New audio app offers collaborative potential
“It’s like Google Docs, but for audio,” says The Scope at Ryerson of the new app they’re developing.
Jacky Tuinstra Harrison, one of the leads on the project, says the enRUe app will allow several people to work on the same audio file remotely, making edits and adding comments that can be seen by all participants.
The app has been in the works for five years, but has seen a burst of progress lately, with the help of a group of open source coders called Sourcefabric.
“The open source community has developed a lot so you’re not working from scratch anymore,” says Harrison.
“Audacity’s editing code is something that we’re able to use. A lot of people have developed things off of that code that are useable. Google Docs has come a long way, too. Now that kind of platform and that kind of code gets widely applied to all kinds of things. But it hasn’t been done for audio yet.”
Users will be able to record sound within the enRUe app or upload existing audio from another source. The scaled-back audio editor will allow for one- or two-track editing, with simple functions and a few limited effects. The first phase will see the app useable on all iOS devices, with an Android version to follow later.
Harrison says enRUe will be a boon for public broadcasters looking to crowdsource audio in breaking news situations.
“When we had the flood here in Toronto it would have been really cool to have this app and tell people ‘hey, wherever you are, if it’s flooding, send us some sounds and some interviews’ and you’d have so much all at once in one file, in a centralized location, with people being part of the process,” she says.
“Because that’s also kind of interesting — it’s really empowering for people to be part of the editing process.”
Radio freelancers, too, may find the app’s collaborative potential useful.
“I think that freelancers, of all people, are really cognizant of their time,” says Harrison.
“If you’re working alone, it’s taking you twice as long to do this kind of work and get each kind of sound that you want, particularly if you’re a perfectionist like a lot of audiophiles are. [With enRUe], you can just send it out to the community and if you’ve built a good community of other freelance journalists, they’re going to help you get that and you’re going to share the credit and it’s going to get done faster. I think it will help people maximize their time and get more projects done without sacrificing that authentic sound.”
The group has received some offline funding and is running an Indiegogo campaign to raise the rest of the money they need to run the testing phase of the project. With only a few days left until the end of the campaign, the group is currently about halfway to their goal of $12,215.
Donating to the Indiegogo campaign earns contributors a number of perks. For audiophiles, says Harrison, the best of these perks will be admittance to the testing group.
“You get to part of the testing group even if you just give us five bucks,” she says.
“The testing group is probably going to be the most fun that you have with audio this year, I’m predicting. It’s a really good group of people.”
To learn more about enRUe, you can watch the video on their Indiegogo page.