Tip: Check out recording gear for free

Rent professional Zoom recorders and other gear from Academic Media Services! Photo courtesy Ruth Gregory
Rent professional Zoom recorders and other gear for free. Photo courtesy Ruth Gregory

Not so impressed with the quality of audio recorded with your smartphone? On-campus students in Pullman can rent media equipment from Academic Media Services for free. The rental desk is located in Holland 150.

  • No cost if you’re using equipment for coursework, so make sure to mention COM210!
  • 24-hour checkouts, or all weekend (get it Friday and return on Monday)
  • Zoom audio recorders are professional quality, acquired for upper-division communication courses but available to anyone
  • Camcorders, smartphone tripods and other gear will be useful for Unit 4
  • They’re always getting new and cutting-edge gear, so it’s always worth it to see what’s available.

Week 10: Starting your Audio Story

After learning basic techniques for audio editing in the tutorials last week, it’s now time to start the third unit project in this course: your Audio Story. Students often find the editing tools for audio easier than the first two units, but this means it’s all the more important to plan your project carefully and gather high-quality audio to work with.

Here are answers to some questions that commonly come up about the Audio Story:

What counts as a “story,” and what formats are recommended? There’s a lot of freedom over the format of your audio story, but whatever format you choose should sound planned and deliberate. To count as a story, it should have a clear beginning, middle and end. This doesn’t mean it needs to be a “once upon a time” sort of story, but that you should guide your listener through the content and consider using narrative elements like anecdotes and a concluding moment of reflection (as described in last week’s chapters).

Does it need to include an interview? There’s no requirement about interviewing someone for your Audio Story, but you should record and use a variety of voices and sounds to construct your story. If you narrate most of it yourself, think about what other sounds — ambient sound, sound effects, music, etc. — will help tell your story effectively.

What if I can’t get all my interviews/material this week? As long as you submit a draft that shows reasonable progress, you can continue adding material until the final version is due. However, mention any incomplete aspects in your blog post so you can still get helpful feedback.

How much should the story relate to my course topic? Like all portfolio projects, the audio story should have a clear connection to your course topic. However, it does not need to encapsulate everything about your topic. Specific stories are often more successful than broad ones that try to cover too much.

Week 10 Checklist

❑ Read the Week 10 materials listed on the Course Schedule
❑ Post and submit the Raw Audio Footage assignment by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday
❑ Post and submit your Draft Audio Story by 11:59 p.m. on Friday
❑ Take the Unit 3 Quiz in Blackboard by 11:59 p.m. on Friday

If SoundCloud isn’t working for you…

This week’s Audition Tutorials assignment requires you to upload your completed .mp3 files to SoundCloud so you can embed them in your blog post. However, SoundCloud and many other major websites were inaccessible for a while this morning because of a mass DDoS attack. If you are not sure whether SoundCloud is down for everyone or just you, check at downforeveryoneorjustme.com and see other user reports at downdetector.com/status/soundcloud.

The problems should be resolved now, but if you experience problems with Soundcloud when you are submitting your assignment, please take the following steps:

  • Take a screenshot showing that the site is not loading or working. (Not sure how to take a screenshot? See instructions for all operating systems here)
  • Upload your four completed .mp3 files with your Blackboard submission
  • Include your screenshot with your Blackboard submission as well
  • Make sure your submission goes through — audio files are large and may take a while to upload

If you do this, you can try SoundCloud again this weekend and resubmit to Blackboard with your completed blog post URL by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23, without receiving a late work deduction.

Why intellectual property law matters…

In a timely example of why intellectual property law (such as copyright) is important to understand, WSU News reported this story today:

Washington State University police, working at the request of the WSU Trademark Licensing Office, executed a search warrant and seized over 700 T-shirts and sweatshirts before the WSU vs. UCLA football game Saturday evening.

The merchandise was seized from an unlicensed vendor who was selling items on campus near popular tailgating areas. The items have an estimated street value of $15,500.

The story even cites the specific state law that prohibits using a “counterfeit mark” for monetary gain. This is a trademark violation, which is typically enforced more stringently than copyright violations, though they’re similar. Though both fall under the umbrella of “intellectual property,” trademark law is more about branding and commerce while copyright is more about authorship and artistic works. If you’re interested in the differences, this government overview defines the main differences and this article explains the legal concepts very well.

Week 9: Starting audio in Unit 3

After finishing up Unit 2 last week, we’re now halfway through the course and ready to begin Unit 3: Audio Editing and Adobe Audition. This is a big shift from the visual design we focused on during the first half of the semester — many students find audio storytelling to be more fun, but if you’re a visual learner (like me!) be prepared for a challenge.

Compared to the previous two units, there are fewer tools and techniques to learn in Audition. But that means it’s that much more important to collect high-quality audio and think about how to structure a story, and this week’s chapters provide important concepts, tips and examples.

For this week’s assignment, note that for the third tutorial you’ll need to record several very brief interviews. I’d recommend reading the instructions now so you can plan ahead for that part even if you don’t start the tutorials until later.

Week 9 Checklist

❑ Complete the Audition Tutorials assignment by 11:59 p.m. on Friday
❑ Read the Week 9 materials listed on the Course Schedule

This post originally had the wrong due date listed for the tutorials assignment. So sorry for that error! They are due on Friday. If there is ever a discrepancy, use the dates listed on the Course Schedule.