posts about or somewhat related to ‘audio’

The Better-Than-Starter Video Kit →

For all those who have Q’d us about where to start with gear, here’s an excellent set of tools recommended by the Director of Digital Media at Columbia J-School.

duylinhtu:

My video students at Columbia Journalism School are trained on the Canon C100.  It is a great camera, but the $5K+ price tag makes it impossible for most to purchase one for themselves.  Also, that figure does not include microphones, tripods, and other accessories necessary to produce professional-quality video.

With some compromises in ergonomics and picture quality, the list of gear below should be an affordable alternative for any video student or recent grad.  This gear will give you high-quality visuals, clean sound, and reliable stabilization.  I hesitate to call this a starter kit, as you can shoot a feature documentary with this set up.

Camera:  The conventional wisdom with video gear is to invest in lenses and peripherals.  These items will last you years, while cameras get updated and replaced constantly.  I still recommend DSLRs for video journalists starting out.  They are cheap.  Their sensors are big, the low-light performance is fantastic, and they double as great stills cameras (ironically, an often overlooked benefit).  I have years of experience with Canon gear, so I recommend their products.  But Sony, Panasonic, and others all offer up great solutions.  Shop around.  This is a great time to buy.

I recommend two entry-level DSLRs to my students.  The Canon T5i w/ EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 w/  EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens.  The T5i has a flip-out screen, but the SL1 is smaller.  In terms of image quality, they are the same.  My SL1 is so small that I can comfortably carry it with me everywhere I go.

If you can afford it, I recommend getting the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens.  This is my go-to lens for all my documentary work.  It is pricey, but it is a great investment.  You will grow with this lens.  If you do purchase the 24-105, be sure to get the Canon EOS Rebel T5i DSLR Camera (Body Only) or Canon EOS Rebel SL1 DSLR Camera (Body Only) to save some money.

Do not forget to buy some extra batteries for your shoots.  You can go for the more expensive Canon option or save some money going with a third-party brand.  And be sure to get protective filters for your lenses:  the Tiffen 58mm UV Protector Filter for the kit lens or the Tiffen 77mm UV Protector Filter for the 24-105 lens.

Audio:  The most important part of producing great video is getting great audio.  Audio gear can be very expensive and there are many options on the market.  But the gear below was specifically designed to work with DSLRs.  This set up will transform your DSLR into a fully-functioning video camera:  

Your mics go into the DR-60D and then that signal is fed into the camera.  Or, when you really want to just go small and stealth, the Rode VideoMic Pro can plug directly into your DSLR (as pictured above).  Also, the Tascam DR-60D can be used alone as a great field audio recorder.

My most expensive audio recommendation is the Sony ECM-77B - Lavalier Microphone.  This is the microphone I use for all my interviews.  It plugs directly into the DR-60D.  There are much cheaper lav mics available, but IMHO, the low audio quality is not worth the savings.

Support:  You need a good tripod and monopod to get steady shots.  Tripods go from super cheap to insanely expensive.  I recommend spending a little more now for gear that will last you years.  I always shoot with the Manfrotto Fluid Monopod with 500 Series Head and Manfrotto MVH500AH Fluid Head & 755XB Tripod.  They are not the cheapest options, but you will have them for years.

Accessories:  Be sure to get enough memory cards for your shoots.  And invest in the Pelican 0915 Memory Card Case to store your precious footage.

I hope this list helps.

Happy shooting,

Duy

Your Low Cost, No Cost & Creative Commons Guide to Licensing Music
Andreas Silenzi, Managing Director of the Free Music Archive, has a very handy Google spreadsheet that lists sound sources you can explore for your next media project.
These range from those with Creative Commons licenses to ones that are simply free to use to others that have rather nominal charges but are generally royalty free.
Check it: Free Music Archive Guide to Online Audio Resources.

Your Low Cost, No Cost & Creative Commons Guide to Licensing Music

Andreas Silenzi, Managing Director of the Free Music Archive, has a very handy Google spreadsheet that lists sound sources you can explore for your next media project.

These range from those with Creative Commons licenses to ones that are simply free to use to others that have rather nominal charges but are generally royalty free.

Check it: Free Music Archive Guide to Online Audio Resources.

World’s largest natural sound archive now fully digital and fully online. →

Via cornelluniversity:

“In terms of speed and the breadth of material now accessible to anyone in the world, this is really revolutionary,” says audio curator Greg Budney, describing a major milestone just achieved by the Macaulay Library archive at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. All archived analog recordings in the collection, going back to 1929, have now been digitized and can be heard at www.MacaulayLibrary.org

…It took archivists a dozen years to complete the monumental task. The collection contains nearly 150,000 digital audio recordings equaling more than 10 terabytes of data with a total run time of 7,513 hours. About 9,000 species are represented. There’s an emphasis on birds, but the collection also includes sounds of whales, elephants, frogs, primates and more.

Thomas Mason

—The Oldest Known Recording

jtotheizzoe:

The Oldest Known Recording, Restored in the Digital Age

Hearing the voices of dead people might make you feel a little odd, but give this a listen.

In 1878, writer Thomas Mason sat down in front of one of Thomas Edison’s just-invented phonograph recorders, and captured himself playing cornet, laughing, and even the first recorded screw-up (trying to read a line from “Old Mother Hubbard”.

According to writings, Edison had recorded himself the year before, just after he invented the device, reading “Mary Had A Little Lamb”. This recording has since disappeared, making Mason’s the oldest known playable copy.

Except it wasn’t really “playable”. The metallic drum had deteriorated so badly that it couldn’t be played mechanically, so Lawrence Berkeley scientists had to develop a way to digitally scan the grooves and convert them into real sound.

Check out Rebecca J. Rosen’s article at The Atlantic to find out more about the history of this recording and to hear more samples, and check out the research project’s site to find out how they did it. So. Cool.

It’s nice to know that, for as long as people have been laying sound to records, they’ve been messing up. No one’s perfect, even the pioneers of sound! At least we can laugh with them, right along with the recording.

30 Days, 30 Lost Interviews

Last week I met with David Gerlach, founder and creator of Blank on Blank, a nonprofit that salvages, archives and remixes audio recordings journalists submit from their past interviews.

Visit the site now and you’ll see and hear from Allen Ginsberg, Thom Yorke, Dave Brubeck and even Jonathan Alter on how to interview presidents.

Blank on Blank currently has a Kickstarter campaign up and running. Aside from the $10,000 they hope to raise, they’re also trying to “raise” 30 new interviews. Have a great one on your hard drive or in a shoe box? Visit Blank on Blank and tell them about it.

In the Q&A below, we discuss how Blank on Blank started, how it works with Public Radio Exchange to distribute these lost interviews and give them new life, and what it means to remix an old audio interview. — Michael

FJP: What is Blank on Blank? What’s its origin story?
David Gerlach: Blank on Blank’s mission is simple: turn print journalists’ lost interview tapes into new unheard multimedia. We are a nonprofit transforming journalists’ interviews gathered to write stories, into a new podcast, public radio series, and collection of animated shorts on YouTube. The future of journalism? Remixing the past.

FJP: Why is archiving, salvaging and ultimately repurposing this material important?
David: So many remarkable stories are in danger of being lost forever. Yet there is a huge mobile, online, and radio audience that wants to hear them. As a former print journalist I always thought about these amazing conversations I had on tape that no one ever got to hear after I finished a story. There is something about hearing someone tell a story in an intimate setting versus reading what was said. We want to help print journalists expand their portfolios and realize the untapped value of the interviews gathering dust on their tapes and computer hard drives. It’s about rebooting and striking back in the face of a print media world that’s been turned upside down. Plus it’s easy to do.

FJP: When you get an audio interview in, what happens next?
David: We take a listen and and cull the interviews for the must-hear outtakes. We want evergreen stories. Unexpected conversations from the well known and universal tales from everyday Americans. Then our talented public radio-seasoned producers polish and edit the audio, add some music and storytelling, and a Blank on Blank is born. We turn most interviews into smart audio slideshows. And cartoonists, illustrators, filmmakers, graphic artists, and photographers turn these pieces into inventive videos that live on YouTube and beyond.

FJP: I’ve seen Blank on Blank production on PRX. What’s that all about? How and where is this material being used and distributed?
David: The Public Radio Exchange (PRX.org) is a phenomenal partner. They distribute both our new podcast and our interview segments to public radio stations. So now Blank on Blank content is being heard on stations across the country, as well as on XM Satellite radio. PRX is also home to The Moth Radio Hour, WTF with Marc Maron, and 99% Invisible, so we are honored to be in such must-hear company.

FJP: How can journalists get involved?
David: It’s easy. Have an interview or an interview excerpt you think should be heard? Go to http://blankonblank.org/your-interviews/ and tell us about it. Maybe there was an aside, an anecdote, or unbelievable story that came up when reporting a story. Or one that didn’t make it into print, but it always stuck with you. Perhaps there is a choice back and forth you think encapsulates an article or book you are writing now or years ago. Think of this as a multimedia sidebar to reach whole new audiences. Then all it takes is uploading the digital interview file to our storage cloud (or getting us a tape). From there we do all the production work. We also welcome any and all editorial input and do love recording our contributors to set the scene for their interview, if they’d like to.

FJP: You have a Kickstarter up and running, what do you plan to do with the funds if you raise them?
David: We’ve launched a slightly different kind of Kickstarter. This funding platform has become such a creative force we thought it was an ideal place to raise not only money ($10,000), but content. We’re looking to raise 30 lost interviews in 30 days - the best unheard conversations from journalists that have never been heard. The best excerpts from these interviews will be transformed and shared with new audiences. Funds raised on Kickstarter will go directly to covering audio and video production costs.

FJP: Why should a journalist or a publication partner with Blank on Blank?
David: Why shouldn’t they? We make it nearly effortless for our contributors to get more mileage from work that’s already been done. They reach new listening and video audiences simply by getting us an interview, raising the awareness of the journalist, the publication, and even driving a new audience back to the original print stories. We’ll take it from there. Our contributors keep the rights to their original interviews and get a new piece of multimedia to host on their website. Plus Blank on Blanks are perfect for spreading via social media.  Our sole mission as a non-profit is to preserve journalists’ interviews and bring your work to life.

For all you AV nerds out there; A once in a lifetime trip around the conveyor system at B&H Photo in New York City.

For digital diehards, B&H is a mecca of SLR cameras, lenses, computers, editing tools, and everything you could possibly want to produce media. I’ve visited B&H many times, and spent a lot of dough. In the used equipment section is a zoom lens for $250,000.

There are few places like B&H in the world, and even the Apple Store looks anemic in comparison.

B&H is also on Tumblr

(Source: swiss-miss.com)

Want Some Retro with your USB Microphone?
Chikodi and I were just emailing back and forth about USB microphones to use for interviews. I came across this masterpiece.
Via GeekAlerts.

Want Some Retro with your USB Microphone?

Chikodi and I were just emailing back and forth about USB microphones to use for interviews. I came across this masterpiece.

Via GeekAlerts.

Adding a Digital Voice to the Revolution →

Egypt may have blocked Internet access throughout the country but a new service is helping to get spoken messages out.

Via the NY Times:

Unedited, raw, anonymous and emotional, Egyptian voices are trickling out through a new service that evades attempts by the authorities to suppress them by cutting Internet services.

There is still some cellphone service, so a new social-media link that marries Google, Twitter and SayNow, a voice-based social media platform, gives Egyptians three phone numbers to call and leave a message, which is then posted on the Internet as a recorded Twitter message. The messages are at twitter.com/speak2tweet and can also be heard by telephone.

The result is a story of a revolution unfolding in short bursts. Sometimes speaking for just several seconds, other times for more than a minute, the disembodied voices convey highly charged moments of excitement or calm declarations of what life is like in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, as it seeks to overturn the rule of its leader…

…But no Internet connection is needed for speak2tweet, and in Egypt there was some phone service. Vodafone was working for text and voice on Tuesday, while AT&T BlackBerry users said MobiNil was working. Callers in Egypt had three numbers to leave recorded messages, based in the United States (1-650-419-4196), in Italy at (39-06) 6220-7294 and in Bahrain at (973) 1619-9855.

Then the service will instantly send the recorded call as a Twitter message using the hashtag #egypt.

Copyright Friendly Audio for the Multimedia Producer

The question knocking around our email is what are some copyright free and/or royalty free music resources for the multimedia journalist.

The answer is in the list below. While not all encompassing, we think it a good start to get you going.
ccMixter: dig.ccmixter is devoted to helping you find that great music, all of which is liberally licensed under a Creative Commons license so you already have permission to use this music in your video, podcast, school project, personal music player, or where ever.

FreeSound.org: The Freesound Project is a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds. Freesound focusses only on sound, not songs.

Musopen: Musopen is a non-profit focused on improving access and exposure to music by creating free resources and educational materials. We provide recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions. Put simply, our mission is to set music free.

Jamendo: Jamendo is a community of free, legal and unlimited music published under Creative Commons licenses. 

Library of Congress: Get that old-timey feeling from public domain works via the LOC’s American Memory project.
SoundCloud: Creative Commons tagged music from this musician sharing site. Think of it as a Flickr for audio.

Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project: Before their were MP3s there were CDs. Before that there were tapes and vinyl. And before that, the cylinder. UC Santa Barbara has been digitizing music from the late 1800s and early 1900s since 2002. Now free for you to use.
Want a Giant Lists of Others?
Check out this massive list from Wikispaces, or if you’re looking for beats and loops to create your own songs, the dmoz Open Directory Project has everything from electronica to banjo for you to sample.

Have resources of your own? What would you add to the list?

Copyright Friendly Audio for the Multimedia Producer

The question knocking around our email is what are some copyright free and/or royalty free music resources for the multimedia journalist.

The answer is in the list below. While not all encompassing, we think it a good start to get you going.

  • ccMixter: dig.ccmixter is devoted to helping you find that great music, all of which is liberally licensed under a Creative Commons license so you already have permission to use this music in your video, podcast, school project, personal music player, or where ever.
  • FreeSound.org: The Freesound Project is a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds. Freesound focusses only on sound, not songs.
  • Musopen: Musopen is a non-profit focused on improving access and exposure to music by creating free resources and educational materials. We provide recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions. Put simply, our mission is to set music free.
  • Jamendo: Jamendo is a community of free, legal and unlimited music published under Creative Commons licenses.
  • Library of Congress: Get that old-timey feeling from public domain works via the LOC’s American Memory project.
  • SoundCloud: Creative Commons tagged music from this musician sharing site. Think of it as a Flickr for audio.
  • Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project: Before their were MP3s there were CDs. Before that there were tapes and vinyl. And before that, the cylinder. UC Santa Barbara has been digitizing music from the late 1800s and early 1900s since 2002. Now free for you to use.

Want a Giant Lists of Others?

Check out this massive list from Wikispaces, or if you’re looking for beats and loops to create your own songs, the dmoz Open Directory Project has everything from electronica to banjo for you to sample.

Have resources of your own? What would you add to the list?