Audio Project Critique

I feel like a hypocrite, critiquing my peers’ audio projects knowing so well the flaws in my own.  I suppose people take different approaches to interviewing and especially editing, so a fresh set of ears might pinpoint something we’ve missed. A second opinion never hurt anyone.

Ok, enough rationalizing.  On with the roast!

Jasper Fitzgerald‘s interview with Bridget Wilson surprised me in several ways. First, I’ve taken many classes with Bridget, and I had no idea she was such an aspiring Scorsese (or Spielberg, in her case)! I also learned about the Best of the West Film Club, a name that sounded familiar, but had been below my radar until now.

Bridget’s an engaging interviewee, and between the careful editing and her easy speaking style, the pacing of the final audio is just right to keep my interest. I think Jasper made logical choices about what she cut.  The New York Film Academy discussion from the unedited interview was interesting, but something has to go when editing from five to two minutes. This section makes sense because it isn’t absolutely necessary to support the thesis of the recording. Jasper kept the focus of the story in Laramie, which was a smart decision and helped the piece’s cohesion.

Listening with headphones, there’s the slightest bit of background noise throughout the interview, as if a laptop hums nearby, though it’s far from distracting and inaudible on normal speakers.  Another small point is that Bridget’s status as vice-president of the film club was removed from the the original. This seems like an important tidbit that should have made the final cut, perhaps part of her self-introduction.  I also think the interview might benefit from a couple closer edits or fades. Although most distractors were removed (the ‘um’s, the ‘y’know’s), a couple were overlooked (0:38; 0:57). Strategic fading at the beginning, the end, and between topics would help to round out the recording.

These are very minor issues, and I was grasping to find any flaws.  Overall, this is a great interview from concept to execution. Well done, Jasper!

Otis Garrison‘s audio interview with Sarah Alfred is also smartly edited, removing less relevant material and staying on topic. Recording in a Coe conference room was a brilliant idea because there are nearly no background distractions and acoustics are outstanding. There is an audible fuzz, however, which makes me think the recorder was turned up too high. Maybe it’s just my headphones… I have Sennheisers like Otis, and they’re extremely sensitive.

Besides only a couple small issues, like pauses that could be edited down (0:29; 1:54) and the soundcloud file’s absence from the blog, my strongest impression is that this interview would greatly benefit from ambient noise or music (BBQ sounds, Elvis, rockabilly, sounds from the music festival mentioned, etc.).

Otherwise, this is a solid interview that’s edited well for clarity.  Maybe it’s a Sennheiser thing.  Nice work, Otis!

My own experience with editing an audio profile was surprisingly problem-free.  Audacity’s basic cut-and-paste approach makes editing for a deadline feasible, without having to install countless drivers or experiment endlessly with input/output, effects, or patches like other audio software.

After posting my final cut, I picked up on several edits I wish I could mulligan, but this was my first experience with a journalistic audio mash-up.  While editing, I was (audio-) visualizing NPR. Some cuts worked, some didn’t. Some fades worked; others sounded amateurish.

It’s trite but true what they say about practice.


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