Playoff Sound Off

Since basketball has infiltrated our house once more this spring in the realm of the NBA playoffs, I decided to dedicate my second audio assignment of the week to the Washington Wizards who, though by a thread, are a part of the playoffs this year.

I interviewed Randy Wittman about the Wizards’ chances in the playoffs and his plans once the season is over. I gathered some intelligence from this Washington Post article to prepare for the interview.

I recorded this directly into SoundCloud and uploaded the file to embed into this blog. I compiled the songs from Youtube clips. I cued up the part of the songs I wanted to use and had them ready to go as I recorded. There is a bit of a delay as I was moving between screens, so I might perhaps have printed out the questions so I wouldn’t have to go back and forth. Here is a list of the questions and songs I chose.

Q. The Wizards are playing the Chicago Bulls tomorrow at 7pm. Are you excited for this match up?

A. I’m so excited!

Q. How do you think Nene will address Joakim Noah’s powerful moves?

A. We’ve not yet lost all our graces.

Q. How would you describe the Chicago Bulls?

A. Physical, physical.  

Q. What is your biggest motivation in winning this match up?

A. All I’m asking, is for a little respect.

Q. Do you think the Wizards can make it all the way?

A. You may say I’m a dreamer.

Q. What are your plans for after the playoffs?

A. Everybody knows, a little place called Kokomo. 

This assignment was a great way to work on pulling audio together. These songs really have no connection to each other, but as part of a story really work quite well together!

 

 

Saturday in the Park with a Lion

This assignment was to add a soundtrack to a 30 second clip of the Charlie Chaplin film The Circus using the Foley technique. Since I was born in April, my segment was 01:31-01:30.

To begin, I took the assignment description advice and made a list of every action item that would require a sound. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Dog growling
  • Shhhh sound
  • “Open the door, quick!” (My translation)
  • Gasp as woman faints
  • Scratch of the head
  • Sound of food falling on the ground
  • Lion yawning
  • Sound of food falling
  • Food crate falling
  • Bang as Charlie hits the back of the cage
  • Heavy breathing as the lion comes close

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to incorporate all of these sound elements, so I walked through it a couple times in my head to see which made sense. I then gathered my sound creation elements and experimented with how the sounds interacted and practiced switching between them quickly.

My husband thought I was going crazy for a second, and walked over to see what was going on. I took that as an opportunity to get him involved as my Foley partner.

Here’s the final product.

Now that you’ve heard the track, I can give away my secrets. This is my makeshift Foley studio.

Image

Let’s walk through the sound elements once more.

  • Dog growling (dragging the glass canister across the burlap table cloth)
  • Shhhh sound (my husband)
  • “Open the door, quick!” (my husband)
  • Gasp as woman faints (myself)
  • Scratch of the head (scratching the burlap table cloth)
  • Sound of food falling on the ground (throwing the grains into the stainless steel mixing bowl)
  • Lion yawning (my husband)
  • Sound of food falling (throwing the grains into the stainless steel mixing bowl)
  • Food crate falling (dropping the mixing bowl on the table)
  • Bang as Charlie hits the back of the cage (me banging on the table)
  • Heavy breathing as the lion comes close (my husband)

I recorded the sounds directly into SoundCloud and then embedded the sound clip into this blog. I was surprised at how simple the sounds were to create without fancy equipment or a “studio,” although I did realize why this is usually a multiple person job, it’s hard to move that quickly between sounds!

Hear Sally Run

To complete this first assignment for the week, I decided to start with the story before exploring the sounds. I thought about a story that I wanted to convey through sound, and wanted to incorporate something that everyone could relate to. I thought about how I am often running from work to meet friends for dinner and the obstacles I often face along the way. I then built a story spine around that concept.

Once upon a time, Sally worked as a administrative assistant in Washington, DC. 

Every Tuesday she met her friends for dinner across town. 

But one day Sally realized that she was running late and had to rush to make it on time for dinner. 

Because of that, she quickly closed her computer and grabbed her keys to go, but the phone rang one last time. 

Because of that, she had to run to catch her train. 

Until finally, she made it onto the train and was able to relax on her way to dinner.

And ever since then, she set an alarm to remind herself to start getting packed up on time on Tuesdays.

Once I decided on the story, I began exploring sounds that might fit in this story.

I began my audio story with the sound of a busy office, then overlapped the sound of a gasp as Sally realized the time. I then added in the sound of Sally grabbing her keys to go, but then the phone ringing and her answering. I then included the sound of Sally running down the hall to catch the metro.  I layered the sound of a metro station with the sound of a metro announcement (I could only find the old WMATA announcement in audio file). Finally I added in a sigh of relief from Sally as she sat back and listened to some music in her headphones.

I saved the files as I downloaded them to a folder on my computer and was able to drag the files right into Audacity for editing. I renamed the files once they were in Audacity so I could better track them. After that, it was pretty easy to cut and paste the pieces of audio I wanted across the one minute clip. Many of the sound files were longer than I needed for this project, so I simply cut the length I did not need. I added in a face out effect to the longer sounds for a smoother transition. I then exported the project into an MP3 for uploading onto SoundCloud and embedding into this post.

Hear Sally Run

This was my first time using Audacity and I found it relatively easy to pick up. I would like to continue to learn more about the sound effects available through the program and find unique ways to use them to add depth to my tracks.

Heart Healthy

For the review of a commercial as a short film story, I chose the heart warming commercial about a girl who just wants everyone to be healthy.

When looking at the shape of the story from the perspective of the daughter in the commercial, I suppose it starts off low as she is worried about her dad’s health, but then quickly moves up as she discovers a solution in pouring the Cheerios over her father’s heart. One could argue that the story ends on a happy note as she believes she has healed her father’s heart. On the other hand, the father probably didn’t see the ending as happily ever after as he likely had to clean up the mess that was made.

There is a very clear storyline in this commercial. Once upon a time there was a little girl. Every day, she was worried for her father’s heart health. One day she realized that Cheerios could be the solution to her father’s health issues. Because of that, she asks her mother if Cheerios can really help the heart. Because of that, her mother reads the health benefits of Cheerios. Until finally we find the father awaking from a nap with a pile of Cheerios on his chest.

The element of surprise comes from the fact that we assumed the daughter would be serving her father Cheerios to eat, not pouring them on his heart! As the viewer, we empathize with the daughter as we all want our loved ones heart healthy. I was left with a feeling of admiration for the daughter as she was determined to keep her father healthy.

When looking at the story in 5 second increments, we see how the story plays out, and can get a closer glimpse into the mind of the daughter.

  1. (0:00 – 0:05) A woman is working at her kitchen counter. The camera angle shifts to show a young girl with curly hair bringing a box of cheerios and placing them on the table where her mom is sitting. She says “Mom?” and her mom replies “Yes honey” and looks up from her writing.
  2. (0:06 – 0:10) The daughter explains “Dad told me that cheerios are good for your heart, is that true?” The camera shifts back and forth between the mom and girl. The girl looks confused and concerned. The mom replies “It says here…” while looking at the Cheerios box.
  3. (0:11 – 0:15) The mom then proceeds to read the nutritional information from the box. The girl lifts the box from the table and smiles at her mom.
  4. (0:16 – 0:20) The girl then runs out of the kitchen while the camera shifts back and forth from her running, to her mom looking confused.
  5. (0:21 – 0:25) The scene then moves to the dad on a couch in the living room asleep. He has a huge pile of Cheerios on his chest. He is startled awake and as he raises up, the Cheerios slowly fall to the ground and he appears confused.
  6. (0:26 – 0:30) The screen then shifts to a yellow screen with the word “Love” displayed in the classic Cheerios font. Cheerios fall across the screen. We hear the dad calling out “Jen!” as the Cheerios jingle plays as the commercial ends.