Writing in Digital Environments

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Audio Production pt. 1

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Plan for today’s class

  1. Comment on a classmate’s blog while I check to see that your video homework is complete
  2. Discussion of your videos
  3. Learn the basics of Audacity and prepare for Thursday’s in-class activity in which you create a short audio project using Audacity

Video homework check and class discussion

While you are commenting on a classmate’s blog, I will walk around and check that your video homework is complete. Please have it ready for me to view.

Next I will ask for 2-3 volunteers to show their videos to the class on the big screen so we can discuss the video-making process. Unless you uploaded your video to YouTube or another video site, you will need to copy it to a thumb drive or have it in the cloud in order to share with the class. I’d like to see some spectacular failures as well as successes because we can learn a lot from a project gone wrong, and the point of this homework was to learn about the video production process, not to create a masterpiece.

Using Audacity

Today I will walk you through the basic steps of using the sound editing program Audacity. On Thursday you will use the following sound files as our starting point for making a one minute audio story—the content of the story is entirely up to you. On Thursday you will download the sound files to the computer you are using. These are the sounds you will remix in Audacity to create a story. You can also visit the websites FreesoundccMixter and/or Soundbible to get more audio clips if you like. You may also use your own music, sound effects, or voice overs, but be sure to have the correct equipment to access them on your computer. Your task between now and Thursday is to listen to the sound files, download more if you like and bring them to class, and script the story you want to tell. Please bring headphones and a mic if you have them!

To save these files, open the sound player by clicking the link, then right-click the player and hit ‘Save As’:

Door slamming

siren

wind and rain

thunder

whispering in Spanish

woman speaking in Dutch with answering machine beep

scary voice

children in a store

“angels”

To learn how to use the program, you can watch the following  video or search for others on the web. I will walk you through the basics and answer any questions. On Thursday I will help you create your audio stories and show you how to upload the file you create during class to Canvas so that I can hear what you have created.

Audacity Tips
Remember that your final audio file needs to be in the correct file format: “.mp3″ or “.wav”. Mp3 is the best file format for most online spaces because it creates a smaller file that loads faster. So, export your file from Audacity as an Mp3 and check the file size. If you think it’s too large after exporting, go to the “preferences” section of Audacity, choose the “file formats” tab and lower the “bit rate” under “MP3 Export Setup.” Now, export again; the file should be smaller this time. Continue to lower the bit rate and export until the file is the appropriate size. Lowering the bit rate also lowers the quality of the audio file, so only lower it as much as necessary for the file to load in less than a minute on your website.

When working in Audacity, exporting as an Mp3 will not affect your original Audacity file. However, if you make a “quick mix” before exporting (this collapses all your separate audio tracks into one track) and save it, you are changing the Audacity file itself in a way that will make it really difficult to do further editing. The best thing to do when you are ready to export is to open your Audacity project, choose “save as” and save it under a new name. This way, if you accidentally alter the Audacity file in a way you don’t want to during the exporting process, you can go back to the original. When you begin work on your formal audio project it is good practice to start each work session by doing a “save as.” This way, if something goes wrong you won’t have to start over from scratch—at worst you will lose only a few hours of work.

Also remember that Audacity saves your project in two parts: a “.aup” file and a “data folder.” You need both of these files/folders in order to open and work with your Audacity project. So, if you are working at home and then bringing your project to class to continue working, make sure to bring both with you. The two files will look something like this:

screen shot showing Audacity files with folder and .aup file

Finally, Audacity often creates a backup file with the extension “.bak”.Never, never open this file or use it in any way. Doing so could corrupt your project files making them impossible to open!

Downloading Audacity

You can download the latest version of Audacity for your computer, but I recommend using one of the portable versions below unless you will always be working on your project from the same computer.

Portable Applications
Here is Audacity for portable use on your USB flash drive on a Windows machine.

For the latest versions of the Audacity portable app for Mac and Windows:

Audacity Portable for Mac

Audacity Portable for Windows

Homework:

Group Project #10: Periscope

Blog Post #9

Bring the material listed above in the “Using Audacity” section to class on Thursday

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Course Information

what
CO302.002, Writing In Online Environments
Fall 2016

when and where
T/TR @ 9:30-10:45am
Eddy 4

instructor
Jeremy Proctor
Eddy 311
jeremy.proctor@colostate.edu or proctorj@rams.colostate.edu

office hours
1:00 to 2:15 TR
by appointment

Most English Department faculty no longer have office phones. This means that the only way to reach me outside of class is to physically come to office hours or to email. During the work week I check email several times a day between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Under normal circumstances I respond to email within 24 hours. If you email after 5:00 pm on a Friday (i.e., on the weekend) you might not receive a reply until Monday morning.

Blogs I Follow

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