And Into the Night He Went

At first, I thought this would be a daunting task. I was sort of lost when I first opened Audacity. It looked really clunky, to begin with, and had a few symbols I’d never seen before, like the Envelope Tool and Multi-Tool. I’d used Ableton Live and, to a lesser degree, Garageband for a little bit of very basic audio editing, but the hard drive on my old MacBook Pro can’t really handle audio anymore–it freezes and skips. I know I should replace it, but that’s another matter entirely, so I’ve been working on my Dell on Windows 7. I already knew a bit about audio editing, hence my admittance of using Ableton Live before, but I used it more like a toy, for entertainment; never finished a project. So, I feel like I’ve turned a page.

Now I’m starting to see how people get so invested in audio editing. Not only is it fun, but it’s almost immediately enjoyable for the creator. Drag and drop 2 samples together, and you’ve got your own peice of art–no need to pick which font you’ll use, or worry about stretching text boxes and image scaling.
Now, I didn’t use many effects on my samples, only 2 simple fades were used for this radio bumper.

I found all of my samples on freesound.org. It’s such a nice repository, and the overall quality of the samples is above-average, to me. Although, I will note here that:

I had originally planned to use sound clips of a pistol cocking and shooting, but I eventually found that those weren’t very distinct or powerful. I had made a little storyboard of what I wanted my bumper to sound like: a door opening, someone cocking and shooting a gun, followed by the sound of a body hitting the floor, then a door closing. What I ended up with was this:

The door opening was pretty easy to find, but finding a matching door closing sound was proving much harder than I anticipated. Then I found the perfect clip: the same door creakily opening and closing, with a few seconds of silence between them.  I thought “Ugh, I need actually need to edit this one”, so I downloaded it, and within a few minutes of destroying and undoing, I found the “trim” tool.  Perfect! I surrounded the door opening noise, used the gnomish magic of the trim tool, and voila, I’d made my first legitimate edit in Audacity. Things were looking up.

Like I said, I found a pistol being cocked, and threw that in next, followed by a pistol shot.  I scoured for a body dropping noise, and was pretty disappointed.  They all sounded similar to the pistol shot somehow, my guess being that it was the distinct sound of a head hitting the ground that was causing my dismay.  So, I figured I’d move toward the action of my bumper, scrapped the body dropping sound idea, and found a clip of a series of groans. “Perfect,” I thought. I’d already used the trim tool, so I knew just what to do. I added the door sound again and, this time, trimmed off the opening door sound, and used the “Move” tool, and oh the places you’ll go‘d it, right at the end.

I then added my voice, a simple “You are now listening to ds106 radio”.

I felt like I was done then, but listened to it a few times. “More chutzpah!” I said to myself.  I dropped the weak sounding pistol noises and replaced them with a single shotgun, loading and shooting, sample.  I played my bumper back to myself, and decided it ended abruptly, so I thought “This clip needs to somehow move the listener into safety, away from the gunshot”  and found quickly found the sound of a car’s screeching tires. It seemed to fit well once I added it in, but I put a fade out effect on it to give it a little more of an into-the-night feel.  Presto! I was done!

I hope you enjoyed my clip as much as I enjoyed creating it.  I feel like I’ve dug myself deep enough into Audacity to feel comfortable with it, so a personal goal was accomplished in the process of this assignment.

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One Comment

  • Paul says:

    Your blogging for this course is consistently awesome. Just thought you should know that.

    The bumper is great too. In order for me to get it on ds106radio, it needs to be downloadable. Soundcloud doesn’t do that by default. You need to click the Edit button, then click the Permissions link, and then check the Enable Downloads button

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