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The Zoo is a Human Trap

Hey everybody!

This is one of my audio assignments for this week. All of the audio assignments can be found here at the ds106 website. The point of this week was to familiarize ourselves with audio and how to create good stories with sound effects, music, speeches, and many other radio specific techniques. This particular assignment is one in which I had to use nothing but sound effects to create a story no longer than 60 seconds. The assignment details/tutorials are found here and the assignment is worth 3.5 stars.

The Story

This was by far my favorite audio assignment. Sounds are literally all around us and we hear so many things everyday. These very sounds can make us sad, or happy, or even afraid, and they enrich our daily lives while also giving us cues about our environment. I wanted to create a story in which the sounds cause a particular change in emotion- from calm and happy to dramatic. In this story, I also wanted to juxtapose sounds of nature and sounds of mankind because I believe the human world is becoming more detached from nature. This is not to say that humans are going to destroy the Earth and become robots, but it’s more a reflection of how we have become more disconnected. In the digital world, I think it is important to use audio that takes us to another place or excites us so the setting for my story is the zoo. A place where people meet nature separated by bars and enclosures. The story is of a person who is casually walking into a zoo. It is calm, there are birds in the background, at one point there are people laughing and enjoying themselves. Our protagonists stops and we hear the roar of an elephant and we imagine that the protagonist is taking the time to stand still and watch this force of nature. Our protagonist continues on, just a regular day at the zoo until he stops and hears a tiger’s frightening roar followed by people screaming and the story ending in chaos. This story is a good example of how quickly things can go wrong and how we often don’t see it coming. I think that this story is also a good example of how powerful sounds can be. When we hear people screaming we begin to worry as well, even if we can’t see or touch the threat. I have listened to many podcasts that use sounds to create dramatic emotions.

The Product

The Process

This audio assignment took the most time for me. The video below describes and explains the process with commentary and is a helpful guide to recreating this assignment. The first step was to go to free sound and search the sounds that I needed and this was the step that took the longest because I wanted to find good quality sounds. The choices for elephant and tiger sounds were few and far between but I managed to find one or two good ones. I downloaded all of the sounds and then opened up iMovie. One of the issues I ran into was that the tiger sound did not come standard as an MP3 file but rather an audacity file. This is an easy thing to fix, simply open with file with audacity and “export” it as an MP3.  iMovie is a very simple tool to use and all I had to do was select parts of the sound clips I wanted and drag them to the bottom where the movie is built. iMovie has a special spot for audio and I just placed my audio in the order that I wanted the story to go. One can easily crop their audio track by clicking on the ends of the clip and shortening it by dragging it back. Once I was satisfied with my product, I exported as an audio MP3 file and saved it to my desktop. After that I uploaded to SoundCloud and copied it into the blog.

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