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Tuesday
Apr102012

Audio Recording Made Complex, pt. 2

All audio book podcasts have squibs of music as intro's, and as trailers, and sometimes to be fancy, as scene breaks. I thought the hard part would be editing the music to the voice track.

No. That's quite easy in Audacity. I cheated by leaving a 10 second gap at the beginning of each episode, a five second gap after the book narration and before the closing statement, and then another 5 seconds for the closing music. The last bit turned out to be unnecessary since the voice track and the music track don't have to end in exactly the same place.

I thought it would difficult finding a music track to license. I googled "music, podcast, license" and stood back before I was trampled; there're lots. I ended up at royalty-free tv, which is UK-based, and has a nice search feature. After a slight hitch with Paypal and funny foreign currency, I had an mp3 file, quite reasonably.

Import the file into Audacity, where it auto-loads as a second track under the narrative. Then delete the bits you don't need, which turn out to be most of the track, and fade the music in and out so it doesn't overwhelm the voice.

For some reason, no one has any idea why, Audacity has no inbuilt ability to save files as mp3. It's odd, because that's its reason for existence, but the first thing you do is download and install the LAME encoder, which does. You only have to do this once. Now you can export your file as an mp3. I know I mentioned this in Part 1 of this post; this is why LAME is important.

Open iTunes and drag the file in. Right-click and open Info. Follow all the podiobooks directions on labeling the various bits. Drag the file out of iTunes and make sure the file name is correct for upload to podiobooks. iTunes adds the album track number to the front of the file. Before I discovered it was simply an add to the file name I spent 2 hours one evening trying to discover what I was doing wrong.

By now, if you've been keeping track, the file has been in and out of Audacity and a few other programs, each time with a slight change of name. The hardest part, as a novice, is remembering where you are in the process and what file you should be working with and then creating.

So here's a summary:

Record your voice in Audacity. (file.aup)

Edit it. (file.aup)

Export to Levelator. (file.aaip)

Import Levelator results (output.file.aaip) into Audacity.

Import mp3 music file, edit. Save in Audacity. (file.aup)

Export file as mp3.

Drop into iTunes, modify info.

Drag out of iTunes, correct file name. (PB-BookTitle-01.mp3)

It's a lot, but everything is free except the music license, and of course your time, effort and energy.

My first podcast went live on April 10. Today is April 18. I've had over 3500 downloads, which is very nice even remembering most people download all 20 episodes at once. The learning curve is steep but possible, and it is worth it.

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