Audio Story: Final Draft

To me, foreign languages are not only one of my favorite subjects; they are a genuine interest that I spend my free time on. While many kids feel the same as I do, others find no interest or dislike studying foreign languages. Some go as far as to say they don’t think they can, or that it’s too difficult to learn. Here in Washington State, kids to take two years of a language as a requirement in high school. I thought this would be a new subject which I could make a vox populi style track for. As a bonus, I was able to interview a teacher of the Japanese language here at WSU.

The most significant design element is repetition, which helps add a sense of flow to the audio. All of the clips were recording on my smartphone, and then I made liberal use of the razor tool to get what I was looking for. The biggest technical difficulty I found was editing the people who spoke faster, using some fading effects and by leaving myself with some white noise before a response, I was able to get it to sound decent. One trick worth mentioning for outdoor interviews is noise prints. By capturing a noise print of white noise, you can remove some of it by using the sound print noise reduction under effects. This was helpful for a particular interview which had people talking and cheering in the background.

To me, this project is very important to my topic. Over 40% of all people interviewed said they felt bad or incapable of learning a language, and almost all of the students interviewed said their lack of ability ruined their enjoyment of learning a language. My goal for this blog is to help show the less intimidating side of languages, and this is a worry I hear so often when discussing languages. Of course it can be challenging, but it’s not that you’re incapable. Everyone can learn a language, if they want to and are willing to put in the effort to. And even then, once the majority of people started answering that way, I feel like people may be too hard on themselves with this topic. When I asked the students who were still learning a language why they continued it, all of them answered that being able to communicate with new people and the moment when the hard work pays off and something begins to make sense for you made the work worth it, even the ones who said they weren’t good at it. I hope that maybe this can help show someone who thinks they are unable to learn a language that it’s not about can or can’t, and that everyone struggles with the subject

Moving from my rough draft to the final draft was really difficult. For one, I wound up having a corruption error on my file, but luckily with some time spent on the Adobe forums I was able to eventually discover a fix. It would take too much space to explain here, but maybe I’ll make a separate post about it later. The major feedback I got was that some of the voices were hard to hear from the music, and that the story lacked a clear beginning and conclusion. It was hard making an introduction and conclusion that still fit within the 2 minute time limit, and as someone who stutters a lot the recording process was really difficult. My tip for similar people would be to record only a few sentences and leave a long pause so that it’s easier to edit them close together later. I did wind up having to cut the introductions, which is unfortunate because it’s something I received praise for during the peer feedback, but I simply had to cut it due to the time restraints. Additionally, I messed with some of the audio levels. There are definitely still a few really rough cuts, but they are usually caused by people stuttering really fast during a sentence which I tried but wasn’t able to effectively remove.

Only one non-original content was used, which was La ville aux ponts suspendus by Komiku. I love this track, it’s so soothing yet engaging. I feel it not only helped mask the noise but also displayed the laid back tone I tried to have in the interviews. The song is public domain, and can be found on FMA:

All interview clips were recorded and used with recorded permission of the people.


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