FAQ - FINAL PROJECT PODCAST


Final Project Podcast - FAQ

Find here the answer to ALL your questions related to the final project!
 

What is the deadline for submission?

The deadline for submission is Monday, May 23, 2011, at 2:00pm, according to the instructions below. You should copy your file in the Public folder of my own CCRMA account (username "ruviaro"). Please note: I need the files by 2:00pm, not 3:00pm (I will make a single playlist on Ardour for playback on Stage; we will not have time to be copying files from USB drives or re-plugging laptops between presentations).


What file format should I submit?

You should submit your podcast in FLAC, which is a lossless yet compressed format. You can convert any sound file to FLAC using Audacity. Make sure you tag your file appropriately (FLAC allows tags just like any mp3 file). Also, please name your file with your own name in the following way:

Firstname_Lastname_Music_154_2011.flac

For example, in my case it would be Bruno_Ruviaro_Music_154_2011.flac

 

How should I tag my FLAC file?

Artist Name: your name

Composer: your name

Track Title is up to you (probably something that has to do with the content of your podcast)

Album name: “Music 154 Final Project Podcasts Spring 2011” (without the quotes)

Year: 2011

Comments: feel free to add any explanatory comments in this field, if you like.

 

How do I submit my FLAC file?

These instructions assume you have your FLAC file ready, properly tagged, and saved somewhere on your CCRMA account directory.
a) Log into your CCRMA account from any Linux computer at CCRMA;
b) Open a file browser, and find your way through the file system until you reach /user/r/ruviaro/Public (tip: start by double clicking on the icon "Computer" on your desktop, then "File System", etc). You should save a copy of your FLAC file in this Public folder of my "ruviaro" account.
c) Right-click on your FLAC file and select "copy". Then go to the destination folder, right click on an empty space, and select "paste". Note: if you simply drag and drop the file, you are not copying it, you're MOVING it. That's OK, as long as you have a copy of the file for yourself somewhere else.
Please remember: your file must be in this directory by 2pm on Monday, May 23, 2011.

 

Do I have to submit anything in written format?

No. The final project is audio only. Your podcast should stand by itself, without the need of any extra commentary. If you have any kind of supplemental material such as bibliography, discography, or interesting links related to your topic, you can include everything in a PDF file and copy it in the same folder as the audio file.

 

Do we have to present the final project in class?

Yes. Our last class meeting (May 23) will consist of public presentations of all podcasts. Each student will have 10 minutes total to play the podcast and answer one or two questions. This will be on the CCRMA Stage, May 23, class time (3:15 to 5:05). We may need to go over time a little bit (up to 5:30pm). If this will be a problem for you, please let me know in advance.

 

Wait, did you say “public presentation”?

Yes! I will send out an e-mail to all the CCRMA community and Music Department students, faculty, staff, and you can also bring your friends. This is not just an internal class presentation! In addition, I will include all podcasts in the CCRMA Collection, so anyone can access your podcast in the future. In short, the whole world is listening.

 

So this almost looks like a concert! Are we supposed to do a podcast or a composition?

Well, the short answer is: something in between. The concept is pretty open, but one of the basic premises is that it should relate to the podcast and radio “tradition” in some way. You should be discussing a topic of your choice, related to electronic music, using any sonic means you want (verbal language being one of them, but not necessarily the only one).

 

Do I need to use my own voice?

Probably yes, since the podcast should contain some text or script. But you don't have to limit your podcast to your own voice; and voices do not have to be “natural” either. There's a whole world of possibilities there.

 

What if I hate my own voice or I am too shy?

Give it a try first! Worst case scenario, you can always transpose your voice down two octaves and nobody will know it's you... : - )

 

Can I record using the built-in mic of my laptop?

Preferably not, since the sound result will be poor. You can use Studios D and E at CCRMA to record voice with better microphones. We can show you how, in case you have never done this before.

 

So, can I simply write a short paper, record myself reading it, and fill in with a couple of music examples?

Yes, but then this will probably be one of the least interesting podcasts ever. The point is to be a bit more adventurous than that... think of it as an experimental radio miniature!

 

How long does it have to be again?

Not less than five minutes (300 seconds), not more than eight minutes (480 seconds). Imagine these are the constraints some hypothetical radio station would give to you. If it is shorter than 5 min, they won't accept it; if it is longer than 8 min, they will just cut it short in the broadcast.

 

How do I start?

There are many ways. You can start by writing a draft script or brainstorming about what you want to say. Or you can find out one specific piece you want to talk about, and do some initial research about it. You can talk about one single piece, multiple pieces, or a genre, etc. Think about structural and musical ways to organize your podcast, not just as a linear reading of a text.


What software should I use to create my podcast?

I suggest Ardour, which is an open source, professional level digital workstation. If you have never used it before, schedule an appointment or come to office hours and we'll quickly go over the basics. It is not hard at all to get started with it.
 

Any listening suggestions?

Yes:
- Any of Glenn Gould's radio documentaries ("The Idea of North" is the most famous; another good one is "Casals - A Portrait for Radio"); all can be found in the CCRMA Collection;
- Jon Leidecker's "Variations" podcasts;
- Radio Radio series, by Martin Spinelli (try Program #7 with Bob Cobbing);
- Reading suggestion: Fitzgerald's Radio Broadcast Manifesto, from 1931 (I have it at CCRMA, just ask me)
- Tim Steiner and the Sonic Arts Network released in 2005 a CD with an experimental radio show based on the above Manifesto; it's called "Big Ears", and it's available for listening in the CCRMA Collection.

Feel free to post other listening suggestions as a comment to this post.
 

How do I record my voice in Studio E?

Follow these steps (many of them you will only have to do once):
1) Look for the "Scene Memory" buttons on the Yamaha mixer. Use the up/down buttons until you reach Scene #3, called "LINUX RECORD". Press the "Recall" button.
2) Make sure the microphone is connected to input 1 in the back of the mixer (it should be by default).
3) On the "Display Access" section of the Yamaha Mixer, press the "Meter" button. Now, just below the LCD screen of the mixer, press the F3 button (this step is simply to let you see all input and output levels on the mixer screen).
4) On the "Layer" section of the Yamaha Mixer, choose layers 1-16 (press button "1-16").
5) Bring up the volume of fader 1 (that's the microphone).
6) Tap on the microphone and you should now see some signal showing up on the mixer screen.

Now, how to get this sound into the computer...

7) Log into your CCRMA account in the Linux computer (black keyboard, right-side monitor. If you don't see the log in screen, make sure "linux", not "laptop", is selected in the DVI box just next to the monitor).
8) Open qjackctl (accessible via the Fedora main menu, the blue "F", then "Sound & Video" sub-menu)
9) On qjackctl's interface, click the "Start" button. JACK should be now running and you should see no error messages.
10) Open Ardour (Main Menu > Sound & Video > Ardour).
11) Create a New session on your desktop.
12) When the session opens, right click in the grey area underneath the "master" bus and create a new mono track.
13) Go to menu View and make sure "Show Editor Mixer" is checked (shortcut Shift + E). This will show a "channel strip" on the left side. This channel strip corresponds to whatever track is currently selected in your session.
14) Select your newly created track (by default called "Audio 1" -- to select it, click on the dark grey empty space under its name and its volume fader; the track will turn blue when selected). Notice that now the vertical channel strip corresponds to the track Audio 1.
15) Look at this vertical channel strip from top to bottow. The audio "flows" from top to bottom. Just underneath its name ("Audio 1") at the top, you will see a number. That's the input of the track. Click on this button and choose "Edit". In the window that pops up, click on the tab "system" and scroll down to select "system:capture 1" (click on it once; this is the microphone coming from the mixer). If you look at the bottom of this channel strip, you will see the word "master" just above "comments". This means the output of this track is the master bus (which was created by default when you created this Ardour session). Don't worry if you are not familiar with all this terminology... just keep going!
16) Now, click on the little red circle just next to the track name ("Audio 1"). This means you are "record-enabling" this track. It is ready to receive audio. If you speak or tap on the microphone (remember, make sure channel 1 fader in the Yamaha mixer is up), you should now see Ardour's meters indicating the sound coming in. You are not yet recording -- you are simply checking that the mic sound is arriving in Ardour.
17) Now, hit the big REC button near the top of Ardour's interface; it will blink. To start recording, just hit the PLAY button. To stop recording, hit the STOP button. To resume recording, simply hit REC and then PLAY again.
18) When you are done recording, make sure to "record-disable" the track by turning off the small red circle again.

How do I get sound out from Ardour to the speakers?

Follow these steps (some of them you will only have to do once):
1) If you haven't already done so, look for the "Scene Memory" buttons on the Yamaha mixer. Use the up/down buttons until you reach Scene #3, called "LINUX RECORD". Press the "Recall" button.
2) If you haven't already done so, press the "Meter"button on the "Display Access" section of the Yamaha Mixer. Now, just below the LCD screen of the mixer, press the F3 button (this step is simply to let you see all input and output levels on the mixer screen).
3) On the "Layer" section of the Yamaha Mixer, choose layers 33-48 (press button "33-48"). Sounds from the Linux computer are automatically routed to channels 33-48 in the Yamaha mixer. Since you will be using only a stereo output, this means that you only need to worry about channels 33 and 34 in the mixer.
4) After pressing the "33-48" button, bring up faders 1 and 2 in the mixer (which are actually representing channels 33 and 34 -- see the small numbers at the bottom).
5) With your Ardour session open (see previous answer), select the "master" bus by clicking once on the empty space underneath its name and volume fader; you will see the vertical channel strip now representing this "master" bus.
6) At the bottom of the vertical channel strip, just above the word "comments", you will see the output of this master bus. Click on it and select "Edit". In the window that pops up, select the tab "system" and click once on system out 1 and system out 2 (which means that all sounds from Ardour will be directed to channels 33-34 in the Yamaha mixer).
7) Now you should be able to play back whatever sounds you have in Ardour.

How do I import my wav, aif, mp3, or flac files into Ardour?

Right click on the black empty space on the right side of your Ardour's session. Select "Import to region list". Choose the files you would like to import. They will all be listed on this "Region list", being readily available for you to drag and drop them onto tracks.
Note that Ardour will not convert your mp3 files directly. You have to convert them to WAV in Audacity first. Other formats (such as AIF or FLAC) are automatically converted into WAV in the import process. 

 

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