When I was in elementary school, a girlfriend and I use to play this game where we’d have an on-going conversation about how we couldn’t understand why we never saw each other at piano lessons, even though they were always at the same time. It was silly and I’m not sure why it has stuck with me but, the memory came to mind when choosing this week’s DS106 Audio Assignment: Have a Phone Conversation with Yourself.
Use Audacity or another audio editing software, record yourself holding down both sides of a conversation. Using the pitch changer and/or other effects, change your voice so it sounds like two different people are talking.
Using my elementary school memory as a baseline, I recorded myself having a conversation with myself about the ‘time,’ we all went to that ‘place,’ for that ‘occasion’ and yep, you guessed it, can’t remember! The final product is just as silly as the original game but presented the opportunity to exercise and demonstrate my reflective and instructional practices of digital storytelling. Here it is:
I hope you found that entertaining!
Now, allow me to explain how I created this audio project…
Having never used Audacity, this assignment was all very experimental and I’ll be the first to admit that this is nowhere near perfect. To get things started, I found this great tutorial post that someone added to the assignment page– research is key before starting any project. I found it to be super helpful so I thought I’d take the same approach for my post. Below, I’ve outlined 10 easy steps to create a phone conversation with yourself:
1.) Create a script. I chose Google Docs but Word or pen and paper are fine too. It’s whatever you prefer! You will more than likely make revisions so just get your initial ideas down first, then go back and make any adjustments you see fit. You can view my script here.
2.) Read through your script and time it. Reading aloud will help identify things that might not sound right and require some tweaking. Try to keep the timing around 1-2 minutes. It’s easier to cut the track down than it is to add more!
3.) Record your conversation using Audacity by first adding two stereo tracks. Using a real microphone or computer mic, record your dialogues, one in each track. I read through each “person’s” conversation separately and left long pauses in-between my lines to make splitting the audio easier. If you are like me and have never used the tool, there are some great tutorials available on YouTube that can help get you started. Here are a couple I watched: Audacity Beginner Tutorial and Audacity Tutorial 2: Audio Editing < this one will come in handy for step 4.
4.) Edit your audio tracks. Using the selection tool, time shift tool, and cut, copy, and paste options, slice and dice your tracks and move them around until it sounds like a real conversation. Note: I found it easier to clean up both tracks before moving them around.
5.) Add effects to your tracks. Here comes the fun part. Select which track you want to add the effect to and go to the effects tab in your top navigation. I chose to ‘change pitch’ for this particular project but there are a lot of different effects to experiment with. When changing the pitch, try staying around the -25-25 range to avoid unidentifiable audio distortions.
6.) Add background noise and/or additional sounds by adding a new audio track and importing whatever sounds/background noise you’d like. I used a phone dial/ring and sounds of someone in a kitchen from audiojungle. If you don’t want to pay, you could record your own sounds or download from free online sources like freesound.com.
7.) Listen to your tracks several times to make sure there are no weird pauses or overlaps.
8.) Export your audio file and save it to your computer. The most common formats are mp3 or wav but here is a list of all acceptable formats.
9.) Upload your file to SoundCloud. If you don’t already have an account, you’ll need to create one first. I recommend adding in the title, description, and appropriate tags to give your audience some context around your audio project. Adding an image is optional.
10.) Share your conversation on social media! You can share directly from soundcloud or grab the URL from the share icon.
As I mentioned earlier, my audio project is far from perfect. First and foremost, I’m no voice-over actress by any means. I used my computer’s microphone to record so the volume is lower than I would have liked it be and at times, I can hear an echo in the higher pitch audio track. Next time I might try playing around with more effects to see if I can fix any of this through the tool. It’s possible I just need a real mic. Either way, this was a fun, challenging, and educational project! Cheers to learning new tools!