New text features in latest Premiere update

Adobe likes to release big changes for its Creative Cloud programs in the middle of April each year, which is not the most convenient for our course schedule, unfortunately. The April 2017 Premiere update includes some fantastic new features for text — but we’re still figuring out the changes, too.

If you are using CC and want to experiment, great! But if you’d rather not have a curveball at this point in your project, it’s better to hold off on installing the update. (This only affects you if you’ve installed Premiere CC on your own computer; the Murrow labs will not be affected.)

Adding text and titles has always been a bit clunky in Premiere, and these changes mean text and shapes work a lot more like Photoshop and Illustrator. There are already some good tutorials popping up online, and this is the most comprehensive one that I’ve found helpful:

Tips: Improving your audio quality

Would your Audio Story sound better with higher-quality recordings? Here are some tips. (Photo via Pixabay)

This post is by TA David, with advice for improving your Draft Audio Story.

Your draft is completed, but now you realize there are some issues with background noise in one (or several) of your audio clips. What can be done about that?

There are several tools in the software that you can try to use, but they are often difficult to use, can make the audio quality worse, and are time consuming.

As annoying as it may sound, your TAs think the best option is to just rerecord the clip. That means getting access to your interviewee, redoing your narration, or going back to wherever you found background audio and trying again. In most cases, this is actually the simpler, faster, and more effective option.

So, here’s how to make sure you get the audio you want.

1. Brush up on the readings.

Yes, this is a half-answer, but there really is some good stuff in those.

2. Pick a location.

Look for a spot where you know if is going to be quiet during the recording. The dorms, during the day, are often pretty quiet (not so much in the evening). Also try the WSU library. You can reserve a study room to work in or find an out of the way corner. One of those tables right by the entrance probably is not idea because there will be a lot of food traffic. One other good option is classrooms in the afternoon or evening. Once classes are over, the main buildings are mostly empty but still open. Some of the lobby areas would likely work well.

3. Scope out the spot.

Double check a day before the recording to make sure it is empty, open, and quiet. Is it busy during that time of day? Will you be able to have access? Does your subject know how to find the location? Consider all these to reduce disruptions and maximize your recording time.

4. Create a space.

Move chairs and tables so that your mic is an idea distance from the speakers. Are there noisy fans that can be turned off or lights that buzz? Can a door be closed to reduce noise from the hallway? Are there papers that can rustle or chairs that squeak constantly? Limit these before you start recording for the best audio.

5. Try a test recording.

Leave your mic recording for a minute and try some test sentences and silence. Then listen to the recording and see if there are any issues. This is probably the most important step because the mic will pick up things you might not realize. Knowing early will help you reduce the frustration in the editing process.

It may seem like a lot, but following these steps will make your life a lot easier.

Tip: Rent recording gear (no cost!)

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

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.

Examples: How to improve a logo

The weekly post for Week 8 includes some common issues with students’ logo drafts. But let’s take a look at a couple of before-and-after examples:

Example 1

logo-makeover-ex1

In the version on the left, there are a few problems: The text is difficult to read, the three stars are not evenly spaced, and the overall boxy shape looks more like a label than a logo. The designer’s intention was to use team colors of yellow and blue, but the yellow looks greenish because of the gradient.

Improvements:

  • Ornate script fonts don’t display well in all caps. A different font selection improves the readability.
  • The stars are evenly spaced using the Alignment tools, and arranged more deliberately.
  • The stars and text are changed are changed to white for better contrast against the gradient background color.
  • The gradient is changed to a more subtle transition from blue-green to blue, with a little light blue in the middle to add a bit of shine.
  • The overall shape is changed to a rounded square, which is more pleasing to the eye and trendy, with a white border and drop shadow to lift the logo off the background in a subtle way.

The content of this logo is still not very distinctive. What is it for? What makes it unique? The designer could still improve this logo so it has a clearer purpose.


Example 2

logo-makeover-ex2

The version on the left is more of an illustration than a logo, and the elements are rough and unbalanced. It looks more like it was done in MS Paint than in Illustrator, and the default bright colors look childish and hurried.

Improvements:

  • The first step is having elements that are shapes, so those are created over again using the shape tools and the pen tool. For shapes like the mountains, it’s useful to look at other logos with that element or pictures of actual mountains.
  • The logo is given an encompassing shape with clear edges — in this case, a circle, which is a common but aesthetically pleasing shape. Inner shapes are trimmed into the circle using the Shape Builder tool.
  • The text is curved around the design using the Type On a Path tool.
  • The colors are restrained to just gray and blue, with a subtle gradient for each.
  • The detail elements — sun, trees, path — are done in a simple style that will be scalable.

The new version doesn’t include a person figure, and the visual message still comes through clearly. It could still be worth finding a way to incorporate it if the designer really liked that element, but think critically about whether all elements are really necessary.


Example 3

logo-makeover-ex3

In the version on the left, the outline of a smartphone is clearly created in detail using shapes in Illustrator, so this is an excellent start. However, the thin lines are not scalable since they would quickly disappear at small sizes, and the outline feels insubstantial rather than eye-catching. The text also seems incongruous with the technology theme.

Improvements:

  • The smartphone shapes are inverted so they have a fill color rather than an outline, which makes the overall logo bolder and more distinct.
  • The shapes are also simplified to avoid any issues with scalability. The idea that this represents a “smartphone” still comes through clearly.
  • The text is changed to a more modern sans-serif font to fit the technology theme.
  • The biggest change is that the smartphone screen is now adding to the meaning of the logo by including an eye-catching gradient and a stylized “chat” bubble. In the first version, the phone could be related to anything. In the second version, it’s clear this logo represents some type of communication-related mobile product.

All of these logos could still be improved, especially depending on the purpose and message to be communicated, but these changes improve both the visual and intellectual unity for stronger overall designs.

How well do you know the academic integrity policy?

Hopefully you’ve read the course syllabus, and hopefully you would know anyway that academic dishonesty is not tolerated at WSU. But how well do you really know what the policy says about what constitutes a violation and what this could mean for your academic record?

These two videos were created by former COM210 students to increase awareness of WSU’s academic integrity policy and consequences for violations. Every year we do have students who get caught for these violations, unfortunately, so it’s a good point in the semester to review the information and make sure you don’t end up crossing the line.

Here is a link to what the students in the video are reading, if you’d like to review it yourself: Academic Integrity Reference Guide (PDF)