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For this assignment, we recorded audio from two sources, edited the audio, and collected photos to create a SoundSlide project like the one we did when we worked in groups. The group project gave us practice recording and editing audio and collecting photos, as well as introducing us to the SoundSlides program. This assignment was just like the group project but this time we were on our own. It gave us more practice editing audio and photos and creating a SoundSlide project.

My experience working alone went well. I have no complaints about working alone or about working with a partner but I must say I had way more fun working with a partner. I’m not the most tech-savvy person out there and sometimes I get a little frustrated. As far as the technical part, this time I really didn’t have any major problems and everything went well but it helped the first time having someone there to help figure things. I also liked working with a partner because we kept each other laughing and it didn’t seem too stressful.

I don’t know if I have any epic or noteworthy experiences while working on this project. I had trouble in the beginning getting a hold of someone interesting who was willing to help me with my project and then I had to round up a second source.  I guess one funny thing that happened during this project was when I attended a yoga class to take photos. At the end of the class when Lauren and the participants were sitting in the dark and everyone was quiet my stomach started growling and wouldn’t quit. I thought it was kind of embarrassing but everyone else either didn’t notice or thought it was funny. I had a blast meeting with Lauren because she was so willing to work with me and she was also really funny and fun to work with.

As for problems, this time I didn’t really have anything major go wrong. My audio worked and I was able to conquer SoundSlides by myself, which I consider a major achievement since I always seem to have technical problems. However, one thing really frustrated me. I have a Nikon D90 camera that I have been using for this class. I took it home with me over Thanksgiving break and decided to leave it there, not even thinking about this project. I thought it would be easier that way so I wouldn’t have to haul it home again for Christmas break but I totally spaced the fact that I had this project to do. I was extremely mad at myself. Luckily, I have a smaller Nikon point-and-shoot camera that got the job done. The quality isn’t the best but I still got my photos and was able to finish my project.

Overall, I don’t think I would change anything about this project. It was fun and everything went together smoothly. The only thing I would change would have been to use my good camera but that is my own fault.

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After finishing our SoundSlide group projects, we were asked to view three projects completed by our fellow classmates. I chose to look at Wyoming Cowboys Basketball: A Legacy by Dyann and Brooke, The University of Wyoming Marching Band by Audrey and Zachary, and Artists of Touchstone by Cameron and Rachel.

Wyoming Cowboys Basketball: A Legacy: I thought this SoundSlide project was very well done. I really liked the use of ambient noise throughout the SoundSlide and how it was almost like being at an actual basketball game since they included music from the band and cheers from the crowd. The audio was good but a few of the clips seemed to come in a little louder. I also liked the photos since they used a combination of action and still shots. I might suggest brightening up a few of the photos that turned out a little dark but for the most part they were very good.

The University of Wyoming Marching Band: First of all, I enjoyed this SoundSlide because I thought it was a really cool subject. Overall, the project was also very well done. The audio seemed to flow together nicely and I liked the use of ambient noise, especially opening with the drums and closing music from the whole band. I also really liked the photos. I liked the way they captured the band doing their duties at games and practice, being involved in the community, and having fun with each other. This SoundSlide was nicely done and brought out a lot of the best things involved with the marching band.

Artists of Touchstone: I thought this was a very interesting topic for a SoundSlide project. This project was also nicely done overall. The audio sounded good and it was fun to hear the artists tell their stories. I also enjoyed the combinations of photos since they used photos of the artists with their work and some close-up shots of their work to emphasize detail.

For this assignment, Adrienne and I teamed up and got a taste of creating a SoundSlide project. First, we had to choose a topic. Since we both know some of the members of the local band High Country, we decided to get a hold of the guys and do our project on their band. We recorded an interview with three of the five band members and gathered photos from live performances at the Cowboy Saloon in downtown Laramie.

My experience working with Adrienne has been great. There is NEVER a dull moment when the two of us work together. When things don’t go our way, our sense of humor helps to lighten the mood and improve the situation. I think it keeps us sane when we get a little frustrated. Throughout this project we have developed a few “inside jokes” that we will probably be quoting for quite some time.

Overall, my SoundSlide experience was great. I enjoyed working with Adrienne because we always manage to get our work done despite occasional set-backs and we have fun doing it. Also, it was really fun to sit down with the High Country guys and hear their stories. They are a fun group of guys and it was really hard not to laugh during some of their stories.

I learned a lot about using new programs and I feel that my skills in the other programs we previously learned in class are improving. The more I work with these techniques, the easier they get.

Like usual, we experienced a few minor technical difficulties. For some reason, we always run into some kind of snag with Audacity. Thanks to excellent note taking, we were able to re-edit the audio profile with little trouble. Luckily, we were able to figure out and fix the problems and then the project went fairly well. Other than that, it was just a little time consuming trying to figure out the timing and order of the photos. This wasn’t a problem, just a little more tedious.

Another problem we had that could have been avoided was background noise during our interview with the guys. Like I said, it was hard not to laugh during some of their stories and once in a while I couldn’t help but giggle. Then we had to edit our own laughter out of the recording. Another problem we faced was fidgeting. Every now and then during our audio recording there are clicking sounds, caused by one of the band members playing with a pen while he talked. We weren’t able to edit out all of these clicks. We also had a cell phone start ringing during the interview that we were able to edit out.

For the future, I will remind my interviewees to turn off their cell phones during the recorded interview. I will also try to perform interviews in a location free of distractions, like pens and other things people may be tempted to subconsciously play with.

Overall, I think our final project turned out great and I am very satisfied with it. Our SoundSlide can be viewed by following this link: http://uwyojournalism.com/?p=608 or http://klandreville.com/morency_wilhelm/soundslider.swf?size=1&format=xml&embed_width=465&embed_height=400.

Ideas: SoundSlide Group Project

As I prepare to begin my SoundSlide Group Project with my partner, Adrienne, I first had to come up with a few possible story ideas. Here goes:

Laramie Animal Shelter: As an animal lover, I think it would be interesting to do a story about the local animal shelter because I feel bad for the abandoned animals that are awaiting rescue. I know a few people who have adopted pets from the animal shelter here in town and it warms my heart to see these animals finally getting to go to a good home. If I choose this topic, I would speak with the manager and workers at the animal shelter to get some background information and learn what exactly the organization does for abandoned animals. I would then speak with pet owners who have adopted their pets through the shelter.

Outdoor Adventure Program: As an outdoors person myself, I think it would be fun to do a story about the Outdoor Adventure Program here on campus. I have participated in a few events over the years and I have always had a good time. I think this is a great opportunity for students to get out and meet new people, learn new skills, and also explore new places. For this story, my sources would include the head of the OAP, event coordinators and helpers, and also students who have participated in different trips and events.

The Grounds: Here in Laramie, there is a coffee shop that has recently re-opened under new ownership after being closed down for a while. I think this would be a fun story to write because I LOVE coffee and I am glad to see the business opened up once again. Sources for this story would include the new owner/manager, employees, and consumers. It would be interesting to find out what customers have to say about The Grounds now that it has re-opened, compared to The Grounds that closed down a while back. I have heard good things about The Grounds so far, so maybe the business has even attracted some new customers.

Audio Profile Critiques

The three audio profiles I listened to and critiqued were edited by Dyann, Rachel, and Tom.

The first audio profile I listened to was by Dyann, where Brooke talked about her internship with K2 Radio. I chose this interview to listen to because I have had a few classes with Brooke and I have heard her share a little about her internship in those classes and it sounded like she really enjoyed her experience. I thought this audio profile was very-well done. I liked it because Brooke sounded really passionate about what she was talking about and Dyann did a good job of editing, making the clip sound smooth and easy to follow. The only thing I noticed that could have been done differently was the slight echo. The audio clip was very easy to understand, but maybe it would have been even a little more clear if that slight echo was reduced.

Next I listened to Anna‘s story, edited by Rachel. I liked this audio profile becuase it was fun to hear Anna talk about her involvement with organizations on campus. The clip was very clear and crisp and easy to understand. The only mistake was a slight skip in the clip, or one part where two parts of the story seemed to be smashed together and didn’t sound natural. This was a very tiny detail that I picked up on but overall, I think the audio clip was well-done.

The final audio profile I critiqued was edited by Tom, which was a story about his friend’s trip to San Francisco. I thought this audio profile was done very well. It was clear and easy to understand, and the story was also very interesting.

This assignment taught me about editing audio and it gave me some good practice. It also gave me experience with some audio editing programs that I wasn’t very familiar with or had never used before.

Overall, I think this project went fairly well. I actually had fun interviewing Adrienne and hearing her story. It was a bit of a challenge to go through the raw interview and edit it down though. After deciding which parts of the raw interview I wanted to include in the edited version, I didn’t have too many problems cutting and editing. The only major problems I had dealt with technology. Go figure. Somehow I managed to get the software downloaded on my computer but then I had problems uploading my edited clip to SoundCloud. My technology problems were a little frustrating, but in the end everything worked out and I am happy with the final product.

My own story can be heard on Adrienne‘s blog.

Audio Profile (Edited)

Interview with Adrienne: Edited by Courtney Wilhelm

My audio editing experience was, well, interesting….

The actual editing part of this project wasn’t bad. It was easy for me to pick out which parts of my raw interview with Adrienne that I wanted to use in the shorter, edited piece. I had no problem isolating these specific sections and piecing them together. I thought the final result sounded pretty good, especially for my first attempt at audio editing.

When it came to converting the audio clips from WAV files to MP3 files is where I ran into the most difficulty. I had to make many attempts at converting the files and trying to upload them to SoundCloud before I finally got everything to work the way it was supposed to. I tried to follow the instructions we were given in class but I encountered a few problems and I still can’t figure out exactly where I went wrong. At least, in the end, everything worked out and I learned something along the way.

Overall, I learned a lot about editing audio and using new programs, such as Audacity and SoundCloud. I also learned how to convert WAV files into MP3 files. Before this audio project, I had no experience at all when it came to editing audio. This is something that I think is a good skill to know, especially with the changes taking place in the world of journalism, and I am glad I now know more about it.

The main things I didn’t enjoy about this project were all the random technology-related problems I seemed to have. But that’s nothing new; I always seem to have some kind of problem with technology. I just wish the process had gone a little more smoothly for me. At least I was able to battle through it and get the project done. Other than that, everything else went quite well and I am happy with the way things turned out.

Adrienne and I both encountered some problems and by putting our heads together, we were able to get things figured out in the end.

Audio Profile (Raw)

Interview with Adrienne by Courtney Wilhelm

My interviewing experience was a little interesting, but overall went very well. Actually, it was hilarious. I have interviewed subjects with an audio recorder for stories in other classes, but there was something about recording an interview with a friend that felt way different.

For this assignment, I interviewed Adrienne about her favorite vacation. Since I have known Adrienne for a few years now and we like to clown around, it was really hard for me to be serious during this interview. We both got the giggles at first and had to redo the recording a few times. Of course, since I don’t have a serious bone in my whole body, I was usually the one who cracked up laughing first.

It felt a little strange and awkward when it was time for her to interview me as well. Public speaking is not my forte and I’m not always good at thinking on the spot. In the back of my mind I was trying to remember to speak clearly and avoid stuttering, hesitating, using “fill” words, etc.

From this experience, I learned a lot of helpful techniques to keep in mind when performing a recorded interview, both as the interviewer and the interviewee. After misunderstanding one of Adrienne’s questions and feeling rather dumb, I learned how important it is to clearly state questions so the interviewee understands what is being asked.

I enjoyed hearing Adrienne’s story, especially because this way it was told in her own words. It was also fun to hear the story with the expression in her voice. The only part I didn’t enjoy so much was being interviewed myself. Like I said, public speaking is not my strongest talent and I think I may be a little self conscious about sounding stupid.

For the most part, this project went quite well. Once we finally got over the giggles, our interviews went great. The only thing I wish I could change is my habit of getting the giggles. I have no problem performing interviews with people I don’t know, but being put on the spot with someone I know well just cracked me up. All in all, things went well and every attempt and “do-over” just helped us get a little bit better at performing recorded interviews both as the interviewer and the interviewee.

Audio Editing Practice

For this assignment, we were asked to carry around our audio recorders for a few days and collect samples of everyday noises in different settings, both inside and outside, as well as at home and in the classroom. After collecting our noise samples, we learned about two online sound programs: SoundCloud and Audacity. We learned how to download our samples in SoundCloud, create individual tracks, create sets, and post them in our blog, as I have done below. We then learned how to use Audacity. We used this program to un-jumble the recording of ourselves counting and put the numbers back in the correct order.

This project was to help us get used to using our audio recorders and to help us think about sounds and how particular noises could be used and added to specific stories and types of stories. This assignment also introduced us to two programs that taught us how to download and edit recordings, so we can include recordings in future stories.

Before this project, I only had little experience with recording and using my audio recorder. I have been using my audio recorder for another journalism class, Public Affairs Reporting, when I perform interviews for the stories I am working on. As technologically challenged as I am, I am somewhat surprised that I figured out how to operate the recorder in the first place, let alone figure out how to download my sound files onto my computer. This assignment exposed me to SoundCloud and Audacity for the first time. So far, the programs seem pretty easy to work with. I am still learning about the programs and I’m sure I will continue to get the hang of them and learn more along the way.

This is the first time I had ever done anything related to sound editing. Honestly, I was a little intimidated at first, but it wasn’t too bad. With all the changes taking place in the world of journalism, I think knowing how to edit sound recordings and clips will be beneficial to me in the future.

Counting Original by Courtney Wilhelm

Counting Editing by Courtney Wilhelm

Ambient Noise

Footsteps by Courtney Wilhelm

This is a recording of me walking. You can hear my footsteps across the rocky parking lot in the alley behind my apartment as I walked out to my pickup. A clip like this could possibly be used in a story about outdoor recreation. It could be included in a feature story about hiking or walking or in a story about the benefits of walking as a form of exercise.

Brushing Teeth by Courtney Wilhelm

This is a clip of me brushing my teeth. I recorded this at my apartment as I was getting ready for bed. A clip like this could be used in a health-related story about dental hygeine or even an advertisement for dental hygeine products.

Pouring Cereal by Courtney Wilhelm

This is a recording of cereal being poured. I recorded this clip at my apartment as I was preparing a bowl of Wheaties for myself for breakfast. This clip could be used in a health-related story about the benefits of eating breakfast and choosing healthy breakfast foods.

Running Water by Courtney Wilhelm

This is a recording of running water from the faucet in my apartment. This clip could be used in a story that involved the use of water, perhaps in a story about living environmentally friendly and giving tips about how to conserve water.

Typing by Courtney Wilhelm

This is a clip of me typing. I recorded this while in a computer lab on campus putting the finishing touches on a paper I was working on for one of my journalism classes. This clip could be used for a variety of different stories. It could be used in a school or business story. It could also be used in a story about computers and technology.

Writing by Courtney Wilhelm

This is a recording of me writing while sitting at the desk in my bedroom. At the time, I was scribbling some quick notes relating to one of my other journalism classes. This type of clip could be used in a few different ways as well. It could be used in a school-related story, or even in a feature story about a writer or a biography about a writer.

Audio Journalism

To get a feel of audio journalism before beginning my own audio journalism projects, I looked at three different examples of audio stories. The stories I chose were Steven Marmo: The Bar Fighter in the “One in 8 Million” series, The Rest Stop from the “This American Life” series on NPR, and Lolita Wolf: The Kinky Lover, also in the “One in 8 Million” series. I chose these stories because I found the “One in 8 Million” series very interesting and these two people in particular sounded like they lived very unique lives. I chose The Rest Stop because I am a frequent traveller and I thought it would be fun to hear about the NPR journalist’s experiences and interviews with other travellers.

In the story The Bar Fighter, Steven Marmo describes his experiences as a fighter and what he was feeling at the time. He also described how he overcame his problem and how it improved his life. The journalist was able to capture some great quotes from Marmo and I could really hear the emotion behind his words as I listened to his story. The quote at the beginning grabbed my attention when Marmo began by talking about his tattoos and how he isn’t the same as he used to be. The journalist who created this piece included a slideshow of images that played as the story progressed, which helped me get a feel of what Marmo’s personality. The combination of media techniques helped me understand Marmo and realize the struggles he faced while trying to overcome his problems and change his life for the better.

In The Rest Stop, the journalist sat in a rest stop in New York and spoke with people who were passing through and stopping for a break. The program was an hour long so I listened to the first couple interviews. I really enjoyed the first one, where the journalist interviewed a boy who was travelling with his family. He had two siblings and he was forced to always sit in the middle to keep his brothers from fighting. I liked this story because the boy acted like a typical kid– it was natural and fun to listen to. The ambient noise in the background were typical sounds you would expect to hear at a rest stop or convenience store.

In The Kinky Lover, Lolita Wolf talks about her “love” life and is very open about it. She talks about the way she is and why she is that way. It may seem strange, but her oppenness and honesty helps others like her relate to her and deal with their own similar lifestyles. I liked this story because Wolf was so open about the subject and it gave me a sense of what her personality was like. I could tell that she has an attitude where she doesn’t really care what others think– she does what pleases herself and doesn’t worry about anyone else’s opinion. Better yet, she was helping others by sharing her story. The images used in the slideshow added to understanding her personality and the subject matter.