ICM 508
Developer Advocacy Mini-Doc and Audio/Video Reflection

Developer Advocacy Mini-Doc and Audio/Video Reflection

Reading & Writing

This semester has been projects for Quinnipiac’s ICM 508 on Audio and Video. As the semester comes to a close now is a great time to reflect on how far I’ve come.

Prior to this class I have had some amount of experience in the audio and video space both in my education and professionally. Between 2005-2010 during my associates degree at Anne Arundel Community College I’d done some audio recording with various kinds of microphones, including recording a full band in studio, as well as several video courses with somewhat embarrassing but fun results. The next year in 2011 I was producing kinetic typography animations professionally for fortune 500 clients while working at Cyto Communications during my internship.

Alas, that was borderline the end of my experience. Every career hop I made since then focused on my ability to be an accomplished software developer with ever-increasing demands of my coding ability with little to no focus on my design skills. By the time my bachelors degree ended at Stevenson University in 2012 that was it, any design had to be pursued in my free time.

Returning to Quinnipiac and taking classes such as ICM 508 for Audio and Video has allowed me to reinvigorate my passions for all things design. It’s been an exercise in relearning. I once considered myself fairly proficient in the full Adobe creative suite, but it’s been a decade since then and I now have an opportunity to work out those muscles in the new Creative Cloud.

It’s felt like relearning how to ride a bike. Most of my skills have come back to me, but in such a way where it’ll take two attempts to make something quality. For example my podcast audio I recorded just a few weeks ago pails in comparison to my recent how-to video or this week’s mini-documentary interview. I’ve learned how to mix music in with vocals, sound effects, and maintain pacing through the audio first before putting together my video timeline.

A great trick I’ve learned is that Audition is able to preview a video file despite it being an audio editor. This means after I’ve cut up something like my interview I can drag it into Audition, clean it up via Dialog presets, and add in a music background track while telling it how to perform audio ducking. I’ve found this can get you really far along while being a perfect guide for layering video in Premiere later. In fact, Audition can export to a Premiere sequence directly making it an even smoother experience.

Additionally, shooting in 4K with the intent to export in 1080p gives a lot of flexibility. Both my DSLR camera and phone can shoot in 4K which, if used carefully, gives me a highly portable way to capture the same footage from two angles while allowing me to digitally zoom and pan for more variety in the final output without losing quality.

Alas I doubt I’ll be able to leverage most of this experience directly in my current career as a web engineer. However, should I decide to pursue either of my alternate career avenues I’m so thankful to have this experience. I feel confident if I were to teach at Quinnipiac in the future as a professor that I’d be able to leverage coursework like this to teach design skills to my students. Alternatively, even if I pursue running a game store, as I’ve toyed with for a while now but is a big risk, these audio and video editing skills could also be leveraged for social media marketing for the store at a surprisingly high quality.

Research to Inform

Something I’ll be doing a lot of in this week’s mini-documentary is letting the audio start before, or continue after the matching visual is shown. It’s common in editing to hear someone speaking despite not seeing them just yet. This is often accomplished with J and L cuts, the shapes of the letters representing the directs (left and right respectfully) that an audio track will extend into. Let’s take a look at some examples.

A simple and relevant example is all the work by Technology Connections. For the most part his format is speaking to the camera from a script while running B-roll throughout various relevant parts of the video to demonstrate what is happening. He’ll use J and L cuts, sometimes with cross fades, without cutting off his voice. Most of the time he’ll mute the audio of the B-roll, unless it has relevant sound and then he’ll let that overlap as well. This is a lot like what I’ll be doing for my mini-documentary linked below.

Yes it’s all the hype right now and I know I’m into it. The new Doctor Who special aired recently and there’s some fun behind the scenes footage that pieces together many small interviews with the actors. Rarely does the editor show us the same video and audio clip of the person who is speaking, instead deciding to reveal them later through a J cut or to show the person speaking on-set before seeing them sit down to narrate the interview being listened to midway through the audio clip.


This week I interviewed my good friend Kassian Wren about their decade of experience in develolper advocacy. They’re a wonderful friend of mine and they play in my Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Ever since I moved to Austin TX they’ve been an inspiration to me in my own career in software engineering. I’m lucky to know them!

Note: I had wished to record more of my own b-roll of their projects and to record inside with three-point lighting, but alas I’ve been sick with the flu all week. I’m happy with what we were able to create together safely given the circumstances and the timeframe we had before they flew off for yet another developer conference!

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