Misc info from the Calumet sound workshop with Richard Newman

Note that most of this is correct terminology but some is, well, my paraphrases with terms that make more sense to me.

He says that the chain Guitar Workshop has good audio equipment at good prices.  In SF and El Cerrito.

His workflow for video editing:

1-complete the editing in Final Cut – do all the cuts, etc, that you’re going to do before you move on.  [You can do this in iMovie, too.]

2-export the sound from the video to Garage Band [or other audio editing software] where you fix the sound quality,  add sound effects, etc.  [iMovie, obviously, is designed to do this.]  You can’t cut (or expand) either of these or they won’t sync any more, so it’s critical that you don’t do this until you’re completely finished with edits.

3-then re-combine the new sound and the video in Final Cut.  [If you can’t remove  the original audio track in whatever software you use, you can turn the volume down all the way and add the new audio track.]

He uses a dog clicker and keeps the click on both sound and video tracks till the very end –so that he can use it to sync the sound and video.

Continue reading

For March 16

a. Finish presentations of student work from last week

b. Semiotics, more:

Barthes, R. (2003). Rhetoric of the image. In L. Wells (Ed.), The photography reader. London: Routledge.  (Not my scan)

c. Editing

We are all used to editing ourselves, such as when we write papers.

We also do a form of editing when we forward information – posting, retweeting, whatever we do to pass on information from a source other than ourselves.  This is similar to the kind of editing that, say, news media editors do in deciding what stories to cover, what to print (or post), where to place stories on a page or a timeline, and so forth. Editors make decisions about both content and emphasis.

In creating multimedia products we are editing, in several ways. We do a form of editing when we decide what media content to make: photos, video, interviews.

We do another form of editing when we make selections among the available content. We may take 10 minutes of a person talking and reduce that to two. We decide what’s most important (for our purposes) in what they said. With photos, we not only pick images that tell our story, but we may pick those in which our subjects (human or not) look the way we want them.  We may pick flattering images, or unflattering ones.

We also make editing decisions in our post-processing of media. In audio, we take out their pauses, their “ums” – we may make them sound better.   In processing images, we make decisions have to make decisions in the processing that affect how subjects look – e.g., the infamous OJ Simpson news magazine cover images.

Finally, we make editing decisions in putting all the pieces together. We’ve talked about the power of sound; and about montage and the meanings created from sequencing.

This week we will look more closely at editing.  It is a part of our decisions about how we interpret and present what we observe.  It also has implications for our relations with our participants and how we represent them.

Most of the discussions that I found about this topic relate to ethics – clearly an important aspect of this topic, but not the only one relevant to us.

  • Liz Danzico. 2010. BETWEEN THE LINES: The art of editing: the new old skills for a curated life. interactions 17, 1 (January 2010), 16-19. This overlaps with the topics of interest for us.
  • Barrett Golding,From Edit to Air. November 16th, 2001. Special Feature w/ Hearing Voices. A concrete example of editing for radio.

Abstract: Below are three versions of a radio script for Savvy Traveler, the fifth part of a series about bicycling the Lewis & Clark Trail. The left-hand column is the first draft. The middle is the revision based on the comments of the SavTrav Editor, Celeste Wesson. On the right is the final broadcast version, revised after one more editing session. AX stands for actualities (field recording of interviews, sounds, musics); TRAX are my narration tracks. All AX times are actual; times for TRAX are guessed in the first two drafts, and actual for in the final.

Below are from the perspectives of journalism and oral history, not social science research. But very useful.

Tutorials on Media-Making and Tools

This is linked from our blog but I had forgotten —
They have online tutorials on Final Cut Pro, audio editing including Garage Band and Audacity, Photoshop, Soundslides…and so forth.

There are also tutorials on making media, not just tools.  I skimmed through the one on making video — started really obvious, but had some good advice, points I hadn’t thought about.  I think it’s worth going through their tutorials (which it’s easy to to quickly) for various media, just to see what they may say that you don’t already know. Especially, tof course, for whatever media you plan to use, but others as well.

Sound at Club Silencio

I meant to post this clip from Mulholland Drive last week when we were talking about sound:


The Wingstedt reading mentioned the use of audio to heighten immersion and modality, which reminded me of it, since the audience/viewer at ‘Club Silencio’ is constantly reminded that the music is an illusion, but becomes immersed in it anyway.  When the illusion that a woman is singing ‘Llorando’ live is abruptly withdrawn, we’re surprised and disoriented.  Heightens modality, maybe, and reduces immersion — or maybe just aims for a different kind of immersion?

iPod and iPhone Recording

From Transom.org — review of two “microphones” for iPod/iPhone for quality recording.

iPhones, iPods and other portable media players have included recording utility applications for several years, but there haven’t been good ways to connect a high-quality microphone as an input. Even if one could, the rest of the input circuitry was less than ideal, often resulting in noisy, grainy or distorted recordings. Additionally, these devices often recorded at unacceptably low quality. Some of these devices have been able to record at high sample rates and bit-depths for some time, but getting a good quality signal INTO the machine has been a challenge.

But now, a few different approaches have presented solutions for recording onto an iPod. The first is the simplest: a high-quality microphone that attaches to the dock connector on most iPods and iPhones. There have been several such devices on the market previously, but the Blue Mikey from Blue Microphones represents a significant advance in quality. The second approach is more elaborate: an add-on accessory case that connects to an iPod, and provides two built-in microphones, as well as professional-quality XLR inputs for using external microphones. There are two devices that use this second model: the Alesis Pro Track, and the Belkin GoStudio. ….

Sharing Audio via Social Media

Transom.org is a terrific site aimed at public radio that does wonderful reviews of audio tools of many sorts.  This post reviews Audioboo and SoundCloud:  “Sharing audio on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter was especially tricky, but new applications are making hosting and sharing audio a simple procedure.” But these tools are much more than this —

SoundCloud is … an application that runs on desktop computers and mobile devices, but it’s more than just a program or a website: it’s a syndication service that can distribute your audio to many destinations; it’s a social networking site that hosts your content and encourages comments, groups, linking and community-building. This has proven attractive to large numbers of independent musicians who post original compositions, remixes and mash-ups. Despite its current preponderance of musical content, SoundCloud can be just as useful to journalists, documentarians and storytellers.  It’s a deep well of audio material of all types, and one could easily spend countless hours browsing though the many submissions. The typical tools of interactive media can help sort through the chaos: if you find something you like, you can follow its creator, explore groups that it’s in, share it with friends as a favorite, add it to a playlist, make comments, etc.

On a more practical level for any kind of audio producer, it offers an easy way to make your tracks available for others to hear. ….You don’t even have to own a recording device, or any additional recording or editing software. If you have a microphone attached to your computer, or one built-in, you can simply press the Record button on the SoundCloud page to create shareable audio.  Recording into the mobile app (for iPhone or Android) is every bit as easy….

Speech Search for Video and Audio?

UPDATE 2/5/11: Forget it.  I tried it with a nice, clean audio file recorded under optimal conditions, and it was gibberish. They shouldn’t have this on the market.

Adobe Premiere Pro is supposed to now have a Speech Search feature that does automatic transcriptions.  No one claims it’s as good as a human transcriber, but some claim it’s 75% accurate or so.  They advertise it as being for searching audio and video for where certain things are said, but of course it could also be used to do a first pass at transcriptions, IF it is as good as they claim.  I don’t know anyone who has tried it.  I supposedly have access to it — need to see if I can get it working.

Here’s a review:


And this is from Adobe:


I found a blog posting about Get, an add-in for Final Cut Pro that does something similar, but it’s $499 on top of the $800 or so for FCP.