How To Catch The Busiest Cat in Action

Above Top to Bottom: Finished project, Microphone tips for voice overs, Voice over and software use, Example of live high speed car chase in Australia, 

This assignment which I found in the DS106 Audio assignment bank. It asked users to create a car chase commentary, as though we were a news anchor providing color commentary. For the action we had to find the most boring video possible, which really contrasts with how exciting an actual car chase would be and add a voice over to it. I added my own voice and a helicopter effect to video.

My main objective for this assignment is to :

1) Record a good voice over of myself for the video and add a helicopter sound effect. I managed to find this small write up about the Introduction to Film Sound on which gave a good overview on the human voice, sound effects, and music. I also watched this clip on YouTube from Scare School on the Importance of Sound Effects. Even though I wasn’t going for the scary sounds that are in horrors, I can appreciate more how much the smallest effects can add to entire finished product.

2) Record myself using a USB condenser microphone rather than an a traditional XLR microphone. For this I read Sound On Sound’s review on the advantages of using a  USB mic, and I also read through an Amazon customer forum and a Voice 123 forum where persons  asked questions a and got some good feedback on the pros and cons of using a USB microphone.

3) Use the freeware audio software Audacity to record my voice over into a digital track. For this I figured it would make most sense to watch videos rather than to read some boring tutorial. I watched these two videos from Free Stuff and eHowTech on both how to possibly make your vocals clear or better when recording with Audacity.

I found this boring video of a cat, after all what is could really be more non-exciting than a video of cat not doing anything. So I downloaded the video from YouTube using KeepVid and I also took this helicopter sound effect which I liked and also downloaded with KeepVid.

The next step was one which I thought would be easy, but turned out to be much harder than I expected. I was muting the video and trying to improv some commentary to the video as it played and I record myself. That was not working after several takes. So I ended up writing out a script as I watched the video in parts making sure it was appropriate for the action or non-action rather that was on video.

To do my voice over recording I used the MXL USB .008 Condenser Microphone along with Audacity to record my voice as I watched the video. This again was not easy and took several takes to get it better, but Audacity does a good job of showing the levels of each channel being recorded. This was good because I couldn’t record myself on the microphone and listen through the headphones at the same time. This was very So after configuring the USB Microphone after I read the manual, it was basically just hitting the record button and and then stop button.

The audio was recorded in a stereo track on both channels at a frequency of 44.1khz and the software’s default sample rate of 32-bit. However the audio file was exported with the same frequency but with a 16-bit sample rate in a .WAV format since I didn’t want to loose quality using a compressed format such a MP3.

Since I had to record and watch the video at the same time that required that I had to start the voice recording before the video started and stop it after it finished. This worked out pretty well, then I was able to to trim the voice recording to just what I needed from what I recorded in Audacity.

My final step was when I placed all my media files in Premiere Pro, which I feel gives me more precise editing control rather than say iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. Since I had edited the audio I was going to use already I just had to unlink and delete the original audio from the video. Then align the voice over and effects where I wanted them to be corresponding to the video and adjust my audio levels. Finally I was able to render all my media on the timeline and export the project for in mp4 format for YouTube.



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