SPR13-ITEC2110-31:Project 2

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The Digital Audio Project

Due: Due Monday, March 4, 2013, 11:59 pm

Overview: In ITEC 1001, you learned that a podcast is an audio (and sometimes video) show available online. Podcasts can be about any subject and take any format: it's simply asynchronous radio (and sometimes television) on the internet. For this project, you will create your own audio podcast using Audacity and will explore the impact of sampling rate and quantization levels on audio quality.

Topics: Chapters 4 - 5, Audacity, GGC Wiki

Project Template: Project 2 Template

Instructor's Submission: CuneoJoshua_2110_Pjt2

IMPORTANT NOTES: Please read all instructions thoroughly and carefully before calling on the instructor for help. Please remember that your neighbors, the Audacity help menu and the internet are also all resources that you can consult. Please begin early to give yourself time to ask questions and resolve any technical difficulties.

If you want to work on your own computer, download the latest version of Audacity from the Audacity website. You are also welcome to use other audio programs, but this class only supports Audacity.

If you want me to look over your project before you turn it in, please see me in person during class or during my office hours. I will not review projects submitted via e-mail.

I will edit this page over time to provide clarifications and additional resources.

Before You Begin

1. Edit your Student Profile page to include a link to your Project 2 page. Give this page a unique name such as LastnameFirstname_2110_Pjt2 (ex. CuneoJoshua_2110_Pjt2).

2. Copy and paste the following template on your Project 2 page: Project 2 Template.

Part I: Find a Podcast

1. Go online and find a podcast that reflects your major or one of your interests. This can be a regularly or sporadically-updated podcast.

2. Listen to at least five minutes of at least one podcast episode.

3. Write a one-paragraph summary of the podcast. Be sure to include the following:

  • What the podcast is called
  • What subjects the podcast discusses or explores
  • What specifically was discussed in the portion of the podcast to which you listened
  • The URL of the website where you found the podcast

Part II: Make Your Podcast

Be sure to save early and often!!!

1. Your podcast can be about any subject matter (so long as it's not offensive or obscene) and be in any format, but it must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • It contains a clear, cohesive theme. (For instance, the music and dialogue tie in to one another.)
  • It is between one and two minutes in length.
  • It has a clear opening and closing.
  • It contains at least 30 seconds of music, sound effects or other third-party audio tracks.
  • It contains at least 30 seconds of a live recording you made of somebody's voice (yours or somebody else's).
    • If you place the voice recording over another audio track, the voice should be clearly audible.
    • Pre-existing recordings are not eligible for this requirement. Please make a new recording.
  • It contains at least one obvious fade-in and at least one obvious fade-out. (Please create your own fade - do not use any fades already present in your audio tracks.)
  • All audio tracks are in stereo.

2. Export your audio file (File -> Export) as a 16-bit, 44100 Hz (44.1 kHz) .wav file (these are the specs for standard CD-quality sampling). I recommend using a unique naming system that includes the sampling rate and quantization levels, such as LastnameFirstname_Pjt2_16_44100 (ex. CuneoJoshua_Pjt2_16_44100). (Click OK on any warnings that pop up.)

Part III: Make Your Additional Files

For this part, you will export your podcast in different formats with different sampling rates and quantization levels. Note the effect on audio quality and file size. I recommend using a naming convention like LastnameFirstname_Pjt2_XX_YYYYY, where XX is the number of bits and YYYYY is the number of Hz. Export your podcast in the following formats:

1. 16-bit, 44100 Hz, .au file

2. 16-bit, 22050 Hz, .wav file

3. 16-bit, 8000 Hz, .wav file

4. 8-bit, 22050 Hz, .wav file

5. 8-bit, 8000 Hz, .wav file

  • To save in .au format, in the Export File dialog box, choose "Other uncompressed files" under "Save as type" and then click on the "Options" button. Choose AU (Sun/NeXT) in the pop-up box.
  • To change the sampling rate, change the value in the "Project Rate" box in the lower left-hand corner of Audacity.
  • To change the quantization level to 8-bit, in the Export File dialog box, choose "Other uncompressed files" under "Save as type" and then click on the "Options" button. Select "WAV (Microsoft)" under "Header" and "Unsigned 8 bit PCM" under "Encoding".

Part IV: Post Your Audio Files to the Wiki

1. Upload all six of your audio files to the Wiki using the "Upload file" page. (Ignore any warnings the wiki gives you about file size.)

2. Edit your template to include download links to and the necessary information about your audio files. We will go over the download time calculations in class. Be sure to use the following network speeds:

  • Dial-up: 56 kbps
  • ASDL: 6.1 mbps

Additional Tips and Resources

  • All audio tracks must be in stereo. When you record dialogue, Audacity might record it as a mono track. You will need to convert this track to stereo after you're done recording.
  • If you get a message about needing the LAME MP3 encoder, click here for instructions on downloading and installing it.
  • You can rip mp3s from YouTube videos using the online application SnipMP3.
  • For another example of audio layering, check out the original One Two video.
  • Audacity saves out project files as a .aup file and an accompanying folder (called filename_data, where "filename" is the name of your file) with the raw audio data. You must save both of these when moving an Audacity project from one computer to another.
    • The filename_data folder may be too big and difficult to move online, so I recommend a thumb drive.
    • You do not have to upload these files to the wiki, only your completed .wav and .au files.
  • Double-check all of your audio files using QuickTime. Open each audio file in QuickTime, open the Movie Inspector and check that the sampling rate and quantization levels are where they should be. You can also use this feature to determine the audio file size when you fill out the Wiki template.
  • Misc Software Tutorials

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