Final Audio Story

For this course so far, I’ve been focusing on clean energy. That is because promoting energy-saving is one aspect of outreach which is my topic for this course. I wanted to pivot the focus for this project on the actual topic of outreach. I’ve been employed in this type of work for over four years now and wanted to draw attention to the great efforts education outreach brings to an organization.

I definitely wanted to interview my colleagues here at the State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. There’s a few other education specialists for their respective division (as I am for the Division of Consumer Advocacy). So, I decided on creating an explanatory story segment discussing outreach – the good, the bad, the future. With that, I drew inspiration from audio shows like Radiolab to create my audio story.

The original interview of my colleague in the Insurance Division, Chanel Honda, was about seven minutes long. I used my iPhone voice memo app to do the recording which was great since it’s lightweight, I held and moved it between the both of us easily.

I gave Chanel the interview questions ahead of time so she could prepare her answers and we did the interview in one take so I wouldn’t take up so much of her time. I think it also prevented a lot of “mistakes” in her answers since she already knew what she was going to say. There were a few “ums” that I had to edit out but at least it was kept to a minimum.

I brought the recording file into Adobe Audition and started breaking up the interview into question and answer blocks using the razor tool. I knew I wanted to take myself out of the interview because I’ll be narrating in between Chanel’s answers.

I recorded my narration portion of the story, again with my iPhone. I did multiple takes of each line so I wouldn’t have to re-record and upload to Audition repeatedly. After choosing the best take to bring in to the multitrack, I wanted to make sure the flow between my narration and the interview was not “choppy.”

I may have held the iPhone mic too close to her as I had to bring down the sound levels in Audition. Then had the task of matching my recording to the sound levels as hers. I made sure to adjust the volume before cutting up the clip with the razor tool otherwise I’d have to adjust each new individual clip after splicing (which can be a pain).

After some feedback from my peers (including editing the “ums”), I had to re-record the beginning and end of my narration. I changed my introduction of Chanel that I had mentioned at the end, thus, having a new ending to the story. I also needed to define “DCCA” which was an oversight on my part in my draft story. That made for a longer introduction narration for me. Luckily, with the clean-up edits to Chanel’s interview, it didn’t add to the timeline length.

You can listen to my draft audio story here.

I went researching for some sounds to use in the background just like you would here on NPR, This American Life or Radiolab. I landed on a piano recording I found on ccmixter. I only added it in during my narration so the focus is solely on the content of the interviewee.

I also had another suggestion that the music was a little too loud and distracting from listening to my narration. I lowered the sound levels even lower for the music on each of the four times the music comes on so that it’s at an “elevator music” level… hopefully. With the edits to the narration and cuts to Chanel’s interview, I had to be sure the narration sounds on the second track corresponded correctly with where I wanted it as the interview track shifted.

I think the final story is much cleaner than the draft and am very happy with the end result. Thanks to my peers for making great suggestions.

SoundCloud link to Final Audio Story:
https://soundcloud.com/jessica-rc-595640954/final-audio-story

Audio credit:
Put the Needle Down by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2010 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/27962

Draft Audio Story

For this course so far, I’ve been focusing on clean energy. That is because promoting energy-saving is one aspect of outreach which is my topic for this course. I wanted to pivot the focus for this project on the actual topic of outreach. I’ve been employed in this type of work for over four years now and wanted to draw attention to the great efforts education outreach brings to an organization.

I definitely wanted to interview my colleagues here at the State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. There’s a few other education specialists for their respective division (as I am for the Division of Consumer Advocacy). So, I decided on creating an explanatory story segment by way of an edited interview, discussing outreach – the good, the bad, the future.

I listened to a couple of audio shows on Radiolab that drew inspiration on how to go about editing the audio interview. The tough part was actually cutting it down to 1-3 minutes. Most of these podcasts are about 20 minutes. Creating something with a beginning, middle, and end under three minutes was pretty difficult especially when I felt I got some great audio content with my interview I wanted to share but had to cut.

The original interview was about seven minutes long. It’s of my colleague in the Insurance Division, Chanel Honda. That is whom you hear in my draft audio story. As mentioned before, it was a challenge to cut it down without having it sound cut off. I used my iPhone voice memo app to do the recording which was great since it’s lightweight, I could carry and move it between the both of us easily.

I brought the recording file into Adobe Audition and started breaking up the interview into question and answer blocks using the razor tool. I knew I wanted to take myself out of the interview because I’ll be narrating in between Chanel’s answers. Even with cutting down to just her answers, the edit was pretty long. I ended up cutting out an extra question I ad-libbed during the interview.

Next, I had to record myself for the narration portion of the story. Again, I used my iPhone for the recording. I did about 4 takes of each line so I wouldn’t have to re-record and upload to Audition repeatedly. After choosing the best take to bring in to the multitrack, I wanted to make sure the flow between my narration and the interview was not “choppy.”

I went researching for some sounds to use in the background just like you would here on NPR, This American Life or Radiolab. While I’m not savvy enough like those podcasts to add in many sound effects, I attempted to with one piano recording I found on ccmixter. I only added it in during my narration so the focus is solely on the content of the interviewee.

I’m open to adding in more background or foley sounds but I’m not sure how to mix them in that would match the content. In any case, I hope the story segment was engaging enough for any listener.

SoundCloud link to draft audio story:
https://soundcloud.com/jessica-rc-595640954/draft-audio-story

Audio credit:
Put the Needle Down by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2010 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/27962

Final Graphic Design Project

final-graphic-design-project

I wanted to create a design that could be used for the division’s website, social media and could also be inserted into our division newsletter that’s emailed and printed for distribution. I decided to create a PSA on energy saving tips.

After a search, I landed on a light bulb background that would be the base of the design. However, after some feedback I received, the light bulb and the CFL bulb in the design were conflicting messages so I opted to change the background of the design to a CFL bulb. This didn’t change the background dramatically as it was still an overall dark-colored scheme.

Speaking of CFL, there were notes from two of my group members to define or change it as it didn’t explain what a CFL was. I changed it with a little trouble of fitting in all the text but I think I made it work by reducing the font size a smidge.

As for the three smaller pictures – I took those myself. I tried to use a neutral background to not take away from the object itself. The power strip photo initially had a different background that wasn’t black like the other two. A group mate suggested I change it to match the other two and it was a great note to take.

The black backgrounds were different hues of black so I had to go into each photo and with the magnetic lasso tool, outline the image to select the inverse and color it black. Then reinserted the new photos back into the design canvas. With the change, all three photos are blended now with the black in the background.

In my draft design, I had square borders around each photo. Since now they all have black backgrounds and the entire design with the new light bulb picture was black it made sense to get rid of the borders and have them free standing in black. I think it looks a lot cleaner this way.

Working on the Gestalt Theory of proximity – I grouped all three photos together on the right-hand side of the canvas. I think with the border gone now it still appears to have grouped together without having lines and borders to show for it.

The text list next to the photos were at first a san serif font (the same as the title on the bottom) but after some feedback and self-critique I changed it to serif font. And now that the background was black, I played around with shadows (since the light bulb was lit) and put in a drop shadow on the list text- giving it a little glow.

Another suggestion was to add a “point-to” reference like a URL or even a logo. I opted for a URL to find out more. I made this text smaller and colored white so it feels different from the rest of the list. I had trouble figuring out where to place it but settled with underneath the light bulb toward the bottom left.

In terms of the title, it just worked out to put it on the bottom. I had all this space with the background image and with the placement of the light bulb it seemed to make aesthetically more sense to place on the bottom instead of the top. I used a ruler guide (again, from what I learned from the Layer Masks tutorial) so that I could snap a perfect rectangle on the bottom to create a filled box with a lot of opacity. That rule tip really came in hand for this one. There were no edits that were made on this section compared to the draft version.

When comparing the draft version and this final version, I think there were a lot of great improvements that were made thanks to my group members’ input. I hope this design could be made useful at my place of work.

Photo credit: CFL bulb background image (Pixabay):
https://pixabay.com/en/light-bulb-energy-bright-1721389/

Draft Graphic Design below:draft-graphic-design-project

Draft Graphic Design Project

draft-graphic-design-projectAs mentioned previously on my blog, part of my job in terms of outreach for my department’s division is about energy conservation. I really wanted to do something that brings awareness to it. So, I started with doing a keyword search for background images that dealt with energy.

I wanted to create an image that could be used for the division’s website, social media and could also be inserted into our division newsletter that’s emailed and printed for distribution. After looking for a while and searching different variations related to energy, I stumbled upon a light bulb background and knew it was a good start to creating something with it.

I liked it because it had great use of the “Rule of Thirds” with the bulb on the left vertical line. That allowed opportunity for me to use the open space on the right-hand side for other elements. I also loved the darkness of the entire image so I could use the inverse (lighter) colors for text.

As for the three smaller pictures – I took those myself. I used a macro focus on all three and tried to use a neutral background to not take away from the object itself. Using one of the tips from one of our readings on digital photography composition, I adjusted the aperture to blur the background of the photo. While it was all neutral backgrounds, I really wanted the objects to be in focus because I knew how I was going to use them.

Working on the Gestalt Theory of proximity – I grouped all three photos together on the right-hand side of the canvas. I had the idea to spread them out but it just looked cleaner and they grouped well together with them lined up. Then the text next to them would line up better as well, looking like a list format instead of just haphazardly placed on the canvas.

From the Layer Masks Photoshop tutorial, I used it to make the three perfectly square boxes to insert the three images in them. I even used the “group layers” option and then duplicated the group to make it much easier and faster to create the three photo boxes.

In terms of the title, it just worked out to put it on the bottom. I had all this space with the background image and with the placement of the light bulb it seemed to make aesthetically more sense to place on the bottom instead of the top. I used a ruler guide (again, from what I learned from the Layer Masks tutorial) so that I could snap a perfect rectangle on the bottom to create a filled box with a lot of opacity. That rule tip really came in hand for this one.

That was pretty much it for the project. Simple and straightforward – in my experience with outreach, it’s the best way to the get a message across.

Photo credit: Lightbulb background image from Pixabay:
https://pixabay.com/en/background-texture-lightbulb-flask-1753684/

Building Awareness to the Public

When I began working for the government in 2012, I started out in the Investor Education Program of the Securities Office of the Department of Commerce and Consumers Affairs (DCCA) for the State of Hawaii. It was a newly created position because it had an element of multimedia as part of the outreach efforts. Over four years later, I still find myself working in outreach for the state.

The topic I’ve chosen for this blog is, naturally, on education outreach for the general public. I spent over three years with the Securities Office before moving into my current position in another division of the DCCA, at the Division of Consumer Advocacy (DCA). Even with the move, the type of position remained the same – education outreach.

When I started, I was a Securities Multimedia Assistant and now I am an Education Specialist. Despite being in two different industries (investments and public utilities), the mission of my positions have only differed slightly. In Securities, I did a lot more event planning and project management for the outreach efforts. At DCA, outreach is more driven by public relations (media) as well website and social media updates.

My work in outreach is to bring awareness to the public of 1) what my office does for Hawaii consumers and 2) prevent or promote the industry topic (i.e. fraud prevention when I worked in Securities and encourage energy efficiency at DCA). Often times the public doesn’t know what we do – or worse, they don’t know we exist! So outreach is an important part of our state department to be able to help the public help themselves.

I’m glad that I was able to make the move because then I got to branch out more into different forms of communicating with the general public but I also got to use the experience that I’ve had from the old division and implement them into the new one. Now, I have a whole arsenal of outreach tactics to spread the word to the general public. Sure, the topics are vastly different but the methods to bring awareness to an audience have the same principles.

I look forward to exploring more about the topic of education outreach in the hopes that I can bring what I’ve learn in the course and apply it immediately to my position to advance my office’s outreach approaches in the future. It’s already been a few years and my interest in education outreach has not waned. I hope to continue down this path and bring more to the table as I learn and grow in the program.