Project 4: Oral History
Emily Millard interviewed her grandparents:
This is what Emily said about the interview on her class blog:
“When constructing my interview for the Oral History project, I wanted to speak with someone who has had a significantly different experience with technology than myself. My grandparents, I thought, would be a perfect representation of the change and evolution of technology over the last century. My grandfather grew up on a farm in Moses Lake with little to no technology and my grandma grew up in Germany during World War two where she also experienced very little technology.
When reflecting on the novel Ready Player One, I really wanted to present the stark contrast between the minimal technology from the 1930-40’s along with the high society technology available in Ready Player One. For example, in regard to communication, in Ready Player One, players can communication in virtual world chat rooms where even their emotions and tone-reflections are presented in the exact same way as the real world. When my grandparents were younger, however, the only form, other than letters, of personal contact was to use the telephone where a physical person would pick up the line and move it to the following person down the line. My interview was also inspired by the StoryCorps project because I believe that the information my grandfather had to share is sincerely important for the current technology advanced culture to learn about and be aware of.
When editing and constructing my project, I had to seriously pay attention to the specific elements that I wanted to include from my 30-minute interview. Once choosing the specific clips I wanted to include, the editing process was simple to follow. For a stylistic technique, I included an intro and outro to the beginning and end of my audio recording to present a smoother flow to my interview.
Overall, I really wanted to portray the complexity life used to entail before technology advanced to what it is today. I felt that my grandparents described in great detail the challenges life used to bring them while growing up without technology.”
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Jacob Granneman interviewed his parents:
This is what Jacob said about the interview on her class blog:
“Boy, was this a fun one. When I sat down with both of my folks to talk eighties tech, I never thought I would find so many parallels to my current tech-scape. I enjoyed every minute of it and here’s why…
I was able to make a good many connections to Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, when developing a game plan for my podcast. Some influences came in the form of my interview questions. I targeted key theme questions that are present in RPO, like “is today’s, evermore immersive tech good for us?” and “are YOU happy with the way tech has turned out?” These kind of questions yielded the best responses, and a glimpse into the usefulness/morality of technology, as seen through the eyes of my forebears.
StoryCorps also heavily influenced the style of conversation I aimed for when creating this podcast. The goal of StoryCorps is get people to connect like they wouldn’t otherwise, and give folks a chance to talk cordially about things that really matter. I wanted to capture, at least, some essence of the heavier side to the “tech divide.” I wanted to find out what my saw as good and bad, with regards to tech, and then I could compare it to the way I see tech. It was an eye opening experience that made me feel more connected to my parents than I had before. I also feel that I captured the true, relaxed conversation feel, as I have had at least one person already tell me, “your parents sound like pretty chill people to talk to, that is so cool!” Which, of course, they are!
I chose my parents as interview subjects for this throwback, tech-talk because they lived throwback. I wanted to get a few for what the eighties tech-scape was truly like, and I knew they both had fond memories of that time and would speak about it honestly. Not to mention, there is currently a pretty impressive resurgence of eighties tech and culture lately, (i.e. Stranger Things, Ready Player One, Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049, Thor Ragnarok, Fargo… you get the picture).
I recorded the interview on two condenser mics; a Shure MV5 USB microphone and a ZOOM H2n USB recorder. Both fed into a laptop using Apple’s GarageBand recording software. I exported as lossless WAV 24-bit files, for maximum quality. All gain levels were monitored and controlled before, during and after the interview. In post, I pieced the podcast together in Adobe Audition CC, and used some creative commons musics to spice things up. The programs and gear I used, especially Audition and the Shure MV5, made the process extremely streamlined and easy to learn from. Essentially, the mistakes I made were with style and content and helped me grow, rather than with hardware and file types, which is just frustrating. All in all, a imaginative project that yielded a final product I am very proud of.
Music used – “Real World” by Silent Partner
Available through the YouTube Music Library under Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Not Required”
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Nancy Fu interviewed her former teacher about the types of technology she used growing up:
This is what Nancy said about the interview on her class blog:
“My interview was influenced by Ready Player One because throughout the book it mentions a lot of technology from the 80’s, I thought it would be interesting to interview someone from an older generation to compare how much technology has developed over time. When I listened to the StoryCorps projects I realized a lot of the interviews were anecdotes from the past. So, with Marty’s interview I decided that when she would explain a story it would be better than her just answering a few questions of mine. Since a story is different for every person, however, anyone can answer a simple question. So, with that I had decided the best way was for a combination of anecdotes and answers. At first, my interview was very broad I asked many questions related to the basic use of technology as well as how it was like using technology growing up. The raw audio of the interview that was recorded had actually taken 42 minutes, however, it was the easiest way to get Marty to talk to me naturally and I had gotten a lot of stories out of the interview. I conducted the interview with the flow of her answers, sometimes I would let her talk about her past, other times I would ask questions following to what she had asked. I feel like I have a better understanding on Adobe Audition as well as audio recording and editing. It was hard at first when I was recording because I had never done it before, however, after a few test recordings I found it to be much easier. Editing the audio would be frustrating at times, however, after completing project 4 I realized that editing audio wasn’t too bad at all it just took a lot of time to make everything flow smoothly. Using my smartphone to record the audio was good. Yet, I felt like if I had used a better mic I would get to pick up the sounds of the bus driving in the beginning of the intro a lot better than what it is on the audio track. I did use a creative commons sound in my interview as background music. I had found a calming piano soundtrack by Podington Bear called Up Up Up:
I was able to apply the audio soundtrack because of it having a creative commons license that allows me to adapt the audio.”
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Olivia Bonsen interviewed her mom about technology in the 1970s and 1980s:
This is what Olivia said about the interview on her class blog:
“The person I chose to interview for this project is my mom. The reason I chose to interview her is because she grew up in the 70s and graduated high school in 1981. The novel Ready Player One focuses a lot on technology and culture from the 1980s, so I figured interviewing my mom would be a great way to learn, first hand, about technology from this time. One thing I made sure to ask her was about video games during this time period. This was because Ready Player One is focused mainly on video game culture in the 80s. I thought it was funny when my mom brought up PacMan, because this game is featured in the novel!
After listening to the StoryCorps projects, I knew I wanted my interview to be personal. This is why I chose to include me asking my mom questions within my audio story. I also kept clips of us talking back and forth, including us sharing laughs a few times. Reading about StoryCorps, I really liked the idea of having something that maybe your great great grand kids could listen to one day, then be able to hear first hand what technology was like back then. It also could let them know what their three times great grandma sounded like, how she laughed, and how she told stories. I know I will definitely be able to save this audio story as a keep sake!
As mentioned above, I chose to interview my mom because the time she grew up fit perfectly with the theme of Ready Player One. Another reason I chose to interview her is because she is my mom, so I’m totally comfortable interviewing her and asking her questions. I thought this would give me a good quality recording, and it ended up working out perfectly. The initial interview was about 15 minutes long, which gave me a lot of content to work with and chose from! We sat in our dining room so it was quiet, and I used a recording app on my phone to record our conversation. This was also a good topic for us to talk about because we had never really had this conversation before.
To record the interview with my mom, I used an app on my iPhone called “VoiceRecorder.” I knew this was a reliable app and that I would be able to transfer the audio to Adobe Audition because I had used it previously for projects in my COM 210 class. The audio probably isn’t the highest quality, compared to if I used a high-tech microphone, but it was convenient and was accessible to me at the time.
I used an upbeat instrumental music tune in the background of my interview. I searched it through CretiveCommons, and downloaded it from SoundCloud. The music is under an Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) license and credit is given to Twisterium. I wanted to add some upbeat music to my story because I thought it made the story more fun to listen to. The music is catchy, so I thought it would make for a more exciting listening experience. Here is the link to the file: https://soundcloud.com/twisterium/romantic-folk-loop-free-instrumental-background-music-creative-commons”
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Alexa McKune interviewed her dad about his history of playing video games:
This is what Alexa said about the interview on her class blog:
“From the time my dad was a kid, he loved playing video games. I’ve heard about the stories when we talked on car rides and now on the phone for hours since I’m away at college. When I was little, he was the first person to introduce me to games on the PlayStation that we owned. We would play Ratchet and Clank together since my mom disproved of the blood and gore of most video games so my dad compromised with characters that exploded into bits and pieces of gears. I chose my dad as my interview subject because of all the memories with him in the car talking about different stories from his childhood and I knew he loved video games as a child. It was interesting to see how things changed from his perspective as the times and technology developed. I was influence by the main character of Ready Player One in my choice of a topic for the oral history. I wanted to focus on video games and thought it would be interesting to hear my dad’s perspective on them as he played the most when he was a kid around Wade’s age and grew up in the 80s, which is the the time period that the novel talks about frequently. From the StoryCorps project, I was able to see examples of how oral histories were recorded and organized. This helped shape how I edited my own recordings and helped me shorten down the audio to the most important elements. With this oral history, I hoped to imitate one of our many phone calls and recorded twenty minutes of audio of my dad’s stories on the evolution of video games from the first gaming system he owned and his adventures in the arcades to the Game Boy he got for Christmas. I came into the interview with a list of questions, but my dad answered most of them before I could even ask them. In result of this, I decided to cut out my voice since I only asked two questions during the whole conversation. I believe that the recording resembles the way I listen to him talk about his childhood when we’re together. The struggle was cutting out enough audio to get from twenty minutes to at least a minimum of five, while maintaining the important elements of the stories. When starting the process of editing, I had to search some YouTube videos on how to use the program and found out how to cut out certain audio since I’ve never used Adobe Audition before. I decided to add the sounds that video games from the arcades in the 80s would make to start off and end my recording. I thought this added element introduced the topic and created an emotional and nostalgic connection with the audience. Here are the links to the creative commons sound effects and image I used:
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Sophia Schuur interviewed her mom about the technological history of banking: https://crimsonpages.org/sophia-schuur/portfolio/
This is what Sophia said about the interview on her class blog:
“My interview choices were influenced by Ready Player One in that I chose a technological approach to my interviewee, my mom. I chose to ask her about the tech or media that influenced her life as a different generation. Ready Player One is all about old technology so my interview fit well with the theme.
In terms of the StoryCorps video, I conducted my interview much like the little boy did in his interview. He asked an initial, rather broad question, and then narrowed it down as he let the interviewee talk. I think this is a good way to conduct a casual interview such as this one because it allows the question to flow and change as the person talks.
I chose my mom as my interview subject because I knew she would do a good job explaining the technology that influenced her generation. She is good at talking and detailing and I was able to incorporate a lot of both in my interview. I conducted the interview by first asking her the project thesis, in which we were required to ask about how a different generation experienced technology differently than I do. I then narrowed down some questions as my mom answered. It ended up being about twenty minutes that I edited down to five and a half.
I chose Audacity to edit with because I was already familiar with it from other projects I completed in high school. It is free, easy to work with and simple. I did not need too powerful tools to complete the project so Audacity sufficed just fine.
I used a simple, ten second intro rift from http://s3.accelerated-ideas.com/FreeMusicTracks/mp3/ARTS/SkyLine_C024(cr).mp3 to fill in the background of my brief introduction to the project.”
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Peyton Taffe interviewed her mom about how her use of technology for communication has changed over the years:
This is what Peyton said about the interview on her class blog:
“My interview was based around social media and how it affected my mom growing up. In regards to Ready Player One, this relates to the main element of the game which is a social media platform called The Oasis. This inspired me to talk to my mom about how she used social media and how it affected her growing up.
The StoryCorps project really led me to make the interview into more of a conversation, rather than just asking her questions off the bat. I think this worked really well for me because I was able to come up with questions on the spot.
I chose the topic of social media because my mom loves social media and I knew that she would have a lot to say about the topics that I asked her. How I conducted the interview wasn’t great because I was in the car and it was really early in the morning.
I really lacked technical tools because I ended up recording the interview on my phone, at 6 am on the way to the airport because I forgot about the project during break and remembered it two hours before my flight. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to talk to someone in Pullman, so I recorded my mom the best that I could. For post-production, I used Adobe Audition. I have never used that program before but I know how to EQ a live speaker or band, so I used that previous knowledge to get ride of most of the background noises and use tools like compressors and equalizers. I used the track Into Freeman by Lucky Chester. This track is a chill instrumental track and it’s one that ive used in other projects for previous classes. I chose to use this track because it’s not very distracting when used for background music.
Background Track: Lucky Chester – Into Freeman – https://soundcloud.com/lucky_chester/royalty-free-vaporwave-beat-into-freeman-prod-lucky-chester”
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Kathleen Zimmerman interviewed her mom about her experiences with digital and analog technology:
This is what Kathleen said about the interview on her class blog:
For my audio story, I chose to interview my mom about her experiences with technology. I made sure to ask questions related to Ready Player One. A few questions I asked included: Did you play any video games as a child, like Pac-man etc? Which ones? Where do you think technology is headed? What do you see life like in the next 10-20 years? Etc. I made sure to focus specifically on technology. In Ready Player One many video games were referenced from the 1980s. In my interview, my mom spoke about Atari, Pac-man, and Donkey Kong which were also things mentioned in Ready Player One. I also asked her how she saw technology in the future since Ready Player One is set in the future.
In the StoryCorps project, the interviews focus on stories people have about certain topics, their personal antidotes. In my interview, I included personal stories from my mom (about her grandfather and father) like they do in the StoryCorps project.
I chose to interview my mom because she grew up in the 1980s and is familiar with the time period of the novel. I asked her questions related to the novel as well as questions about technology in general. A lot of our conversation about technology was focused on technology in schools since both my sister and I are both in college. My mom is observing how technology is affecting our learning in college compared to when she went to WSU. I had a list of about 12 pre-written questions which I asked my mom. I then edited it down to fit within the time constraints as well as to create a smoother flowing story.
I was already familiar with Adobe Audition, so I knew the basics going into this project. I had also already worked with my audio recorder, so that made the process simpler and enabled me to focus more on the interview itself. In editing the interview, I first split up the track into individual segments where my mom answered a specific question. I staggered each segment onto a different line in Audition which helped me visualize as well as edit the track better. After I had chosen the tracks I wanted, I edited them individually, taking out long pauses or excessive filler words. I then put in music to the beginning and end of my story and made sure to fade-in and fade-out the music.
I decided to find creative commons music to introduce and end my audio story. I chose music that eluded to the sounds of a video game which I thought was fitting. I only added one sound to supplement my interview because I didn’t want the sounds to detract from the interview itself and I also wanted to follow in the footsteps of the StoryCorps project where they usually only use an intro and outro song.
Title: Cheerful Song
Creative Commons License Name: Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)
Link to Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
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