Category Archives: grading

My Final “THE DREAM”

This Final Post has alot of meaning for me because I was able to utilize every class I have taken this semester and use each of the “Tricks” I’ve learned to weave out a story of a guy named Richard.

This post will of course use video, which I used IMovie with, also this post will utilize sound design. The programs used were Audacity and Protools.  This particular story will involve the use of sound from different POV’s and visual effects which also require Sound effects.  I will allow you to read the script before you watch the movie.  Stick around after and read some final thoughts and hear about some of my favorite directors as well.

Read the Script By Clicking below then watch the movie and hear final thoughts.

The Dream Script

Now you guys will get to see the Finished Movie.

Now, I will dwell into what I have uncovered for shooting professional or Amatuer Scenes.

For a simple scene, what is necessary is to first Determine where actors will be positioned on the set and the first camera position in relative to them. This is called Blocking.

Then, we would set the lighting in perfect reference to the camera and the actors, This portion would or could be described “Light”

After such arrangement we would do a rehearsal with the Camera crew and lighting crew with the actors to see if things look the way the director wants it. This portion would be called “Rehearsal”

The next phase would be “Tweaking” to allow us to use our reference during the rehearsal to adjust or fine tune any issues we uncovered while rehearsing.

Then would come the “Shoot” where we would go ahead and shoot the scene.

These Tips were from RIGHT HERE

As I look at actual movies, action movies at that, I realize how there are different point of views for one line.  Lets say our character is speaking about a subject to another character. While he is speaking, the POV switches from a shot of him to a shot of him from her perspective and her reactions to what he’s saying.  I believe that shot sequencing can be very very helpful in portraying emotion and helping convey subject matter of conversation. The scene sequence I just mentioned was a 3 shot POV.

Martin Scorsese Director of Taxi Driver spoke of his imagining a scene and almost never having it come out the way he portrayed it in his mind.  See full commentary here. What stands out is that Martin speaks of how he uses certain people who to him, have a certain look about them and are able to portray his message more on screen.  He also speaks of how certain small, yet noticeable character flaws convince him to or not to use these actors.

Martin to me is one of the best directors of our time.  His movies span over 30 years or more and each one in this writers opinion is better than the next.  Here are some clips from other actors who speak of his work. Find it here.

For my movie, what you heard in certain points were voiceovers placed in on separate tracks and panned and adjusted to convey perception differences.  For example after Richard (me) get’s slapped, the next scene when Sugar begins speaking off camera is the Audacity track which I cut out some of the high frequencies and added a little right sided panning to give the appearance of her speaking from the next room.

Now, I will expand on how I would improve my first scene in “The Dream”

In Scene 2 when Sugar (wife) comes into the apartment and sees Richard asleep on Couch, I would leave that where it is, but as she walks towards the kitchen, I would switch to a back shot of her as she is walking.  I would then catch a facial shot of her as she looks into the kitchen.  Then we would go to the full screen shot of her waking Richard up.

I would catch a facial shot of Richard being Startled as he is called to wake up and then back to the full screen of her talking to him as he wakes up and asks for food.

First of all even before all of the above revisions, I would definitely use a better camera.  I was using my cell phone and of course I would make certain the lighting was much, much better.  I believe with these two important issues fixed, my Dream movie would have moved up an entire level in Amateur film making.

I truly believe I have a future in the art of film making.  After this class and others I have taken this semester, I know I shall pursue this field for it gives an outlet to my creativity.  I also plan on asking other students to help me with maybe this project or another which I have many ideas in my head.

Hope you enjoyed this post.



As we approach the midway point of the fall semester, I find it very hard to say that I have both learned all I could and given this class all I have. While there are still many things I want to learn from taking this class it may be harder than I imagined. I find that remembering all the terms and sound concepts don’t really stick as I want them too but as we progress I see where they fall. After doing some thinking ive realized certain areas that if I improved in would held me reach my potential in this course.


I find that if I take my time writing notes and document my post more I would not forget a lot of the key information. Yes, its computer based course but I find that all the notes I take on my phone rarely get read over. Also if I took the actual sound book out more and try to fit reading it into my already swamped reading schedule I would retain more. Although I have no real reason to take out equipment at this time I think if I took out one thing a week and learned that I would retain more. Lastly, moving forward I am going to do more than say because the internet has many answers I just need to know where to look.


Some of the good things I consistently do is actually show up and participate. Although i do not always come across clear I do not show how embarrassed I am to be wrong or misleading. Another thing I feel I do well is listen. I listen well enough to know what to be expected from me. This class is seemingly hard because there are really no instructions on how to come up with fresh ideas but I haven’t given up so that good. I find that the more I get criticized about my work the more determined I am to do better. Needless to say I want to showcase what I know and learned in every post I make.


I plan to leave all inconsistent behaviors behind and work on showcasing my tenaciousness in my post. I will not only show up but engage and earn my knowledge in sound along with my grade. This will be one of the hardest things to do with so many demanding classes I’m taking this semester but its well wroth the struggle.

Midterm Self-Evaluation

How Tenaciously are you pursuing these learning objectives!!!

Learning Objectives:

1. To improve your ability to articulate the physical properties of sound.

Ability to describe how you recorded the sound – technical choices made. Ability to describe the  physical property of a sound as it is generated. Sound pressure level as defined by frequency and amplitude and what they mean. Also, the conversion to an electronic signal, then to a digital sample.

2. To improve your understanding of sound’s impact on storytelling.

Making choices for realism. Choices in sound effect generation. Emotion, enhance, assumption, assists.

3. To improve your ability to make a quality audio recording.

How do you use a low cut filter. Mike to subject distance. Level control, mono stereo, mic choice based, polar patterns,

4. To improve your ability to make a quality audio mix.

How do you blend tracks? Lining up tracks and content so that it makes sense, based on timing.


The Makings of a Good Blog Post

1. A Thoughtful Title – This would be a a title that both considers the content of the post and is creative. For example, a title for a post about a project plan to record ducks on a pond would be, “Thoughts on How to Listen to a Bunch of Quacks” and not “Recording Project Plan.”

2. Media Embeds – It is always preferable to embed media in a post rather than link to the external site where it is hosted. WP supports almost all social media network embeds, if not there are plug-ins. For common image formats, JPG, GIF, PNG it is always preferable to resize the embedded image so that it fits the width of the post. That way the image fit’s the design of the blog.

3. The Purpose of the Post – A some point in the first paragraph of the post a clear description of what you are presenting should be stated. Whether you’re describing a project proposal to be detailed, showing a work in progress, or analyzing another work, you must succinctly summarize your idea early in the post. This should be stated in as much as possible a conversational tone. Blogging allows for and encourages informal language (this does not mean sloppy syntax or grammar) to invite the reader to read. For example, “Yesterday I attempted to record the sounds of ducks at the pond in the park near my apartment. Above are my favorite three minutes of the recordings I made.”

4. Posting Links to external sources – There is always an opportunity to reference sources that were some how involved in the decisions you made and what you are writing about. This might include research done that influenced your process, an image found and embedded to illustrate a point, or even a simple reference to the assignment. Links should be contextual and the source described. For example, “While searching for techniques to record ducks on a pond, I discovered Avisoft Bioacoustics a company focused on analysis of animal recordings. They hosted a number of examples of animal recordings, I liked the frogs the best, and more importantly a detailed tutorial on how they make choices for microphones, recorders, and microphone placement.”

5. The impact of external sources – The research you do as an impact on the choices you make in your work and how you make them. It’s important to reflect on that research and describe how you incorporated it into your process. For example, “Avisoft gives an enormous amount of detail about different microphones (principally Sennheiser shotguns) and recorders, but we only have a couple of Senneheisers and recorders to choose from. What was really useful though was this diagram that visualized all the external noises to avoid in these types of recording environments.”

6. A description and reflection of your process – A reflection on the choices you made during the creating of your work (or planning of your work to be done) is incredibly important to facilitating the understanding of the piece. This might reveal choices made that were very good, or illustrate problems you confronted. You should describe specific tools used, how you used them, and issues you confronted while using them. For example, “To record my ducks quacking, I decided to use the Senneheiser MKH816T, which requires an A/B power supply, as well as the Tascam DR-100mkII recorder. Upon visiting the pond I found that the ducks were too far away! So I went and bought some bread and that’s when things got interesting.”

7. A final reflection – Whether the blog post was an analysis of a piece of work, a project plan, or presenting a piece of work you’ve created, it’s important to reflect overall on your sense of what it is you did and why. In the case of the analysis, you might describe what you learned from the work that you didn’t know before, or describe something you found interesting and why. In the case of a project plan you could reflect on the problems you believe you might face or what you might do to adapt your plan if necessary. And in the case of presenting work created, you might reflect on the technical quality based on appropriate criteria, and/or the content of the work and whether it achieved your intended goals. You might also describe how you would modify your approach if you were to return to this project or onto your next. For example, “What I liked about the three minutes of ducks I recorded and presented above was that the sounds were not what I’d expected. When I first thought of duck sounds, my mind was filled with sounds of quacking. But I actually did not get just the quacking, I heard the ruffling and jostling of the birds as they jockeyed for position to eat the bread I was throwing to them. It probably would have been better if I had someone else feeding the ducks though, as I was creating a lot of contact noise brushing against the mic and cables while throwing bread.”

Affective Grading

First off the word “TENACITY” means, the quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly; grip – google online dictionary 

“grading provides students with feedback on their own learning, clarifying for them what they understand, what they don’t understand, and where they can improve. Grading also provides feedback to instructors on their students’ learning, information that can inform future teaching decisions.” – Vanderbilt

Now when it comes to grading, STUDENTS want to know how they are doing and sometimes letter grades don’t compensate genuine hard work. In my opinion what sets individuals apart is not what they know but how they use what they know to accomplish any given task. By grading students on a level of tenacity I feel you can easily weed out those wanting to excel and those just wanting to get by. Some students will go the extra mile when completing task but others wont. To better help illustrate my point on why I feel grading on a level of tenacity is best for this class I will list reasons and examples.


No one knows everything. People are learning machines. Some people have more difficulty understanding new things than others. Not everyone is willing to or can work hard.


If one person knew everything he or she would not be in this class. Most people want to learn new things because those new things allow most people to broaden their understanding. For some it takes time to learn what their being taught and for others most things are easily understood. Finally if everyone was willing to work hard, in my opinion, competition would be boring.



Measuring your tenacity!

From this blog post I’ve read, many people believe that students should be treating school as if it’s part of the “real world”. One of the blog posts on think link stated “In the real worldyou don’t get rewarded for failing and trying. I completely agree with that statement because sometimes when it comes to grading and classes, people think that if you pass the test and turn in assignments that they’re actually learning something. After that class is over and done with, the students are going to forget all about everything that has happened in that specific class in 2 to 3 years. From a CT major student’s point of view, I would say that I have to agree with getting the new grading modification for this class. Being that this class isn’t a GEN-ED requirement or grading exception, the modification would give the other CT major students a chance to have fun and be creative with their assignments and projects and get them ready for what’s to come in their future careers. Have fun while working hard!

A is For Effort


I have taught this class for a number of semesters, but this will be the first time teaching this class since the Spring 2010. How one might record and mix a story using audio has not significantly changed in three plus years, but how I wish to teach this class has.

First big change is that we will be making a variety of projects throughout the semester and reflecting on how/why you made what you made. Previously I had the course focused on the creating of one radio story in the style of episodes from the NPR show This American Life. I’m not shutting the door on making that kind of audio content, but I don’t think it should be the only project. We will decide together.

And the bigger change is this, you will need to help me decide how you will be graded for this class. I used to have a point system for projects, for skills, there were tests. I don’t want to do that. I hate tests. You hate tests. I like projects and reflections but more importantly I like students that simply work hard at getting better. Period.

So I’d like us to come up with a method to evaluate your tenacity as you work through the four learning objectives of the class. Your first assignment is to research and find an example of how we could measure your “stick-to-it-iveness” how hard you keep working. How could you adapt that example into measuring your tenacity in each of the four learning objectives?

In a blog post link to and/or embed your example. Describe how and why you might use it to measure your effort for each of the learning objectives. Will it work for each one? Do they need to be modified?

Based on what you discover we will agree together by the next class how the grading scheme will work.

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