Media arts internship January 27, 2015

Tonight I edited and uploaded the third and final hour of audio for our TCB Top 30 Astros Prospect special. I also updated the RSS feed with the information for the second hour, which will release Wednesday. I then started the graphics work on my infographic for our Top 30. This is what I have so far:

I am using a gradient for the background. It starts orange at the top and shifts to blue at the bottom. I added a texture to the background at the suggestion of the graphics artist on staff Ryan Dunsmore. I used a picture of some ground at the Astros Spring Training that my daughter took while we were there last year. I had to duplicate it to get it the full length of the infographic and then drop the opacity. Now that I have the design I just need to fill in the other 24 names, which I plan to work on Wednesday.

Media arts internship January 26, 2015

I edited the second hour of the podcast special recorded Saturday. I also put together posts for the Tuesday and Wednesday release of the first and second hour of the special. I also put together the live post for the podcast recording tonight and updated the podcast show notes. I also found some time to finish grabbing the information I needed for the Top 30 infographic I plan to start work on soon.

An hour prior to the live podcast recording I started setting up my equipment and reading up on a few of the transactions we planned to cover in our show. We recorded our show and then I wrapped up a few things for the Tuesday release of the first hour of our Top 30 podcast special. The XML file for our RSS feed needed to be edited and upload it to the FTP server so the podcast directories could pull the new release information. I also uploaded the first and second hour of the special. The site I use for hosting had been down for a good part of the day, which is why I was uploading the content so late. Usually, that’s something I do when I finish editing.

I'm going to be honest here: I am pretty worn out from the weekend.

Media arts internship January 24 - 25, 2015

We went live at 5 p.m. ET, which meant I got on 4 p.m. ET to start setting up my equipment and going over the shownotes one more time. We use Skype to get everyone on the same call. I use Mixlr to broadcast our recording live and I use Audacity to record the show. My computer’s sound card has a “what you hear” recording feature which allows me to record the audio from my computer. Unfortunately, I can’t record that input and get the microphone on my computer so I conference into Skype via a laptop, with an ATR-2100 USB microphone.

During the hour I go over our show notes and pull up all the resources we’ll need to produce the show. For this particular special we had a spreadsheet of all the Astros prospects graded by our crew and statistical websites. Once I had all that up I pulled up the intro audio and made a few slight adjustments and pre-recorded an introduction to the special that lead into our music.

My co-hosts typically show up anywhere from 10-20 minutes before the show so that we can go over any feedback I had from the last podcast episode and make sure the quality of everyone’s microphone is at a reasonable level. we recorded over three hours of content in three hours and 45 minutes. We had 15 minute breaks built into each hour.

My three co-hosts were much more knowledgeable on the content we were discussing. For the most part my job was to keep the podcast moving so that we could get through 30+ Astros prospects in a three hour time period and start and stop recordings and the live broadcast. After the show I made sure all the edits to the live podcast thread were made. For this particular show we were sharing our top 30 prospect list, so I updated the post with all 30 player grades.

Often times, after recording, I feel like the episodes could have been better, so I typically edit the podcasts a day later to distance myself from those feelings. The next day I listened to the first hour and maybe some small edits, such as taking out people talking over each other, dead space, etc. After I’m done with my edits I export the file as wav file and put it through Levelator2, which is a program that levels out all the levels in the show. Once that’s complete I open the file and edit the meta data to the audio and export it again as a wav file. I then convert it to an MP3 file via iTunes and upload the file.

I ran into a bit of an issue with the upload, though. My hosting was moving to a different service and uploading was unavailable. The first hour doesn’t release until Tuesday so I have some time to work out that issue. I also created the post for the show to be distributed from on our site and made some adjustments to the graphics by adding Hour 1, Hour 2, and Hour 3 to the graphics I intend to use for the post and RSS Feed.

Due to a family issue, I’m having to reschedule our next podcast show for Monday January 26, 2015. I coordinated with my other co-hosts to make sure that time was feasible and put together show notes. Finally, I continued working on the information I’ll need for our Top 30 Astros Prospects graphics set to release on Friday.

Live show thread

Media arts internship January 23, 2015

Tonight I put the review from last years top 30 prospect special together:

I had to edit some audio at the end of commentary and take a few out to make it fit into the four minutes of music I had. I got the music from a guy I used to work with at the church my wife attended. It’s music we used to use for the podcast open, but have since moved on. It’s got an uptempo rock feel so I like using it for these reviews. One of the things I try to bring to my podcasts is energy. Often times that means I’ll drink an energy drink before I go live so that I have that little extra enthusiasm. I also finished the post for the Saturday podcast and rewrote the section about contacting me for feedback.

We're doing our live show at 4 p.m. CT on the Crawfish Boxes if you're interested in tuning in.

Media arts internship January 23, 2015

I finished grabbing soundbites for the review of our 2013 special. I then started putting together the post that will hold the embedded audio player, describe the podcast and allow for listeners to interact with each other while they listen to the show. Part of the post requires a graphic. Instead of using a generic picture or one of the sports images we have access to we usually create our own graphics. More specifically our graphics artist Ryan typically does the graphics, but not this year. With me being on an media arts internship and genuinely wanting to improve my graphic artist abilities I decided to put the podcast logo together myself. This is what came out:

The background image is a picture I shot while I was in Nashville watching one of the Astros minor league affiliates play ball. As part of my post editing I decided to see what it would look like with a filter. I can’t remember exactly which one I went with now, but I thought it gave the picture an old-time look. Like a painting you would see of people playing baseball in the early 1900s. I overlayed a black background over the picture then lowered the opacity so it could be seen through. I then added the sites logo and words. The words and overall size of the image were the areas I spent the most time figuring out. The original font looked to pixelated so I played with several different fonts before settling on Source Sans pro. I thought I pulled the right canvas size for the editor we use, but it was coming up short on the sides, so I had to adjust the canvas size a bit until I got it to fit correctly in our editor on SB Nation.

I always feel like my graphics are missing something or are too simple. This piece is no exception, but I really don’t know what else to add. I had a black bar behind the words and logo, but got feedback from Ryan that he thought it looked better with a drop shadow. Here’s what the other version I was thinking looks like.

I still don’t know which one I will use. That decision will have to wait until tomorrow.