downloaded, I cut out the first few seconds to use for my piece.

Feedback

Two main areas I needed to rework were the pacing of the story and the breaking news sound bit used at the beginning and end of my piece. I knew the pacing was a bit rushed, as I had a lot of information I wanted to showcase in the 3 minute span allowed. It was suggested that I remove a few sentences to help give the interview a more natural, less rushed flow.

Regarding the sound bit, I had no idea how loud and harsh it was compared to the rest of the piece.  It was pointed out that this part was recorded as a stereo-type sound, whereas the rest of the interview was recorded in mono. Not having realized this, I had to figure out how to convert the track for consistency.

Final Draft

To begin working on the final version of my audio-story, I first converted the track to mono.  I read that some people listen to podcasts throughout the day by having an earbud in one of their ears so they can leave one ear open to hear and pay attention to other things, and having a stereo-type sound would essentially have no effect on those types of listeners, as they only have the one earbud in (Daniel J. Lewis, 2011).  Following an online tutorial, I converted the audio by opening the track in the waveform editor, then going to Edit > Convert Sample Type > Convert to Mono, and set the speaker effect to 50% left and 50% right to ensure an even balance.

This helped tone down the harshness of the digital sound that starts off the interview.  To future balance it with the rest of the piece I lowered the level of the noise both at the beginning and end of the audio-story and added a fade-in/out effect to future soften it.

Once I was happy with the intro/outro, I wanted to rework the pacing of the story.  This proved to be difficult, as I had a lot of valuable information that was touched on.  However, I noticed in the introduction of my draft piece, I had a bit of repetition going on when I was describing what was to come. I was able to cut about two chunks out of the intro, which gave me some room for spacing out different parts of the interview.  This helped relieve that rushed pace my original draft had.

There is a moment during the piece where you can hear the interviewee giggle at the end of her sentence.  I tried including that laughter more in my final piece, but the audio quality of that moment was poor, and you can hear me laughing with her slightly in the background.  Looking back, I wish I had given her a nonverbal gesture in that moment, but instead I laughed with her, and it did not sound very good when put together with the rest of the piece.  I decided to leave this out, and instead stretched that moment to include some of her verbal pausing to lessen the cut-and-paste feel that moment had in my draft.

Audio background via Oliver Herold

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