Week Five: Adventures in Audio

9/21/18 – 9/28/18

All work is due by midnight on 9/28

Questions to think about: How do sounds tell a story? How do they convey a sense of time and place? A sense of action?

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 in order to save audio as .mp3 files.

NOTE:There is an Audio Resources page which includes lots of information and resources 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:

Watch: These two short videos from RadioLab’s Jad Abumrad. He speaks of radio as a way of making meaning and connection, and as a modern incarnation of an ancient art.

Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad: How Radio Creates Empathy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSJ4Rd-V-K4

Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad: Digital Shamanism and Old-Fashioned, Newfangled Storytelling Magic https://youtu.be/Gq7HFn58VdQ

Listen: to “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. We hear these same techniques used in film and video, where they are vitally important but often unnoticed. 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? How do the ideas in Abumrad’s videos relate here? Write a blog post on your thoughts on audio storytelling. Use specific examples and embed them in your post. Tag the post audioreflection.

Listen: Participate in a live “tweet-along” with ds106 radio this week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 8:30-9:30 PM. We will be listening to audio drama and tweeting our thoughts on what we hear. Use #ds106 hashtag in your tweet responses in order to get credit. Blog about the experience and tag it ds106radio.

Complete 3 Daily Creates: You must complete 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 the 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! Tag: radiobumper

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.

 Consider doing one of these three: Sounds Around Me, Speech and Story audio Distortion, or  Make Noise from a Normal Sample.

Also, involve the character you created in at least one of the assignments in some way. 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! And make it something more interesting than waking up, taking a shower and eating breakfast. 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. Note: If you use copyrighted music in your audio projects, the SoundCloud content police may block them. You can use CC Search to find music that you can safely use.

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, each of you needs to brainstorm ideas 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. Commenting creates community.

Weekly Summary:You all know what this is.

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