Audio Capture & Editing: Android and Windows devices
Almost ten years ago, Kathleen Yancey surveyed the changing landscape of composition and described an approach that embraced students proclivity for writing in multimodal forms (2004). As one of these forms, sound recording, may be incorporated into most stages of the composing process (Selfe, Fleischer and Wright 15). Focusing on assignments that utilize sound, Jody Skipka demonstrates how a “multimodal approach to composing requires students to think about composing practices, communicative goal structures, and their potentials in increasingly complex, rigorous, ﬂexible, and sound-for-now ways” (360).
In this section, we will work through a couple prewriting activities that utilize sound recording on mobile devices. While nearly all smartphones and tablets are delivered with sound recording applications, others allow users to edit their recordings to a limited degree. Some of these apps even provide access to outside platforms to share, distribute, and publish sound recordings. Although sophisticated in their capabilities, audio recording and editing applications can transform mobile devices into excellent tools to be used throughout the composition process. Sound files may be placed not only in many blogging platforms but within Word documents and PowerPoint presentations as well.
Before we get started on the activities, please download the appropriate app to your mobile device.
For Android Devices, please RecForge 2 to your phone. There are many apps out there but I’ve found that any of the RecForge Audio Recorders (the others being RecForge and RecForge Lite) offer numerous useful capabilities including:
Recording and editing sound clips to a variety of formats (WAV, mp3, ogg)
Convert files to WAV, mp3, or ogg
Edit sound recordings in a variety of ways: cut, loop, remove silence, alter speed, tempo, and more.
Sharing to multiple platforms including Google Drive, SoundCloud, and Dropbox
Another app you will want to download is for Soundcloud. While this app only allows recording and slicing a sound file, it does provide a platform for uploading and sharing files to a variety of platforms.
For the sake of the activities in this session, we’ll be posting audio files to a Tumblr blog.You can check out the Tumblr for this session at 4C Sound Gallery. Warning: this tumblr has also been the main depot for test files and other odds and ends so I apologize for any mistakes the blog will likely contain.
Session Activities: The activities we’ll be conducting during this session will provide a quick introduction to a couple of the simpler methods of incorporating sound clips into multimodal compositions. First, we’ll use RecForge to record and edit a sound file to be used in a composition revolving around a theme. Next, we’ll use Soundcloud to quickly record and submit an interview to a Tumblr blog.
Activity One: Record and Save an Interview in RecForge
RecForge is a hearty application that allows users to record and edit sound clips. Although not the easiest solution for blogging purposes, the apps in the RecForge series offer options and the ability to save files without having to use online services such as Soundcloud. Sound files created with RecForge can also be saved to the device or sent to an email address or other remote storage spaces such as Google Drive.
Working with a partner, record an interview that answers the following questions:
- What is your name, area of residence and institutional affiliation?
- Briefly describe the class you teach or an area of expertise that has brought you to this workshop.
- Open RecForge 2.
- To record, tap the closed circle underneath the home icon in the lower left-hand corner.
- To stop the recording, tap the square icon located in the lower right-hand corner.
- You should now have a file listed underneath the parent directory folder. If you hit the parent directory folder by accident, you can navigate back to RecForge files by tapping the Home button. Press and hold the line your new file is located and a menu will emerge in the upper menu bar with the following icons:
Pencil: File new name
Tags: Tag file with metadata
Node Fork: Share file
Menu: Set as Ringtone, Cut, Copy, Edit…
- Tap the Pencil and Rename the file to “Original Capture” or something meaningful.
- Press and hold the file. Tap the Menu and tap Edit…. Then tap Conversion and hit OK. This creates a mp3 file that is suitable for use online and is typically smaller in file size.
- Tap to highlight the new mp3 file then tap the Audio pane above. This will open the section where you can slice up the sound recording.
- Tapping the Play button will start a playback of the recording. Pay attention to the place where your interviewees response to the first question begins (name, home, institution). Once you locate this spot, hit the Pause button.
- Slide the left-hand slider to this starting point. Then hit Play again.
- Locate the end point where the interviewee has finished answering the question. Hit Pause again.
- Scroll over to the far-right to grab the end point slider and slide that back to the spot where the answer is completed. Then hit the Stop button – the closed square – in the lower, right-hand corner. This will bring up the menu icons at the top.
- Hit the Menu icon then tap Crop Selection. This will bring up some options where you will rename the selection to “Intro.mp3”. Hit OK.
- After the file is edited, you can tap the X in the lower right to return to the directory where you’ll see your new file.
- Nice work – on to the next activity where we’ll use Soundcload to upload sound bites to our Sound Gallery.
Activity Two: Saving to an Online Blog
Submitting a sound file to Soundcloud provides users with options to forward the file to a variety of social media accounts as well as Tumblr. Using RecForge or Soundcloud, we will now capture, edit, and upload sound files to a collective gallery dedicated to Wednesday Morning at CCCC. Using Soundcloud is much simpler but is more limited than using other apps such as RecForge. However, for our purposes in this activity, we’ll want to quickly upload a audio snapshot of this first morning of the conference.
- First, start up Soundcloud and login using the account information for this session.
- Select your recording task!
- To record a file, simply tap the menu icon in the upper right-hand corner. Then tap Record.
- When you’re ready to begin capturing the clip, hit the Rec button. Once you’re finished recording, tap the button again.
- The selections that come up allow you to Play, Resume Recording, and Edit the file. Tapping Edit will bring up a simple pair of sliders where you can extract a portion of the recording and add Fade in/out effects to your recording. Hit Apply when you are done with this section.
- At the recording screen, hit Next to proceed with uploading the file.
- You may add an image if you like but please be sure to supply some information in the What and Where values. Be sure that Public is selected. Because of this Soundcloud’s association with the 4C Sound Gallery tumblr, this selection should automatically show as checked.
- Hitting Post will upload the clip to Soundcloud and the gallery simultaneously!
(**Saving to Soundcloud from RecForge: Although we’ll be recording directly from Soundcloud to save time, RecForge will also allow you to upload to Soundcload: To do this, tap and hold the file you wish to upload file then go to Share. Depending on the other apps you have installed on your device, you should have at least an option to email your file. If you have Soundcloud and are logged in, you should be able to upload the sound bite.)
- How might you use these applications in your classroom?
Other In-Class Activities Using Sound:
- Listening to Reading of Essay: Students record themselves reading their drafts to determine errors and speed bumps in the flow of the composition.
Students read a portion of their drafts to themselves then read alongside the playback of the reading.
Students embed a recorded soundscape alongside a text that responds or is conceptually affected by the sounds.
Seife, Cynthia L., Stephanie Owen Fleischer, and Susan Wright. “Words, Audio, and Video: Composing; and the Processes of Production.” Multimodal Composition: Resources for Teachers. Ed. Cynthia Selfe. New York: Hampton Press 2007 Print.
Shipka, Jody. “Sound Engineering: Toward a Theory of Multimodal Soundness.”Computers and Composition 23.3 (2006): 355-373. Web. 14 March 2014.
Yancey, Kathleen Blake. “Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key.” College Composition and Communication, 56.2 Dec., 2004: 297-328. JSTOR. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.