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Spot the difference?

5 Sep

You may have noticed some changes on my website. I have three new
pages where I will be posting some video, audio and photographs which I took to
accompany the radio documentary.

And while we’re on the subject, the documentary is finished and
handed in! Friday was the hand in, which goes some way to explain my silence
online for the last week and a bit. It got a bit frantic at the end, it always
does doesn’t it?! I was tweaking until 11am on Friday, but it
eventually came together in my first ever twenty minutes of radio documentary.
Very exciting.

I was surprised at how quickly I made progress. I’d been practically
having nightmares about Audition. But sticking to my guns, and editing at home
proved to be the right choice in the end. Several times, I got up out of bed at
midnight feeling guilty at having one too little of it
during the evening. I swear some kind of magic happens at that time of night
and I had some productive spells. As the bank holiday drew to a close, I dared
to preview the programme to a select few, which proved to be a very valuable
thing to do. -I made some quite radical changes to the structure, and managed
to chop the programme down from nearly thirty minutes to twenty.

And then it was time to get arty! (Or at least as creative as I
dared.) Authenticity was so important to me whilst producing my documentary. I
wanted the programme to have a flavour of Ethiopia and Kenya, and for them to be
easily distinguishable from each other. So I used actuality, music and sound
effects, as well as pieces I had recorded, trying to describe as best I could
my surroundings.

So, the big question… am I pleased with the result? Well, yes, I
suppose I am fairly. But it’s not over yet, not until I get everything up on
here and looking lovely. I’m working on it! So keep your eyes peeled during the
week!

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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?..

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!