All Assignments should be uploaded in CD-quality audio, unless otherwise noted. Place copies of all required files (see individual assignments for details) in a folder named with your first and last names, and the name of the assignment. .zip this folder and upload it using the appropriate D2L dropbox. All Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date, unless otherwise noted.
Found Sounds, Files and Formats
5% - Due September 20th
The goal of this assignment is to get familiar with the kinds of files and formats you might see when hunting for sound online, and bring a handful of sounds together using Audacity.
- On your computer, create a folder with your name and the name of the assignment.
- Create sub-directory called originals in that folder to store any sounds you download.
- Create a new Audacity project, and save the .aup in the assignment folder (remember that _data will save there, too!).
- Choose and download a sound effect from soundbible.com.
- Choose a voice clip (~10 seconds) from YouTube. Rip the sound from the video to an mp3 using clipconverter.cc, or a tool of your choice.
- Choose a stereo wav field recording from freesound.org (membership required).
- Import all three audio files to Audacity, and arrange them creatively as you like.
- Export as a stereo aif, and as an ogg. See the Audacity documentation if you need help.
- Use iTunes to make an mp3.
- Place the aif, ogg, and mp3 files in your assignment folder.
- .zip and upload this folder.
5% - Due September 27th
You will need a portable audio recorder for this assignment.
- Before beginning, read The Music of the Environment, by Murray Shafer.
- Plan the route for your soundwalk. Aim for a mix of locations which demonstrate the "imperialistic spread" of sound, and also sounds which are "uncrowded, surrounded by pools of stillness". Be sure you have a mixture of the hi-fi and the lo-fi.
- Embark on and record your soundwalk. From a technical point of view:
- Avoid handling noise while using your recorder
- Avoid wind noise
- Try to set conservative recording levels to avoid clipping when something unexpectedly loud happens, but still capture the subtle sounds
- Your recording should be about five minutes of unedited, unprocessed sound
- Debrief and analyze! Create a short document/graph/chart which describes your route, notes areas of lo-fi and hi-fi activity, and shows where each sound source occurs in time. Also, if you could make the recording again, what would you do to improve your technique?
- Submit your recording (CD quality) and your notes.
Sound Effects Pack
5% - Due October 4th
Record a collection of interesting and useful sound effects which could be used in any area of audio production. Pick a theme for your collection, and record six short sounds. Each of the six sounds should be:
- mono (stereo when necessary)
- short, not more than a few seconds each; household or other real-world sounds in isolation will work well
- different from each other - do not record six notes from a xylophone
- physical/acoustic, as opposed to electronic - do not record your mobile device or microwave keypad
- free of extraneous background noise or music which would limit the usefulness of the sound
- accompanied by a short description of recording technique; what gear did you use, and how did you use it (location, microphone type and position)?
- edited or sweetened, if necessary, though avoid any audio compression
.zip all sounds and accompanying documentation together before uploading to the class Forum.
Something from Very Little
5% - Due October 11th
Choose a single Sound Effect from someone else's Sound Effects Pack post in the Forum. Using Audacity, create a 30 second audio piece, with only the given Sound Effect audio file as your source material. No further recording or importing of sounds is permitted, but any other processing in Audacity is fair game! Aim for some shape in your work - think of frequency, density, dynamics - and take the listener on a journey through your processing. Upload your piece in a response to the post you used as a starting point.
10% - Due October 18th
Build a convincing ambient soundtrack which could be used as a background for audio or video production. Your completed ambience...
must be constructed of at least six separate elements, which must all be captured by you, for example:
- dog barking
- traffic on the highway
- wind in trees
- chimes on church
- airplane overhead
- sea gulls squabbling
- must be approximately three minutes long, and sustain the listener's interest for that time!
- must not contain any noticeable loops; if any of the elements loop, do your best to hide that fact from the listener!
Submit your complete project, including all separate components as well as a stereo mix.
Voice & Music
10% - Due October 25th
Use Audacity for this assignment.
Before starting this assignment, read this piece on how to choose music for aural storytelling. Pay particular attention to the second part on best practices.
When complete, this assignment should have a duration of exactly two minutes.
- Write a short script on the topic of sustainability: environmental, political, social, recreational, etc.
- You can read yourself, or have someone else read. The work does not have to be in English, though please provide a translation in that case.
- Record a performance of the script as carefully as possible. Make sure your recording is completely free of extraneous background noise, and any popping Ps or other microphone handling sounds.
- Bring the recording into Audacity. Edit as necessary.
- Use a compressor to make the audio level of the voice recording as smooth as possible, while still sounding natural. You should be able to hear and see the peaks of the recording come down. Normalize the voice (a good way to find out if there is any noise in the recording).
- Choose music - more than one piece if you like - which will function as an appropriate accompaniment to the recording in terms of content. Edit the music tastefully to fit the length of your voice recording.
- The music should likely be a lower volume than the voice most of the time. Manually bring the level of the music up at times when the voice pauses, and at the beginning and ending of the piece, to frame the voice recording.
- In Audacity, use the Analyze > Plot Spectrum function to determine what areas of the frequency spectrum are most prevalent in the voice recording. Listen to the voice recording to see if you can hear those areas! Use the Equalization effect to remove some of those frequencies from your chosen music track.
- Readjust the levels of the voice and music as necessary to maximize levels without clipping.
.zip and submit the .aup and _data components of your project.
Note: well-produced Voice & Music assignments will be compiled for air on Changes Radio on CHLY.
15% - Due Wednesday, November 21st
Completed podcasts will be uploaded and made available for listening by the general public.
This assignment provides students in CRIM 241 (Introduction to Corrections, taught by Joanne Falvai) and DIGI 270 the opportunity to collaborate on the creation and production of a podcast. Criminology students will select, research, write and record the content for the podcast, and Media Studies students will edit the audio and produce the finished product. The goal of the podcast is to educate the public. Students from each class will be teamed up and encouraged to collaborate and check-in with each other throughout the various stages of the project.
CRIM students will be evaluated on the content of the podcast, while DIGI students will be evaluated on production and auralization. Once complete, this assignment should have a duration of exactly eight minutes. Online resources such as https://www.edgestudio.com/production/words-to-time-calculator may be helpful with this requirement.
- CRIM 241 students will be responsible for depth, development and comprehensiveness of the topic, ability to identify and analyze the key issues of the topic, research – background/context/academic/legislation, current issues/cases/news relating to the topic, arranging interviews, professionalism, preparation and attention to detail.
- DIGI 270 students will be responsible for overseeing/facilitating all audio production and editing. You do not have to be present for every recording, but you do need to ensure high quality audio in the finished product. Take advantage of the audio medium! Choose music, location, ambient, and other "sundry sounds" (see https://transom.org/2013/the-basics/) to complement the spoken word components. Use compression on the voice to manipulate dynamic range, and otherwise add meaning via processing.
- Thursday, October 4th: Joanne joins DIGI 270 to discuss CRIM perspective.
- Friday, October 5th: Robin joins CRIM 241 class in a computer lab for a crash course on Audacity and audio recording (with a microphone and without) and editing; students leave that class with a clear understanding of how to best record themselves, save their file(s) in the proper format and make them accessible to their DIGI teammates. CRIM and DIGI students are paired up. Robin will share contact info.
- Monday, October 22nd by 4pm: final day for CRIM students to submit their completed script to Joanne via email, receive feedback and then begin their recording. Following approval of their script, CRIM students perform and record their podcast (preferably with DIGI teammates).
- Friday, October 26th: CRIM students provide Joanne and DIGI team with their final recording(s), a title and short description of their podcast and a hashtag or two.
- Thursday, November 1st: DIGI students receive and review raw recordings and work (with classmates if desired) to brainstorm ideas for auralization.
- Early November: DIGI students edit and produce (preferably with CRIM teammates).
- Reading Week: DIGI students may submit their work in progress to Robin for feedback.
- Wednesday, November 21st: DIGI students upload a high quality MP3 of their podcast to the VIULearn assignment submission folder. Include a READ ME file which describes how the work came together and any problems encountered, and accounts for any incorporated third party audio.
Final Audio Project
30% - Due December 6th
Details of this project will be discussed on an individual basis, including format and content. For example, your project could be: a documentary, news, music, audio drama, oral history, sound installation, soundtrack for visual art or film, audio essay, soundscape, radio theatre... What you plan to produce should be discussed with your instructor prior to beginning work. As discussed in class, all audio in your project which is not entirely produced by you must be appropriately documented.