Final Audio Story

I wanted to start out with a bit of a rant, and say that having used many different programs for audio editing, I can say that Adobe Audition is the least favorite audio editor I have used.  It has some nice features, but its faults quickly made themselves known.  I have used Audacity, Amadeus Pro, Final Cut Pro, and Logic Pro, and compared to these programs, Audition has some serious stability issues.  I had nearly completed this project when the program froze on me, crashed, and then reopened the project completely blank.  It was all gone.  I had to start over from the blank script again.  There were quite a few other technical glitches that I had to work around too.  But at last, here it is in all of its rebuilt glory…

This project started about three times.  This is the final version of that.  Initially I had envisioned using an interview of a public official and other sound for this, but after visiting Pike Place Market and interviewing Leonard King, a homeless man selling newspapers, the focus of this piece shifted completely.

Walking around Pike Place with my Zoom H4N microphone, it was fun to be an audio tourist.  My microphone was almost like a different world, I could hear individual conversations and pick them out of the crowd kind of like a spy. When I ran across Leonard, it was just so easy and I transitioned right back into the world I know so well, and just started interviewing him on the spot after asking him for permission to record.

This is not my first experience with audio and audio editing. I’ve been doing this for 15 years as a photojournalist.  I am right at home assembling these types of pieces, but I rarely have gotten the chance to write these pieces from scratch, so I chose to focus more on the storytelling aspect for the rough draft.  Assembling this story, I logged all of the interviews in Microsoft Word, chose the sound bites, and then wrote a script that is just about 3 minutes in length.

After receiving feedback, I went through and tightened the piece, and got the run time just under 3 mintues and added in a nat sound clip to start and to end the piece, setting the tone of a bustling Seattle behind the entire piece.  To cover the contrasting audio between the “acts and tracks” I took two additional tracks, one of the ambient sound I recorded of Pike Place Market, the other of street noise around the market that I specifically had recorded as the lectures recommended, and as I have done for years in my professional practice, and then blended all of the audio together.  It would have been ideal to have more isolated audio for the interview I did, but with the freeway being only a block away from where the interview was done, there was no getting around it.

As the lectures mentioned, I kept all the tracks separate, with the first being the track, the second being the actualities, the third, nat sound of Pike Place Market, and the fourth ambient sound of the street. I also decided to keep the entire piece in stereo, since it was captured that way by my handheld microphone.  I like the spatial features of stereo, and unlike most of my professional work, which strictly keeps the track on the left channel and the interview and natural sound on the right, this piece has a nice presence to it, inserting you into a sound space rather than a mono two-channel mix.

Technical difficulties aside, I enjoyed creating this piece, and I hope you enjoy it too.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: