Last year my aunt called me to ask if I wanted to take some of my grandfather’s memorabilia off her hands as her children did not want it. I accepted and found my self with approx. 250 cassette tapes spread over 23 binders. They were the tapes Grandpa Green was making most of the times I would visit him. My recollection was of him recording music off the radio, using a reel to reel tape recorder, a cigarette dangling off his lip, squinting in the smoke, asking me what instrument I was planning to become proficient in as he prepared to verbally annotate the recordings via his microphone. So I took these tapes, many of which he converted from reel to reel to cassette. I moved all the content to my PC. And I’m going to talk about what that involved. I’m Ninja, a veteran of podcamp, and was an active podcaster from Aug 2006 to Sep 2015. I loved it but became too busy in the last two years. I hope to publish podcasts again in the future. But at the moment I’m working on this project.
I have several workstations. One running Linux (UBUNTU 16) and two running windows. One windows laptop is dedicated to converting media from cassettes and VHS tapes. The one I am on now is my workhorse.
In reality I had to do some experimenting first to ensure that the tapes were being converted and loaded onto my computer as I intended with acceptable sound levels, minimal clipping, etc. Now what : 213 hours of music, 4 hours of music fragments that I could recognize and others I couldn’t, 1 hour of voice fragments, 1 hour of my grandfather talking Makes 3 DVDs or 16GB key of the library and my grandfather. This is for the family But I wanted to do more. I wanted to shape and play with some of the material to make interesting audio pieces. Copyright issues. Can give the set away to anyone I want as long as money is not involved. I can do whatever I want with my grandfather’s commentaries and audio notes. That’s where the fun begins.
Creating art from an ancestor's audio archive
Creating Art from
Podcamp 2017 Feb 25-26
Who I Am
• Application of the 12:00pm Session : Fuck Followers:
Creating Content for the Sake of Creating
• Ninja is an IT Professional and Podcaster
• Audio and camera webcast for MCCT
• a veteran of podcamp
• active podcaster from Aug 2006 to March 2015.
• Too busy right now
• Focus has been sound-art
My Grandfather’s Project
• April 2016 – email from Aunt - Do I
• Charlie recorded off the radio in the
60s onto reel-to-reel and then in the 70s
to cassette tape
• Hours of his favourite classical music
• Grandfather was a woodwind and
brass musician with the TSO and CBC
in the 30s and 40s.
• Copyright issues didn’t concern him
• A music library for his friend Edward
• 23 binders with 250 tapes
What I’ll Share
• My Tools
• Basics of using tape Copying software
• Basics of using Audacity, the free audio
• How to organize your material
• How to stay motivated enough to keep
• Keeping the past alive and vital
• My creative process that you might
Tools – Conversion and Copying
• Audio Cassette Player and Transfer Software ($70.00+tax at
Tools – MP3 Encoder
• Software patent issues precludes an mp3 encoder to
be included with Audacity.
• LAME MP3 encoder – Allows Audacity to export
MP3 files. (free)
• Leaving your files as .WAV files or other types often
make the size of your resulting sound files very large
• (LAME = Lame Aint an Mp Encoder)
Tools - Effects Library
• Effects plugins for Audacity (mostly free)
• Nyquist (Audio scripting language)
• VST (Virtual Studio Technology)
• LADSPA (Linux Audio Developers Simple Plug-in
• Choose from a vast array of effects.
• Stereo Left and Right Channel Adjustments, LFO Phaser
• Reverb, Time Slide, Delay, Echo
Tools - Your Internet Presence
• A Web Presence ($50.00US /year for audio uploads).
• File types I’m allowed to upload: jpg, jpeg, png, gif,
pdf, doc, ppt, odt, pptx, docx, pps, ppsx, xls, xlsx,
key, mp3, m4a, wav, ogg, zip.
Organizing the Material – Have a
• Starting is easy. Just pop in a tape and walk away.
• Tapes and software won’t behave – ramp up time to get it right
• 10 months for 200+ tapes
• Files are organized in Folder Hierarchy like this:
• Binder Name BOOK R
• Tape Number R01
• Tape Size R01-60.mp3
• R01-60 Side A Doppler Hungarian Fantasy.mp3
• R01-60 Side B Böhm Variations for Flute.mp3
• R01-60 Side A Voice Fragment 1.mp3
• R01-60 Side B Charlie Green Commentary
How to Stay Motivated
• Experiment and have fun
• I know my grandfather would be thrilled that I was
doing this. This was his long time pet project.
Tutorial – Audacity Basics
• Importing files
• Basic commands and actions you would perform
• Removing audio
• Altering audio
• Saving projects
• Saving audio