Listening Journal # 4: Long Form Audio Documentary

November 15, 2009 at 1:27 am (Listening Journals) (, , , , , , , , , )

homelessfunerals_medium

Dying on the streets is pretty popular in the city of Paris. That is where the group Les Morts de la Rue or the Dead of the Street comes in to provide any kind of humane memorial or ceremony-like burial for them. Photo by: http://www.mortsdelarue.org

Buried Alone

Criteria for reviewing:

1- Who (or what company) produced the documentary?
2- Who narrated the documentary?
3- What was the length of the documentary?
4- Describe the documentary.
5- Why was the documentary interesting?
6- Quality of the narrator’s voice?
7- Was the documentary too long? Too short?
8- Other observations/suggestions.

1- On the website, under production information, it says produced by: unknown. But, under the title of the piece, it says from: Sarah Elzas. So, it might be the producer of the piece as well as its narrator.

2- Sarah Elzas is the narrator of the documentary.

3- The length of the documentary is 10:32 minutes.

4- Description of the documentary:

The documentary is about the homeless people who live on the streets of Paris and die alone with no family or friends present at their burial. They get buried by grave diggers without any ceremony. It is a right that French law grants to those who die unclaimed. So, there is this homeless advocates’ group or collective who decided to attend every burial of any one who dies and has their bodies unclaimed to honor and pay some respect to them on their burial day. The piece starts off at the cemetery where the burials take place. It goes on telling the process of identifying the dead person and investigating their death circumstances and why this group of volunteers do what they do attending the burial days of people who died alone. It also gives the political picture of such activity and that is raising awareness about homelessness in France and the premature death because of that.

5- The documentary was interesting for me because

The topic and place of the documentary were the point of interest to me. I love Paris and I was interested to know something new about it. Plus, I thought there must be some French all through. I was right.
Also, the piece was very descriptive. It made me feel as if I were at one of those burials, describing the people who do it and what they are in.
The nat sound of opening the car in which the dead person was transported to the cemetery and having it roped down to the open hole was appealing and helped draw the picture. There was always nat sound accompanying the narration. It made me feel very engaged.

Additionally, the variety of people on the piece made it more comprehensive and complete. There was the people from the group, people from the officials about the homelessness campaign, and people who are usually found at the burial out of their interest in doing something human as such.

6- The quality of the narrator’s voice was real good. Before I settle on this piece, I have heard some pieces where I can hear some humming in the narrator’s recording, and then clear sound bytes or nat sound. But in Buried Alone, the narrator’s voice was clear and there was no difference in the levels of her narration and her interviewees.

7- The documentary wasn’t too long nor was it too short. It was long enough to give out the information the reporter has been collecting. It didn’t leave me wondering about any aspects of the issue that might haven’t possibly covered.

8- Other observations or suggestions:

I liked the variety of people on the piece. As much as it sometimes got me confused, I felt was provided with different many perspectives.
There was a French lady reading out a piece of poem written for one of the dead and for the voice over of this woman, I heard the narrator’s. So, I thought what a big mistake. But then I realized it was sort of part of her script. Then, I thought the integration of having the actual poem read by the French woman with the narrator’s voice translating and identifying was a good idea. I just had to be a little bit more patient.

Compared to some of the other websites where I could listen to audio documentaries, this one had a better piece of information: having the length of the piece beneath the title. In addition, it has topics sorted out to so I could listen to a piece according to my preference.

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Listening Journal # 3: Long Form Documentary # 1

October 25, 2009 at 12:35 am (Listening Journals) (, , , , , , , , )

Lima is the capital and largest city in Peru. It is where musician Lucho Hernandez plays piano in most of its restaurants.

Lima is the capital and largest city in Peru. It is where musician Lucho Hernandez plays piano in most of its restaurants.

Tur de Lima

Criteria for reviewing:
1- Who (or what company) produced the documentary?
2- Who narrated the documentary?
3- What was the length of the documentary?
4- Describe the documentary.
5- Why was the documentary interesting?
6- Quality of the narrator’s voice?
7- Was the documentary too long? Too short?
8- Other observations/suggestions.

1- The producers of the documentary: Lucho Hernandez (the narrater) and Jesse Hardman.

2- The narrator of the documentary is the man on which the documentary is based (Lucho Hernandez). He is a Peruan visually-impaired musician who recognizes every part in Lima, Peru’s capital only by its sounds. There was no voice of a reporter or an interviewer.

3- The length of the documentary is 11:29 minutes.

4- Description of the documentary:
The documentary is a “sound tour” all across Lima as Hernandez, the narrator, describes it. As he is walking, he describes what is on the corner and what building is there. So when he comes across a corner, he says there is the radio building and the piece would take us to nat sound of woman that he later explains is announcing the weather. All through the piece, there is a background sound of birds. Hernandez explains that Lima’s streets are so full of trees that you can always hear birds’ sounds above your head.

5-The documentary was very interesting to me for a couple of reasons. It is so rich with nat (natural) sounds that have made me envision Lima and actually see where this sound is coming from. The quality was also compelling, so I didn’t feel bored or annoyed because of what I will call “excessive” use of nat sound. But I have to say this was all the documentary was about, a visually-impaired man who has his perfect sense in his ears, so it was beautifully used. Another factor that made this piece interesting to me was the voice of the narrator, the musician, Hernandez. His old voice with this charming Spanish accent made me feel like my grandpa was talking, making me recollect this feel of warmth hearing that voice. I felt like his voice connected with the places he was recognizing just by passing by them and without actually seeing them. So, it was full of life, the kind that Lima has all through its streets and people with their beautiful Spanish. Also, Hernandez didn’t leave out anything without elaborating it like as he walks through the market, he would describe how a market is like in Peru or what people do. So, it was interesting keeping me connected through the description.

6- Quality of the narrator’s sound: It was really good. At some points, I felt that his voice was a bit lower than the nat sound around him, which made me have little trouble understanding what he was saying. But other than that, the quality was awesome.

7- As for the length of the documentary, I think it was about the right length. Wasn’t too long, nor was it too short. I believe so because as the piece was on, it didn’t lose or miss me at any point; I was following what was being told. By the time it was over, I felt like yes that was the right time to cut it off, cause had it gone longer than that, I would have probably gone off searching for some other piece.

8- Other observations or suggestions:
I think it was nice ending the piece with Hernandez reaching his home and still describing it while going up the stair till he gets in and say “we’ll stop here till another tour”. Then music is on for about three quarters a minute, letting the listeners reflect on what they have just listened to. I liked that.
Also, I liked the smooth transition among the different places Hernandez was calling on. Though they might seem irrelevant, but somehow, he’d insert a story that will make you connect with the place and after doing so, he’d take you to another one with a different sound, different story.
There was one particular aspect that I liked about the website Third Coast Festival, and that it provides a link to the “Behind the scenes” where I can know what difficulties faced the production of the piece. It was interesting checking this out.

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Listening Journal # 2: NPR vs International

October 11, 2009 at 1:33 am (Listening Journals) (, , , , , , , )

Criteria for reviewing:

1- Title of Newscast or feature.
2- Who produced the newscast or feature? (One or more persons, if info is available)
3- Length of the news or feature
4- Describe the newscast or feature.
5- Was the newscast or feature interesting?
6- Quality of the sound? Use of nat sound.
7- Quality of the announcer’s voice?
8- Was the newscast or feature too long? Too short?
9- Other observations/suggestions (for example, ease of use of the website; also use examples to help illustrate your point(s))

NPR (National Public Radio) is a privately and publicly funded non-profit media organization that serves as a national syndicator to more than 797 public radio stations in the Unisted States.

NPR (National Public Radio) is a privately and publicly funded non-profit media organization that serves as a national syndicator to more than 797 public radio stations in the Unisted States.

NPR Newscast October 9th, 2009 at 10 pm

1- Title of the newscast: NPR Hourly Newscast
2- Producer(s): a number of reporter besides the presenter Lackshmie Sain.
3- Length of the newscast: 3:47 mints
4- Description of the newscast:
The newscast had 7 items lined up on the show. Their types varied. Some of them were readers, some were voicers and some were story with sound. Here is a quick review of the line-up of the NPR showcase:

1- US President Obama says Noble peace Prize should be a push for everyone to work towards achieving peace, why he got it and a one of his critics response to it. (Story w/sound).
2- Hillary Clinton trip to Europe to attend signing a protocol between rivals Turkey and Armenia in Switzerland. (Voicer).
3- a suspected Car bomber launched an attack in Pakistan, deadliest in 6 months (Reader).
4- Down Jones industrial average on Wall street is up to 44 points
5- US trade deficit has narrowed the commerce department imports as deficit dropped 3.5%. (Reader).
6- A high jacker who took over a chart of jet at high point in Jamaica and demanded to be flown to Cuba is sentenced to 20 years in prison. (Voicer).
7- Nuclear physicist suspected of having ties with Al Qaeda arrested in France. (Reader).

5- The variety of the story types made the newscast interesting to me. I didn’t have to be listening to the presenter all the time. Getting sound clippings of news-makers made it even more interesting.
6- The sound quality was good, very good in fact compared to the BBC’s. There was no noise around, and it was so clear.
7- The announcer as well as the reporters’ voice quality was not irritating me, which says that it was listen-able. It didn’t happen to me that I had to lower the sound down because I couldn’t bear the announcer or any of the reporter’s voice.
8- The newscast length was OK to be broadcast on radio. Not too short, not too long. It was just to the point.
9- One suggestion I would make is for the announcer to slow down a little bit. There was one one piece of news, item number 5 on the list, that I had to repeat and replay for many times to get what she was actually saying. It is the basic rule for radio; speak at a normal speed because if the listener missed, he missed it; can do nothing about it. Then he is lost; he is on some other channel. Surely not wanted.

BBC (British Broadcast Corporation) is the oldest and largest broadcaster that is independent from any government intervention. Thereby, it is funded by an annual television licence fees that is charged to all UK households using or having television.

BBC (British Broadcast Corporation) is the oldest and largest broadcaster that is independent from any government intervention. Thereby, it is funded by an annual television licence fees that is charged to all UK households using or having television.

BBC Newscast at 11 October 9th

1- The title of the newscast is BBC Radio News.
2- Producer(s): the reporters on the stories presented in addition to the presenter, Marian Marshal.
3- The length of the newscast: 5 minutes.
4- Description of it:
It had a couple of news items lined up differently from NPR. They were having the same lead story though. Here is a brief account of what was there:

1- Obama winning the Noble peace prize and his reaction to it. However, BBC didn’t address what his critics think of that. (Reader).
2- The car bombing in Pakistan and blaming Taliban group for it. (Voicer).
3- French authorities have arrested a physicist suspected of having ties with Al Qaeda. (Voicer).
4- A Brazilian crime show presenter and politician who was accused of ordering killings to raise the ratings of his show has turned himself in to the police. (Reader).
5- Israeli police have lifted restrictions on Palestinians after they bared them from entering the Al Aqsa mosque. (Reader).
6- Troubled car maker General Motors has made an agreement to sell its Hummer brand to a Chinese firm. (Voicer).
7- American space agency NASA express satisfaction with the deliberate crash of 2 un-manned spacecrafts to detect water. (Reader).
8- Italian PM Berlusconi has described himself as the most persecuted person in the history after being granted immunity while in office by Italy’s highest court and then mistakenly saying that he’s spent millions of Euros on “judges” then correcting it to “lawyers”. (Reader).

5- The newscast was interesting, indeed. The line-up was different from NPR’s, but that was no problem. I liked the kicker story that the newscast ended with, the one on Berlusconi. I was not surprised, but it was light and nice.
6- The quality of the sound was OK, though not as good as NPR’s. The use of NAT sound was not there, unfortunately, though there was more than once chance to do so.
7- The quality of the announcer was good, but some of the reporters had bad quality recording their story. There was one reporter, the one on the GM story, had noise around. I mean acoustically speaking. So, it could have been better.
8- The newscast’s length was fair and reasonable for radio. It was not too short nor was it too long.
9- My suggestion would go to, again, slowing down a bit reading the copy. In addition, the stories are crying out loud for having NAT sound accompanied with them. It is a much better idea to add that to the newscast to make it a little bit lively.

44-year-old Esperanza, a maid at a hotel in Pheonix, sings to unintentionally entertain the hotel's guests.

44-year-old Esperanza, a maid at a hotel in Pheonix, sings to unintentionally entertain the hotel's guests.

World Vision Feature
http://www.worldvisionreport.org/Stories/Week-of-September-26-2009/Esperanza-Sings#
Player:
http://www.worldvisionreport.org/player.php?storyfile=media/audio/2009/1003/esperanza-sings.mp3

1- Title of the feature: Esperanza sings
2- Producer(s): Reporter Todd Melby
3- Length of the feature is almost 4 minutes (3:57 mints)
4- Description of the feature: It is about a beautiful voice of a Spanish, as it is obvious from the accent, maid named Esperanza whom the reporter comes to accidentally hear her sing in the room next door while doing the room service. So, he interviews her to know that she is a single mother for 2 adult children.
5- The feature was very very interesting to me. I was hooked up all the four minutes wanting to know more. It was rich and live.
6- There is no better example than “Esperanza sings” report to demonstrate how the quality of the sound could be at its best. The use of NAT sound was awesome and well-used. It, indeed, played such a big role in keeping me listening.
7- The quality of both the announcer and the reporter was really good and clear with no noise whatsoever.
8- I have to say that this feature was a bit too short for me. I was so interested that I wanted to know more, but it just ended. It could have been a little bit longer to get the audience closer to the woman with the pretty sweet voice who sings while housekeeping.
9- This feature did not wrong with any element of an audio feature. The quality of the sound is great, the use of the NAT sound is so perfect it made me wonder how the reporter managed to get it as natural and clear as it was. Above all that, the copy was amazingly well-written. The website is user-friendly; had no problem with that. My only suggestion would have been making it a bit longer.

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