Flickr photo by Paul Hudson
Flickr photo by Paul Hudson

We’re working on audio slideshows over the next two weeks. Before we pitch ideas, let’s look at some tips and tools to make sure the stories we’re producing hit the right note. We’ll review some editing tools, but those can be reviewed any time. In my experience teaching for these assignments, the more we focus on reporting methods, the better the finished product will be.

First, you are not required to use equipment from the SMC Equipment Office. But if you choose to use your own recorder or a phone, you better know how to use it. Conduct a test interview first so you know your way around your device and understand how every feature works. Every time you move the recorder during your interview to get new sound, play back what you have to make sure you’re picking up the right stuff. Final Cut will only help you so much. Start with the best quality possible.

If you’re using your phone, there are a number of free and paid apps to try. See examples here, here and here. Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better, so don’t drop $15 on an app you’ve never tried. Read reviews, determine what the best use of the app is (calls? conferencing? nat sound?) and test out a few freebies. Whatever you choose, get some serious use out of it before you begin your assignment.

Use Lynda tutorials if you need to brush up on your editing skills. You can find a step-by-step guide to all Final Cut versions here. You can watch the entire set of videos, or just focus on specific things like lower thirds or transitions.

And use this audio slideshow tip sheet from guest speaker Lindsay Lazarski to help navigate best practices for interviewing, recording and shooting images. And check out the two examples Lindsay provided, including this one about the guitars and the one embedded below.