Podcast Editing with Audacity

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The following post, although primarily about podcasting, can be applied to any voice recording that may be done by educationalists – such as….,

  • verbal guidance for an assignment to support those with reading difficulties
  • verbal feedback for submitted work
  • to accompany a presentation (for homework, absent students or snow days!)

 

Audacity is a great free piece of audio editing software and can be found here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ . You will also need the LAME MP3 Encoder (look around the site under “optional downloads”. There are loads of tutorials for Audacity on the web, and it is surprisingly easy to get to grips with (even if the interface is a little bland). This is not a definitive recommendation, but it is based upon a range of webpages, YouTube videos and Podcast recommendations (a number of them conflict). Most do say their is no right order or guidance on what to include/exclude. You are encouraged to experiment and choose the best options that YOU think makes you sound best.

 

  1. Bring in your recording
  2. Remove noise (if you can detect small waveform “bumps” when you have been quite)
    • Select up to 5 seconds of white noise (quite time). Its a good recomentdation to record a 5 second sample of white noise at the start or end of your recording in advance!
    • Select the NOISE REMOVAL effect and select the button for step 1
    • Select all your track and reselect NOISE REMOVAL effect and select OK for step 2
  3. Apply the LEVELLER effect to even out high and low points in your audio
  4. Trim out unwanted audio, you might want to generate (not an effect) SILENCE over an area you don’t like rather than remove and shorten audio.
  5. Bring in Intro & Exit clips
  6. Move clips left or right by using the TIME SHIFT TOOL <–> (see the red highlighted box in the image above)
    • use CTRL and scroll wheel to resize audio quickly
    • you can grab the bottom of each audio track, and drag up to reduce height of each track.
  7. Fade in and out your Intro and Exit clips as necessary
  8. Adjust the gain for each track so that they are ideal volumes with each other track (you don’t want you intro over-shadowing your voice) by adjusting the small – + slider to the far left of each track.
    • Double clicking the slider will bring up a larger floating dialog box for precision settings
  9. Apply the COMPRESSOR effect (this will make your voice richer, whilst reducing peaks)
    • Threshold: 12-20, recommended 14
    • Ratio: 2:1
  10. Apply the NORMALIZE effect (This will set it to a baseline point, effectively reducing loud tracks/clips and increasing quieter tracks/clips)
  11. Finally export you file – name your file appropriately, this will be picked up as metadata by a number of systems to help searches, such as YouTube.
    • Artist Name:  Andy Crissell
    • Track Title: Introductory Podcast
    • Album Title: The TechLec Podcast
    • Track: 0 (set 0 for that initial podcast where you are setting up the rest of your podcasts)
    • Year: 2015
    • Genre: Podcast (you will need to type this in)
    • Comments: Introductory podcast with your host Andy Crissell
  12. Optional: Save as a .WAV file. This is because the LAME MP3 Encoder is more suited to music. There is a method to utilise iTunes MP3 encoder to produce a better job – see Further Reading #2 below or #5 (unchecked at time of post)

So why the order I have up above?

  1. NOISE REMOVAL : I would think that noise removal is easier in a “clean” state and not from audio that has been made more complex from effects
  2. SILENCE: There is bound to be an “um” and an “er” in there somewhere!
  3. LEVELLER: the same reason as noise removal
  4. COMPRESSOR: enrich the audio
  5. NORMALISE: Ready for output (at least if it comes out too loud or too quite I have some baseline to work with

Final thought: Changing TEMPO (under effects) may well alleviate the speed I talk, slowing down by -10 to -15%

Further Reading:

  1. http://theaudacitytopodcast.com/tap060-how-to-record-and-edit-a-podcast-with-audacity/
  2. http://theaudacitytopodcast.com/tap010-audacity-and-itunes%E2%80%94making-not-lame-mp3s/
  3. http://www.lockergnome.com/media/2012/04/19/how-to-make-vocal-audio-sound-better-in-audacity/
  4. http://www.steeple.org.uk/wiki/Simple_guide_to_editing_in_Audacity
  5. http://www.steeple.org.uk/wiki/Encoding_mp3_with_iTunes

 

Andy

 

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2 comments on “Podcast Editing with Audacity

    • A pleasure. Think I worked through all your podcasts in about four days! I recommend people subscribe to it. There are some real gems of wisdom. Keep up the great work!

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