For my Media Production and Broadcast Skills assessment, I aimed to make a podcast based on body positivity, focusing on how the media forces us to perceive beauty today versus what individuals in the world truly find beautiful. This project personally meant a lot to me as a teenager growing up in a society where body shaming is present every single day, stemming from the media’s one idea of beauty. I was inspired by [1]Dove’s global study on women.

I wanted to create something that connected to women all over the world, however, in recording this I realized that men often also have the same insecurities.

I first of all made a script based on the fact that, according to Dove ‘only 2% of women’ in the world find themselves beautiful. I wanted this introduction to be as clear as possible, so I decided to use the vocal booth with a ‘Neumann TLM 49’ microphone, at the official recording standard of 24-bit and 48KHz stereo interleaved WAV. I made sure that the levels that I recorded at were two-thirds to three-quarters, and I positioned myself about 20cm away from the pop-shield attached to the microphone and stood completely still whilst recording. I took several different recordings in different places around the microphone and found that by being slightly above the microphone, the audio sounded slightly less nasal, reducing a number of plosives heard.

As the vocal booth’s walls are layered with foam inserts, it helps isolate the booth and eliminates outside noise and echoes that may occur, making my introduction recording very clear. I wanted this to be the effect as the introduction sets the tone for the rest of the podcast and will be the deciding factor to a listener.

One of the biggest problems I had was the fact that I had a cold, making my speech sound muffled. This meant that during editing the introduction in Pro Tools, I frequently had to silence parts of the track and cut pieces out altogether and cross-fade the cut parts to make them flow and fit with each other. I used the fade tool alongside the volume customisation, to take out some words that trailed of in a fade.

When listening back to the audio I didn’t think that it gave enough effect, so I added music using [2]Audio Hijack, and settled on [3]Angels by the XX instrumental, as I did not want the lyrics in the original song to distract the listener. However, some parts of the instrumentals are very drum-heavy, which didn’t compliment the voice-over, making it sound choppy and distorting some words. In order to stop this, I cut out the drum-only part in the instrumental and used the [4]cross-fade tool to keep the track on a customised loop.

The introduction flows into a montage of words (see figure 1.1), which I layered in three different tracks to create a voices-in-head effect. I did this in order to emphasize the derogatory words that are seen daily in the media. I used different effects on all three tracks, adding different levels of reverb to create an echo.

I used the EQ3 7-Band plug-in, taken from what I learnt in [5]lecture 5, on all of the tracks including the speech to cut off any glitches in the recordings and make sure that the voices were as clear as possible.

After the medley of words finish, I left a gap before the speech returns to pause for dramatic effect. I did this in the hope that the listener would dwell on the word ‘perfect’, as the word itself sums up the key issue within the media today.

The second half of the podcast was the two interviews that I recorded using the [6]Zoom H4n. These recordings did not go as well as I planned as in the first one, somebody was fiddling with scissors and this created a distracting noise in the audio. I found it difficult to cut out the irritating background taps, however, I managed to silence them to an extent by using the EQ3 7-Band (see figure 1.2) and cutting out as much of the low and high-frequency audio as possible whilst not differing the interviewee’s voice.

I had a similar problem with the second interview as I chose to interview a passer-by in the main reception of university. The microphones picked up a lot of background noise that my ears had naturally cancelled out, muffling the speech slightly. After noticing this, I conducted some research to find a [7]2005 study by the European Journal of Neuroscience, shows that it was found that the brain reduces the amount of ‘novelty detector neurons’ to block out background noise. [8]Ellen Covey, a psychology professor at the University of Washington explained that “it allows us to tune out background noises like the humming of a car’s motor while we are driving”.

In order to dull the background noise, I ended up having to change the pitch of the interviewee’s voice and make it slightly lower in order to cut off the higher frequency sounds. This did cut a large amount of unwanted noise and subsequently made the vocals stand out, along with the De-Esser plug-in to take away some of the ‘S’ sounds that were prominent in the original recording.

On reflection, if I were to do this again I would make sure to record with the Zoom H4n in a quiet small room, in order to not pick up any echo sounds that I picked up from the main reception. I would also change the ending and record an outro to round off the podcast, as currently, the interview shuts off quite abruptly. However, overall I am happy with the message that I have tried to portray during the podcast, and after listening to it back on several different devices, even though the quality inevitably changes slightly, the difference does not affect the heart of the finished product.

 

Bibliography:

 

Dove, 2015. How The Media Portrays Women. PDF. http://www.whiteearthdove.com/bookmin/upload/tinymce/File/How%20the%20media%20portrays%20women.pdf

 

ivana korovesovska, 2013. The XX – Angels (Instrumental). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMJJhGAgX4Y

 

Lansley, A. 2016. How To Use Audio Hijack. MD4211, Media Production & Broadcast. University of Gloucestershire, unpublished.

 

Lansley, A. 2016. Lecture 1, Slide 40-43, MD4211, Media Production & Broadcast. University of Gloucestershire, unpublished.

 

Lansley, A. 2016. Lecture 4, Slide 10. MD4211, Media Production & Broadcast. University of Gloucestershire, unpublished

 

Nisbett, A. 2003. The Sound Studio: Audio techniques for radio, television, film and recording. 7th ed. Focal Press.

 

Science, Live. “How The Brain Tunes Out Background Noise”. Live Science. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

 

Zoom Corporation. 2015. H4Next Handy Recorder: Operation Manual. PDF. http://www.samsontech.com/site_media/legacy_docs/H4n-manual.pdf.

 

Figure 1.1

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Figure 1.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download link to Assessment 002 here:

 

https://wetransfer.com/downloads/f7d8d313e75bafcef7da01764fc4236620161212161211/fcabca6d3d0bdcdab7586e392179a61320161212161211/88438e

 

[1] Dove, 2015. How The Media Portrays Women. PDF. http://www.whiteearthdove.com/bookmin/upload/tinymce/File/How%20the%20media%20portrays%20women.pdf

[2] Lansley, A. 2016. How To Use Audio Hijack. MD4211, Media Production & Broadcast. University of Gloucestershire, unpublished.

[3] ivana korovesovska, 2013. The XX – Angels (Instrumental). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMJJhGAgX4Y

[4] Lansley, A. 2016. Lecture 4, Slide 10. MD4211, Media Production & Broadcast. University of Gloucestershire, unpublished.

[5] Lansley, A. 2016. Lecture 5. MD4211, Media Production & Broadcast. University of Gloucestershire, unpublished.

[6] Zoom Corporation. 2015. H4Next Handy Recorder: Operation Manual. PDF. http://www.samsontech.com/site_media/legacy_docs/H4n-manual.pdf.

[7] Science, Live. “How The Brain Tunes Out Background Noise”. Live Science. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

[8] Science, Live. “How The Brain Tunes Out Background Noise”. Live Science. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

 

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