Media Literacy, Blogging, & Photography

UW High School Institute

Tag: ambient noise (page 1 of 3)

Video Storytelling

The ability to tell a good story with video is a difficult yet important skill for journalists and communicators to learn. Video is not just on TV anymore — you can find video stories online and on mobile devices as well. You’ll work in teams of two for this project. Let’s partner up and review the instructions for Blog Post 10 – Video Storytelling.

Important video to watch if you’re shooting with your iPhone.

1. Pre-Production (Before You Shoot)

Choose a story (or event!) that is well suited for video. This includes stories that have strong visual components and that have any sort of motion.

Identify your sources. Seek out multiple and diverse perspectives for your story.

Write preliminary interview questions after researching the story. Plan out your questions, story focus, and narrative (i.e., beginning, middle, and end) in advance, as much as you can. However, also remember to be adaptable during the interview and ask appropriate follow-up questions.

“Show me, don’t tell me” is the mantra in video storytelling. Find a way to show a story unfolding with video. Minimize the on-camera interviews with people (i.e., “talking head interviews”). It’s more interesting to watch an event occur rather than here about it from an interviewee.

Plan to shoot a variety of angles and types of shots. For suggestions, see Production, below.

Consider how you (the reporter) will fit into the story. Will you appear on-camera to set the scene or conduct an interview? If you’d like to try that, go ahead! Or, will you be completely invisible to the audience, just like you were during the Soundslides project and the audio profile project? Or, will you narrate the story without appearing on-camera?

2. Production (When You’re On-Location)

Plan on shooting before and after the event (if shooting an event). This ensures you have a variety of material to create your edited story from. Also, it helps develop a narrative of before, during, and after the event.

Shoot B-roll. B-roll is supplemental footage that relates to your story. For example, a video story about the the UW track team’s meet should include video of athletes warming up, tying their shoelaces, talking with coaches, etc. These are the shots that you can use to fill time while an interviewee is talking or while ambient noise (e.g., background noise from the event or music) is playing. For a 2-minute story, shoot at least 30 seconds of B-roll footage.

Shoot on-camera interviews with your sources. When shooting interviews, remember to look around at your surroundings. Is it relevant to the story? Can you move somewhere else to get the interview that is not as chaotic or loud? Just as with the audio interviews, encourage your sources to relax, act natural, and provide context to the answer they are giving to your question. Don’t be afraid to re-shoot a question and ask a question again. Oftentimes, the source gives a better and more eloquent answer to your question the second time you ask it.

Optional: Shoot on-camera reporters. If you’d like to appear on-camera as a broadcaster at some point, then this project is a good opportunity to practice. You can introduce the story and provide context to the significance of the story. You can transition with your voice and appearance between story segments. And you can conclude the story and provide a summary or “what happens next” statement.

Shoot a variety of camera shots. Whether you plan to be a visual journalist or not, you need to understand and learn how to execute the types of shots. See this website for visual examples and descriptions as we go over the definitions below.

  • Extreme wide shots. Shows the whole entire scene of an event, location, or story. These shots give viewers information about where the story takes place. They set the scene and give context early on in a story.
  • Very wide shots. Shows less background and shows the subject in the large scene. The subject is barely visible.
  • Wide shots. Shows the whole subject so the visual emphasis is on the subject rather than the background.
  • Mid shots. Shows the subject even closer, but a bit of the scene is still visible in the frame.
  • Medium close-up shots. Shows the subject even closer and the subject’s features and expressions are more of the focus.
  • Close-up shots. Shows the subject’s head to shoulder area.
  • Extreme close-up shots. Shows only the subject in the frame, such as the subject’s eyes and nose.
  • Cut-in shots. Shows some other part of the main subject, not the face and shoulders.
  • Cutaway shots. B-roll that is used as transitions between shots or to add information not offered by shots of the main subject or scene.
  • Point-of-view shots. Shows a scene from the subject’s perspective such that you feel like you are in their shoes.

Optional: Camera movement techniques. Camera movements are more advanced production techniques. They may not work out well if you do not have a high-quality video camera. Thus, I would avoid these techniques unless you have prior experience with video or unless you have a high-quality video camera. If you decide to use camera movements, see the techniques below:

  • Zooming: Going from wide-angle to close-up or vice versa.
  • Panning: Moving the camera horizontally.
  • Tilts: Moving the camera vertically.
  • Tracking: Moving the camera around accordingly to track the subject.

Composition concerns: Give headroom so the interviewee has space above their head during the shot. Avoid distractions in the background of shots. Remember the rule of thirds still!

Be Flexible: No matter home much planning you do in pre-production, from deciding who you want to interview to what types of b-roll shots you want, something is bound to not go your way, or the event you’re at will be different than you envisioned. Be willing to change you plan during production based on what is happening at the event in real time.

3. Post-Production (The Editing Process)

Editing programs. You have access to Adobe Premiere Elements in this lab, CR 207, as well as Ross Hall 423 (next to my office), AS 228, and the IT building computer lab. However, you are free to use another editing program, such as iMovie, FinalCutPro, or Windows Movie Maker. Adobe Premiere and FinalCutPro are the industry standards for video editing. iMovie is pretty good for being a standard software on a MacBook. Windows Movie Maker is pretty awful and I don’t recommend it unless you have no other options. Also, consider downloading  a trial version of Adobe Premiere. The IT building has a beautiful Mac computer in the scantron room that has FinalCutPro on it.

Conceptual Editing. You want to brainstorm and plan out your story before you begin with technical editing. You want to have the story flow ironed out first. If you’re stuck, think about how you’d tell a friend your story. What did you start with? What else did you tell your friend? How does the story end? Also, search for sound bites that address the who, what, where, when, why, how, and so what.

The video editing process is similar to the audio editing process. Remember the tips associated with audio editing.

Keep your story focused — it’s supposed to be about 2-4 minutes.

Project Requirements

Below are the main points you need to consider while working on your project. I will use these elements to evaluate your work.

  • At least 2 sources
  • At least 5 seconds of ambient noise, natural sound, or music
  • Video is between 2 and 4 minutes
  • Video shots are diverse (see camera shots and camera movements above)
  • Speakers are introduced with titles and/or the speaker self-identifies themselves and/or the reporter identifies the speaker
  • Story has a beginning, middle, and end (narrative arc)
  • Editing is smooth

Video Storytelling for Public Relations, Promotions, and Marketing

Video can be used for a variety of different reasons including journalism, PR, marketing, and advertising, and the way that you edit and shoot a video is a little bit different for each one. In each case you want to be able to tell a complete story.

Journalism: Tell the whole story from all sides. Find opposing arguments for interviews so that viewers can get facts from both sides or multiple sources with different things to say. Add b-roll that is relevant to the story even if it is not the most artsy shot it might be the most informative.

Public Relations: In this case you will probably only be telling the story from one side, the side that the company, department, etc. is on, and you video will likely be positive, factual information about the company, etc. the b-roll shots in this type of video should highlight those positive things that the interviewee is talking about. Example

Promotions: These videos are a lot like advertisements. To make an exciting promotional video, you want eye catching shots, that include whatever it is that you’re promoting. A lot of the time these are artistic shots, or fast pace shots that keep the viewer engaged, and interested. Example

Video Storytelling Examples From Past Classes

Example of Promotional Story on a Local Company – Louisa Wilkinson and Taylor Dilts

Example of Journalistic Story on a Non-Event – Hannah Robinson and Esther Seville

Example of a Promotional Story on a Local Band – Kaisha McCutchen and Bianca Coca

Example of Journalistic Approach with No Reporter Narration – Edward Timmons and Miranda Anderson

Example of Journalistic Approach  With Reporter Narrative – Jordan Blazovich and Nick Robinson

Example of Journalistic Approach to an Event Story without Reporter Narration – Kaitlyn Camargo and Lauren Garrelts

Example of Journalistic Approach to a Non-event Story without Reporter Narration – Brittany Hamilton and Scottie Melton

Example of Promotional Approach – Courtney Gifford, Travis Hoff, Sam Weinstein
Border War: The ROTC Story

Audio Storytelling

Journalism oftentimes gives a voice to the voiceless. With audio journalism, you can hear the emotion, hear the ambient sounds, and hear the expressions of your sources. Now, we can do audio journalism online and not just on the radio. Before we learn about the logistics of audio, it is important to first understand what makes excellent audio journalism. Here are some examples.

One in 8 Million – A New York Times audio slideshow about a few of the 8 million people living in the New York City region. Let’s listen to one teenager mother’s story.  Let’s listen to the audio profile and discuss what you like and dislike about the story. Could this story be told better with any other style or method? Note that for the upcoming two assignments, you will interview a classmate (or someone else) for 5 minutes and then edit the audio to 2 minutes.

NPR provides the best audio journalism in the United States. Here’s an example of their reporting. Notice the journalist’s narration, the sources’ quotes, and the audio of specific examples relevant to the story. First though, let’s read the print story. Then, we’ll listen to the audio story. We’ll compare the stories and discuss the differences as well as the similarities.

This American Life provides great long-format audio stories, usually about feature stories.

Audio Profile Project

Please download the instructions for the Blog Posts 6 and 7 – Raw Audio Profile and Edited Audio Profile and we’ll review what you’ll be accomplishing with audio!

SoundCloud

In our unit on audio, you will use Soundcloud to share your audio files on your blog. Let’s register and do a tutorial.

Practice Audio Recording with Your Device

Let’s practice audio recording and getting the audio files off our devices and onto the computer. The biggest complaint that students have about the audio unit is having trouble getting the audio off their device and onto the computer in a workable file format. So, please do that now.

Record yourself counting to 10 with your device. Next, get the recording off your device and onto the computer. Attempt to open the file in Audacity. Then, attempt to upload a file to Soundcloud.

Student Work: Video Storytelling

Alison Clarke and Katelind Higgins

Andrew O’Neill and Ben Banta

Bianca Coca and Kaisha McCutchan

Brooklynn Gray and Max Renton

Charlie McClain and K.C. Schooner

Edward Timmons and Miranda Anderson

Esther Seville and Hannah Robinson

Jordan Blazovich and Nick Robinson

Kaitlyn Camargo and Lauren Garrelts

Louisa Wilkinson and Taylor Dilts

Look, Listen, Tell, and Show: Soundslides Assignment

Soundslides: Audio + Photos

When you gather audio and photos for a news story, you are making the story more marketable. And as our guest speakers have told us, telling stories in multiple ways makes the story more accessible to your audience. Your story can now be told with images, with sound, or with both. Not only will you have captions for your photos, but you’ll have a voice and ambient noise that compliment the captions.

We’ll be working with Soundslides to combine our audio and photography skills. You’ll be working in groups to get an idea of how to balance everything. It will help to have one person focusing on photography and one person on audio. However, in a future job position, you may to do both tasks, so don’t neglect learning about your partner’s task. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions or comments to your partner if you think it will improve the story. At the end of the experience, ask your partner for their advice and tips so that you can excel at the task you didn’t do this time around.

The topic can be on anything! It can be about sports, science, the environment, technology, health, politics, economics, community affairs, the university, or a personality profile.

For story ideas, you can check out UW’s calendar of events, UW’s public outreach, UW’s news and announcements, WyoVocal, The Branding Iron, and the Laramie Boomerang. The story does not have to be university-related, but that’s where many of you may want to start brainstorming.

Basically, you’re doing an audio story with photos. The audio should tell the story in an engaging way and your photos and captions should compliment your audio story. Of course, your audio story should answer the the who, what, where, and when. But, more importantly, your audio should relay information that is compelling and emotional. It should also tell us how and why. It should make us think and feel the story.

Remember that the audience is more forgiving with the photography compared to the audio. If the audio is done poorly with harsh edits and a confusing storyline, then the audience loses interest and forgets about the great photos you have.

The captions should have all the essential information of the photo: who, what, where, and when. A reader should be able to read the captions and understand the basics of the story without listening to the audio.

Let’s take a look at the Blog Post 8 – Soundslides Project assignment details.

Examples

Here are some student examples of Soundslides stories.

Brooke Eades (The Nutcracker)
Egla Negussie (Dangers of I-80)
Dyann Diercks (UW band)
Jessica Romero and Hailey Hawkes (about Roller Derby)

Tips for Gathering Audio and Photos

When you’re on-location and reporting the story, you should consider what to gather first: the audio or the photos. Of course, if you go to report the story with your partner, then you both can get started at the same time. The photographer can take relevant photos while the audio journalist interviews the subject.

However, when you are working alone in the future…

Collect the photos first if:

  1. You think the light is perfect
  2. You think the light will soon fade
  3. You think the subject is quiet and needs to loosen up before the audio interview
  4. You want to get a feel for the subject’s job, hobby, etc. before interviewing them about it.

 

Collect the audio first if:

  1. You find the subject is nervous about getting their picture taken
  2. The subject is very chatty and is eager to talk with you
  3. The light is not great and you want to wait to see if the light improves

 

When working alone, you have to accept the fact that you’ll probably miss a great photo while gathering audio, and you’ll likely miss a great quote while gathering photos.

And that’s OK.

More tips to remember for gathering photo and audio together:

Gather more information than you think you need.
If you need to gather a second round of photos, then don’t be afraid to do so. If you need to re-interview the subject after first collecting audio and then taking photos, then don’t afraid to ask for 5 more minutes of their time.

Importance of matching photos with audio.
If you collect a great quote, then be sure to also get supporting photos for the quote. If you collect a great photo, be sure to gather audio from the subject that is related to the photo.

Plan for having one photo for every 7 to 9 seconds of audio.
That will help you determine how many great shots you need while on assignment. Thus, for a 2-minute story, you’ll need about 15 photos on the screen for 8 seconds each. For a 3-minute story, you’ll need about 22 photos. And for a 4-minute story, you’ll need 30 photos. For this assignment, your story needs to be between 2 and 4 minutes.

Keep track of what you shoot and what you record.
If you get a photo of a truck driver starting up his semi, then collect audio of the hum and roar of the semi’s engine. Finally, record the truck driver’s answer to your question of how he copes with the loud noises associated with trucking.

You’ll notice that some of your photos lead to more interview questions and ideas of what kind of audio to collect. You’ll notice that some of your audio and ambient noise lead to more photo ideas.

This blog post was based on MediaStorm’s tips on collecting audio and photos. Check them out for more information.

And please see the Soundslides tutorial on YouTube if you need help with the technology. Here’s another help page for Soundslides as well.

Download a free trial of Soundslides so you can work from home, too.

Video Storytelling Project

Video Storytelling

The ability to tell a good story with video is a difficult yet important skill for journalists and communicators to learn. Video is not just on TV anymore — you can find video stories online and on mobile devices as well. You’ll work in teams of two for this project. Let’s partner up and review the project instructions.

1. Pre-Production (Before You Shoot)

Choose a story (or event!) that is well suited for video. This includes stories that have strong visual components and that have any sort of motion.

Identify your sources. Seek out multiple and diverse perspectives for your story.

Write preliminary interview questions after researching the story. Plan out your questions, story focus, and narrative (i.e., beginning, middle, and end) in advance, as much as you can. However, also remember to be adaptable during the interview and ask appropriate follow-up questions.

“Show me, don’t tell me” is the mantra in video storytelling. Find a way to show a story unfolding with video. Minimize the on-camera interviews with people (i.e., “talking head interviews”). It’s more interesting to watch an event occur rather than here about it from an interviewee.

Plan to shoot a variety of angles and types of shots. For suggestions, see Production, below.

Consider how you (the reporter) will fit into the story. Will you appear on-camera to set the scene or conduct an interview? If you’d like to try that, go ahead! Or, will you be completely invisible to the audience, just like you were during the Soundslides project and the audio profile project? Or, will you narrate the story without appearing on-camera?

2. Production (When You’re On-Location)

Plan on shooting before and after the event (if shooting an event). This ensures you have a variety of material to create your edited story from. Also, it helps develop a narrative of before, during, and after the event.

Shoot B-roll. B-roll is supplemental footage that relates to your story. For example, a video story about the the UW track team’s meet should include video of athletes warming up, tying their shoelaces, talking with coaches, etc. These are the shots that you can use to fill time while an interviewee is talking or while ambient noise (e.g., background noise from the event or music) is playing. For a 2-minute story, shoot at least 30 seconds of B-roll footage.

Shoot on-camera interviews with your sources. When shooting interviews, remember to look around at your surroundings. Is it relevant to the story? Can you move somewhere else to get the interview that is not as chaotic or loud? Just as with the audio interviews, encourage your sources to relax, act natural, and provide context to the answer they are giving to your question. Don’t be afraid to re-shoot a question and ask a question again. Oftentimes, the source gives a better and more eloquent answer to your question the second time you ask it.

Optional: Shoot on-camera reporters. If you’d like to appear on-camera as a broadcaster at some point, then this project is a good opportunity to practice. You can introduce the story and provide context to the significance of the story. You can transition with your voice and appearance between story segments. And you can conclude the story and provide a summary or “what happens next” statement.

Shoot a variety of camera shots. Whether you plan to be a visual journalist or not, you need to understand and learn how to execute the types of shots. See this website for visual examples and descriptions as we go over the definitions below.

  • Extreme wide shots. Shows the whole entire scene of an event, location, or story. These shots give viewers information about where the story takes place. They set the scene and give context early on in a story.
  • Very wide shots. Shows less background and shows the subject in the large scene. The subject is barely visible.
  • Wide shots. Shows the whole subject so the visual emphasis is on the subject rather than the background.
  • Mid shots. Shows the subject even closer, but a bit of the scene is still visible in the frame.
  • Medium close-up shots. Shows the subject even closer and the subject’s features and expressions are more of the focus.
  • Close-up shots. Shows the subject’s head to shoulder area.
  • Extreme close-up shots. Shows only the subject in the frame, such as the subject’s eyes and nose.
  • Cut-in shots. Shows some other part of the main subject, not the face and shoulders.
  • Cutaway shots. B-roll that is used as transitions between shots or to add information not offered by shots of the main subject or scene.
  • Point-of-view shots. Shows a scene from the subject’s perspective such that you feel like you are in their shoes.

 

Optional: Camera movement techniques. Camera movements are more advanced production techniques. They may not work out well if you do not have a high-quality video camera. Thus, I would avoid these techniques unless you have prior experinece with video or unless you have a high-quality video camear. If you decide to use camea movements, see the techniques below:

  • Zooming: Going from wide-angle to close-up or vice versa.
  • Panning: Moving the camera horizontally.
  • Tilts: Moving the camera vertically.
  • Tracking: Moving the camera around accordingly to track the subject.

 

Composition concerns: Give headroom so the interviewee has space above their head during the shot. Avoid distractions in the background of shots. Remember the rule of thirds still!

3. Post-Production (The Editing Process)

Editing programs. You have access to Adobe Premiere Elements in this lab, CR 207, as well as Ross Hall 423 (next to my office) and the IT building computer lab. However, you are free to use another editing program, such as iMovie, FinalCutPro, or Windows Movie Maker. Adobe Premiere and FinalCutPro are the industry standards for video editing. iMovie is pretty good for being a standard software on a MacBook. Windows Movie Maker is pretty awful and I don’t recommend it unless you have no other options. Also, consider downloading  a trial version of Adobe Premiere.

Conceptual Editing. You want to brainstorm and plan out your story before you begin with technical editing. You want to have the story flow ironed out first. If you’re stuck, think about how you’d tell a friend your story. What did you start with? What else did you tell your friend? How does the story end? Also, search for sound bites that address the who, what, where, when, why, how, and so what.

The video editing process is similar to the audio editing process. Remember the tips associated with audio editing.

Keep your story focused — it’s supposed to be about 2-4 minutes.

Project Requirements

Below are the main points you need to consider while working on your project. I will use these elements to evaluate your work.

  • At least 2 sources
  • At least 5 seconds of ambient noise, natural sound, or music
  • Video is between 2 and 4 minutes
  • Video shots are diverse (see camera shots and camera movements above)
  • Speakers are introduced with titles and/or the speaker self-identifies themselves and/or the reporter identifies the speaker
  • Story has a beginning, middle, and end
  • Editing is smooth

 

Video Storytelling Examples From Past Classes

Example of Journalistic Approach to a Non-Event Story with Reporter Narration – Zachary Laux and Cameron Patey
Online Gaming

Example of Journalistic Approach to a Non-Event Story Without Reporter Narration – Nic Behnke and Shane Staley
Snowy Range – New Terrain Park

Example of Journalistic Approach to an Event Story without Reporter Narration – Tiffany Le Gal and Anna Rader
MLK Jr. Days of Dialogue/March @ University of Wyoming

Example of Promotional Approach – Courtney Gifford, Travis Hoff, Sam Weinstein
Border War: The ROTC Story

The Art of Gathering Audio

Gathering audio that is clean, clear, and crisp is no easy task. This post outlines some hints for you to consider before you conduct audio interviews. It is developed from the hints listed on MediaStorm’s audio training page.

Know Your Equipment: Be comfortable operating your audio recorder. You should know where the buttons are without looking at it. You should know what all of the buttons do. If you’re uncomfortable with the audio recorder, your subject will be as well.

Location: Find a quiet location with little background noise. Find a spot with soft surfaces that absorb sound. A couch or fabric chair is better than a wooden chair. Cover a table with a blanket. A car with closed windows is a great location. Avoid hallways and large rooms that echo.

No Ambient Noise During Interview: While you do want to use ambient noise in your audio story, you don’t want the ambient noise to interfere with the person speaking to you. Avoid consistent background noise by picking a small quiet room with carpet and soft chairs. If using the TASCAM, try using to foam covering to see if it helps quiet ambient noise. You want to collect ambient noise separately and not fight it during the interview.

If Ambient Noise is Unavoidable: Press the record button before you begin the formal interview. Allow the recorder to collect the ambient noise without anyone’s voices interrupting the ambient noise. This gives you clean ambient noise to insert into any pauses during the editing process.

Get Close: Put the microphone about 2 inches away from the person’s mouth if you’re recording at a moderate “rec level” (about 5-7 on the TASCAM). You can put the microphone farther away if you’re recording at a higher “rec level” (about 9-10).

Use Headphones: Put your headphones into the headphone jack on your digital audio recorder. Hit the “record” button. Now ask the person to talk. Ensure that you can hear the person clearly. If you can’t hear them clearly, put the microphone closer to their mouth and/or increase the “rec level” to a higher sensitivity. Keep the headphones on your ears during the whole interview. You’ll know exactly how the person sounds the whole time.

Speak Up: Ask the person to speak up and speak louder if you can’t hear them properly and clearly when you have your headphones on.

Don’t Fidget: Do not fidget and play with the audio recorder while gathering sound. The audio recorder picks up the noise when you rub your hands on it. Avoid this by not fidgeting.

Focus: There’s many things to think about while conducting an audio interview. Can you hear them clearly? What are they saying? What’s my next question? Where is the interview going? How can I take the interview in a different direction or somewhere I hadn’t planned if they say something interesting?

But Also Engage: Listen to the person. Make eye contact (don’t look at their mouth). Seem genuinely interested in their story. After they’re done speaking, stay in silence for a moment. They may add more detail to their thoughts. Empathize with them. Share information about yourself with them. This will help them ignore the microphone and their surroundings.

Uh huh: Don’t do it. Avoid saying those filler words during an interview. You don’t want YOUR voice recorded when the person is talking. Instead, nod, smile, use eye contact, and learn forward to encourage the person.

Ask Explanation-Needed Questions: Don’t just ask, “How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a journalist?” You’ll get the answer, “I few years ago.” Ask questions that need more explanation, “What inspired you to become a journalist and when did you make this decision in your life?” You want the person to answer in complete sentences that clearly answer the question, not short phrases that may need a narrator’s explanation.

Ask Again: Don’t be afraid to ask “Why?;” “Please explain that more in-depth.” “Please say that again, I didn’t quite understand the first time.”

Ask Sensory Questions: “Tell me about…”; “What did it sound like when…”; “How did it feel when…”; “What did it smell like…”; “What did it look like when…”; “Describe the scene for me.”

Last Question: Always ask, “Is there anything else I should have asked? Is there anything else you want me to know?”

There is no better way to learn audio reporting than by trying it out for yourself!

Audio Storytelling and Journalism

Journalism oftentimes gives a voice to the voiceless. With audio journalism, you can hear the emotion, hear the ambient sounds, and hear the expressions of your sources. Now, we can do audio journalism online and not just on the radio. Before we learn about the logistics of audio, it is important to first understand what makes excellent audio journalism. Here are some examples.

One in 8 Million – A New York Times audio slideshow about a few of the 8 million people living in the New York City region. Let’s listen to one teenager mother’s story. After we complete a few audio journalism assignments, you will put together an audio slideshow, like this one, using the software Soundslides. Let’s listen to the audio profile and discussion what you like and dislike about the story. Could this story be told better with any other style or method?

NPR provides the best audio journalism in the United States. Here’s an example of their reporting; it’s a story about the need to increase vaccinations among teens and tweens. Notice the journalist’s narration, the sources’ quotes, and the audio of specific examples relevant to the story. First though, let’s read the print story. Then, we’ll listen to the audio story. We’ll compare the stories and discuss the differences as well as the similarities.

This American Life provides great long-format audio stories, usually about feature stories.

And, due to our guest speaker during the last class, you now know about Wyoming Public Media and what types of jobs you can do there.

Audio Profile Project


Please download the instructions for the audio profile project and we’ll review what you’ll be accomplishing with audio!

Practice with Recording and Editing Audio


This is not a graded assignment, rather, these assignments are in-class assignments that are designed to help you practice and familiarize yourself with your digital audio recorder and with Audacity (the free audio-editing program).

COJO 3530: Soundslides Projects

Nikki Finnesand and Jamie Hageman

Hannah Cox and Kelsey Tramp

Alex Barrett and Clinton Boutelle

John Denega

Hailey Hawkes and Jessica Romero

Josh Geiger and Chris Anselmo

Chase Harmelink and Mady Gerard

Ashlee Williams and Andee Novotny

Nikkita Miller and Edward Timmons

Kelsey Brinkerhoff and Lillian Palmer

Trevor Andersen and Brittany Rehm

Marqueston Huff and Robert Herron

COJO 3530, Weeks 10-11: Soundslides = Audio + Photos

Audio + Photos

When you gather audio and photos for a news story, you are making the story more marketable. Your story can now be told with images, with sound, or with both. Not only will you have captions for your photos, but you’ll have a voice and ambient noise that compliment the captions.

We’ll be working with Soundslides to combine our audio and photography skills. You’ll be working in groups to get an idea of how to balance everything. It will help to have one person focusing on photography and one person on audio. However, in a future job position, you may to do both tasks, so don’t neglect learning about your partner’s task. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions or comments to your partner if you think it will improve the story. At the end of the experience, ask your partner for their advice and tips so that you can excel at the task you didn’t do this time around.

The topic can be on anything! It can be about sports, science, the environment, technology, health, politics, economics, community affairs, the university, or a personality profile.

For story ideas, you can check out UW’s calendar of events, UW’s public outreach, UW’s news and announcements, and the Laramie Boomerang. The story does not have to be university-related, but that’s where many of you may want to start brainstorming.

Basically, you’re doing an audio story with photos. The audio should tell the story in an engaging way and your photos and captions should compliment your audio story. Of course, your audio story should answer the the who, what, where, and when. But, more importantly, your audio should relay information that is compelling and emotional. It should also tell us how and why. It should make us think and feel the story.

Remember that the audience is more forgiving with the photography compared to the audio. If the audio is done poorly with harsh edits and a confusing storyline, then the audience loses interest and forgets about the great photos you have.

The captions should have all the essential information of the photo: who, what, where, and when. A reader should be able to read the captions and understand the basics of the story without listening to the audio.

Let’s take a look at the assignment details.

Tips for Gathering Audio and Photos

When you’re on-location and reporting the story, you should consider what to gather first: the audio or the photos. Of course, if you go to report the story with your partner, then you both can get started at the same time. The photographer can take relevant photos while the audio journalist interviews the subject. However, when you are working alone in the future…

Collect the photos first if:

  1. You think the light is perfect
  2. You think the light will soon fade
  3. You think the subject is quiet and needs to loosen up before the audio interview
  4. You want to get a feel for the subject’s job, hobby, etc. before interviewing them about it.

Collect the audio first if:

  1. You find the subject is nervous about getting their picture taken
  2. The subject is very chatty and is eager to talk with you
  3. The light is not great and you want to wait to see if the light improves

When working alone, you have to accept the fact that you’ll probably miss a great photo while gathering audio, and you’ll likely miss a great quote while gathering photos.

And that’s OK.

Just remember to gather more information than you think you need.
If you need to gather a second round of photos, then don’t be afraid to do so. If you need to re-interview the subject after first collecting audio and then taking photos, then don’t afraid to ask for 5 more minutes of their time.

Importance of matching photos with audio:
If you collect a great quote, then be sure to also get supporting photos for the quote. If you collect a great photo, be sure to gather audio from the subject that is related to the photo.

Plan for having one photo for every 7 to 9 seconds of audio.
That will help you determine how many great shots you need while on assignment. Thus, for a 2-minute story, you’ll need about 15 photos on the screen for 8 seconds each. For a 3-minute story, you’ll need about 22 photos. And for a 4-minute story, you’ll need 30 photos. For this assignment, your story needs to be between 2 and 4 minutes.

Keep track of what you shoot and what you record.
If you get a photo of a truck driver starting up his semi, then collect audio of the hum and roar of the semi’s engine. Finally, record the truck driver’s answer to your question of how he copes with the loud noises associated with trucking.

You’ll notice that some of your photos lead to more interview questions and ideas of what kind of audio to collect. You’ll notice that some of your audio and ambient noise lead to more photo ideas.

This blog post was based on MediaStorm’s tips on collecting audio and photos. Check them out for more information.

Examples

With that in mind, here are some examples of Soundslides stories.

Here are some student examples of Soundslides stories.

Brooke Eades (voted best slideshow in the class)
Egla Negussie (voted second-best slideshow in the class)
Dyann Diercks (another strong slideshow)

And please see the Soundslides tutorial on YouTube if you need help with the technology. Here’s another help page for Soundslides as well.

Download a free trial of Soundslides so you can work from home, too.

COJO 3530, Week 8: Audio Reporting & Editing Tips From Students

As you begin your first audio project, please consider these tips from previous students of COJO 3530.

  1. During the audio interview, leave a brief pause after the interviewee finishes answering a question and before you begin your next question. Giving more pause will leave you more room for editing. [Adrienne Morency]
  2. Ask the interviewee to summarize or rephrase your question before answering it. And ask them to answer in complete sentences. This helps with storytelling without a narrator. [Alexandria Newman, Nic Behnke]
  3. Ensure you place the audio recorder close enough to the interviewee’s mouth so that their voice does not fade in and out during the interview. You want an even voice level during the interview, unless they’re expressing emotion. [Audrey Jensen]
  4. Resist the urge to respond or comment to your interviewee during and after everything he/she says–that means more editing for yourself or not being able to use the audio at all. [Bailey Gallo, Brooke Eades, Cameron Patey]
  5. Let the interviewee talk without interruption as much as possible, it could reduce editing time. [Bailey Gallo]
  6. Triple-check for any background noise that may negatively impact the interview. [Brooke Eades]
  7. Get your interviewee to clarify points that the listener may not understand or follow because of not having the context of the question. [Cameron Patey]
  8. Use the zoom feature extensively during your editing, it really helps get the cut to be as flawless as possible. [Anna Rader, Dyann Diercks, Egla Negussie, Rachel Ross]
  9. Build, don’t destroy: While editing, instead of taking the original interview and cutting it down, do the reverse. Take a blank audio track and then create an interview from the original. [Tiffany Le Gal]
  10. While editing, write down the points in the track that you’re working on. That way when you go back and listen to it, you can listen for the cut/transition and move things around faster by referencing those breaks in your notes. [Tom Hesse]
  11. Decide how you want to organize your story before you begin editing; know what the beginning, middle, and end should be before you begin editing. [Tracie Perkins]
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