Friday, September 28, 2007

Trek 01 and Help Sessions

I hope that your Trek 01 excursions are going well. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

You've seen and heard some examples of what you should be looking for on your walks. Basically, we want to hear something we've never heard before, or at least in ways we are not expecting. Even the most ordinary sounds can be extraordinary if captured and listened to in the right context.

Be careful out there. Watch your surroundings, look both ways before crossing streets (seriously!), and take extra care with your gear. And don't forget to make your maps. Remember you need to pick the best five sounds for your blog, so you should be documenting as many sites on your walk as you can. Don't just record five and hope that they are all strong.

Some things to remember while you are out recording:

Make sure you are in Advanced Mode:
* Press and hold Menu for 2 Seconds.
* Rotate jog wheel until "Option" appears.
* Press "Enter" (middle button).
* Rotate to "Menu Mode," Enter.
* Rotate to "Advanced," Enter.

Make sure your discs are in Hi-MD mode:
* Menu
* Option
* Disc Mode
* Hi-MD

Make sure your discs are in Hi-SP mode:
* Menu
* REC Set
* REC Mode
* Hi-SP

Make sure you check your Mic Sensitivity:
* Menu
* REC Set
* Mic Sens
* “High” for general ambience
* “Low” for loud situations or very close mic

Make sure you are in Manual Gain mode while recording:
* Hold down Pause (II) and press REC (+>) (“Record Pause”)
* Menu
* REC Set
* REC Volume
* Manual
* You have to do this each time you hit STOP or turn on your recorder.

For those students with PCs running Windows, I STRONGLY urge you to download and use SonicStage on your own computers at home, so that the four PCs in the labs can be used by those Mac users who can only do SonicStage in the labs. Follow the steps in the tutorial and you should be fine.

We will be having Help Sessions starting Monday, but in order to avoid a crush of students, it's important that you try to do this ahead of time on your own. For those with Macs, you have access to B-18, so come in this weekend or Monday morning to transfer your sounds. Remember that it can take quite a while for SonicStage to work its magic, so be patient.

The same goes for any of the other steps for Trek 01. The help sessions are for troubleshooting your tech issues, not for trying out your processes for the first time. Attempt to complete everything on your own and we'll take it from there. All of us are eager to see you succeed with these complex technical procedures, and we want you to make excellent work. But with so many students in the class, the logistics can be a bit daunting--we can help you more efficiently if you come to us after already giving it your best shot.

For the Help Sessions, bring your laptops, external hard drive, flash drive, CD-Rs, MD Recorder with AC Adaptor, recorded MiniDisc(s), drawing supplies, and any other materials you need to ask us questions about your work in progress. Go directly to the room for the specific help session in which you are interested. If we don't see you at these sessions, we expect that you are out on your Treks or busy at home transforming your material into fantastic works of art.

Here is the Help Session schedule for Monday:

* SonicStage Transfers: Steve Wetzel, MIT B-18
* Uploading Files to PantherFile: David Witzling, MIT 353
* Audacity Editing/Exporting: Alex Torinus and Julie Murray, MIT 353
* Blogger: Glenn Bach B-91
* Drawing Maps: Lilly Czarnecki, B-68
* Scanning Maps: Scott Foley, MIT B-18

The due date for the Trek 01 blog is Sunday, October 7, at 5PM. Your blog address must use this format: FirstLast0711601, because this is how we will look to see if your blog is online by the due date. If it's wrong, and we can't find your blog, you won't get credit for meeting the deadline.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask us.