This shouldn’t be so hard: my struggles with audio technology

Okay, I consider myself a relatively tech-savvy person. I know how to use garage band, have dabbled in photo shop, and use programs like Finale and Final Cut with relative ease. But, my god, it took me way too long to figure out the technology I was using for my project.

One of my friends at STAMPS let me borrow two portable microphones for my project. They’re pretty basic: about 5 inches long, 3 inches wide, they come with those squishy things you can put over the actual microphone that makes the sound better (as you can see, I know a lot about microphone terminology). They also have a lot of little buttons, which proved to be a source of trouble for me.

Turns out you have to press the little recorder button twice to actually start recording. Is this common knowledge? Did I miss something? Anyway, I lost about 10 minutes of recording because I thought I only had to press that stupid button once (I’m not bitter though).

Also, before you import the audio clips on your computer, you have to designate files on the little machine! Again, I wasted a fair amount of time frantically searching for my audio while pressing lots of buttons on both the microphone and my computer.

I eventually figured it out, thanks to trial and error and a very helpful phone call to my art school friend (use your resources, people!). If anything, this tech trial taught me that I should set aside time to really finesse my set-up process before interviewing big-wig professors, or else I might end up looking like a fool.

My Set-Up

Tech Challenge: Hitting the Panic Button

You know that moment when you suddenly realize just how much work you’ve gotten yourself into? That moment when your blood pressure spikes a bit and all seems futile- yeah that pretty much sums up any project I take on that involves working with unfamiliar technology. I tried to reacquaint myself with iMovie today, (I say “reacquaint”, but the first time doesn’t even really count because I was just watching someone else make physical edits on the program.). I was able to play around with it, and luckily, it does seem relatively user friendly, even for an analog lover like myself. I think the hardest part of my project will be transitioning between clips, because my video will involve a lot of short clips that will need to flow together quickly. I also feel like I still need to explore iMovie more to get a good grasp on intertwining video and audio. I know I can’t just use the audio straight off the camera to get proper sound quality, so figuring out the best way to record clear audio and sync it up with the video is going to be tough. At this point, I have just been learning by playing with the program a bit, but I have found a few tutorials that have also been helpful including the MSU Tutorial.

I have also been trying to get more comfortable using the movie mode on my DSLR, so I perused YouTube for tutorials on how to get the best footage off of the camera I own. DSLRs are not specifically designed for video, but they produce decent quality footage from what I can tell. I am still debating whether it would be better to use a camera that I am comfortable and familiar with (my own), or whether it would be better to borrow a camera from ISS that would be tailored to video. Both require a bit of a learning curve, so I suppose it’s just a matter of weighing which camera seems easiest for me to use and which will give me the optimal quality for my skill level. Oh technology, what a wonderful world.