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Research Guides@Tufts

Audio Recording Kit

small size equipment

Transferring media

4. Transferring Media

  • Remove the SD from the right side of the device by lifting the flap and pushing in on the card.
  • Connect the included card reader to a computer and insert the SD card, a drive will mount titled H5 Zoom.
  • Copy/paste ALL folders onto your personal device.

Once returned, the DDS Staff will erase the card and you will not be able to retrieve any forgotten audio files.

 

Media Management Tips

Media management encompasses the organization of media assets from research and writing through sharing and archiving.  Below are some best practices for keeping track of files as you work on your project.

 

Box

We recommend creating a shared Box folder to store all your digital assets.  You can share this folder with the members of your group and your professor and TA. iMovie files do not save on box without creating a zip file.  See the instructions below for how to backup your iMovie library.

 

External Hard Drive

You can also purchase an external hard drive drive to save files and move your project file around between computers.  For editing purposes, make sure you purchase a drive with 72000 RPM.

 

Organization

 

Staying organized is essential as you collect and create various assets for your project.  Organizing and naming all your files will help make collaborating smoother.  Above is an example of how you can stay organized during this process.

 

Backup

Always backup your media and project files in at least two locations!  It’s important to always back-up your media and project files in case your computer crashes or hard drive malfunction. All machines in the DDS are wiped weekly.

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Project Files vs Media Files

It can be very confusing understanding the differences between media files and project files and knowing what files you need to share with a project collaborator.
 
    • Project File - Project files are usually a small (kb or mb in size) file that saves information about how your organizing your audio in a timeline, transitions, effects, project settings and other editing parameters.
 
    • Media File - Media files are the raw materials you are creating your audio project with, e.g., field recordings, interviews, voice overs.  
 
When you select "Import" in most editing applications, your media files are linked to the project file.  The project files knows where your media files are saved and references them every time you open the project.  This is why media management is so important - if you move your media files midway through the editing process you may open your project to find that all your media is offline.  
 
To successfully share your editing project with a collaborator, they must have access to all the media files on their computer as well as the project file and even despite this it may require they manually show the application where these files are located on their machine.
 
Applications like Garageband will your duplicate media and wrap it inside the project file.  This takes up more space on your computer but when sharing your edit with a team member, you can simply share the project file and it will contain all the media files as well.  Other applications, like Audacity or Audition, require that share the profile file as well as additional folders and media files.

Project Timeline and Settings

Prior to editing, review all of your media.  Check the format, sample rate and bit depth of your media.  In applications that require you to set your project and timeline settings, ensure that these settings match the settings of your media.  If you aren't sure what these settings are, right-click on your media to get more information.  Some applications like Garageband, will automatically set your project settings for you.
 
  • Format, sample rate and bit depth - In most cases, your media will dictate your project and timeline settings.  The ideal settings are a wav file 4800Hz at 24 bit .  Settings lower than these can result in poor quality audio and files stored as mp3's are mored compressed and may have unwanted artifacts. 
 
  • Space - If you are using an robust editing application and working on an older machine, make sure you have enough space available on your machine to edit.  If not, either clear space on your computer or try working on a web based editing application.  If your internet connection is weak and unreliable, try downloading a free application listed above so you can edit confidently offline.  

Getting started in Audacity

Understanding the difference between the various files needed to create a podcast will help ensure your project runs smoothly during editing.

    • Project File - Project files are usually a small (kb or mb in size) file that saves information about how your organizing your audio in a timeline, transitions, effects, project settings and other editing parameters.  Audacity project files end with the extension ".aup3"
    • Media File - Media files are the raw materials you are creating your audio project with, e.g., field recordings, interviews, voice overs.  

When you add your media files into Audacity, your media files are linked to the project file.  The project files knows where your media files are saved and references them every time you open the project.  If you move your media files midway through the editing process you will likely open your project to find that all your media is offline.  

To successfully share your editing project with a teammate, they must have access to all the media files on their computer as well as the project file.  It will also require they manually show the application where these files are located on their machine.  

 

Applications like Garageband will your duplicate media and wrap it inside the project file.  This takes up more space on your computer but when sharing your edit with a team member, you can simply share the project file and it will contain all the media files as well.  

Images Directions
Open Audacity
Navigate to Audio Setup > Audio Settings and set your Project Sample rate to 48000Hz

Save your project by navigating to File > Save Project As.

Make sure to save your project file in a location you can easily locate.

Drag your media files into Audacity.  

 

Audacity Interface Overview

  1. Navigation tools: Pause, play, stop, skip to start, skip to end

  2. Tools

  3. Zoom tools

  4. Meters for measuring audio

  5. Track header: Mute, Solo, track volume, delete track

Image Instruction
Selection tool - allows you to select and move the audio file
Envelope tool - allows you to adjust the volume of the audio in a specific location
Zoom in and zoom out help you see waveforms or the project more clearly
Zoom in to selection and zoom to fit project help more quickly move you to specific views
Loop allows you to enable playing a selected section of audio on repeat

Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts
Shortcut Command
p Pause/play
Space bar Start from beginning
[ ]  Make a selection
Cmd + Z Undo

Types of tracks

Mono track - Mono tracks have only one signal sent to all speakers and are usually recorded with one microphone.

Stereo track - Stereo tracks have two signals with one signal sent to the left speaker and the other signal sent to the right speaker.  Usually stereo tracks are used with environmental recordings and music where having different sounds coming from the speakers enhances the experience of listening.

Label track - A label track allows you to add notes on specific sections of your audio file within Audacity, e.g. you could mark when someone starts talking about a particular theme or when there is audio that was recorded poorly.

Creating new tracks

Image Instruction
Navigate to Tracks > Add new.  Select the track you want to add.

 

Adding labels to a Label Track

Image Instruction
Using the Selection Tool, highlight the region of the track you wish to label.
Navigate to Edit>Labels>Add Label at Selection

 

Image Instructions
  Using the Selection Tool mark the place you want to make an edit or split 

Navigate to Edit > Audio Clips > Split.  This will separate the file into two distinct clips.

If you want to extend or shorten the clip, hover your mouse over the beginning or

end of the clip and wait for the cursor to turn into two arrows.

Then click and drag to extend or shorten.

 

Editing Techniques

Paying attention to your surroundings and monitoring the volume of your recording are important factors in creating an audio piece regardless of device or application.  Below are some techniques to consider when editing.
 
  • Transitions: Fades and cross dissolves are a great way to smoothly transition your listener from one clip to another.  For example, if you are cutting between two interviews recorded in different locations, adding a fade at the end and beginning of each clip can help blend disparate background room tone.

  • Room Tone:  Room tone is a recording of a location, e.g., the space where an interview is occurring, without dialog.  Recording at least 30 seconds of the space without dialog allows you to continue the presence of the space between edits in an interview without having the track drop to silence.

         

  • Layering: Sound effects or field recordings can help give your piece specificity and can orient your audience to their location in a particular space.  Adding audio with a range of textures and perspectives can help create depth, e.g. recording of a bee vs recording of the ambience of a field that includes distant birds, wind, leaves.
  • Montage: A montage is a sequence of clips that allows you to condense time and space by editing the clips in a relational way, e.g. a series of audio news clips about the same topic over time.  This can help tell your story in a format that supports advances your argument while providing a break from strict dialog.
Clean-up  -  Clean up any unnecessary blips or pops in your audio that your audience may find distracting.  Make sure you listen to your edit through speakers and headphone to catch any issues that may be accentuated through these different playback methods.
 
Feedback- Once you have an edit, don't hesitate to share it with your friends or family!  Sometimes people with the least context for a video can be the most helpful in spotting areas that are confusing, too quick or...a bit boring.  Even just being in the same room with someone listening to your piece can give you space to hear where you can make improvements.  

Strategies for creating structure

There are a number of strategies for organizing and structuring your podcast in the editing stage.  A few strategies you might consider are:

  • Transcribe files with major themes or word for word and include time stamps.  You can use a transcription application to help with this if you have a lot of files but don't skip listening to all your raw audio!  Once you have a transcript you can start editing on paper, scratching out sections that are redundant and even cutting/pasting elements into other sections.
  • Create notes or comments within the editing application.  Some editing applications like Audacity and Audition allow you to add comments onto audio tracks.  This can help with visualizing where content is located in an audio file.
  • Use a three act structure.  While it's not necessary to follow a three act structure, if you are struggling with finding a way to organize your material consider setting up the problem, sharing confrontations or obstacles and then ending with the resolution. 
  • Use music to help cue your audience that you are switching from one subject or segment to another.
  • Record narration to help connect a segment that is missing larger context.