Coulrophobia PSA

With this post what I was attempting to do was recreate the modern classic PSA feel and apply it to a topic that was authentic, fresh (a topic that would likely be new information for most people listening), and that kept the feel light hearted/satirical. I began by listening to a variety of public service announcements spanning the past 40 years. Although I had a sound in mind, it helped me to take note of the type of vocal patterns and dynamics that were used.

I used Garage band as my audio program for recording the project and went and purchased a Blue Yeti USB condenser mic to give the vocal track a better sound. I then spent a couple of days online checking various sources for for free source audio samples to use for both the main audio tracks and then the sound effects tracks. Once I selected the samples, most of which I downloaded from Freesound.com, I imported them into Garageband, laid out the tracks, and roughed the samples into place. The entire project is comprised of 17 different samples and loops and two vocal tracks.

I then went online and researched my topic. Using the information I collected I developed a script and then on paper mapped out the samples along with the dialogue. This made it a lot easier to stay organized once I started working in Garageband again and gave me a good direction for when I began the recording of the vocal tracks. The way it worked best for me was to record the voice parts and then build the rest of the project around the words. It took a bit of time and I had to do a lot of altering to the samples in order to get the results I wanted, but in the end, I am pretty happy with the finished product. Enjoy!

By: Matthew Garner

An Excerpt from ‘LIMBs’, Adapted for Listening

Alright, here it is. The first piece of audio I have ever made. I was, am, completely intimidated. I suppose what I was trying to create was an excerpt from one of my favorite short stories. I wanted to capture the interpersonal intimacy that old age must thrust upon us, whether we like it or not.

I imagined the protagonist living in a group home that is rather well off. Given that she has been fitted with state of the art bionic limbs. So, I picture her out on the grounds trying out her new accessories. I have imagined what her home looks like many times and I picture a (mostly) country setting. I added the birds and if you listen carefully the bees, subtle as to not buzz your ears.

When I chose the bird sounds, I actually used 3 different tracks. I wanted to add variety as well as give the perception that the birds were both near and far.

Additionally, I added the bionic legs that Pip is happily walking about on.

Creating this soundscape was a lot of fun. I enjoyed that much more than reading the piece. I had to do so many edits on my voice, and I am happy to have learned so much, but my asthma was not kind.

As I was creating this piece I was miserably dragging along. It’s always like that when learning and producing something new on a time-line. Towards the end, I started to get the hang of it and my creativity grew. I am really happy to have had the experience. Overall, I am thrilled with how it turned out!

Fuud

I’ve always found amusing the Middle School & High School phenomenon of snack distribution during class, especially with gum. Everyone seemed to have the assumption that just because they sat near a peer who brought chewables, it meant that they had privileges to partake in such snackage. And if you refused to share, well, you’re a jerk for it. At the end of the day, nobody really cares what you do with your food, but what if they did care? And what if they cared a little too much? I decided to go a mile with it! Chase scenes, sneaky scenes, awkward conversations, ominous lady voices in the intercom, and scrumptious chip-chewing foley sound effects make it all come together, and it’s simply beautiful!

Motivation for this audio project accelerated when I caught the idea of syncing it to chase music, and luckily for me, I already dodged the copyright issue, by pulling out a royalty free song I purchased years ago for potential future use. It fits absolutely perfectly! I got my entire household family to contribute a part or two, and as corny as it sounds, it was a very nice bonding experience, especially since I got to slap my Dad’s character!

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

For this project, I chose to recite one of Aesop’s fables and make the listener feel as though they were in the story. To do this I created an outline of what sounds and music I wanted to incroopate into the piece to give the listeners something to create a mental image of the story in their heads. I added sound effects for the physical activities they were doing, sounds of background characters within the story, as well as added background music to fit the appropriate emotion that mice were feeling. The most challenging part of this project was finding a good microphone to record the story with that made it sound smooth and professional. With the resources I had, I did the best I could to create this piece. 

Overall, my experience creating this audio story was a fun, yet frustrating time. It took time to find just the right audio I wanted to use for the edit, and I often found myself listening to a section over and ove unsure if it was the right fit. It was difficult to find background music that fit the storyboard too. In the end, I am proud of what I created for being new to the editing tools. 

Audio- Scary Story

I always find myself listening to short horror stories on youtube when I am just hanging out or cleaning around the house. It’s always nice to have something to listen to, and I prefer something like a scary story to keep me on edge and keep me interested in the plot. Channels, like Let’s Read, inspired me to read my own horror story. I wanted to accomplish what these youtube channels do, just read a story with some subtle creepy background music. I wanted to incorporate a good amount of sound effects that would enhance the story being told. Ultimately I had fun with this project but next time I would try to get somebody else to help me tell the story instead of trying to change my voice using the audio editing software. When I changed my voice for some parts of the story, I didn’t particularly like how it sounded. I enjoyed adding sound effects to keep the story intriguing. I hoped the window scratching wasn’t unbearable to listen to so I made sure to turn that volume down by a lot, I hope it’s creepy but still tolerable. Overall, I hope you enjoyed my story if you listened, and I hope I accomplished creeping you out a little.

By: Anna Ballinger

The Travelers & The Purse

For this project I was attempting to create a very immersive experience. What I envisioned was a storytelling event with a narrator speaking directly from a book to kids gathered around them. I felt the best way to accomplish this was to not have any of the nature and other environmental sound effects begin until after the title had been read; the opening of the book. I worked with Adobe Audition to accomplish more complex effects, such as making the villager sound like they were coming from out in the distance. I, luckily, found both the background music and nature sounds on a free sound website that fit perfectly with the vibe I wanted to create. The characters were all done by me, obviously, if you’re reading this post-listen, so I tried to differentiate the four voices by altering my voice. Most importantly, I gave a slight directional change in the software to make it sound like they are standing either in front of or on either side of the listener. Speaking of the voice acting roles, I intentionally chose an Aesop fable because I knew that it would mean the script would be prepared for me. At first I clicked on a few random options until I eventually landed on The Travelers & The Purse. I chose to go with this one in particular because I felt that having more than one character would make for a more dynamic listening experience. I also felt the medieval setting would be interesting to recreate.

Fresh Prince Sound Project

This project was fun, as my wife and I often make music and stuff, but this was a new challenge. First off, my wife had not watched the Fresh Prince, which for me was ridiculous, so it gave me a chance to provide her with a view of my childhood.

But I think what was best about doing this project was having an activity to do together. My wife and I both live our separate professional and artistic lives that don’t often intersect, so it was fun.

I kept telling her it would come out great because we record all the time, but she was nervous. I personally just thought the whole experience was hilarious, but that’s what made it fun. Neither of us is an actor, and it shows, but it was fun nonetheless.

I had planned on using the drum a little more for “music”, but I used a mbira instead for white noise. It sometimes sounds weird, but I love that instrument, and I want to include it in everything if I can.

But using the drum for Will’s snaps and such was cool. It was a creative way to use different instruments to make cool sounds. I would have never thought of it before.

This was an enjoyable project. I had fun.

Showcase Your Figma Designs on WordPress P2

Figma — one of the most popular and fastest growing digital design tools today — was recently voted “the most exciting design tool of 2021.” 

In many organizations, a smaller group — often the design team — uses Figma on a daily basis. But designers need a seamless way to share their work and gather feedback from other disciplines across the organization. Enter P2. P2 is a product powered by WordPress.com that boosts remote, asynchronous team collaboration. With P2, team members can share ideas, collect feedback, and assign tasks to one another.

You can now embed Figma files on P2 and get contextual feedback from everyone, creating a more inclusive environment, eliminating the need for others to learn and navigate design-specific software. 

Sharing Figma files on P2 allows teams to review designs and comment where everyone collaborates. It integrates all work in a single spot, helping track project progress. P2 is fully searchable for future reference too! As you iterate in Figma, your files will magically sync on P2. No more messy screen grabs or wondering which Figma file is the most up-to-date.

Step 1 : Copy the link to the art board or prototype from Figma
Step 2: Add the Figma block and paste the link into it

Get P2

Want to know more about how P2 can help improve communication and collaboration on your teams? Check out a demo. You can also create your own P2 here and take it for a spin. Any questions? Feel free to comment on the demo P2.

W21-P4 Audio- Hannah

This project was very challenging for me. Since I always drastically underestimate the amount of work that actually needs to be done, I was faced with a time crunch that was made much worse by me not sucking it up and rescheduling my shift. So, when faced with a massive time crunch and not realizing that we needed to get our prompts approved by the teacher beforehand, I went for what I could. I tried to make up for not checking in by fully admitting that I did procrastinate. And I went with it. Stuck with my creative block, I was wasting a lot of precious time trying to decide what to make my project about. Sarcastically, I joked to my friend that I should do it on procrastination. We joked about it for a minute until I realized just how rich my idea could be. It’s funny because it’s relatable, we’ve all been there, when life gets in the way or in my case, I get in my own way. However, I do find that I do my best work when I am under pressure, it gives me a stronger sense of urgency and makes my working more efficient and better quality. I specifically chose the background song because it built the suspense I am currently feeling as the deadline is looming ahead, and it builds that tension that I feel while listening to me describe it. (Credit to the fantastic Kayley Cook for allowing me to use her song “Free Thinkxng” for my background audio!)

P4 Audio Project

I recorded a narration of Aesop’s Fable: The Hare and the Tortoise. I just thought this would be fun because practically everyone knows the story. I had never really worked with audio, so my goal with this project was really for it to just sound good! I had a bit of trouble navigating Audacity but viewing tutorials and trial and error helped me figure it out. I wanted to add some fun sound effects to the story, so I have “happy music” from Freesounds.org playing in the background to add an element of fun. I also added some footstep sounds from the same website for when the race begins. The snoring in the audio is actually from my little dachshund napping earlier this week. She is an avid snorer. I don’t love the sound of my voice but I had to make due and just go with it. I figured I would be the only one who really doesn’t like it. Plus I didn’t want to force one of my family members to record their voices either! Overall I had a lot of fun with this project and I hope that the audio sounds good to everyone else too! 

Here is the creative commons license for this image: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

By Morgan Murphy