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23 December 2005

A Very Gogoshire Christmas Podcast

We are so cool. No, really. We are.

When I was little, my grandfather used to sing songs and tell stories to us, and when we moved from Massachusetts to Chicago, he sent us cassette tapes of songs and stories, and we'd flip the tape and record songs on the other side and mail it back to him.

Of course, the cassette has gone the way of the 8-track, and the CD is rapidly following. We thought it would be really cool to make an audio Xmas card, recording it digitally on our computer, and spamming all of our friends with our audio cards. It was not as easy as we thought it would be - the 15 minute card we made was HUGE (about 250MB), and we only know about 2 people who could handle a file that size via email, so we had to rethink everything.

This morning, I thought that there must be a free or at least cheap place to store audio files on the web. After all, I use Flickr to store my photos for the blog, and I don't pay anything for that. We found Audioblog, owned by Google, who also owns Blogger, which hosts this blog for free. Audioblog isn't free, but it's cheap - just $5 a month for 100MB of storage.

We've been working on this all week. We did most of the recording over the weekend, and the editing process began. We were playing around with several softwares, including Garageband, Audacity, and iMovie. The final MP3 is 16MB - quite a decrease from the whopping 246MB monster we orignially compressed, but still too big to send through email. Every time we thought we were done, we'd listen to the whopper, and we weren't happy - something had gone haywire with the sound, or we had missed something in the edits, so we kept working and working and working on it, until today iMovie crashed on me about 4 times and I had a momentary meltdown. We decided it was going out today NO MATTER WHAT, so here it is, flaws and all.

We used Audacity to create most of the segments, then we converted them into WAV files, imported them into iTunes, converted them into MP3s (which are much smaller), and imported all of the MP3s into iMovie for editing and adding background music and effects. Once we finished the iMovie production part, we exported it as a Quicktime AIF file (humongously big!), and then imported that back into iTunes, where we converted it to an MP3, which we've uploaded to Audioblog, and you can download here and enjoy.

We'd love your comments. This is our first attempt, and while it sounds NPR-perfect in iMovie, a good deal of the sound formatting was lost during the AIF conversion, though we don't understand why. There are some really bad volume fluctuations that I fixed in the editing process that have resurfaced - for those of you who have heard me DJ, you know that I know how to mix and fade, so please know when you hear crazy volume shifts that we're aware of the problem. The problem with being cutting edge sometimes is that there aren't too many people who can tell you what went wrong, and we just aren't techie enough to figure it out, but we'll get there. Anyway, we hope that the superior content overrides the unpleasantness of the sound quality!

Hoping you all have a terrific holiday!

Click on the play button to hear our podcast!


Anonymous kate said...

Hey ladies! Thanks for the e-card. Hope to see you both soon...especially you rafaella, before you flee the states!


9:13 pm  
Blogger JAK said...

AWESOME! The miniMaiers and I enjoyed your audioblog - very creative and fun! Happy Holidays!!


6:05 pm  
Anonymous pete said...

Entertainment while waiting for the plane south for the week. kewl. Congrats also on the acomplishment of 50,312 words. Multimedia giants. We knew you when. Looking forward to coming to visit you and my people down on the island.

12:04 am  

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