[#1 Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey]
When I started this blog a couple of years ago, it was partly so that I could foist some bits of my brain on you, the reader, and partly to let myself try out gadgets and social media. This has often meant displaying all of my trials and errors in the public domain as I got to grips with writing, formatting and maintaining a web presence. My latest trial is a podcast, and here you can download my first attempt. I thought about trying to get it perfect before publishing, but now I’ve decided I might as well throw it out there and leave it to you to tell me what I’m doing right or wrong. That way, future podcasts can improve as I get the hang of the slightly odd experience of talking at my computer, which I only usually do when I need to swear at it for not working properly. In future, once I’m more rehearsed, I can post new reviews and posts in audio and text formats if there’s a demand.
What I’ve done in this instance is record a reading of an earlier post, which you can read by following this link if you prefer. In it, I describe an interpretation of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey that finds meaningful patterns in the film’s many horizontal, symmetrical compositions. If your mp3 player (or whatever other device you use for playing this sort of thing) can play video and images, you’ll be able to see stills from the film. The music used is some stuff I put together using loops from Garage Band, plus a bit of Richard Strauss’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
I’d appreciate any feedback you can offer before I go ahead and make any more of these or set up shop in a corner of iTunes.
Download the podcast here! Spectacular Attractions Podcast #1
[Find more Spectacular Attractions podcasts here, or subscribe via iTunes here.]
I very much enjoyed this, and hope you do more. Good insights as always, and I appreciate hearing the voice behind your writing.
Thanks, Nick – I’m glad you like it. I’ve just recorded the second podcast, which will go out next week, and ironed out some of the technical flubs (you can hear on #1 that I had the laptop on my, er… lap, and the mic picked up my every shuffle).
There are pictures embedded in the file – can I ask if you could see them, or did you just have the audio? I’ve never done this before, so I’m wondering what it looks like on people’s various devices, and I wouldn’t want to keep issuing podcasts that depended on images if few people can actually look at them.
It works very well. Great stuff! I was puzzled at the start because the introductory music goes on for about 20 seconds longer than necessary. I thought that there was some sort of technical glitch, and nearly gave up. But I’m not used to this whizzbang technology — I’m the chimp, not the homo-sapiens-to-be — so it may be my fault. The rest of the podcast was perfect.
Thanks, Tim – I’ve shortened the intro music for the next episode. I think I was so enamoured of the Garage Band software (you drag and drop loops of bass, drums, guitars, sound effects and strings into a timeline in any combination) that I got a bit carried away. Maybe I’ll have to keep shortening it more and more each time, but it’s nice to have a theme tune.
Episode 2 will be on Kind Hearts and Coronets, you’ll be glad to hear. I’m practising on old posts before I try and do more new stuff.
Oh, and if anyone has any tips on how to do a video podcast, that would be great. I’m looking to do what would effectively be audio commentaries on clips and short films.
Dan, for a first-time effort, I liked it a lot. You have a nice speaking voice that is also very soothing and calmed me down :) I agree with Tim about the music. Less is more. I also think you could have done without the complete “Also Sprach Zarathustra”
I could see the pictures in my iTunes, although I had to find the right button first. If you want to, I can check if it works on my iPod/iPhone as well. Different from reading the blog, however, I thought there were not enough pictures. You say some things (e.g. “people are often the smallest things in the frame”) that you don’t back up with images where I would have loved to have seen some examples.
Your insights into 2001, which is my favourite film, I could only agree with. What programs did you use to record and mix the podcast? I was thinking about trying something similar some time.
Thanks, Alex – that’s exactly the kind of constructive criticism I’m looking for. I’m shortened the music for episode 2, but you might still find it excessive, so it’ll get more and more brief with each edition, I think. After I’ve tried out a few pods, I’ll submit it to iTunes and see what happens from there.
I used all the same images as the post on the blog, but maybe they didn’t come across too well on a little screen. I used Garage Band on the Mac to record everything. The music was composed out of loops and samples, and I edited in the quotations, recorded separately with a “telephone” effect to differentiate the voices (like sonic speech marks). Good luck with your own attempt – it’s an interesting way to repackage your ideas in a different format, though I must admit to finding it a little strange talking to my computer. That’s probably why the best podcasts have several people bouncing off each other.
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