Friday, 6 August 2010

Using Audacity for pupil radio dramas with sound effects

Creating a radio drama using sound effects, Audacity and pupil scripts.

One of the favourite activities this year was script writing for an authentic audience. This year we decided to try our hand at creating short radio dramas.

I introduced the class to some classic (edited) radio dramas such as Superman and Sam Spade. They loved them!

We discussed in our groups what the purpose of the scripts were in our context, how they were related (connections)to our English and Inquiry topics, what we liked about the dramas we heard, what made them interesting, who would be the audience in the 1940's & 50's as well as what other events were part of the context at the time. The groups then fed back their ideas to the class and we recorded them on the Smartboard.

We then broke up into our teams for a brainstorming session on what the plot, characters, etc. would be for our own dramas. Once the draft copies were ready, the groups had to work out if they needed any sound effects and if so what characteristics they needed to have.

For example, one group needed someone walking. But, on careful consideration, they realised they needed a woman slowly walking in high heels. Unfortunately, we couldn't locate a pre-recorded sound effect on the internet which met our needs, so the group located a willling teacher and recorded her as she walked down the hall. They then saved the recording and we imported it to Audacity, where the children worked out where the sound effect had to begin and end.

For some groups, who needed several sound effects, the task was more onerous and included such clips as explosions, helicopters, children playing and someone with hiccups.

After a few practices and editing, the actual first recordings were made. Different groups approached the challenge differentlyand were given enough flexibility to solve issues with lateral thinking so they all learned how to record or find a sound effect and import it into Audacity. Then, using the time shifting tool they decided where the effect would go then they edited it for fade in, fade out etc. I will have placed a link to one of the typical draft versions which the creators would love to have comments about. when I return from vacation. Here is the first 30 seconds or so but it should be enough to get the gist! :)

We enjoyed using the site SoundBible for our clips.
Photo of microphone by SimonDeanMedia


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