My Learning Graph (Week 12)

It’s the end of my first studio and I’ve learnt so many things that I believe are valuable. How to use a Sony MC50 camera, Zoom H2N mic, an improvement in how I can collaborate with others efficiently, and how to use Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition.

I initially found giving feedback to my peers difficult. With time I learnt I need to be picky and explain why something doesn’t work, and follow it up with a suggestion as to how to improve it.

I discovered that I’m not that terrible at creating sound based media. In fact, I enjoy it. My love for editing and making videos was confirmed though, because I kept at it even when I was going out of my mind.

Industry Expert Feedback (Week 12)

This week industry experts gave us feedback on our PB4 drafts.

  • Will our car scenes be realistic (is the listener is positioned a certain distance away from the sounds of keys, steering wheel, etc and these sounds are heard like they would be in real life) or will they be abstract (as in clearly defined prominent noises – eg the keys sound like they are right next to the mic)?
  • How long will the car scenes go on for?

These things are not directions we are forced to take, but creative decisions up to us. The car scenes should go on until the context of being within the car has been clearly established – and that length of time is up to us.

The final piece of feedback was more of an instruction:

  • Increase the volume of the person speaking in the background of our audio. This voice is supposed to sound distorted and far away but isn’t loud enough to notice.

This feedback lets us know we’re on the right track. We don’t have to change anything huge and we were even given suggestions for future ‘scenarios’ in which social media distractions occur.

In The Editing Room (Week 12)

In our group meeting for PB4 we continued to construct our script. The most important thing we have to remember is not to fall back into a report-like format. We’re looking into more creative ways to express the same thoughts we had in our narration. Instead of explicitly stating that driving while distracted by a phone is dangerous and life-threatening, we depict a character driving their car and texting, and ultimately being involved in a collision.

We booked an editing suite to record and edit, and we got to listen to our audio on the various speakers around the room. It offers us the ability to pick out sounds we like and ones we don’t, as these things may not be picked up as well with earphones.

The Project Taping (Week 11)

I attended a live taping of The Project with a few other RMITV members because I was keen to see how everything works. As I thought, there were several people managing the cameras and a couple were also in charge of giving the camera operators directions. What surprised me was that the four presenters of the night said they had to be on their phones all night because they receive updates and prompts via messages. They also reply to tweets in the breaks, and if not, they come and chat with the live audience. I loved how casual the presenters were, and how unfazed they were by the live cameras. At multiple points there were presenters out of their seats even at the 3 second mark in the live count-down. There is of course someone managing the audience and making sure we laugh at the right time, applaud just the right amount etc, and my god – he was the world’s greatest hype man. I wish I had him cheering me on as I write this blog post. I’ve never been a part of a studio audience and I’m glad it was with The Project because I had an idea of what the show looked like on my TV.

Cutting Conversations (Week 11)

What works in this class sound exercise is making all the iPhone noises stand out using sound effect presets on Audition. This demonstrates that the character is easily distracted by these noises, so much so that these noises are all listeners can focus on for a bit (ie the typing sounds). What doesn’t work is that you can hear where the background noise from the speakers cuts out and cuts back in again. I’m practising how to fade these in/out appropriately for a smooth transition.

The Presence of Netflix in Popular Culture (Week 11)

The structural changes occurring in television content and culture are reflected in my own experiences of consuming television content.

Probably the only time I watch broadcast TV is when I watch the news and when I have to wait for SmartHub to load on my TV. A couple seconds later, I go straight to Netflix and pick something out.

Digital companies may feel threatened by the introduction of Netflix in several countries because it has become unmatched in its power, because Netflix’s products have secured a place for them in popular culture. The current craze around shows like Orange Is The New Black (2013), 13 Reasons Why (2017), and Stranger Things (2016), demonstrate how successful Netflix has been in engaging a (primarily young) audience with their content. So while I was surprised that the average hours of broadcast TV viewing each day in Australia is 2.2 hours longer than the average for online video viewing per day, it must be understood that overtime this will change dramatically as we undergo significant demographic change in Australia.

Social Media On Focussed Attention (Week 10)

This week Sam, Jack and I met up to discuss our Project Brief 4. We chose our research question to be ‘what is the association between the rise of social media and students’ focussed attention?’ Our audio project will be based around four key ideas:

1. Our constant access to social technology affects the ability to commit to high levels of attention on one task. This will be more of an introduction, specifying that technological distractions inhibit our ability to pay attention to important tasks like driving and class work.

2. The misconception of multitasking and its effects – how multitasking is viewed as a positive trait by some and as inefficient by others.

3. It’s not the fault of the students. Here we will focus on habitual distraction, and how it’s only a result of our instincts to reach out for our phone while studying. It’s an unintentional action that feels normal because we have been exposed to digital technology our entire lives.

4. What is the impact of a shortened attention span? A look at the implications of what happens when your focus shifts away from something that requires all of your attention.

We considered recording and editing our project into a report-like format, but then realised that while this would make our project informative, it would lack our sense of creativity and the abstract nature we are aiming for. Thus our project will take on more of a podcast vibe. We will be using a script but trying to make the narration seem natural and improvised.

A Podcast Story (Week 10)

‘My Lobotomy’: Howard Dully’s Journey (2005)
‘My Lobotomy’ is so engaging. I couldn’t put it down and couldn’t be distracted from it by any external noise. The things I picked up from it were that very clear audio is used for the narration; the series of interviews are cut very short, so that they tell Howard Dully’s story in place of the narration; all the voices in the podcast are the same if not similar volume level. There was no need for me to increase or decrease my headphone volume at any point, even though I could recognise that some interviews were recorded at a further distance away than others. I liked that we were introduced to Dully’s lobotomy doctor by him voicing his ideas on lobotomies. It wasn’t just him talking about anything medical-related, and I could just picture him in surgeon’s scrubs performing the lobotomy. There is no background noise in interviews that overshadows the interviewees. I found this was important because in the past I have had difficulty controlling the level of background noise in interviews and can be really distracting. The podcast transitions at certain places by overlapping voices of subjects interviewed. We listeners are provided with short ‘intermissions’ at points, with only music playing and no narration. They’re short moments really, but they allow us to take in everything that’s been said. I also noted that music from the 40′
s was used to link the podcast to an event described from the 40’s. This is more of a creative strategy I noticed but I think that we could also do this in our project brief 4 for greater immersion and empathy (for example, if we were to talk about being raised in a digital age with internet – we may want to use 90’s or 00’s/more modern music to help us ‘set the scene’). I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast and will keep the creative and technical choices that were made in mind for when I too produce this type of work.

Listening Over Watching (Week 10)

 

How to write in time:

  • set times for your listeners to breathe, take everything in, then allow more intense moments concentrated with content
  • no abrupt endings, craft a sense of finality
  • in the moment pieces are more powerful than reflection ones

How to create space:

  • hear distance in sound through background and foreground sounds)
  • feels like presenters are speaking directly to you personally; modes of address position listeners in the space

The use of music:

  • using diegetic and non-diegetic music to lift the voice
  • a structuring device to break the content up into chunks
  • like a highlighter – the words said before and after or during jump out at listeners
  • cultural associations of your music, can play with this baggage
  • include spot sounds
  • using non verbal and non musical sounds

Story types:

  • never numbers
  • audio is best for stories that there are no images for, forces the listeners to imagine

Examples of voice, sound and music:

  • scripted narration (read voice in studio)
  • watch ticking recorded in studio — ends when mentions it ‘stop[ping]’
  • pre recorded music  — overlaid to set the scene
  • radio hush
  • archival — sets era
  • interview (q/a)
  • observational background chatter
  • atmospheric sounds; papers shuffling, stamping

Three’s A Group (Week 9)

This used to be me every time I had to work in a group.

PB4 will be a double challenge for me because a) I’ve never used Adobe Audition and b) I believe I work best alone. I think this project will an interesting kind of collaboration. My group members aren’t shy and they aren’t bossy people, which I’m grateful for. But I still prefer being able to make creative decisions without having to check with a bunch of other people first. But I think working with others is never not great for me if I want to become an editor or work in the film industry. So all I need is a positive attitude and great communication with my group members, and we should be set to produce quality audio work.