Class 3 Video and Sound: Soundwalk Reflections

I really enjoyed making our soundwalk! For now, I am calling it “Journey to Home”. I never thought I would be interested in creating sound projects. But this gave me a window into how satisfying it can be to describe a world through sound.

I was most surprised to feel my musical ear coming into play while editing urban sounds of cities, of all things. I spent many years studying flute and piano performance. It was refreshing to have these skills come into use in a new way.

I also had fun collaborating with my group members Alice Sun and Amena Hayat!

Here is a description of our soundwalk:

Listeners meander the staircase and ride the elevator inside Tisch to travel from our different hometowns, to our current home in New York City. To create the soundwalk, we each curated sounds from Korea, Lahore, Pakistan and the Bay Area, California, as well as captured the sounds of New York City and the subway. Lastly, we created designed a map to clearly display the walk inside Tisch.

Our soundwalk:

 

Our map:

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What went well:

  • Our collaboration – We each took on significant roles and took a stand for our individual ideas.
  • Our idea – This came together nicely. I had an original idea of mapping our commutes from our New York City apartments onto  a walk inside the building, because I was interested in the concept of traveling while staying in one place, as well as getting richer sounds than those I thought we could find inside the building . Alice felt this concept would be more meaningful if we mapped our journeys from our hometowns instead, allowing us to tell a more personal story with even more compelling sounds. Amena was very clear about needing a vibrant inner monologue narrated by a central character, which ultimately became the three of us. Amena was also the one that rightfully insisted that our piece required a very clear voice other than us to direct the listener through the building.
  • The quality of sound in our soundwalk – While there’s definitely room for improvement, I’m proud of how creatively we thought of collecting sounds from outside the building and from the amazing website freesound.org. All of this led to a more compelling piece than we could have otherwise created.

What was challenging/What I would do next time:

  • Not enough time to do one last review for finer level edits – I would have loved to have one final listening session to tighten up a few moments to better support the transitional moments.
  • Musical ear – Now that I know I enjoy listening for phrasing of individual sounds or building arcs out of patches of sound, I’d use this even more next time.
  • Re-mapping where the listener is in the building – My initial instinct to use the staircase was a strong foundational direction to take for this project.  However, using the elevator in Tisch at 4pm is tough… lots of traffic. I agree with the class feedback that we can rethink the listener’s route through the building.

 

The process

Brainstorming and Planning – We invested a lot of time in planning and scoping the project. Here is our “script” or timeline of how tracks, narration, sounds, and walking line up together.

Soundwalk-Ideas-897x1024

 

 

The Editing – Here you can see our tracks in Audition. The three longer tracks are Alice’s soundscape of Korea, Amena’s of Lahore, Pakistan, and mine of the Bay Area in California. The shorter tracks, especially at the bottom, are the narrated directions by a computer generated voice we found online. I believe Alice modified that voice to be slowed down a bit.soundwalk audio tracks 1

All in all, I learned a lot from this assignment!

 

 

 

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