Week 9/10: Presentations

This week we learned about Prezi, a software programme that allows you to create a presentation. This is an online source and so will only work with internet connection. I am still a little confused as to how we will managed to upload out presentation to our blog but hopefully it won’t be too traumatic an experience.

When I signed up for a Prezi account I really liked the fact that you can look at other presentations that have already been made in order to get some ideas and inspiration. As I signed up for a free account it means that it is on a public setting, and so other people can see how your presentation is created and how it progresses.

Our lecturer outlined the different features of the layout of presentations with us and what subject matter we should consider. This got me thinking a lot about what I would like to concentrate on while making my presentation and so far I have not come up with much!

I found it difficult to put enough content within my presentation in order to give enough information without actually giving the presentation. I wanted to make sure my prezi was not cluttered and had a minimal style. I needed to make sure the language was clear and informative enough.

In order to view my presentation click on the picture below or go to my presentation page.

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Week 8.5: Yup

It’s week eight, which is so crazy in itself. I feel like I have learned so much and haven’t had time to take it all in, but the good thing is that I have this blog along with many others so I can read back and remind myself.

In class this week we also talked about writing styles, what our demographic is and how we can lay out our blog in order to make it easier for the reader to follow. As many people simply scan things rather than reading them through it is important to make sure certain things stand out within the blog. So I decided to re-visit my previous posts and try to make them a little more presentable and easy to follow.

By inserting links to things people may not understand and introducing headings to the various different topics I feel like I made things a little clearer. I also needed to make sure that not only were my posts easy to read but interesting enough to make people want to read the entire thing. Some of my posts are a little more casual than others due to the fact that I was talking about my personal experiences within creativity.

I love to write and so blogging for me is a creative outlet, I have set up other blogs in the past but I have never stuck with them as the sites I used weren’t as user-friendly as WordPress. I have been considering setting up a personal blog on WordPress since we started this course and I feel like with using this website I will be able to keep on top of the blog posts.

I also feel like my writing, reflecting and explaining has gotten better as time has gone on, at least I hope it has. It takes a while to get into the flow of things as it is difficult to know if you should write on an academic level or a personal one. I feel that because it is a blog which is generally about personal opinion, somewhere in the middle of the two is probably best, and so that is what I have tried to do.

The features within this blog are so helpful and easy to use, being able to pick a theme and change it around whenever you feel like means that you can change things up to suit your mood or depending on the time of year. The fact that tagging and linking is so easy to do is just wonderful for someone like me who is not the most techy friendly person.

Things we also learned from our lecturer like putting in photo’s and videos means we are able to personalize our blog to our hearts content.

Another great feature within this blog is the ability to add social networking sharing and liking such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This means that people who enjoy your blog posts can like or share them on social networks. I really like this feature, social networks are becoming bigger and bigger and I feel this gives us “the bloggers” a chance to reach a wider audience.

I really enjoyed the entire photography process and everything we learned, although I didn’t use Photoshop to edit my photos using Pixlr was a lot of fun. There were definitely some mishaps before I managed to settle on some effects that I liked. I know that my choices wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste but I really liked them.

Coming to terms with the different features of my camera was a little challenging to say the least. I feel that I should have known how to do this on my camera previously but now that I know how to use them I feel like I will take more time taking pictures in the future.

Creating a Portfolio was also something I really enjoyed, ideally we would have had more time to get used to the different features of a camera and to get out there and make some great mistakes before settling on our final eight but alas it wasn’t meant to be. The workload we have from all of our classes means we can only dedicate a certain amount of time to each subject. All in all I was quite happy with the eight that I chose.

It was a nice creative project to sink my teeth into and I would consider creating more photography portfolio’s for personal use.

Creating a podcast was a little more difficult than the photography, recording it was definitely fun and challenging but the trouble started with the editing process.

As I explained in a previous post even though we were brought through the different features in Audacity I needed further guidance. I am not sure if it is down to my laptop being so old or if it’s just me but Audacity was not always willing to cooperate with me or do the things I was asking it to do.

I had a slight problem with the conversion process but managed to get there in the end. Lastly using many different program’s in order to get the podcast uploaded was problematic, as another classmate already said, it would be wonderful if there was a program within WordPress that could do all of this so that you didn’t have to go back and forth between sites in order to get the job done.

The next thing we are diving into in our class is a presentation, I am having palpitations just thinking about it. I can definitely use programs to create a presentation, but actually having to present and speak in front of everyone is something I am really not looking forward to.

The idea is for us to show what we have learned and explain our process through this journey. I completely understand the point behind it but yet it is something I am going to have to force myself to be okay with. Hopefully by the time I have to do it I won’t mind anymore!

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Week 8: Audio Editing with Audacity

This week we went through the process of creating and editing an audio file and turning it into a Podcast, the software used to edit our audio is Audacity. I have used this software before but as that was many years ago, I used Niall’s slides to become familiar with all of it again.

Converting the file

In order to upload my audio file to Audacity I needed to convert the file type from an MA4 to an MP3. In order to do this I needed to download audio-converter software. I used Lame that was recommended by Audacity. This was a lot simpler then I thought it would be, once you locate the file and upload it to Audacity it really does the rest of the work for you. Let the fun begin….

Editing

I started by trimming down my audio by selecting the parts at the beginning and end of the audio I did not need to keep, you can only do this in sections so I started with the beginning, highlighted it and then using the trim tool I trimmed it down. This was repeated throughout the audio file to insure there were not too many silent pauses through out.

I also took a look at the panning and volume tools in order to make sure the sound of my audio were at the right levels.

The next thing I did was to use the Noise Removal tool – in order to do this first you must take a sample of the noise within the audio, after you have done this you highlight the entire audio clip and select the noise removal tool. By taking this step you remove the hissing sound from your audio clip and any additional interference.

The next step was to insert silence at the beginning and the end of the clip. This was done to give the podcast a more professional feel.

I enjoyed the editing process but it was difficult to get the hang of it. While somethings were easy others were harder. I got some help from members of the class who showed me how to do different things.

Uploading

For me the hardest part was trying to upload my podcast to the blog on an RSS feed, you have to use Podomatic in order to upload your podcast before you can put it into WordPress. The video our lecturer posted was extremely helpful with this but I had to do it a couple of times before it worked.  This may be due to the fact that sometimes WordPress takes a while to update or refresh. But anyway now its done and I am quite happy with the result. I would definitely be interested in doing more podcasts in the future so it would be worth getting some better recording equipment and becoming more familiar with Audacity.

To listen to my final edit click on the image below, sit back and get ready to laugh…

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Week 7: Ahem….

Episode 1. – Click to hear my before casting!!!

In my last post I explained what I had chosen to do for my podcast, to record my father reading “Dear Santa” a letter he wrote last year after Christmas had been and gone. I have learned very quickly that picking what to record is extremely easy but actually managing to record it is not so easy…

The fact that I am coughing and sneezing every 30 seconds is bad enough but trying to tell my dad that he has to speak into the phone but not to close, oh no a little closer, no further away…. well you get my drift.

Atmosphere

I choose the sitting room to record in as it has carpets, curtains and soft furnishings everywhere so I thought this would help with the ambient noise but the sound still wasn’t great on my first recording. The external microphone I intended on using didn’t actually fit into my phone so that was also a no go. Short of trying to get a billion egg cartons to stick all over the walls I knew it was time to try something else.

I then remembered something my lecturer said about how some people get into bed and get under the covers to record, as the duvet creates the perfect surround for a recording atmosphere. So I thought, time to get my dad into a hoody, now this is not the easiest of tasks since my dad quite resembles Santa Claus. But I managed to locate an old hoody someone had left in our house years before and convince him to put it on. Pulling the hooded part over his head and as far forward as possible to create a little surrounding wall of soft cotton it was time to try out my experiment.

Recording take 2-  The fact that my dad was struggling to see the page that he had his “script” on and me pulling the hoody with my hands to try to keep the surrounding wall after a few billion attempts I decided that maybe this was not going to work either, well what do you do now? Yes of course grab a tea towel! Putting the tea towel around my dads head to make it all stick out a bit around his face kind of like a habit if you will it was time try yet again. This was of course after much protesting by the subject!!!

After many, many attempts I managed to get the recording down. So here’s the deal, this is the before! It’s not perfect and I doubt it will be even after I edit it, but the mere fact that I have managed to upload it on here is a miracle in itself!

Please be aware that there is some bad language!!! I hope no one is offended 🙂

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Week 6:Introduction to Podcasting – from sight to sound

This week we started our technical journey through the world of pod-casting. This is something I am quite excited I am learning about as I have never done it before. I have used some editing software before but not to produce something that will be available online.

We talked about the different formats such as Compressed or Uncompressed Audio styles which represent making a file smaller or larger. There are also different file types the most common Lossy audio type being MP3.

MP3– Not open source

WAV– File format compatible with windows

Ogg Vorbis– Open Format compatible with Mac’s and Pc

We also went through Digitisation which is defined as:

“The conversion of analog into digital information”

Ambient Noise, is another element we spoke about in class, I found this particularly interesting as it can really be used to set the entire tone of the podcast. Learning that the furnishings within a room that you use for recording can add or take away so much from your recording really hit me. An example given to us is that when a movie is being made, often times they record the sound of the silence within a room in order to set the background for a scene.

Audacity which is a sound editing programme is what we will be using to edit our podcasts. In class we were shown how to use audacity and the various different elements within it. I also found a video that will also be useful as we set into editing our pieces.

For this project I have decided to use the iPhone 4s to record my podcast, this is not the ideal tool for me to use to record my podcast but unfortunately I have no other available source. Although this is not the best tool, I am getting an external microphone in the hopes this will improve the sound quality. The subject matter is a little different to everyone else’s but I am hoping it will be a little light entertainment for everyone to enjoy coming up to Christmas, it is called “Dear Santa” and it is an original piece written by my father. I hope you will all enjoy it!

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Week 5:Why? – choosing a theme for my portfolio

While I was trying to come up with a theme for my Portfolio, I had a few minor mishaps that I outlined in an earlier blog. But really the Canal should have been my first port of call. It was there in front of me the entire time and I only realized it at the very last minute. Why did I choose the Canal? Honestly, because of my dad, because of all of the wonderful childhood memories that appear when I am there.

My dad is a Ships-Chandler (Well that’s what he calls himself anyway) and he works down in the Grand Canal Dock. As we were growing up we not only spent a lot of time around ships and boats but also around the many waterworks that feature around Dublin City. My dad would bring us for strolls along the canal and invent stories about the goldfish that lived there or the man who leaned on the lamppost.

I tried to capture the beauty of the light that flows between the branches of the trees as the wind blows. The reflections in the water and how the canal flows. The barge is yet another homage to my dad in that we have grown up in believing we love all things that can float and move on water, that is except of course for Swans!

So my friends, while you see trees, gates and pathways, I see our family strolling along on a summer’s day, laughing and telling stories, sometimes with an ice-cream if my parents were feeling generous!!

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Week 4: Getting the creative juices flowing…

The Journey

So this week we were asked to try out what we learned about Photoshop while in class and also to set up our gallery of images.

I decided to go for a walk in my local park and see if I could get some interesting pictures, as always Jen has a disaster. After nearly falling into the river when going onto the stepping-stones into the centre of the river, I figured I would probably be better off trying to take some photos on solid ground.

This brought me to the pond which is home to many ducks and swans, here is where I made my second mistake, trying to take a photo of a swan. Swans are not my friends, and apparently hate taking their photos taken. What was supposed to be a nice inspirational walk, quickly turned into me running away screaming from an evil swan who decided to try to attack me while I tried to take his photo. This was a bad enough experience until I saw an old man laughing his head off at me who had seen the whole thing, glad I made his day.

So this is when I gave up on the park idea and moved on to the docklands/canal idea hoping it would be a safer option. Who wants their headstone to read “death by swan” right?

I am now a happy camper and feel like I managed to take some pretty nice pictures, I would be really interested to know what you all think…

Software

In my next post I will be showing you all the different elements I used in Pixlr, yes we did learn about Photoshop but after trying to download the free trial for two hours and then spending another while trying to get Photoshop through the college software system I decided maybe it was time to give up and try out Pixlr. I really had fun trying out various different things, not all of them made the cut so in my next post are a few of the photos I altered.

I will also be uploading my gallery of eight photos, I really like them but then I am biased!!!!!!

Lets hope I make it to Saturday without any disasters! See ya’ll on the other side 🙂

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Week 3: Playing with Pixlr

Grand Canal Dock Original Photo

This is a photo I took of the Boat taxi in the grand canal dock, it is very blurred, purely down to my photography skills not being too great but hopefully you will see some what of a difference in the second image. While I tried to get the photo more in to focus by adjusting the Hue and Saturation tool and the Sharpen tool I also used the Marquee tool to add some more ship ties along the side of the dock. I don’t think I was very successful trying to get rid of the blur but it was interesting to try to work it all out.

Grand Canal Dock Altered Photo

The next photo I am going to show you, I simply played around with to see what I could do.While I think it looks quite cool some of you might think it looks a little mad!!

Canal Original Photo

I found changing this photo to be a lot of fun, I tried out various different tools in pixlr before settling on what I am going to show you below!

Canal Photo Altered

While the colours may be a little over the top for some I actually quite like it. Especially the trees where the trunk is a pale hue as you move upwards it turns into a bluey/purple colour. Again this may not be in everyone’s taste but I really like it! This affect was also done by altering the Colour balance and also the Solarize tool.

Below I am going to show you the same photo again, changed to black and white which is another effect I quite like. Again this was done by using the Desaturate tool. I really enjoyed playing around with the colours as I feel like it can change the entire feel of a photograph.

Canal Photo Black/White

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Week 2: Snapping it up!

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Well this week was filled with the joys of rain, strong winds and dull, dull days. If I was a professional photographer these elements could be a dream opportunity to take photos, sadly since  I do not have all of … Continue reading

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Week 1.5: Introduction to Digital Photography

Today in class we learned a little about how a camera works, the different types of cameras available and what makes a good photo. We talked about shutter speed, aperture, the rule of thirds and how moving the position of your subject can completely change a photo.

Photography is such a visual art form and can be interpreted in many different ways by every viewer. I have always loved looking at photographs, the way some people see elements within them that others don’t. It is like viewing a painting, reading a classic or listening to a song. The ability for an image to lift someone up or to show the haunting pain someone is in, is not just a matter of clicking away. It takes a lot of consideration and time. Lighting, movement and elements all need to be taken into consideration.

I am excited to be learning the way in which a digital camera works and how you can do certain things in order to ensure you take the best photos. Everyone has different styles and I am excited to see how my classmates take their photos and where their inspiration comes from.

So now I am going to try figure out how this camera of mine (well actually my sisters) actually works! Over the next week I will be taking some photos to illustrate my understanding of what we learned in class today, I am hoping my photos will improve over time and I will be able to recognise the different elements taken into consideration by other people when they take a photo.

I guess we shall see:)

Image

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