Archive | August, 2011

And it was all going so well…

18 Aug

Adobe Audition and I are not on speaking terms. Numbers 1 all the way up to 5.

Today I, we, encountered our first technical problems- just after I’d had a real life documentary beginning starting to make shape on the monitor. It seems I have two uncooperative and totally incompatible versions of Audition, one at home and one at university. Which unfortunately means I have a choice to make: edit at home, or in the rather restricted summer opening hours at uni. Due to other commitments, it looks like the former has won. University time then can be spent editing the video for the website and recording voice over pieces and dubbed actors.

With only a couple of weeks left, this is quite concerning. Especially as it means re-doing what I thought I’d got done and dusted today. But I’m still determined to use all my fantastic interviewees and their interesting stories as well and as effectively as possible. So, less of a problem, more a stumbling block. -Let’s face it, up until now everything had been running suspiciously smoothly.

In other news, I had a great start to the week inLondon and then moving west to Bath. I conducted my last lot of interviews, and enjoyed some really interesting, in-depth chats about mobile technologies and ICT in Africain general. I was also absolutely delighted to see some of the material I gathered published on the Guardian’s Development website, on behalf of Send A Cow. A favour I was delighted to exchange for the access they kindly gave me to their projects and the farmers they are working with in both countries I visited. I’m no photographer, but it was a real boost seeing them up there! (Hawa, Hirpo, Tarike, Fadlu and Kuafa are the four wonderful farmers who spoke to me.)

Right well, the only way is up, isn’t that what they say?..

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Sneak peak: Meet Florence

12 Aug

Meet Florence.

Florence lives near Busia in west Kenya. She is the Vice Secretary of Upendo III, a group of women farmers who have been working together since 1989.

I asked Florence how having a moible phone had affected her day to day life as a farmer.

You can hear her response here:

NB. A ‘boda’ or ‘boda boda’ is a bicycle or motorbike taxi. Interesting fact: The name orignates from Florence’s home town of Busia which lies on the border between Uganda and Kenya. Bikes would transport local people from Kenya to Uganda. ‘Border border’ became ‘boda boda’ and the name is now used in many other African countries.

Slowly making progress

12 Aug

 I’ve been back in the UK for nearly three weeks now, and I admit I’ve only just reached the end of my first, uninterrupted week of editing. Largely I suppose because I’ve managed to be rather distracted by sunshine! Thankfully this week has been a gloomy, ‘mizzley’ one in Cornwall.

This evening I feel a bit like I’ve reached a milestone. All my audio is now neatly clipped up and arranged in labelled folders. It’s taken many hours in front of Adobe Audition. Infact, I was beginning to feel like I was living inside my computer screen earlier today. I also imagine that this is only the start; Hello weeks of dreaming about waveforms. (Welcome to the world of a radio producer I guess!)

But it’s not all bad. Infact, really it’s far from it. The wonderful thing about this week, improved by the fact that it’s taken me nearly a month to sit down and sift through all my interviews, is the way that it has transported me back to my time in Kenya and in Ethiopia.

Listening to the stories of my interesting and patient interviewees, I could be back there. Perched on a wooden stool in a garden, or a chair inside someone’s rural home. Sipping at fresh, spicy and curiously chocolatey coffee, or watching chickens – ‘kuku’ in Swahili, ‘dora’ in Amharic – scratching the dusty ground. Listening to the birds, the cows, or the lorries racing by on the nearby road, or staring out over a bustling cityscape, or the undulating highlands. Holding out my microphone and worrying the whole time that what my interviewee is telling me will be lost in some freak electronic failure of the recorder. My memories have surged back.

But my next challenge will be to disassociate myself a little from these personal feelings and to think pragmatically about my documentary. I need to select the most appropriate stories and start to think about how I can best illustrate my experiences and my findings in audio format. Next week’s task.

I’ll also be winding up my interviews next week. I want to put some of the individual stories I heard when I was travelling into a much broader context. It’s important because, as I hope I’ve demonstrated by now in this blog, mobile phones really are having a dramatic impact on local, national and international economies. So I’ll be speaking to development professionals in the UK about my research and hoping to draw some solid conclusions.

For now though it’s back to Audition I suppose!

The editting begins…

7 Aug

After backing up and backing up again (just to make sure) it’s finally time for me to get editing. I have until the end of the month to produce my first radio documentary. And a lot of work to do for it. Out inAfrica, I recorded several hours worth of interviews, nearly one thousand photos, and another few hours of video clips. With all this material I aim to produce a twenty minute radio documentary as well as content for this here website.

So where do  start? Well my aim for this week is to get all my audio ‘clipped up’. Once this is done, I can start thinking about which voices I really want to use in my documentary, and which I feel would be better used as small features. I have collected alot of audio on other issues. – The drought inEast Africafor instance. This was an issue which unsurprisingly was a big discussion topic whilst I was inKenyaandEthiopia, despite the fact that I didn’t reach the troubled region whereSomalia,EthiopiaandKenyaconnect. I hope that these will create interesting contextual pieces which will relate to my project.

I will be spending time listening to other radio documentaries. (so do get in touch with any suggestions!) I hope that this will generate some ideas as to how I want to approach the presentation of my own.

I am also very aware that I need to begin thinking about accurate representation of my interviewee’s voices. I was fortunate to meet some generous colleagues who helped me to translate my interviews. Now I must find actors who will voice up the responses that were given to my questions.

All this, and OF COURSE I’m still yet to confirm a name for the final piece! Mind maps a-plenty I feel…

So, three and a half weeks to go. It’s really come upon me rather suddenly. I’m worried, but also very excited about revealing some of the interesting discoveries that I made on my trip. I promise to get some sneak peaks up here very soon!