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Audio Book

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Project Description ...

In this project students will use the program Garageband to recreate produce your own audiobook.  An audiobook is an audio recording of a book in which the reader reads the book and acts out the voices of the characters in the book.  Some audio books also include sound effects and background music as well. 

Work at home ...

Because this is a group project it is best that you do your work at school. However if you wanted to do a project like this at home this program Garageband comes free with all new Apple computers. If you want to do a project like this on Windows I would look at a program called Mixcraft. They even have a trial that you can download and try out before you spend any money, or you can use a free program called Audacity that works on either a Mac or a Windows computer. 

What to do ...

Step 1: Planning Document

It's always useful to do some careful planning before beginning any production project. Read your book first.  Time yourself to be sure that your audiobook will be between 2 and 10 minutes. When you've selected a story open a new text document and type out the following information:

  1. The names of the students in your group
  2. The name of the book that you are going to read for your audiobook. 
  3. Make a list of the characters in the story, and who will be doing the voices for each
  4. Make a list of the Environmental Sounds and Action Sound Effects that you will need for your story. 

Step 2: Record and Edit your Book

Use a microphone to record your own voice to sound like the voice of the character(s) in the scene. Change your voice to sound like the character would sound, or you can use Effects to change the way that your voice sounds.

Requirement:  Your recorded and edited story needs to be between 2:00 and 10:00 minutes in length.

Step 3: Adding Background Sounds and Sound Effects

*Remember to right-click (control-click on your mac) on the link to the sound to download it.*

A couple sites that you might want to take a look at to find your sound effects are The Recordist and Partners in Rhyme, or just do a Google search for "Free _______ sound effects," and fill in the kind of sound that you are looking for. 

Add all the sound effects that you have downloaded to your project. Be sure to bring each sound, or type of sound into its own track. Use the volume sliders on the left of each track balance the sounds correctly. You don't want one sound covering up all the others.

  1. Add your downloaded sound effects into your project by simply dragging and dropping them into the Garageband window.  
  2. Each sound should come in on its own track so that you can balance the volume of the sounds correctly.
  3. If the sound cannot be used because it is in an 8bit format you can use iTunes to make a new mp3/AAC version that will work.

Two different types of sound effects that you could use in your audiobook are Environmental Sounds and Action Sounds.  Environmental sounds tell the listener about the setting that the characters are in.  These are sounds like wind, rain, or muffled conversation in a crowded room.   Action sounds are the sounds that are created by what the characters are doing, for example the sound of footsteps, the opening and closing of a door, a sneeze, or an explosion.  These action sounds help the listener understand more clearly what the character is doing. 

Requirement:  You need to include a minimum of three Environmental Sounds and five Action Sounds.

Step 4: Music

In film the background music is called the score. Use to find an appropriate score for your scene. Click on the .mp3 link to download the sample to iTunes and import into your project. This track you will also need to balance the volume correctly. 

Remember that background music needs to be a part of telling the emotion of the story, and can't have any lyrics.  It's too confusing to listeners to have words in the story and in the music at the same time.  

Requirement:  You need to have have appropriate background music in at least half of your audiobook.  

Step 5: Publish your Audio

Export your video from Garageband by going to the Share menu and choosing "export movie to disk," choose the full quality option, name it, and save it to your desktop. When you've finished raise your hand and I will come and collect it from you.

Learn from the Pros

The Making of a Star Wars audiobook
Audio Book tips from Voice Over pro Terry Daniel

Student samples ...

(coming soon)

Scoring Guide ...

(coming soon)