Guys vs Dolls – Commercial Standoff

Audio commercials. How to choose a voice? Male or Female? Who is the target audience? Which fits best? I decided to do both versions and use both within the same audio event – cover all the bases!

Audacity is getting to be more familiar and WOW – there is so much you can do with it that I haven’t even touched yet!

First – shout out to Ronald L – a ds106 4Lifer, who posted in the Google+ Community some work he had done using text to speech voices. This provided a change-up from having to do my voice over or try to find a willing candidate to read and record for me.

From the beginning;

  1. Determine product
  2. Write Script for ear hear
  3. Pre think possible genre for music and possible sound effects
  4. Go to and create voice overs. – This step required some time to space the text out for some emphasis etc. I also had to try EVERY voice and different speeds.
  5. Download text to speech files as mp3 for importing into Audacity
  6. Search for music background – TIME WARP – I have to get better at choosing and narrowing the scope!
  7. Search and download sound effects – more than needed, but better to have and cut than not enough.
  8. Work with music segment first and make length of desired commercial
  9. Import voices – both into same to keep timing the same for both commercials
  10. Split voices into segments
  11. Change speed of voices on certain phrases to smooth out computer generated sounds and to stress statements. (this didn’t work for all -still a little rough on some statements that I can’t seem to smooth) My script had pilates instead of Zumba – but pilates would not generate into anything close to understanding. Rocks glasses turned into on the rocks for the same reason.
  12. Go back and use envelope on music to raise sounds between phrases, soften background in certain phrases. The music track ended up looking like a wicked roller coaster ride!
  13. Add sound effects
  14. Use amplify, envelope and fades to place and emphasize.
  15. Save original
  16. Save copy as male voice – delete female tracks
  17. Save copy as female voice – delete male tracks
  18. Export each out as mp3.

One hiccup was in the male voice. Every time I exported as an mp3 I got no voiceover. I ended up importing into a new audacity file and then exporting again – this time all tracks came thru. It seems because the voices were mono and in the original they somehow became joined, when I deleted the  female track it auto muted the male voice in export because it was the second track. Not sure if that makes sense – but 20 minutes of tense moments and trying different saves, save as, and exports, I finally came up with a complete mp3.

Still not sure how this all fits into an audio event – but I am building the pieces!

Love to hear any suggestions for improvements! thanks!


Oriental Drugs – OK – NOT THAT KIND!

Oriental Drugs is a pharmacy and store on Milwaukee’s Eastside and has been there for ages. It is one of the landmarks for my character Jerry.

I began by looking up old radio commercials, jingles, scripts, and advertising online. I spent way more time on listening and going off on tangents from links, one after another. Discipline in staying on track needs to improve.

I found some old scripts which were helpful in determining tempo, style, and other things. I also remembered writing for the ear and looked up those tips as well. I can’t say I follow them all – but it allowed me to remember not to be an English teacher tyrant and to write more for listening than report writing or policy and contract documents.

I broke down my script into “ear hear” lines and double spaced for adding in sounds etc. Once I placed all the possible sounds and transitions I went to the next time sucker and visited for downloads that might work saving them all to one folder and making sure they had titles that would allow me to read and not have to listen to everyone trying to find what I needed when I needed it.

Once complete it was background music. This is the biggest time warp! So many songs and music and yet going the CC or free copyright path doesn’t always bring about the best choices. They are most certainly there  – but finding them among all the other stuff  – wow! – Who would think listening to 30 second clips could take hours! I narrowed it down to 3 songs.

In Audacity, I recorded my script and divided the ear hear lines into separate sections. I would have preferred someone else reading but really don’t have any willing subjects handy now.  I learned how to finally split a track and to use the time shift tool. I also managed to use the envelope tool, and several effects. I am getting more proficient at keyboard commands that increases efficiency as well.

I had 14 tracks going in this project and found using labeling was helpful as well as shrinking the track sizes, and collapsing once something is in place. Even dawned on me to move tracks up and down when I was working on placements so that other tracks weren’t in between. DUH! It’s those simple things!

While I still hear some things I’d like to work on, I will wait for feedback. Plus I still have another commercial to do and can apply new-found knowledge there. Just trying to keep in mind this is learning and not project outcome for now.

The sounds I used were: Dogs 20130101_131356_vaermland_sledge_dogs_before_start_put_to_sledge.wav
sausages frying.wav
Smoke Detector Alarm

Music from
Shuffle U by Cambo

Eastside Theme song……well almost

This is v1.0 of the theme song for Eastside and “Jerry”. It is only version 1.0. I still need to find some sounds to add to the music.

I didn’t have a character or person to focus on the unit right before this one. Others who are on the #noir106 journey established their characters in unit 1. The idea of the character or theme from the beginning makes a lot of sense in traveling this ds106 path.

I began with lots of analyzing where in the time of the life of my Dad the story will take place. I have been lost in 1953-56 high school year books, photo albums and memories. The other wall I kept hitting was whether this is an intro bumper, a theme song, or a promo. Because I am not really doing a radio show I get caught up in radio show focus instead of how I will use these. I will probably still use this theme for part of his story. It has brought to light that what I really need is an intro bumper to tell who the story is about. A next audio assignment will be to do something as an intro bumper.

I could have chosen to do something that was from the late 50’s – but that reminded me of Happy Days (the TV Show) and didn’t seem to fit. My Dad loved music – all kinds. His records and CDS and the music channels on cable, the radio he would set up when we would go on vacation in northern Wisconsin each year.

A mix of all his favorites would probably sound like a strange mix. I decided to stay focused on the Eastside story and him as a handsome young man navigating new adulthood in the late 50’s. Determining what that sound would be had me listening to all sorts of things – and boy can you go on a tangents and find some neat things you weren’t looking for – but they eat up your time!

One of his favorites in music was Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. I decided to take one of their songs and remix it.

Taste of Honey was the song I chose. I remember it playing on the record player when I was a kid . It was way too peppy and dance like for a theme. I worked with the speed of the clips and slowed them down to get a different sound. I also cut portions out to keep it under 1.5 minutes. In trying to get it to sound like it was one song and not something chopped up, I used WAH WAH to blend sounds, the envelope and lots of adjusting, and fade in and fade out.

Other tools I used were normalize and noise reduction. After the noise reduction, I had to go back and increase the sound decibel. Normalize got rid of the clipping. Noise reduction softened the recording sounds. Increasing the decibel meant I could hear the product without cranking my sound up all the way.

The UNDO command became my best friend  but still turned on me at times! The part I haven’t done is add some other sounds yet. That will be version 1.x-2.

After a good 5 hours of tweaking  – I called it version one.

As for ds106/noir106 I don’t think this hits the targets others are going towards. But for my learning plan, it did keep me in Audacity, in audio editing, and in building that skill and understanding so I am going to call it a success.



Bumpin’ up

Radio Bumper

This was fun, yet time-consuming. Audio is a lot of tweaking and eventually you still don’t think it is exactly as you thought you wanted it.

I chose a favorite artist, Steve Earle and his song Satellite Radio to take some of the runs from it. I used the sound from YouTube – but one version of the bumper I completed came up with copyright infringement on Soundcloud. Time for me to go back and check fair use and copyright language.

When I started I thought I might go the #noir route. Searching for different music I ended up the Getty site. I even registered. Must have been the late night hour that I wasn’t thinking clearly. After finding some really killer tracks I wanted to explore and use I went to check out. Wasn’t thinking these were pay for files and filled out the license use forms. Was I surprised! If I would have completed the transaction my bill would have been $8900. HA!! Yep – not for me. Disappointed. But it did force me to re-think and find something and I am glad Steve Earle came to mind.

This version may disappear as well – but we will see. If so – I just can’t share officially my assignment, but the activity helped me in working on using Audacity again.

I did this assignment after a Sound Effects Story I called Winter Wreck, so was feeling more comfortable again with Audacity. SO GLAD I finally remembered to use the space bar for playing clips! One of the many useful time savers that can make you feel like a pro.

This clip only ended up consisting of two layers. The content of the song fit in well and I just needed to get ds106 radio into it somehow. I hate listening to my voice! Looking back at transcripts, a college professor identified my voice as didactic. Funny that person probably still does not realize how that was not helpful feedback. So – it was time to figure out how to alter my voice. I opened several tracks with the same recorded phrase and just started applying effects. Came up with some good sounding ones, but not necessarily right for this until I hit on one. The preview sound option is critical – but you can spend a long time changing things back and forth. I could have kept going and trying more -but it is the hazard of any of this creative work – when is it enough and when to accept and move on. I accepted and moved on.

Lessons learned (or re-learned!):

  • Save often – my workstation froze up and lost about an hour’s worth of work. The lucky thing-  Audacity recovered the file but better to be safe than sorry in the future.
  • Before finalizing make a duplicate project. This helps in case it doesn’t export correctly, you forget to close a track you didn’t want – or missing selecting all the tracks you did want.
  • Review copyright use and find the correct versions of things to use.


Messy Winter Wreck

Unit 4 Audio Assignment – Sound Effect Story

Back to Audacity after being away for a long while. I think if it was completely new I might catch on faster, but instead I ended up with former version shortcuts etc. needing unlearning. It was the simple things right in front of me. For the what seemed like eternity, I was staring at grayed out menu items and thinking I installed incorrectly. The help page, while detailed seemed like too much info to absorb, so I headed to for some tutorial help. DUH! I trapped in play mode so I couldn’t do anything. One click of that yellow button and I was finally on my way!

Using, I drifted into lots of listening and searching trying to think of a story to tell with sounds in 60-90 seconds. With the current winter weather and storms every other day lately the winter wreck was the way to go for this assignment.

I chose 11 different sounds for this creation to portray the winter storm, leaving the house and walking to the car, trying to start the car, out on the road and then the crash ending with the rolling hub cap. I layered sounds and not linear so that the car starting and crashing were background by the wind. Some fades and lots of cutting unwanted parts of clips. I had selected a female vocal that I originally laid into the background to give it a cinematic feel but it seemed too much and detracted for this assignment.

A better path would be to think of a story first then look for sounds. I chose sounds to spark ideas in this attempt which may have limited me to one idea too quickly.

Happy to be back and working with audio. Creating clips for layering with visuals will be exciting in the future units. Spending time on the parts before the really helps in tuning up how important each is in an effective final story.

So does anyone have solutions for headset hair?

Audio Assignment70 3.5 Stars

Tell a story using nothing but sound effects. There can be no verbal communication, only sound effects. Use at least five different sounds that you find online. The story can be no longer than 90 seconds.

Sound Files used from

  • 36831__csproductions__car-leave-3.wav
  • f50910__rutgermuller__in-car-driving.wav
  • 72914__jobe55__car-keys-and-start.mp3
  • 73199__snardin42__hubcap2.wav
  • 126042__mhtaylor67__getting-into-car-and-starting-it.wav
  • 131385__musicmasta1__carstartskidcrash.wav
  • 136629__smmassuda__crashing.wav
  • 262321__klankbeeld__fence-storm-hydrophones-150111-0498.flac
  • 262680__ylearkisto__henkiloauto-tyonnetaan-kayntiin-a-car-push-start-in-the-winter-footsteps-on-the-snow-car-rolling-motor-starts-steps-motor-stops-saab-900.wav
  • 262699__mamos2__walking-on-snow.wav
  • 262705__pfranzen__opening-a-heavy-door-and-bounding-in.ogg
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