Reflection

My favorite project was probably the second web story or the creative devices project near the beginning of the semester.

I liked the second web story because it tied everything we’ve learned this semester (interviewing, photography, audio, html) into one project.  It was fun implementing all those things into one story and having them work together.  I enjoyed the creative devices assignment because it allowed me to get, for lack of a  better term, creative with picture-taking.  I liked going to different places, especially just in nature, and seeing what I could do to make a picture interesting.

I think I can use most of the skills I’ve learned in this class for the future, especially the audio and photography.  Writing online is also something I have done in the past and will probably be doing in the future, so the last two projects helped with that.

The group SoundSlides project was also beneficial because it gave us the opportunity to work with someone else, which is probably what we’ll be doing after school.  It was good to see a project from another perspective and get the experience of working with a partner.

I also thought it was good to further learn the importance of getting work done on time and in a professional fashion, because that’s how the “real world” is.  If you turn in something late or don’t include something that you were asked to, you have consequences.

I’d like to stay in the realm of media for my career, at least for now.  This class was definitely pertinent to being involved in the media and prepared me for anything I will do in the future.  This class kind of reassured me that I enjoy media-related activities, especially when they involve something I’m interested in.

Some video skills would have been nice to learn but I know that’s offered in the subsequent course.

Individual SoundSlides Project

For this assignment, I visited the Library IT department to do a story on what they do .  The purpose of this assignment was to put together a story on SoundSlides using audio and photos together in a slideshow.

Working alone had its pros and cons.  Obviously, there was more work to do, but I could do it on my own time.  I was more stressed working by myself but I think that enabled me to get more work done in a shorter span of time.  Although, it was nice not having two tasks on my mind during the group project.   Overall, I think it was better working with a partner.

I didn’t have too many interesting happenings occur during the project.  I had somewhat of a struggle finding the sixth floor of the library, until I was told there was an elevator on the fifth floor I had to take to get there.  It felt like I was going to an important vault or something.

I didn’t have nearly as much of a problem with background noise this time around, although you can hear the faint hum of the servers in the interview with Mr. Boss.  It took me a while to think of picture to take to visualize information technology.  I had a hard time coming up with a topic to do my story on in the first place.  I still don’t know why I picked the Library IT department, but it was interesting.

My main problem with this project was thinking of a story to do.  That was another benefit of working with a partner- there were more ideas to go on.  When I finally thought of an idea, I didn’t really have many problems.  It was unfortunate that the faint noise of the servers was in the background during the interview with Mr. Boss, but at least it added some ambient noise.  Deciding how to edit the interviews was time-consuming, of course, and it took a while to cut it all down to a sensible story.

In hindsight I probably would have taken more pictures, even though I struggled in the first place to think of subjects for the pictures.  It probably would have helped to talk to UW’s IT department, but I thought that may have taken away from the focus of the Library’s IT department.  All in all, it was a good experience.

Group SoundSlides Critique

Alex Edwards & Ashlee Oslund

I thought the ambient noise for this project was extremely fitting.  The pictures are all good and nicely timed.  The audio is clear and the information from the interviewees is interesting.

The audio was clear throughout the slideshow.  There was some distracting background noise with Mary Aguao’s voice, but it wasn’t too severe to distracting.  The cuts and edits were clean for the most part.  Like I said, I did like the ambient noise, but it may have been overdone at some points.

The pictures were synchronized pretty well with the audio.  It can be difficult to decide where to put the pictures, especially with that much audio, but I thought they did a good job with that.  There was a nice variety of photos.  I can’t really think of much else they could have done.  One other good idea could have been to have one of their feet next to a dinosaur’s foot or just have someone standing next to one of the displays to give the viewer a comparison and show how big the dinosaur is.

I thought the story flowed well from speaker to speaker, but I thought the ending could have had more finality.

Cody Hess & Patrick Pajak

I liked the ambient noise that began and ended the slideshow.  There were a lot of photos of game action and the players and coaches showing emotion.

All the interviewees could be heard pretty clearly throughout the slideshow.  The cuts and edits were clean.

The photos were synchronized to the audio pretty well.  It can be tough to decide where to put the pictures when you have as many as they did, but I thought the timing was good overall.  There was a nice variety of photos, both action and still.  It can be hard to take action photos without getting them blurry but I thought they did a good job of avoiding that for the most part.

They did a good job of getting the same information from the different interviewees and showing how hard the players work.  I thought the story flowed nicely.

There were some photos that had some distractions in them and some with the subject kind of off-center, but other than that they were good.

Andie Knous & Jessica Peck

I liked the variety of pictures in this slideshow.  They did a good job of capturing the work that goes into an event like this.  I thought the pictures gave a nice idea of what the event would have been like.

The interviewees could be heard clearly, but there were some random instance of background noise of what sounded like other students working at the site.  I thought there could have been more ambient noise, like a chainsaw or some kind of ghost sound.  The cuts and edits were clean throughout the story.

The photos were timed very well with the audio.  They were creative and, like I said earlier, provided an overall look of what the haunted house might have been like.  It would have been nice to have seen some reactions of the students, but that probably would have been difficult and inconvenient in the dark and using flash.

I thought the story flowed well from speaker to speaker.  They did a good job of getting the student’s thoughts on the haunted house and the part about raising money for a good cause was a nice ending to the story.

I guess what I learned is that pictures are just as important as audio.  I noticed that on occasion I would be looking intently at the pictures and forget to listen to the audio that was with them.  When timed nicely, the pictures and audio together can make for a great story.

SoundSlides Group Project

For this assignment, we grouped up and thought of different stories to do for our group project.  The purpose of this assignment was to collaborate with a partner and put together a story on SoundSlides using audio and photos together in a slideshow.

I thought the experience with Peter at the Library went pretty well over all.  Unfortunately, when we arrived at the Library to meet with the head brewer, Mitch Kunce, he was cleaning the kettles with a pump which caused a lot of background noise.  The second gentleman we talked with, Pete Hegg, was sitting at the bar and there was even more background noise when we talked to him.  What they’re saying is still clear and audible, of course, and I think the background noise, especially with Mr. Hegg, kind of adds to the environment and feel of the story.

The SoundSlides experience wasn’t too bad once we got the photos uploaded.  Getting the pictures organized and timed the way we wanted them took some work but it was a pretty straightforward process.  The timing of the pictures and audio was somewhat time-consuming, but that’s to be expected.

Our main problem with this project was just the background noise, especially in the bar.  I found that wearing headphones helped make the subject more audible.  I experimented different ways to try to decrease the background noise, but none of them seemed to work the way I wanted them to.

In the interview with Mitch, the head brewer at the Library, he would sometimes scoot up closer to the recorder and then scoot back in his chair away from the recorder, so there are points in the audio where he sounds like he’s softer and louder than other times.  Mitch was a great talker so we didn’t have any problems getting him to talk.

Before Mr. Hegg, we tried talking to another gentleman at the bar and he was just giving us one-word answers, and that was somewhat frustrating.  Another problem was saying in my question what I wanted them to say in their answer and not having that context for the audio.  It’s difficult to word a question so that they include the context of your question in their answer, if that makes sense.  I tried to maneuver around that issue while editing.

The last problem I can think of was editing within the allotted time.  We talked to Mitch for a little over 15 minutes and whittled that down to about two minutes.

What I would change is getting a quieter environment to interview in, or telling everyone to leave the bar before we interviewed.  Not really, but still.  I would also try to word the questions better so that the subject might possibly be able to include the context of the question in their answer.

Three Story Ideas

My first story idea was the “Night of Madness” last Friday. It featured different UW Athletics coaches, former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy, and current NBA player Joakim Noah. The event was basically a pep rally to get students pumped up for the upcoming basketball season. It was important because of the school spirit involved and the notable people participating in the event. I would either make it a general story about the different coaches and the thoughts on their own team or just make it about the upcoming basketball season. The three different people I would probably include in the story are men’s basketball head coach Larry Shyatt, Van Gundy, and Noah.

The second story idea I had came from the upcoming events on the UW calendar. It’s the Wilderness First Aid/CPR class on Friday. This story would be interesting because there are a lot of students at UW who are interested in outdoor activities and need to know the importance of handling wilderness situations. I could ask someone from the UW outdoor program why this is an important thing to do and what the benefits are of completing this class. I could also ask a participant why it’s important to them to be certified and why they’re taking the class. The third person I could talk to would be someone who does rock climbing and see what their thoughts are on the risks of the sport and why it’s important to know CPR and what to do in wilderness situations.

My third story idea is a personality profile of a teacher. Teachers always have a story to tell and it’s interesting to get to know more about them because of their experiences. I would talk to the teacher, a classmate or two, and possibly a colleague of the teacher.

Audio Critiques

Andie Knous– I liked that the chronology of the story was pretty smooth and there wasn’t any background noise. You can hear the interviewee clearly. The final quote was fitting as a closing remark for the subject of the interview.

I think the zoom feature could have been utilized more. A few places in the track had little nanoseconds of noise in-between the transitions to different topics and I think zooming into the track to find those places and cut them out would have made the transitions much smoother. I think the sound of the click of a camera taking a picture would have been a cool ambient noise to add. Finally, I think a few “ums” could have been edited out, but it can be rough determining whether or not that would alter the flow of the story.

Zak Bolender– I liked the sound quality, the sound effects, and the fluidity of the interview. It seemed to include a lot of the important information involved in what the interviewee does for her job. The cuts were clean and it flowed nicely.

At the 1:38 mark there was a faint tapping noise that was kind of distracting. I think the sound effects could have been cut a little shorter as well, although they were creative and pertinent. When 1:42 came along her voiced seemed to get higher and kind of stayed that way. I think it would have been better to dim that down a bit. Other than that, I thought it flowed nicely and sounded clear.

Me– I tried to make this assignment easier for myself starting with thinking of questions to ask before the interview and thinking of what order to ask them in. I think that helped me a lot because it enabled me to get responses in the order I wanted the story to go. Another part that I thought made the assignment easier was starting a new track to edit on, that way I could just copy and paste the parts I wanted to include and didn’t have to go through and delete three minutes worth of track. I thought both of those really helped and are definitely good advice for the future.

I learned that it can be difficult making transitions and clean cuts without taking away from the flow of the interview. I also learned that it’s difficult to edit the context if what you wanted in the interview has already been asked in the question, if that makes sense. I think it would have been better to add some ambient noise as well. In the future, I probably would have added a sound of a soccer announcer yelling “GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL,” but I just didn’t want it to last too long and I was already deciding what and what not to include from the interview to cut it down to two minutes.

Edited Peer Interview

Intramural Sports Page

Club Sports Page

This audio editing experience wasn’t too bad. I thought it went pretty smoothly overall. It was neat to see how quickly I could change the track. I definitely thought making a new track to start on from scratch was a much better idea than just editing the original raw track. It seemed a lot easier that way.

What I learned is that it can take some time to get the right timing down while editing audio. You have to make sure that the story makes sense and flows. It’s important not to get disorganized while editing and it’s important to save your changes after they’re made or you might forget to do it.

I also learned that it may take several tries before realizing that you have to hit the “Stop” button instead of the “Pause” button to edit the track. Finally, I learned that it saves a lot of time if you go into the interview with questions that are in the order of how you would want to edit them, instead of having to scramble the responses when you edit the track.

I enjoyed how relatively simple Audacity made audio editing. I thought it would be a little more complex but it didn’t turn out bad. I also liked the fact that Peter and I got some doable interviews the first time around. I thought we would have to conduct our interviews at least twice to practice and make sure the audio was okay, but they turned out fine after the first try.

What I didn’t enjoy, as I mentioned earlier, was the inconvenience of pausing the track to try to edit it instead of stopping the track. It took me a few tries to realize what I was doing wrong. This took me a while to learn after a few times of pausing the track, trying to edit it and being frustrated.

I guess the main thing that surprised me, as I just mentioned, is that Peter and I conducted our interviews in one try. I was also surprised at how relatively simple it was to edit the track.

The main thing I wish could have gone smoother was stopping the audio to edit the track instead of pausing it. That was by far the most frustrating part of editing, but once I got used to stopping the track, it was much better. I also wish I would have gotten a recorder with better quality.