Week 5 – DS106 What’s that I Hear? – Can You Dig It!

ds106 radio boom box
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This week starts our introduction to using sound for digital storytelling. We’re going to be learning some new tools, finding audio samples, recording our own sounds/voice, and use them to work on some projects from the ds106 audio assignment bank. And most awesomely we will consider broadcasting our projects and experiences on ds106 radio.

To kick things off, I was able to broadcast a conversation (archived here by @cogdog) with Alex Polaris, musician, sound engineer, and audio instructor at York College, on ds106 radio about storytelling with sound, particularly foley. Foley is the process of live recording sound effects for film and television. Here is an example of legendary sound designer Ben Burtt creating laser gun sounds by recording a slinky being struck with a stick. He continues to talk about the amazing tools foley artists created for sound effects in classic animations. Here’s a link to a google doc with number of sound design/foley video resources we used in the broadcast. Feel free to add anything you find interesting.

Recording Your Own Sounds

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Like all things ds106, it’s bring your own technology to the task. So you are welcome to record with whatever device you’d like. Use the built in mic on a laptop, smart phone, or digital camera in video mode. Just be sure you can get the audio file onto a computer on which you’ve installed an audio editing application like Audacity. If you used video to record audio, you can always use MPEG Streamclip to export the audio from the video.

Finding CC Licensed Audio Samples

Kitchen Tapes
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By far my favorite source to download sounds is freesound.org. All sounds in their archive are CC licensed. You can search for and find just about anything you can imagine. Create an account so you can download files, and while your at it, record something and upload it to their archive!

Editing and Publishing your Audio

waveforms, precious little waveforms
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Often a lot of your time will be spent on sound design and editing in digital audio software. Audacity is free, open source software you can download and install on your personal computer – Mac, PC, or Linux. You can record directly from a microphone attached to your computer, or import a variety of samples and music files to use. Here are links to a couple of tutorials (setup & basic editing) I used to create my first sound project using Audacity. There is also an Audacity manual published as a wiki.

Finally you’ll want to find a way to publish and embed your audio projects to your blog. I’m using Sound Cloud, which is kind of a YouTube for audio. The coolest feature is that people can leave comments inline at any point in the audio track. There are also audio player plugins you can search for and use if you’d like to host the audio files on your own blog.

Week 5 Assignment

Get yourself setup to work on audio projects this week. Complete at least one assignment from the ds106 audio assignment bank (or makeup one of your own) and describe how you created it. Was it the first time you ever did a time based edit? Did you have any frustrations working with Audacity or anything else? What surprised/excited you about what you made?


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