Monthly Archives: March 2013

An Edited Audio Portrait

For this assignment I was tasked with editing the rough audio portrait I completed for the last blog post. To do this, I used the free audio editing program Audacity. I edited out about three minutes of content, erased troublesome background noise, and rearranged some of the dialogue to give the story better cohesion. The edited interview can be heard below.

I had a lot of fun editing this interview. I had expected cutting and rearranging audio to be much more difficult than it proved to be. With the silences already in place, it wasn’t actually that difficult to cut out a phrase here or there and still leave the piece sounding natural. I’d even like to work more with it.

I was surprised at how much my recording device picked up. Even the silences are far from actually being silent – there is a constant kind of ground noise that just seems natural to the air. I had unplugged anything that was making noise, and at least to me the room sounded silent, but if I “generated” silence in Audacity it sounded unnaturally quiet.

I appreciate the work that goes into this kind of medium a lot more now. Even if I found editing to be easier than I thought it was going to be, it still took hours and it was disappointing that snaps or crackles from either me or my subject fidgeting ruined pieces of audio for the final piece. Some of that I could cut around, and I figured out that I could make almost all of it sound better, but other noises seemed buried with the voice and I couldn’t isolate them.

What I especially enjoyed was being able to create a sense of organization with the parts of the interview that I chose to include. Though the interview itself did not exactly flow perfectly from subject to subject as we spoke, once I was in Audacity I could move things around and transition from subject to subject more naturally. It helped that I needed to cut out so much anyway, so parts of the interview that didn’t fit could be cut without penalty.

If I could do it again I would attempt to fix the issues I ran into by getting a clearer interview and by working harder to avoid distracting noise while we were talking. You can do a lot with an editing program like Audacity, but you can’t fix everything. I grew comfortable with the program itself quickly though, and didn’t struggle – partially thanks to advice from past students and my instructor.

Thanks for reading,

Joshua C. Geiger

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Posted by on March 14, 2013 8:35 pm in Audio


Adriana Yankey: A Rough Audio Portrait

Continuing our work with audio journalism, this time I was assigned to interview a friend and record it. I decided to interview a trumpet-playing friend of mine. The rough audio recording can be heard below.

Despite knowing my subject and having questions prepared, I still felt nervous to begin the recording. Having the recorder set between us felt almost like putting up a wall. I mostly enjoyed the experience once we got started, however. I had to do the recording twice because on the first try I didn’t have enough questions prepared to reach five minutes.

One of the things I learned doing this assignment is that once you take on the role of interviewer, everything changes. The audio recorder sitting between us was impossible to ignore. I feel like I need to get a better feel for how long the response to a question is going to be before I ask it, and I also think it would have helped if I had more thoroughly prepared my questions. There are a few places where my questions feel a little disconnected, and I think that affected how she answered.

I enjoyed doing the actual recording, and I am excited to work on editing it. I don’t, however, particularly enjoy doing interviews. I also learned that the recording device is very sensitive, and even though I worked hard not to fidget there are still a few places where there is some interfering noise.

If I did it over I think I would spend more time working on how I was going to conduct the interview and thinking about what I wanted to get out of it. I would practice my questions so they don’t come off so confused. I think I have the hang of how sensitive the iPhone’s recording device is finally, so that, at least, shouldn’t be a problem in the future.


Thanks for reading,

Joshua C. Geiger

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Posted by on March 8, 2013 5:10 pm in Audio


Ambient Noise and Counting to Ten: Audio

Over the past week I was instructed to carry around an audio recording device (in my case, an iPhone 4) and record ambient noises. Below are six of the sounds I recorded.

The first ambient noise I recorded was traffic driving past me as I walked down Grand Avenue in Laramie. This kind of ambient noise might be used in audio journalism stories about car accidents or a stretch of highway. It might also be used as a transition where traveling in a car is involved.

The second ambient noise in this set is a shower turning on and running. I recorded this in Crane Hall, the dorm hall where I live. This sound might be used in an audio story about morning activities, hygiene, or anything to do with changes in water supply or the water system.

The third sound was taken while I was standing in line at a Walmart check out. Though this sound was recorded at a Walmart, the ambient noise could be used in almost any story that involves a large store, to set the scene or to introduce a story about holiday season shopping.

The next sound was taken in a classroom, a few minutes before class started. The sound mostly consists of mumbled voices, and only a few words can be picked out. This kind of sound might be used in a story about High School students and changing standards or problems with attendance or graduation rates.

Ambient noise number five is a recording of me brushing my teeth in the bathroom at Crane Hall. This is another sound that could be used in a story about morning hygiene, or more specifically in a story about dental health or the profile of a dentist.

The final ambient noise is the sound of my car starting. At the end of the recording the car is going into gear. I recorded this sound in a parking lot. This ambient noise might be used in an audio story about cars and the damage they do to the environment, or in a story about car trips during the summer.

Preparing myself for audio journalism, the second part of the assignment served as an introduction to audio editing. I was assigned to familiarize myself with the free audio editing program Audacity. For this assignment I recorded myself counting to ten completely out of order, and then used the program to reorder the recording so that it is in order. Both recordings are playable below.

This was my first experience with audio editing. While I have recorded brief things before, I have never used any kind of program to edit that recording. I did mess around a little with Apple’s GarageBand in high school.

That being said, I was certain I would be able to figure out the program with a little practice, and I am not the least bit afraid of editing or audio journalism in general. I like the idea of recording my own voice, and except for some small issues with the recording device I didn’t have any problems completing this assignment. When I recorded myself counting to ten, I did my best to leave space between each number and to include those realistic pauses in the edit. The biggest issue was that I let myself drop the pitch on the number nine (the last number I said out of order) which does not sound all that natural in the reordered recording.

Thanks for reading,

Josh Geiger

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Posted by on March 4, 2013 3:58 pm in Audio


A Day in the life of A Photojournalist

Over the past week and a half, I took on the role of a photojournalist, taking pictures at University sport events and around Laramie.

photo (1)

Cowgirl Marquelle Dent, 18, tries to pass around Chelsea Hopkins, 22, of the Sand Diego Aztecs. The Aztecs defeated the Cowgirls 57-51 in Laramie on February 20.

This photo, titled “Around the Block”, was taken at the women’s basketball game at Arena-Auditorium on February 20. There were signs around campus encouraging people to attend, and I decided it was a perfect opportunity for some photographs. Without a press pass, I could only get so close to the court, and it was hard for my camera to capture the action while zoomed. Still, some of the photos came out clear.

The crowd was loud at this game, but I did take a lot of pictures. For this photo, I kept my subject (Marquelle Dent) in one third of the photograph, and had her act toward the rest of the picture. The relatively uniform and clean background of the basketball court also helps to make this shot interesting.

photo (2)

A University of Wyoming student on a rock dances above a crowd of students in Simpson Plaza on February 21. The students were participating in a “Harlem Shake” video put together by the University Store.

I titled this photo “Neon Dancer”. Walking to the Union from class on February 21, I stumbled upon people in odd costumes unfit for the Laramie winter gathering in Simpson Plaza. Curious, confused, and seeing an opportunity, I pulled out my camera. With all of the movement, it was hard to get a good, still picture, but not impossible.

I later learned that this was being filmed and put together by the University Store as part of the latest internet fad, the “Harlem Shake”.  I used viewpoint and color as creative devices in this photo.


Conroy Stout, 22, uses his phone while waiting for some friends in a computer lab in the Engineering building on February 19.

This photo is titled “Computer Lab”, and was taken in the Engineering building on campus. I was on the other side of the room, and as I sat down at the computer I realized that from table level, I could just see Conroy Stout through the chairs and monitors. It took me several tries to get the picture right.

This photo was taken with the camera sitting on the table. This is an example of using viewpoint to take an interesting picture, and to some extent, framing. I think the photo would be better if I could have gotten something framing him from above, too, but the computer monitors do frame him on either side.


Ashley Sickles, 22, a senior playing forward for the Cowgirls, looks down the court during the game on February 20. The Cowgirls lost to the San Diego State Aztecs 57-51.

In this photo, titled “Looking Out”, Ashley Sickles of the UW women’s basketball team looks down the court. This was taken at the same game as “Around the Block”. I don’t know basketball very well and so had trouble getting into the game, but I did have fun trying to capture good photos.

In this picture, I used the rule of thirds to isolate Sickles. This, combined with the clean background, made for what I think is a visually interesting photograph. It almost looks like she is alone on the court.


University of Wyoming #23, 20-year-old Chelan Landry, dribbles the ball during the February 20 game against San Diego. Twenty-year-old Ahjalee Harvey of the Aztecs prepares to block her.

The last photo is another Sports-action photo, also taken at the February 20 game against the Aztecs. Like the other photographs at this game, I found my camera and my distance from the court to be problematic.

This one came out fairly clear, and though its background isn’t as clean as the other two I still think it’s an interesting photograph. I think that a balance is created by the two subjects, Landry and Harvey, on either side of the photo. They are both poised to move, and the action all appears to be taking place at the center, between them.

What I learned from this assignment is that photography isn’t easy, and that most photos don’t turn out awesome. The ability to do some minor editing was helpful in making some of the photos better, but I think that in photography equipment is key, and my camera wasn’t really good enough to get photos from very far away.

I was surprised by how many visually interesting moments occur in a typical day, and how hard they are to catch. I wish that I could have gotten much closer for the sports shots.

Thank you for reading,

-Joshua C. Geiger

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Posted by on March 1, 2013 10:24 am in Photography