What's All this Then?

So I know  a little bit about video and audio production. I know very little but it seems to be just enough to create the kinds of productions that my colleagues are looking for. The question I have for myself is do I want to know more? Do I want to know enough about this stuff to move to the next professional level?

Right now I’m observing the guys in UITS’ Media Design and Production group set up for CIO Brad Wheeler’s presentation about the new UITS building. They’re shooting video of the talk and streaming it live on the web and there’s a remote site so it’s also a video conference. There’s a PowerPoint presentation that will be displayed so that will get patched in (patched is probably not the word I want)  separately from the video of Brad. There’s a lot of audio sources too. Audio will need to sound good to people at the remote site and audio from the remote site has to sound good. People at that site will be asking questions. In the main location there is a microphone at the podium for Brad and there are mics to pick up sound in the room.

To make sure this event goes off without a hitch the guys started setting up about a day in advance. They do this type of thing a lot so they’ve created a portable tv studio rack.

MDP’s manager Ralph Zuzolo explained the equipment setup to me and  I’m thinking wow this stuff is complicated and wow I need to go to broadcasting school to learn how  to do this. Ralph tells me that he actually went to film school.

I do want to learn more so I’m looking for resources in the podcast arena. I discovered the DV Show podcast which is more than just a podcast. The DV Show website has lots of resources including tutorials for video specialists. In the podcast the host answers listener questions about digital video production. I found that most of the questions were about stuff that was either way over my head or of not much interest to me at the moment.

I started following the DV Show’s Twitter feed and found that some of the  tutorials they reference there are only available to subscribers. The subscription cost is $5/month after an initial $39 dollars which isn’t bad but I’m not sure if I’m ready to commit to using the site at all.

Do I really want to go deeper?  I was looking at a few of the videos I’ve done in the past and I thought “that’s not bad.” I think I have a knack for this work but all of the talent in the world won’t do me any good unless I do some hard work and serious learning.

The IT Help Podcast-A Brief History (Part 3)

Step Three: Record the voice over.

So the script is written and printed out. I take the the script, my Macbook Pro, the  little box that contains my microphone, mic stand and preamp and a cup of tea or coffee into a conference room. It’s a conference room not a studio. There’s no special treatment on the walls to absorb the sound, but there is a thermostat so I can turn off the heat or air conditioner if it comes on. I think the main reason I go into a conference room is for privacy and so people don’t have to hear me. My microphone (a Shure PG-48) is unidirectional or cardioid so it doesn’t pick up much background noise. It does however pick up the sound of my cats meowing when I record at home .

I record the script and edit out my mistakes as I go. I use Apple’s GarageBand

GarageBand screenshot.

Click image to enlarge.

by the way. I’ve been using it since day one of these podcasts. I like the way my voice sounds with the ‘Female Narrator’ effect and I like having background music loops available to use for the music bed. The recording is exported to iTunes as an .m4a. I convert it to .wav so it’s Camtasia compatible.

Step Four: Putting it together with Camtasia.

Camtasia Studio screenshot.

Click image to enlarge.

Here’s where I record the PowerPoint animations with Camtasia. Each animated screen is saved as a .camrec file and appears in the clip bin for the project. There’s a video track and two more audio tracks. The second audio track is for the music bed. Lately I’ve been using Creative Commons licensed music from Jamendo.com.

Through the magic of editing I put it all together render it out in iPod format with a separate .mp3 file for the audio only version.

I use iTunes t0 insert metadata and then I upload the final product to the IU podcast portal, podcast.iu.edu.

Metadata in iTunes.

Click image to enlarge.

This is quite an involved process but I’ve been doing it so long that I’ve developed a worflow for myself that works.

Time to move on to another topic I think.