Audio assignment

Sound is a critical part of multimedia production and often the hardest to get right. This assignment will help you become familiar with sound gathering and editing. The idea here is not to become an audio expert, but to have some familiarity with sound gathering equipment, techniques and an audio editing platform. You will get opportunities to work in audio more in depth as you progress through the department.

Your assignment is to gather sound – both voices and natural and ambient sound – to tell the story of a place on campus. The place could be anything from your dorm floor to a quiet spot on the edge of campus. You will need to incorporate natural sound, ambient sound and the human voice into your piece. It should be two to three minutes long and should tell a story about your place.

There should be “plot” and “movement” through time. There should be a logic to the piece that you can articulate, not just a bunch of sounds thrown together. For example, if I am telling the story of my dorm floor, I might start with the sound of me opening the door to the building and pressing an elevator button, the ding of the elevator and the doors opening to the ambient sound of the floor during a particularly busy time.

• To use audio to effectively communicate.
• To learn basic sound gathering techniques.
• To learn the basics of audio editing.


Due date: September 26. Please note that both the “audio” and “image” projects are due on the same day with short presentations to follow that week. Be sure to plan ahead so you can get both assignments finished.

Equipment: See the syllabus for more information about checking out gear. You will need your own SD card. For this assignment I would like you to use a Zoom H4N audio recorder. If you are feeling particularly adventurous you can also try an external mic with the zoom, which will allow you to focus your field recording. Be sure to ask them for a wind screen if one is available and either a handle or a small tripod to hold the recorder. Also, if you want to try an external mic set up (very easy to do), ask for an xlr cord and a stick mic.

You can find out what recorders are available here.

Again, heed the timeline here. Equipment demand can get really heavy without warning as projects in other courses start to pick up. So if you wait until the day before to do your audio assignment, you may find no recorders available.

Format: The audio piece should be exported as a .wav file and published on SoundCloud – you will have to open an account – and then embedded on your site as a part of a reflective blog post that explains your piece.

Grading: There are two pieces to the grade – the actual audio project and the reflection on your production choices.