Saturday, April 26, 2008

Using Video IPods in Radio reporting

This post is to accompany an article published recently on the Centennial College website by a current student of mine, Bre Walt, about how our journalism program is using Video Ipods and Belkin Talk Tunes microphones in the curriculum this year, for the first time.


The recordings made for their interviews, voicers, and podcasts are 44 hz which is the quality we broadcast over at Centennial College's Internet radio station, CCRN ondemand.centennialcollege.ca. The main drawbacks are that you get the whirring noise of the IPod hard drive when you record sometimes, which can't be easily equalized away. But otherwise, they are pretty decent recording devices.

They are a lot cheaper then the $700 Marantzes which are in use across the city by professional radio news stations. And while professional radio station managers like David Downey at CBC in Toronto say they can't use video IPods on air because the transmitters make the sound thin on CBC national airwaves, he says, in a pinch, Video IPods would be find equipment for a reporter.

Editing is easy -- transferring the files to Sound forge or Garage band is easy, and the only thing that users need to be aware of is losing their sound files when they plug in to a Mac somewhere to listen to them. The next time they sit down at a different computer to edit, they can't locate the files. Know that the files are there: they just have to be transferred to a Mac using a min-to-mini cable, in real time. Which is a pain.

We used Video Ipods all semester for radio and it worked fine. Next big test? TV news classes in the fall of 08. Will they be big enough to store Video files ?

Here's the article:

CCC Embraces iPod Technology in Journalism


iPod technology applied in Journalism education
By BRE WALT

Centennial College's Centre for Creative Communications now has many students carrying around Apple iPods. Students are not just using the devices for music - they are using them as part of Toronto's first iPod-based curriculum.

First year fast-track journalism student Dave Bowden already owned an iPod but is thrilled to get more use out of it.

"I found out how to use my iPod to conduct interviews, store photos and save files," Bowden said. "So it has been great to get even more value out of the device."

While journalism has traditionally meant taking extensive notes while interviewing, to ensure accuracy and depth, this is no longer necessary. Students are excited to have their iPods and iTalk devices to make interviewing easier. Journalism student Drew
Berner is thrilled to have the assistance.

"It helps me get the quotes a lot more accurately without sort of ruining the pace of an interview," Berner said.

And while students find the iPod useful during interviews, they point out that its capabilities do not stop when the recorder stops.

"You can just plug it into your computer and arrange it on Garage Band," says journalism student Sara Koonar. "Then you have the choice of doing a podcast or a print story."

Students are able to upload audio from the device onto a computer and edit it using programs available in computer labs at The Centre for Creative Communications (CCC). This assists them in creating their own podcasts and radio segments.

Faculty at the CCC say it is helpful to have students with access to iPods. They help students with their schoolwork, and as a supplemental learning tool.

Imaging professor Jim Babbage says they have proved invaluable as storage devices. He tells his students about free podcasts available on iTunes, so they can download and listen to them. Radio professor Ellin Bessner is using iPods in her radio class for the first time, and is pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

"I think it's amazing quality. I'm used to professional broadcast quality machines at the CBC," Bessner said. "The quality we get is really good - we've been airing them on our CCRN (Centennial College Radio News) station and I'm really, really happy with how it sounds - clear as a bell."

- Bre Walt is a Centennial College Journalism student

Learn more about:

Journalism Program
Journalism (Fast Track)
Sports Journalism
For more information please contact:

Paul Koidis, Manager, Communications, Marketing and Development pkoidis@centennialcollege.ca / 416.289.5000 ext. 8609