Tensions Flare at Home

Story Time!

Telling a story using audio could not possibly be hard, right? Well, while literally telling a story into a mic has inherent simplicities, making an audio story for the story-time assignment had challenges. Mixing the audio of the different tracks required much listening and re-listening to get the volumes and fades just right.

I chose to model the style of story after the Moon Graffiti audio story I listened to earlier in the week. Dialogue was going to be my focus, so I enlisted my wife, Meg, to be my partner. Since my story had to deal with the alternate history I chose last week, I decided to continue examining my steam powered Detroit through a fight between husband and wife about moving away from the area to escape the fog. This work follows that of my previous post.

Playing Something on the Piano is not Always Better

Times are Getting Rough

Almost a year has passed since the emberatic-brumulous fog study was published, and on top of its dwindling population, Detroit is facing new complications from the thick haze enfolding the city. While the auto companies are strongly denying the possibility of health risks from the fog, children throughout the city and the surrounding areas are falling ill with a pneumonia-like cough. This new development has the public up in arms demanding for Ford and the other manufacturers to pay for treatment for the many young patients now flooding Detroit’s hospitals. The auto companies refuse to finance medical treatments for the children, citing a study, paid for by the National Auto Lobby, that stated the cough did not originate from breathing the fog laden air.

Hollis has worked for a local coal fired power-plant for the last five years and does not want to leave the city. Detroit has always been his home: he met his wife Meg there, bought a house there, built his life there. Job prospects for him were slim to none anywhere else; most other states had replaced their coal fired power-plants with newer nuclear ones after a WikiLeak about unenforced regulations for coal-powered plants. Working at the plant was getting rocky. After the children started getting sick, demonstrators had begun staging “Klose the Killer” protests at the plant, keeping employees from accessing the building, sometimes by force. Per the city, police were not to be called to the protests in order to keep from attracting national attention.

Home for Dinner

How it all Came to Be

Of course, the first part of creating this audio story was recording Meg and myself. Using Audacity and a high quality usb microphone, we sat down and improvised our dialogue. Beforehand, I told her that I wanted to hit the high-points of sick children, fog, and married couple.

Next, I listened to the recording and cut out unnecessarily large gaps in the conversation. To do this, I simply highlighted areas of inactivity with the selection tool and pressed the delete key.

After that, I needed to add in some sound effects.  I needed a door closing, kitchen noises, some musical segue, and a timer, all of which I sourced from Freesound. To add them to the Audacity project, I used File->Import->Audio.

Once I had all the files in the project, I set to work moving them to the necessary positions; this is done using the Time Shift Tool.

Also, I wanted to split the kitchen noise up to give the effect of Meg going in and out of the kitchen. To do this I highlighted the parts I wanted to move, cut them, and pasted them in their new locations.

Finally, it was time to adjust the levels in the project.  Using the Envelope Tool, I clicked inside the various tracks to create pivot points for the sound levels, then dragged up and down to create the fades and change the overall levels. I also used the gain to adjust the overall level of the kitchen noises.

To wrap up, I then went to File->Export->Export as Mp3.



One Reply to “Tensions Flare at Home”

  1. I love your story line, this was a really cool idea. I hope I can find a way to add my voice to my stories as well (I don’t have a mic and the one on my computer is really bad). I also liked that you put in the tutorial however the pictures on mine are slightly blurry, could just be my computer though.

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