using music – one more note


One of the issues I remembered as I drove to work (down the Ngauranga Gorge along the Hutt Motorway) was that it’s tricky to add music to windows moviemaker stories.

To do so you use Audacity to import or add the voice, then add the music track. To do this you need a double track (you can add tracks under Tracks). When you Export, select Export Multiple. There are other options like aligning tacks and so on.

This might be another example when you ask me or visit How to Use Audacity.

Coming soon: the more sophisticated imovie details.


transmedia storytelling

I was reading the Big Idea and I found this item.

A short note but it seems worth following up. It’s about a Masterclass by one Jeff Gomez where he talks about ‘making the elements sing together’.

Ten Transmedia Takeaways are:

Start with the story
Do your homework
Distil the story DNA
Write the Bible
Open up dialogue
Find the aspirational drivers
Engage the visionary/storyteller
Simple themes. Rich variation.
Create emotional connections
Fans curate storyworlds

And serendipitously when you do something for work you find something else too:

using music

Music can add emotion and excitement to your story. I tend not to use music with the local stories we have made for the Ranui Residents Association, because it can override the voice, because it can take time to find the right piece and because copyright can be fraught.

Generally it’s ok to use music that is 50 years old (i.e. out of copyright) and it’s ok to use copyrighted music as long as you don’t share it publicly, for example something shared at a funeral or tangi is pretty much ok.

For this video, made for my friend Bella, I added Dobie Gray’s Drift Away to the end where I added a series of images representing aspects of her life. There was a bit of a tangi singalong by the end of the story. I made another version and added Nick Cave’s Breathless – music that Bells liked. Both songs really lifted the story and gave it an ending that allowed us to remember her with joy.

Free music

You can find free music sites – some listed here.


This site from Creative Commons Legal Music for Videos is useful.
This wikipedia site List of countries’ copyright lengths may also be useful. Note for NZ it’s 50 years after creation.

As with images you should credit any music you use. Of course it’s best to make your own – using Garage Band, an Apple Mac application or by recording a song using Audacity or a more sophisticated application.

Most importantly, however, consider the time and effort in finding music when the voice of the speaker can be an effective sound.



This is the book which features a short article about the work Stephen Harlow and I did with Auala for Success, and some work I did at WelTec.

It’s exciting for me because I am not often published, and well, this could be the last time.

You can purchase it online for $NZ3.85.

local stories

Photo 25-10-14 12 45 59 pm

This weekend the Polish Community in New Zealand has celebrated and remembered the arrival of 733 children (most of them orphans) to a small town called Paihiatua.

My friend Juliette Laird was down with her lovely trees Dreaming of Summer which represent the 733 children who arrived.

There were workshops by her and friend Basia Smolnicki and several exhibitions of photographs and other talks, not to mention of course food and dance. Everywhere there were people greeting, exclaiming, telling stories and I had a couple of conversations about digital storytelling.

While those crowded situations are not best for gathering stories, they are a wonderful way to make connections. Essentially dst is about people telling their own stories in their own voices and indeed creating their own story online, but in reality many people whose stories we want and who want to tell their story are not prepared to sort images and edit audio.

Barbara Scrivens and Karol Wilczynska who collect stories for Polish History of New Zealand.ORG, from 1772 – till present time …. had set up a table, like a kitchen table, which is a nice idea, and there conversations were happening. They were meeting and greeting people new, then following up….. and existing people were given transcripts too.

Once anyone collecting stories has made initial connections I suggest you find some images or ask the people for images. This helps them focus and talk and gives you an opportunity to ask questions. The more you talk to them without recording, the better you understand what to ask. When I talked with John Ryan we had only one or two images, he was focussed on what he wanted to say, and I was able to ask the right questions. When I interviewed Ngaire with a local PCC staff member too, the range was wide. The resulting recording is long and needs a lot of editing, which then makes the story my interpretation of her story rather than hers alone – and we return to editorial intervention which we are trying to avoid.

The best thing to do is to get a small hand-held device, leave it running and ask pertinent questions. The preferred format for dst is 3 mins. Consider perhaps cutting the stories into discrete bits – think of the audience. Younger people used to the internet and short sound bites may not want to watch something on their smartphones for 30 mins, school children need the pertinent bits. Older people may watch for longer.

Take a look at links in here about choosing images and editing. Ask me questions.


wiresThe students in ds106 are expected to watch The Wire – and some of the assignments relate to this series.

I have watched – out of interest – several people tell me it’s great – the first 5 episodes.

At the moment I am having trouble with the ebonics. In the first few episodes some men were saying what they’d do and I had no idea what they intended to do. And I watch a reasonable amount of American TV. Thank god for visual clues. Maori New Zealanders have developed a kind of Maoribonics (not yet categorised I think) in which words like “churbro” and ‘makachilly’ feature – but much of it – like Ebonics – seems to feature body/facial clues like raised eyebrows, head flicks and an integration of Maori words – pinga, hui and tipi haere being some of the few. I’m sure there’s a study somewhere.

The Wire has become more engrossing. But. OK I have developed a kind of affinity with ‘D’ although he may be seriously deranged. And I worry about the young seller on the street (his name has not filtered through to me yet but he had nice corn rows).

Avon Barksdale doesn’t look as if he could string together a meal let alone a drug trafficking ring – and I’d quite like to see more of Idris Elba.

I have warmed to it all. And maybe, just maybe I’ll get to understand the undertones and nuances.