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Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:18 am
by swamp
Since some of us are branching out to provide content for the new Dribblecast (or for our own podcast as in ROU's Clowns and Bunnies), I thought this might be a good spot to collect questions, answers, tips, support for some of the more novice editors like me.

First off, I was looking trying add sound effects to a recording, or more like the same sound effect x 10. Do I need to add all of those in as a separate track and then time shift them against the main track? Or is there a way to merge the multiple uses of the effect into a single track and space them out for the correct times?

Same question goes for if I want to break my narration into different parts and then merge them into a single track. Is this possible, or should I just create multiple tracks and then time shift them appropriately?

I'm sure I'll have more questions, and others may too. Hopefully we can all learn from each other.

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:36 am
by ROU Killing Time
ROU likes this thread but shall not presume to give advice just yet, as I am but an egg. ROU shall be watching this closely. ROU also promises to stop speaking about ROU in the 3rd person in future threads.

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:14 am
by moonowl
ROU is a cracked egg. :)

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:43 am
by ROU Killing Time
moonowl wrote:ROU is a cracked egg. :)
If you want to make an omelet...

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:47 am
by ROU Killing Time
As far as multiple uses of a sound on a single track, I've discovered you can easily highlight and and cut and paste. I've been using Generate Silence to make sure the track is long enough to have room to paste it in, then higlighting the silence and deleting out bits to position, then adding in silence to push it back til it's positioned the way I'm after. For any one segment of my cast I haven't had to use more than 3 tracks. One for the vocal, one for any music or ambience and a third for sound effects.

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:12 am
by dreamrock
I haven't had to do anything extremely complicated in Audacity in a long time.

That said, please do not be afraid of keeping your stuff in multiple tracks. You'll have a lot more flexibility in moving individual clips around. One thing to note is that there are a few different tools which are available but not necessarily obvious. I think the default tool is the multi-use tool. Where you select on a track determines what the tool does. Instead, I'd switch it to the select or to the move tool depending on what you need to do with it.

So, short answer to your question, put the effects you're talking about doing 10x in their own track. If they're being moved around individually, you'll want to paste them apart so you can move them to fit where they need to go more precisely.

Some points: save regularly and don't bother doing your mix down (what happens when you save a multitrack to mp3, ogg, or wav) until you have the editing done. It's not bad, but it ends up being a waste of time and disk space. Also, give your track one last listen on like an mp3 player or something at high volume and normal speed so you can see if there are any things you didn't notice before uploading it anywhere.

Lots of people try to remove breath sounds. Don't. Normal people breathe. If it seems too loud, consider a pop filter.

Something I do which may be a bad idea is I take pauses between my lines. Then I cut the extra silence out until it has the right natural cadence to it. I do this because otherwise I'll read too fast. Summary on that: when playing around with pauses, make sure they sound natural.

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:29 am
by Scattercat
A background in the theater can help with the pauses thing. (Or even just playing the Script Game, where you get a play and you and some friends do a dry-read around the table after dinner.)

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:07 am
by Phenopath
I have not yet found the correct context for this (Meta-Brain needed cheesey salesman not robotic overlord)...

http://supportpcs.co.uk/index.php?optio ... &Itemid=69" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:22 am
by ROU Killing Time
Phenopath wrote:I have not yet found the correct context for this (Meta-Brain needed cheesey salesman not robotic overlord)...

http://supportpcs.co.uk/index.php?optio ... &Itemid=69" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I've thought of a new contest. Who can do the best cheezy salesman voice version of Meta-Brain...

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:29 pm
by Wolfshade
swamp wrote:
Same question goes for if I want to break my narration into different parts and then merge them into a single track. Is this possible, or should I just create multiple tracks and then time shift them appropriately?
It is very advisable to break your story down into pieces that you line up in the end. Some crashes can happen from having too many sound files open, especially if harddrive space is low. You will learn all too painfully how often you save things. I find that somewhere around 10 minute chunks work well (using natural break points, not strict time points). The important thing is that the pieces go together seamlessly, so make sure each one gets modified in a consistent way (aim for a certain dB level for sound effects if you use them, make sure the narrator's volume is ending up in the same place). Save each chunk as a wav. Line up the wav files when you're doing the final mix, add your music here at the end, and then save that to an mp3 (if that is your sought format).

That's my advice, anyway.

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:40 am
by Scattercat
How does one minimize that background hum? No matter what I do to the gain, it's still there. Everyone else's sound so quiet...

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:59 am
by Phenopath
Scattercat wrote:How does one minimize that background hum? No matter what I do to the gain, it's still there. Everyone else's sound so quiet...
The noise reduction effect in Audacity is quite effective.

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:22 pm
by Phenopath
Oh, here is a good one.

Audacity won't start for no apparent reason (although the process is running in Task Manager). This may be due to the recording source having gone awol, try farting about in the Sound bit of the Windows control panel disabling recording devices and suchforth and you may sort it out... eventually.

Do I sound bitter?

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:32 am
by swamp
OK Here's a couple of things I have learned about Audacity lately:

1) I had problems with Audacity crashing when I tried to import an .flac or .aif file, but I found that using the Import Raw Data function allows it to be imported

2) If you are not promted to provide the ID tag information when Exporting as mp3, the file will take on the ID's of a previously exported file. Such as with my latest Dribble. I had previously made the "yeehaw" sfx as a separate mp3, and then later imported it into the main "Birthday" project. When I exported "Birthday" as an mp3, it didn't prompt me for the ID tags. I see now that it is up on the feed and in iTunes as "yeehaw" instead of "Birthday". Does anybody know how to prevent this?

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:57 am
by ROU Killing Time
Maybe try upgrading, I hadn't had audacity too long when my old computer went t's up, and when I got the new one it was up to version 1.3.12 (beta)

I'm much happier with the new version, buttons are place more logically, and it seems to work much better. also, I always get the prompts when exporting to MP3, when previously I had noted the problem you just outlined.

So, maybe upgrading your version might help?

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:02 pm
by swamp
Does anybody know how to strip the auido out of a Youtube video (or any video for that matter)? I am assuming it takes extra software.

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:10 pm
by dreamrock
swamp wrote:Does anybody know how to strip the auido out of a Youtube video (or any video for that matter)? I am assuming it takes extra software.
This is possibly not the best way, however, what I would do is use a website which will allow you to download the file and then use VLC to stream the audio from that file to a plain Wave file. I haven't done exactly that myself yet, so I can't offer any good advice there. If need be, I can try my hand at it and see what steps would be needed. Beware, though, we'd probably have to be using the exact same version of VLC on the exact same platform for the steps to match up. VLC changes its interface too frequently.

A simpler way would be to set the inputs for audacity to the lineout in software. The trouble with this method is that there's some sort of conspiracy* going on between the copyright consortiums and the makers of closed source operating systems. Even though it's still technically possible to do that, they've made it difficult for the average user to figure out how to do. Since that doesn't make for great quality audio, I haven't done it myself in a long time and couldn't really tell you the best way to go about it.

The best possible solution would be to get the original audio, though.


*Cite sources.

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:13 pm
by strawman
I do it quite easily with a free basic version of WavePad Sound Editor, available online from NCH Software. This also converts wav to mp3 files. Gives you a wide choice of bitrate recording levels for quality vs discspace.

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:59 pm
by Wolfshade
swamp wrote:
2) If you are not promted to provide the ID tag information when Exporting as mp3, the file will take on the ID's of a previously exported file. Such as with my latest Dribble. I had previously made the "yeehaw" sfx as a separate mp3, and then later imported it into the main "Birthday" project. When I exported "Birthday" as an mp3, it didn't prompt me for the ID tags. I see now that it is up on the feed and in iTunes as "yeehaw" instead of "Birthday". Does anybody know how to prevent this?
My experience has been that if you start making your sound file in audacity by opening a file that is already tagged with Audacity, it assumes the tags are meant to carry through. You can avoid this (I think) by starting from a fresh, empty project and importing the sound files you will incorporate one at a time. To be safe, you might even make sure the 1st thing you do in the project is record a few seconds of silence before importing your 1st file..I'd have to do a test to see if the tags from the 1st import are 'kept' or not. It's been a while since I used Audacity!

Re: Editing/Audacity Tips and Help

Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:02 pm
by Wolfshade
swamp wrote:Does anybody know how to strip the auido out of a Youtube video (or any video for that matter)? I am assuming it takes extra software.
There are youtube videos that show in detail how to do this. You might check out a few of them, as each one is geared toward a particular website.