Audio Soundslides

To create a good Audio Soundslide project, you first need a good story. Review what makes a good story as we discussed in class.  You need action, a beginning, an arc, a moment of reflection, the ending. You need a story that will evoke emotion. Find a story that can be told in a sequence, chronologically, or as a process.

For an Audio Soundslide project, you will marry great photographs with awesome audio. You need both for your project to be good. You’ll need natural sound – look for stories that have sound to them: the sound of a workplace, a hobby, nature, a busy street corner, playing an instrument. Natural sound is NOT background music. In fact, please do not use background music in your Audio Soundslide project unless it relates directly to your story – a ballerina’s music for her dance, the radio of someone at work, a musician’s song, etc.

You need to take LOTS of photos in order to find the best ones for your project. Take wide shots, medium shots, close-up shots, unusual angles, over the shoulder shots. Think about the rules of composition when taking your photos.

Then, you begin putting it together with Audio Soundslides.

You MUST use Audio Soundslides PLUS, which we have in the DART lab. If you download the free version, then you will not be able to create a video to upload to your site.

Learn to use Soundslides

A round-up of Soundslides Tutorials

Soundslides Assignment

Due April 24, with deadline for photos and audios on April 17. You will have class time to put together your Audio Soundslide on April 17.

Choose a story that has some visual interest which preferably involves SNC students or faculty, on or off campus. Look for a story that can follow an arc, with a climax and resolution.

Write a headline and create a storyboard for your story. This can change as you go out and shoot the story, but make sure you have a story first by honing in on what is interesting, who is involved, what you are trying to show with your audio slideshow.

Shoot a lot of photos – Mindy McAdams suggests 200 photos at one time, on one day, for ONE STORY. Several photos can be of the same thing, but change your position, the angle, etc.

Record natural sounds during your photo shoot.

Record your interviews They should be done in a quiet place, and they can be done separately from the photos. If you are covering an event, you may have to do interviews at the scene, but move the person off to a quiet area. Try to get more than one interview if appropriate.

In class on April 17

Edit your photos: Using Photoshop.

 Edit your audio: Using Audacity or GarageBand. It would be better if you could have your audio edited before class.

Combine the two: Using Soundslides

Post to your blog before class on April 24. 

How to make audio slideshows better

Colin Mulvany is a multimedia producer at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash.

▪   I shoot the photographs for my slideshow like I  shoot a video sequence–by taking wide, medium and lots of tight shots. This gives my shows visual variety and allows me to cover my audio by opening with a wide shot, then transitioning to a tight shot of the same scene.

▪   It’s best to open your show with a bit of natural sound rather than with a subject talking. The ramp up into your story is important. If you don’t pull the viewer in fast they will bolt. Natural sound eases the viewer into your story without jolting them with dialogue.

▪   Stop having the subjects introduce themselves. Really, stop it! The biggest cliché in audio slideshows is the “Hi, my name is…” intro. Instead, use a lower thirds title.

▪   Use passionate subjects for the narrative of your story. If your subject has a boring monotone voice, then maybe you should write and voice some narrative bridges yourself to help move the story along.

▪   Like video, try to match up photos to what the narrator is talking about. The same goes for the natural sound.  When you do this, your story will really start to crackle.

▪   Get yourself a decent flash card recorder. The cheap one makes your show sound amateurish. You use a  $3000.00 digital camera to shoot the pictures. A $200.00 recorder is a small price to pay for decent sound quality.

▪   When you record an interview, make sure to do it in a quiet spot. Then add your natural sounds (at a reduced level) under the narrative to give it sound depth.

▪   Record a minute of room tone wherever you are taking photographs. Use it to cover the sound gaps between or under the narration.

▪   Never, I mean NEVER have dead air sound gaps in your audio narrative. Cross-fade your audio between clips or add room tone to prevent this at all costs.

▪   Use a multi-track sound editor to do your audio edit. It allows you to add the layers of sound that helps you create a soundscape that rocks the viewer of your show.

▪   Your final audio edit should be as smooth as butter. Nothing should take you out of the moment. I like to close my eyes and just listen to my edit without looking at the timeline. Hit stop when you hit a bump and fix it. The difference between a great edit and a poor edit is in how you do your final audio tweaks. Make sure to normalize your audio so that there are not low and high dropouts in the mix.

▪   Make sure your show is paced correctly. Too fast and you make the viewer mad, too slow and you bore them visually.

▪   Use music for a reason, and not because you need to make a boring show more interesting. Don’t use music to manipulate emotion. If it is not in the narrative or photos, don’t force it with music.

▪   Finally, create what I call a nat/narrative weave with your audio edits. Start your show with natural sound, and then weave your narration and ambient sound in and out. The worse thing you can do is have one subject drone on for three minutes without stopping.