Digital Journalism

COM466 – University of Washington

Final Project: Closing Time at the University of Washington

Link to SoundSlides Project: http://students.washington.edu/tombat/goodbye_uw/

For my final individual project I chose to combine my recently discovered admiration for SoundSlides with my own nostalgia for the closing of the academic year. The Audio / Slide Show focuses on the procedures undertaken by the IMA and the Residence Halls as the term draws to a close and record vox populi sound bites to communicate the emotional atmosphere surrounding the process. The story is structured to provide a short introduction to the university and it’s environment, give seasonal context, tie the university to the two services (HFS and the IMA) and then focus on the student requirements involved in the process. I was lucky to be able to shoot in the Locker Room of the IMA and had to request special permission to take a camera within. As a requirement, I was told that it would only be possible at precisely 6:00 am, to reduce the risk of patrons being caught in the frame.

I scanned the residence hall evacuation dates for those moving out on the night that I chose to photograph and was able to interview an apartment of girls on McMahon floor 7. I had initially aimed to capture the hectic nature of the final day’s of moving out, as I thought it would make for a visually appealing and relevant news article however, du to the nature of finals week, the stream of students leaving does not reach a peak until much later than this assignment was completed. I am, however, relatively pleased with the overall fidelty of my project and believe that the story is conveyed clearly through both the audio track and the pictures.

I also had problems with Audacity and attempting to equalize the levels. As the narration and interviews where recorded at separate times and different pieces of equipment (the narration was done using a rented microphone, whereas the interviews simply used a point and shoot camera with movie function) the levels where initially vastly different. Audacity was able to somewhat mitigate this however I was not happy with the result. I then exported the Audacity project and download a trial of Adobe SoundBooth CS5 – a professional level audio editing utility. I spent some time learning how to adjust and equalize volume levels and was subsequently very happy with the extent that the software was able to process the audio.

From experience I learnt to credit the creator of the music and have an opening and closing title card and audio. Although initially skeptical, I now believe that the SoundSlides system is an incredibly effective tool at communicate and enhancing visual information with audio. I would recommend it to any future journalist looking to distance themselves from the rest.

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Filed under: Student Projects

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