The Sounds Speak for Themselves
The final assignment this week was more or less the equivalent to the audio version of a design assignment: use audio editing skills to create a ninety-second-or-less audio story without verbal communication.
Time to Go
Hollis finally reconsidered staying in Detroit. After a close run-in with protesters outside the plant, he realized that Detroit could no longer be their home. The demonstrators had begun to follow the radical practices of the new domestic terror organization ANTISA, or Anti Steam Activists. All around the country, the group had been targeting power-plant and automotive workers in addition to the companies. Talk had also been spread of “big plans” for the coal-fired plants, ANTISA’s primary target for destruction.
It was Hollis’s last day on the job; Meg’s family would be showing up to help pack-up the house for the move to King George, Virginia. Meg had found a small mobile-home for sale on Zillow that was within easy driving distance of a public university. She planned to find a job teaching middle school to support them while Hollis went back to school to get a degree. He did not want to go to work for the plant in that area; it too was one of the last coal-fired hold-outs, and he was not going to start working to just get laid-off when that plant inevitably closed like the others did.
Meg had tried to convince Hollis to stay home that day, but he had wanted to go in to say farewell to his coworkers before the move. She was uneasy that morning after a bad dream had shaken her awake. Hollis assured her everything would be okay and that if any protesters came after him, he would give them a good knockout for her.
Lunch time had arrived, and Hollis had just sat down to eat the sandwich Meg had packed for him that last day. Out of the corner of his eye he saw two men dressed in black shimmy out of the lunch hall. What were they doing there?
How it all Came to Be
To make this audio story, I started with a blank Audacity project. The most important part was finding the sounds: lunch-time chatter, steam, rumbles, crumbling, explosions, gunfire, screams, and more screams. Once I had all the sounds (obtained from Freesound), I imported them into the project.
I used the Envelope Tool to fade down the audio for the lunch-room chatter.
Next, I began placing bomb noises throughout the piece. I used the Selection Tool to copy and paste the explosions and the Time Shift Tool to put them in place.
Since I was working with a steam power-plant, I added in the clip of steam twice, once for left audio and once for right. To split the audio into right and left from stereo, I used Split Stereo Track from the drop down menu on the steam track.
Then, I copied the steady portion of the steam noise to its own track. To do this, I duplicated the steam track and then trimmed the sound outside of the part I wanted. There I copied it again and kept pasting it onto its end until the new track was long enough to run the entire ninety seconds of the story.
To boost the track’s volume, I used Effect->Amplify with the default settings.
Beyond that, I just did many shifts on the different clips and more work with the Envelope Tool to bring everything together. To finish, I saved the whole composition as an mp3, using File->Export->Export as Mp3.