Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Basic Audio. Notes from Power Point

Audio Basics
Recording, Editing, Uploading

Why should we care about good quality audio?
Audio is intimate, just you and the voice. One on one.
“Theater of the mind”, leaves room or imagination. Evocative.
Multi-tasking: listen while driving, cooking, taking a shower.
No one likes to cup their ear or crane their neck to HEAR….and let’s face it, we’re not getting any younger.

Basic Gear
You will need:
An digital audio recorder (Run from $100-$1000 depending on quality)
An SD memory card (Zooms require 2G or smaller - same as you’d use for digital camera)
A card reader (or cable to connect recorder to computer)
A computer: software: Audacity (and LAME)
Batteries (Zoom needs 2 AA)

Types of mics
Omni - gets sound in every direction
Uni - shotgun, pole mic, good for gang/crowd situations
Lavalier - tie clip
Internal - what we now use at BU.

Recording Basics
Get in close, a fist’s distance from the mouth of the person speaking.
Put mic slightly off to the side to avoid air implosions (popped P’s).
Monitor audio levels visually, and wear headphones. LOW LEVELS ARE BETTER THAN HIGH. HIGH = DISTORTION.
Keep your mouth silent. No “uh, huh”.
Remain steady, avoid mic “handling” and don’t relinquish mic to interviewee.

Getting Started with Audacity
Take SD card out, and put it into card reader (or connect directly to computer with cable)
Open Audacity
Top Bar: Project. Drop down: Import Audio
Find file (waltham demo or donohue)
Hit: Open

Audio Waves
Notice peaks and valleys. Try to cut in the valleys.
Space bar: stops and starts play
Toolbar: Magnifier. To Zoom in: Click on wav file. Zooms out: Shift/Click on wav file.
Toolbar: Selector (big I) selects sections to cut and paste. Select,cut, drag, paste or delete.
EDIT UNDO is your friend. Nothing is ever lost.

Selecting a soundbite
TOP BAR: Project: Drop down: New track
Get rough ins and outs (tai chi or kids)
Cut and LISTEN. Re-cut if necessary.
Select soundbite
Cut and paste soundbite to newly created track.
Mute/Solo Tracks
Get “clean” ins and outs

Other Features
Boosting volume of soundbite if levels are too low.
Matching volumes of various sounds recorded at different volumes
Cross fades to make seamless transitions between chunks of sound
Pacing, when to include ambience, how much for how long, de-umming, etc.

Exporting Audio
Select Cleaned up Soundbite Track (not rough cuts track)
Top Bar: File. Dropdown: Export Selection as mp3
Name file, save to desktop
From here you can move/upload/ftp to website, Soundslide, or Podcast.

Essentially an audio file on the web
Short sound clips, lectures, book readings, DJ copyright free music, audio tours of your favorite places, “Grape Radio” wine advice.
RSS - Really Simple Syndication allows you to “reach out” on a regular basis to your audience who can receive automatic downloads of your podcast to their ipods, computers or other devices.
Tags help web searches to find you.

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