Audio Slideshow Assignment Part I (Due midnight Oct 27)

(Adapted from an assignment designed by Mindy McAdams’ for her course on multimedia reporting)

Shoot all the photos and gather all the audio for your slideshow.


The raw audio may be in one file, or more than one file (your choice). All the photos must be shot by you and related directly to THIS story. The audio must also be gathered by you and appropriate for this story.

For this assignment, you are turning in ALL the raw materials for the slideshow.

You will also write a one-sentence summary of your story for me – you need to be able to articulate what your story is about.

Number of photos: 200 (yes, TWO HUNDRED)

Audio: At least one interview that tells the story, plus some nice natural sound; the length is your choice.

Summary text: I would like a one sentence summary of your story for this part of the assignment . You will submit this via your blog, details below.

Due: midnight October 27

Submitting the assignment:

  • Create a new blog entry with the title “Soundslides Assignment Part I”.
  • Write a one-sentence summary of your story.
  • Upload the audio for your slideshow (at least one interview + some nat sound) to and add a link to the audio file(s) below the one-sentence summary of your story.
  • Upload your 10 best photos to your blog. You will need more than 10 to build your slideshow. This part of the exercise encourages you to identify your best shots. You will build your slideshow around those 10 shots. Save the other 190 photos to your thumbdrive (using iphoto on a Mac or a similar application on a PC). Be prepared to show me the photos you didn’t use upon request.
  • The dog ate my photos” won’t work – you have to have your edited audio and 10 photos uploaded to your blog by midnight October 27.

Audio Slideshow Checklist


  • Call the location you are shooting at and confirm timing and schedule of events
  • Double check ahead of time that you are allowed to take pictures at the location
  • Make sure you have a contact person and his/her phone number in case any issues arise
  • Bring extra batteries for camera and voice recorder
  • Bring notebook and pens for any additional notes


  • Listen carefully to your surroundings: make sure there’s NO BACKGROUND NOISE that will interfere with the interview (ex: music, machine whirring, lights buzzing, traffic, etc. Feel free to ask the interviewee to turn off loud refrigerators, air conditioning units, overhead lights, etc)
  • Take time to record SILENCE before or after the interview. Record natural sound of the room/location
  • Record AMBIENT SOUNDS that help tell the story (ex: curtains opening at a play, clatter of glasses at a restaurant, etc.)
  • Use a MICROPHONE with the recorder for better quality sound
  • Make sure the microphone is plugged all the way into the recorder- a loose cord will cause buzzing and clicking
  • Keep the microphone 6-12 inches below the interviewees chin- sometimes it is helpful to hold the mic at an angle to minimize “s” and “p” noises
  • Don’t rely on your headphones; check the audio levels monitor
  • Record the interviewee introducing him/herself: the introduction should include the person’s NAME, POSITION, and RELEVANCE TO THE STORY
  • ALWAYS RECORD MORE THAN YOU NEED- Even for a 2-minute piece, you should record at least 15-20 minutes of interview
  • Record the audio as a WAV file, NOT AN MP3- WAV is better quality and gives us more room to adjust the audio if need be


  • Always take more pictures and more video footage than you think you need- it’s better to have too many images to choose from than too little
  • Shoot wide shots, close-ups, extreme close-ups, high angles, low angles- all angles possible to give the audience the full picture
  • Remember the Rule of Thirds- pictures should be composed along the invisible lines of thirds
  • Get photos of the narrator to use in the slideshow and for his/her introduction (at least 3 varieties)
  • Photograph signs or other visual cues that tell the viewer what the event is
  • Try to capture movement: action, emotion, and dynamic elements in still photos
  • If photo shoot is at night, please adjust camera accordingly or use a tripod to help minimize blurriness
  • Photos are telling a story so think of what you need to shoot to build a narrative arc

Tutorial for resizing photos in Photoshop

A simple tutorial for resizing photos in Photoshop – before you begin, download  practice image 1 (kid) and practice image 2 (portrait).

Pitch for Project 2 / Audio Slideshow

For next week you will develop a pitch for an audio slideshow targeted for KPCC’s About Town section.

Your task will be to tailor your ideas and your pitch to the publication (KPCC) and to the series (About Town).

KPCC’s About Town presents weekly reviews of local art, film, theater, books, and snippets of locally produced culture and cultural work, accenting written features with photo slideshows and other multimedia content. Your assignment will be to pitch a story with an accompanying audio slideshow. Your article and slideshow should introduce us to an interesting slice of LA culture, be it a recent book, exhibit, restaurant, or cultural anomaly. Ideally, each About Town feature should include an interview, background and additional context with an eye toward an Angeleno audience, making the content more in-depth, personal and comprehensive than a review.

You will pitch your idea using the same pitch form that you used for your first project.

Please type your pitch and bring a printout to class next week.

Audio Exercise Part II

Take the 5 minutes of raw audio that you recorded for the first part of this exercise and edit it down to 60-90 seconds. Your goal is to condense a 5 minute interview into a cohesive soundbite that could appear on a Web site or as the audio track for a brief slide show presentation. Your goal is to edit out your own voice, and focus on what your subject has to say.

Feel free to use any audio editing program you like for editing the sound. You have the option to use Audacity if you wish and apply the techniques you learned in the Audacity workshop.

How to submit your work and due date

When you’re done with the assignment, please save/export your edited audio as an MP3, upload it to, and insert a link to the audio on your blog (no need to embed). The edited audio must be posted to your blog by midnight Wednesday next week.

Where to get help

If you need help with this assignment, go visit the open Web Tech office hours. Web Technologies staff will host office hours several times a week in the iLab (ASCJ 229) so students can come in and ask questions and get additional help. They can help you with Audacity or file uploading questions. Office hours are posted outside the lab.

Audio Exercise Part I

Audio Exercise

First, read this article on interview basics:

The basics

Your assignment is to conduct a 5-minute, recorded, unrehearsed audio interview. Don’t pick someone whom you know so well that you can predict all his or her answers in advance. Pick someone where the answer will be a surprise to you – if you’re unfamiliar with the person you will ask better questions, and it will make for a better interview. A smart choice might be to conduct an interview that can be used for one of the story packages in this class – but that’s not a requirement. At the end of the interview, ask your interviewee to state and spell their name. Make sure to record some natural sound as well.

The mechanics

In order to complete this assignment, you need some audio recording device (I recommend the Zoom audio recorders that are available from the equipment room), a microphone, and you need to have a way to get the audio out of the recorder. If you choose to use the Zoom recorder, you must return it by next week Tuesday at noon.

File format

You need to save your file in some digital format – common formats for audio are WAV, Windows Media or MP3. An easy audio format to work with is MP3. If your recording method gives you a different format, and you need to convert is to MP3, there are many free programs out there that can convert from one audio format to another, here is a page where you can download one of them:

Due date

You should have your raw audio recorded by Monday next week (at the latest) so you return the equipment and move on to Audio Exercise Part II.

Lecture: Writing and Editing for Web

The lecture on writing and editing for the Web is not available for download.