Tag Archives: Sophie Charara

Olympic suburbs audio slideshow

Public to name Olympic suburbs

Here’s a good audio slideshow from the BBC on the plans for the areas around the Olympic stadium and what they will look like.

There is a voiceover, rather than Q and A, done by Duncan Innes, from the Olympic Park Legacy Company. The images are a mixture of shots of the state of the areas now and artistic impressions of what the suburbs will look like.

The slideshow is done particularly well because they match what Innes is saying to the images with great precision e.g. when he says one area will be very close to the cycling facilities, we are on an artist’s impression of the velodrome and cycling track etc. A couple of seconds later, Innes says it will be close to the station – and we get a close up shot of Stratford station.

Timing is clearly everything – and just as important here as it is with voiceovers for video footage. I get the impression the voiceover was recorded first then the images were timed to fit.


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Briton in Libya – BBC Radio 4’s Today online audio clips

British Libyan ‘willing to die for country’s freedom’

The above link is to the Today programme page on the BBC website. It’s categorised as news and available to listen to via one click from the Watch/Listen section on the News homepage – so you don’t have to type in Radio 4, Today programme to get to this audio package.

Even though it’s radio, I think this 6 min or so clip is a really good example to aim for. There is a one-line summary with more details below the clip – using the well known name Lord Goldsmith to entice users to press play.

Within the clip itself, there is a clear introduction to the current situation in Libya and the first interviewee, Rashed, a Briton fighting for the rebels, which ends in a question. Then the interviewee goes straight into answering this question. There is background noise of men talking which gives the clip a sense of place without making the answer difficult to hear.

The next voice we hear is the journalist Kevin Connolly in Libya asking – “do your Mum and Dad know you are here?” This provides a good soundbite – “I’ve come here for Libya.” There are some pauses in Rashed’s answers but Connolly never speaks over him. The interviewee Rashed, does start to interrupt him on some more controversial questions such as – “But defending yourself might mean you have to kill someone?” Connolly finishes his sentences but then gives way to his interviewee.

They wrap the interviewee up on a soundbite too: “we see nothing but victory” which the presenter neatly repeats to segue into his next section on the government. He again asks an open question (of himself, for the listeners to think about). He then introduces the second interviewee, Lord Goldsmith, who is in the Westminster studio.

The questions and answers now are much longer and much more complex than the simple, one-idea questions asked of Rashed. As with most political interviews, there is more interrupting which listeners will be used to. The clip ends on one of Lord Goldsmith’s answers.


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India’s twitter by telephone

How to do citizen journalism effectively for a community in India which has no written literature and whose language, Gondi, is endangered?

In Chhattisgarh (Central Gondwana) India an inventive non-profit service called CGNet Swara allows members of this tribal community to listen to and record local news in audio  – using the telephone (landline or mobile). Three journalists verify, moderate, edit and publish the audio. It’s been going for a year now, since February 2010 and they now receive over 3,000 calls a month.

The developer, Shubhranshu Choudhary, told editorandpublisher.com that when one citizen report raised the issue of the government not paying teachers for 6 months, within 10 days the teachers were paid. He said, “The response is well beyond our expectation, so it looks like the right model for those areas.”

Other news topics include school closures, evictions, elephant tramplings and issues concerning the government and the police. India bans all radio except the government-run station.

They have a website which archives the content as well as a Twitter account (with 56 followers) and Facebook page. To record a message with the service call on (080) 4113 7280.

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Hello, Audacity

I keep hearing about Audacity so I thought I’d put up some links as a quick introduction for any audio-fans who, like me, have never used it. As ever, if you have any tips to help with future experiments in audio editing let us know.

Audacity is a free audio recorder and editor – find the site here and download the software for free. For audio journalists the most useful tools on Audacity are that you can: record live audio, edit MP3 files, cut and copy sounds, fade the volume up or down and remove static/hiss/hum and other background noises. It runs on Mac OS X, Window and GNU/Linux.

Audacity is opensource – their latest version is 1.3.12 and they also have a Wiki page where users can post and read tutorials, tips and troubleshooting help. These include everything from How to set up an ad hoc recording studio to  Making Ringtones. Also highlighted is the very thorough The Audacity To Podcast– a regular audio podcast about audio podcasting (with a focus on using Audacity).

I don’t think we’re quite up to removing noise and recording more than one podcast host so let’s take a step back.

After my success being talked through making an audio slideshow on iMovie by a kind American on YouTube, I thought I’d find a simple and straightforward tutorial for Audacity. The most obvious starting point would be to make podcast-grade audio material so here’s six minutes on how to do just that.

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How to make an audio slideshow using iPhone voice memo and iMovie

Phew. Ok I just made an audio slideshow – I think, I hope.

Let’s begin at the beginning. I took some audio footage of a salon catwalk show at London Fashion Week last week. It was the Craig Lawrence A/W 2011 show which took place in Somerset House’s Portico Rooms on Saturday 19th February (9-11am). This designer is known for his craftmanship with knitwear so they chose to forego music and instead have a member of Lawrence’s team describe the materials and techniques used in each piece. My images are from Craig Lawrence’s Designer Profile on the London Fashion Week website.

I recorded the footage with my iPhone 4 using Voice Memos which comes as standard and can be found in ‘Utilities’. I have cut down the audio to seven looks (Looks Two to Eight) to avoid it getting boring for anyone not in love with knitwear. One minor fault already is that I only decided to start recording after I realised their strategy – half way through Look One.

After browsing through some posts I saw that publications often use Final Cut Pro to produce audio slideshows. Since I don’t have this software, I used iMovie which is also recommended. I didn’t flail into the audio slideshow unknown blindly though – I used an instruction video on vimeo.com to guide me – How to make an Audio Slideshow on iMovie – what a way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

If you are really impatient – here are the most important bits:

1. Open up iMovie. Save your images into a folder or onto your desktop and drag them into the project box. Single click to drag images and re-order them. Hovering over the images acts as rewinding and fast-forwarding whereas pressing the space bar is ‘Play’.

2. Drag your audio into the project box. When dragging it in you can choose which frame to start the audio on, and slide it around. Your audio will only run to the total length of your photos so double click on each image to change the number of seconds it stays on screen.You will have to listen to your audio a few times and note down the place each time you want to switch images – bear in mind any transitions you might put in too when matching your images to the audio (see point 6)

3. The toolbar below the preview pane has some useful tricks. The microphone is to record live voiceovers as you watch the images. If you add voiceovers, any music audio that you have already added with helpfully fade out.I didn’t have to record a voiceover because my original audio was just that.

4. The crop tool is also essential – images are set to the Ken Burns effect which zooms in on the image. However as my images were all models – i.e. portrait shots – I chose to click on Crop then choose Fit in order for the whole image to be seen. This means I have black bars at either side of my images but this can’t be helped when you’re using portrait shots.

5. The ‘T’ is for titles. Choose the title type you want, drag it to (usually) before your first frame where it will ask you to choose a background. I went for Pixie Dust because I couldn’t resist with the Industrial background. To change your text, click on the blue bar above the title frame and then type in the preview pane on the right hand side. Pixie Dust was one of the titles with locked in fonts so I couldn’t change the font but sometimes you can.

6. The rectangle cut into triangles is the Transitions button. Click on this to view different transitions you can use between images. I chose Cube and Fade To Black at alternates because I felt some of the others were too flashy for my material. I double clicked on these transitions once I’d placed them and lengthened them for 0.4seconds to 1second each – this is subjective of course.

7. To get it onto WordPress when I’d finished. I clicked on Share in the iMovie toolbar and chose YouTube – here you just pop in your YouTube username and password and select the file size etc. Then I inserted the video as usual into WordPress by entering the YouTube URL. Easy.

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