Time Management “Throughout this project I have prioritised one aspect of my work and that is to manage my time efficiently and accordingly. I felt it was essential to successfully manage my time in order to create a strong product and evidence the process which I have been through in that last six months. First of all, I set myself a project brief for the whole process to help me stay on track with my work and to aim to meet the aims and objectives that I set myself at the very start relating to what I wanted my product to achieve.”
Time Management One of the best methods I have used throughout the process was using Gantt Charts to help me manage my time. I set out by making one that was basically a timeline broken up into coloured sections relating to which ever Assessment Objective that piece of work belonged to. I wrote all the AO’s down the side and then dates of the weeks along the top, all as I had to do next was decide how much time I would be willing to dedicate to each section of work and prioritise the most important areas. For me, all of them were equally important, but I did want to slightly give myself longer on AO3 and AO4 because I felt it was essential to the project to create a strong product that could be supported by an in-depth evaluation of the product and the project as a whole.
Time Management I stuck to this Gantt chart system throughout and it brought me great success in finishing the project to the deadlines that I set myself. I also felt that my work would be to a good standard because I ensured that I left myself enough time on each task to complete it well. I knew at all times where I was up to with my work and what I needed to do next in order to stay on track with my work.The negative side of this method would be that if I was to take slightly longer than scheduled on one of the tasks due to unexpected problems, I then found myself rushing in order to get back on track and to prevent the situation from worsening and falling behind on future tasks. Although it didn’t really affect me, it could of quite easily and it took a lot of self discipline in order to prevent that from happening.
Time Management Another way in which I managed my time through the whole process was by keeping records of Task Checklists. Basically a document that lists each of the tasks and the date of when they have been completed at the side, it worked just as effective as the Gantt chart, however it was less visual and a bit more formal and easier to follow. I found this quite effective because I could easily view which tasks from each section I was yet to complete and it helped me to see how close each section was from total completion.
Research Once I had established stable forms of Time Management and constructed my brief for the project, it was then time to begin researching the actual product I would be making. I began by looking at examples of existing products out there and found a few examples of podcasts currently covering the issue I chose. I wanted to see what kind of subjects they covered, how they covered them, was any music used, how was they edited, were there any interviews and how they were made to sound professional. All of these types of things would impact how I made my podcast, I wanted to create a professional sounding one that had something different from other existing products.
Research A good example of the type of product I wanted to create was on the BBC’s podcast downloads section of the website called ‘Red Wednesday’. It was an informative and casual podcast featuring Manchester United fans that discuss topics issues and all things United. The Podcast is almost like a live recording of a radio show that is aired on 95.1 FM BBC Radio Manchester on Wednesday evenings. It is then recorded and edited down into a shorter version and made available to download via the website as a podcast.
Research I think if I was to be honest, I would definitely say that research section of my project is certainly lacking in depth and broadness in terms of the range of sources used. The actual sources that helped me to understand the power of podcasting and what can be beneficial to me are the ones I uploaded to the blogs, that isn't to say that they are the only things I looked it, it was more like they were the only ones of real relevance and credibility from a person point of view. If I was to repeat the process I think I would definitely invest more time in researching podcasting. The trouble is with it being such a new market, their aren't masses of books and magazines dedicated to it as a pose to say the history of film, art or music. They're is information out there that can be used to research the issue but the majority of it isn’t really relevant to my particular product.
Production Once I had a set idea of how I wanted my product to sound, I began to create my podcast. The first thing I needed to do would be to decide what I wanted to include in the programme running. I decided to go with an introduction, then the goals section, fans section, interview and lastly a summery piece on issues touched on throughout the show. I decided in my head I wanted to make the podcast run for around 30 minutes, I thought this because other ones I had looked at ran for around 45 minutes to an hour, but they had a lot more professional contents and I knew I wouldn't be able to recreate that sort of length to a professional standard, given the types of resources I had.
Production I began to conduct a questionnaire to my intended target audience asking them about the types of things they would like to see in my podcast. I also gave them the opportunity to dictate what goals I would be covering, what issues I would be talking about, answering any questions that they had and even letting them have a say on what music should be played on the podcast.The feedback which I received on this questionnaire was crucial in deciding the contents of my podcast. The whole point of the podcast was it was intended to be something ran by the fans, for the fans. Without their import, there simply wouldn't of been a show. Once I had received all of their feedback, I could then begin to script certain aspects of the show.
Production I didn't want to script the whole podcast because I wanted it to sound quite informal and casual, but also at the same time, I had to have some form of notes to help me keep on track with what I would be saying so that it had structure and made sense. Although it appears to be a rigid script when you look at it and read it, it was actually more like a loose set of notes.Scripting the podcast was a totally new and unique thing for me to do, scripting and creative writing is an area of work I haven't really had any experience in before. It was quite a lengthy process but one that was highly enjoyable in having the ability to dictate what I would be talking about. That creative freedom suited me and helped when writing for the podcast.
Production Once I had my script written, it was then time for me to record it ready for the podcast. I found a quiet place within the college to do this, we didn't have the sort of facilities for a professional studio to record in so an un-occupied room was what had to be used. The initial recordings took around two days but then I realised there was a lot I wanted to change about them and add them so I ended up re-recording most of the script, if it wasn’t for the deadline I had set myself, I probably would of recorded the whole thing again to get it perfect.As it happened, I recorded the parts I felt were most crucial again and decided to try and fix the rest in the post production stage through editing them. Compared to how poorly some of the recordings sounded, I feel I did this to a good standard and was quite happy with how it sounded once I had edited the spoken words of the podcast.
Production Once the script was recorded, it was then time to make it sound and run like an actual podcast, as well as complete the objectives of what my podcast set out to achieve which was the goals and commentary section. Firstly I had to gather in the recordings of what I needed through the internet by using Audacity. This was the commentary for the goals and also the music I used to create ambience. It was simply a case of recording the sounds through YouTube and capturing them on Audacity and then saving the sound files and using them within the podcast editing section.
Production Once all my recorded sounds and script was collected and saved appropriately, it was then time to go into the final and most crucial stage of the production which was editing the whole thing together. To do this I used Adobe Premier Pro. I have used this software before and was familial with it and also confident when using it but I felt using it again would further my skills and knowledge in this area and really benefit me in the extended project. Before I began editing, I laid out all my sound clips in chronological order along the timeline. All as I had to do then was edit them so that they sounded clear together and transitioned from one clip to this next as smoothly as possible. This was where I encountered the main problem of my production work, the difference in the sound levels of the clips made it very hard for me to produce a piece of work that sound fluent and clear. I worked very hard for days at a time to try and bring the levels down and add effects to drown out the difference but in the feedback part of the project, the audience picked up on it and said it really let my product down.
Production Above is screenshots taken from Premier. The one on the left demonstrates the process of importing the clips whilst the one on the right simply shows how to arrange the imported clips on the timeline below.
Production Now I had edited all of my clips together as best as I could, the only thing left to do was to export the whole thing so that it could be viewed on the blog. At first I had trouble because I wanted to export it as a movie so that people could see the image I had made to accompany the audio like professional podcasts use, but the file size was far too large and it simply wasn't possible. I then had to open it again and remove the imagery and export it as an audio piece that could be listened to from Soundcloud, as demonstrated below.
Audience Feedback Now that my project was finished and uploaded online digitally, It was then time to get my audience to access it and begin to gather some feedback to determine how successful I had been. To do this I created a questionnaire using survey monkey, again this was something I had used before and was crucial throughout the project in targeting my audience and gathering feedback throughout the whole process. I used forums and email to circulate the questionnaire to gather as much feedback as I could in a short period of time. The only down side to this method is many people don't like click on links they are unsure of and don't really like taking up their own time to do somebody else work for them but I did get enough to gain a clear understanding of how they felt. The responses I received are on the document above.