Posts Tagged: ‘audio annotation’

Sensory Postcards as New Media Ethnography

March 14, 2016 Posted by Milena D

For a couple of years now, ever since I ‘seriously’ started engaged my dissertation research, I’ve been forming up this idea of sensory postcards as a methodology for doing everyday ethnography – but also, I guess, sensory postcards as a DIY new media practice that is facilitated by the ubiquity and mediation of mobile smart technologies. I even wrote this little thing for the Ethnography Matters blog. What I want to suggest is that by taking pictures, collecting environmental data and creating and sharing videos and recordings online, end users are participating in a kind of methodological approach to re-mediating experience and environmental surroundings. The only difference between that and a citizen-science or citizen-journalist initiative is that the same activity (of capturing multimodally) has a specific organization and structure, aimed intentionally at a public outcome. This post has actually marinated in my draft folder for a long time and I’d like to just let it go for now because there is a lot lot more to it, and I won’t fit it all in one entry, but one has to start somewhere. This blog is in fact already a collection of different ways of doing ‘new media ethnographies’ or ‘mobile ethnographies’ of the everyday: using visual, locative, measurement-based, and aural materials; putting them together in a variety of ways. The one limitation I have placed on my practice has always been – whatever can be accomplished on the device alone. Nothing leaves the device to be dissected and remediated on the computer as I’m truly interested in how mobile devices can be used, and how designers in fact respond to the on-the-ground use of these devices, so I see it as essential to continuously push the limits and communicate publicly about these experiments. Below is a small collage I made using several different apps: Over, which allows poster-font annotating of photos, SpeakingPhoto, which takes a static picture and overlays 10 to 30 seconds of sound recording over it, and again, SpeakingPhoto which allows collaging – stringing together of different ‘aural postcards’ into a slideshow. What I find interesting in making a slideshow is that it not only strings together individual entries into a narrative, but it also readily highlights the contrast between different sonic environments, by virtue of sharply transitioning from one to another.

Review – Audio Annotation Comparisons

August 30, 2010 Posted by Milena D

So, as I have benefited so many times before from user-written summaries of softwares, products, etc. I thought, on the odd chance this comes up on somebody’s search engine, I’d write my own experience so far looking at audio annotation software programs (to say nothing of my long searches for decent video annotations….)

What do I mean by audio annotation – well, a program that allows for the labelling of a sound recording, based on a timeline view, for the purposes of visualizing some sort of analytical investigation of sound. Qualitative programs such as Atlas.ti that offer more comprehensive analysis tools, do offer a video coding, that can work with an audio file. However, the view of the sound is a player strip, where the coder identifies in/out time segments each time they enter a code or annotation. Cumbersome and inefficient, and the subsequent visualization of the annotations is not timeline-based, but coding schema-based. Another initiative I recently ran into  – ProjectPad, an open-source suite of audio and video annotation tools looks good, and intuitive to use, even though it still does not display waveform, just a player control:

For my own purposes, I’ve realized that I need a program that displays a rich, full resolution waveform, and then, on a multi-track timeline view, it allows easy entry of annotations, both event-based and duration-based, and easy editing of start and end points. This is the ideal case, of course. ProjectPad seemed promising by the looks of the documentation, however, once I went to install it, it seems to be virtually impossible for the average computer literate geek (me). Perhaps a more savvy person could have done it, but I am warning other souls there – this program is not compiled, the instructions for installing TomCat (huh?) and setting Java Jar to point to 1.5 (huh?) is dreadfully sparse, inadequate, and frankly thwarted any efforts I was willing to put into installing this software. It is also distributed as a “set of Sakai tools” (another huh?) and when I looked into Sakai, which seems to be some sort of EduCAUSE set of educational technology tools, looked like I can download a “compiled demo” ready with TomCat and stuff. All I had to do was drop the Sakai ready Project pad app into the folder. It still didn’t work. Even if it had worked though – the awful instructions still spoke of having to go to a website, enter a domain and in that way, connect to the ProjectPad interface. Overall, disappointing, and makes me feel like perhaps it was developed strictly for sharing in a specific EdTech learning environment, to be installed and used with the properly trained support staff. Just didn’t seem like it was compiled with a “general user” in mind.

Just found also this set of video coding tools – VCode/VData – probably work with audio too, and at least potentially (i couldn’t figure it out) – display waveform. They are somewhat intuitive to use, as a coding device, but I can’t find much documentation to explain the mysterious “data profile” that has to be set up initially in order to make the thing fully work. Still, nice interface, seems promising.
But most of all, I want to recommend this set of tools here: Audio Analysis Tools . In addition to having amazing audio analysis capabilities, such as RTA, Spectrum, Sonogram, variable scaling settings, etc. this one program, Sonic Visualizer, allows both notes and text-based annotations to be added right onto the waveform space. I believe the “notes” feature works with the MIDI notation grid, and the text-layer with free floating boxes. In any case – wonderful interface, super easy-to-use (I figured it out without any manual, in a few minutes) and seems to have a lot of potential for those who are looking both for a powerful audio analysis tool and audio annotation software. If I had to guess any downfalls, I’d say that its annotation features may be character-limited, not as sophisticated in nature, as qualitative analysis programs, may not be configured for export or further visualization (so, I’d have to take screenshots of my coding logs – not the end of the world I guess) and this is open coding – no option to start with a coding schema and retain relationships between codes, classifications, etc.

I hope this helps, and I’ll add more if /when I find anything. I wish so hard I knew Flash well enough to actually build my own simple, yet functional tool, with everything I want, exactly how I want it! Yes!