So far in this current series of posts about Podcasting for E-Learning from the E-Learning Curve Blog, I’ve covered a lot of material, including:
- A Brief History of Audio in Education
- The Four ‘P’s’ of narration
- Introduction to Audio Production
- Digital Audio Basics
Now, it’s time to look in some depth at editing and producing podcast content.
As I discussed last time, non-linear editing applications are media editing tools which can randomly access the source material – and that’s it. You don’t have to edit audio in a beginning-middle-end sequence. You can also drop in new files, split audio, modify the volume (or amplitude), “top and tail” the recording, and add effects, before generating a rendered file which contains all of the modifications you made to your audio.
Non-linear editing enables the editor to access any frame in an audio clip. It can be viewed as the audio equivalent of word processing, which is why the process is often called desktop editing. Typically, audio is either recorded directly to a PC hard drive, or is imported from another source, in the same way as that text is either authored within the a word processor application, or a file is imported from another location.
In non-linear editing, the original source files are not lost or modified during editing. This means that you can easily make changes and cuts, experiment with the audio, and undo previous decisions secure in the knowledge that you are not interfering with the original – or master – files. Loss of quality is also avoided as you don’t have to repeatedly re-encode the audio when different effects are applied.
While there are many excellent commercial, free-to-use, and open source audio editing applications applications available, the editor I will talk about during this series is called Audacity.
Audacity is an open source, easy-to-use multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:
- Record live audio.
- Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
- Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
- Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
- Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
So, let’s download and install Audacity.
- Navigate to the Audacity download page and select the download for your operating system.
- Click on the appropriate link. This will take you to the SourceForge download page – don’t “save link as..” or “save target as..”.
- The SourceForge download should start automatically. If it does not, click the links in the black panel marked “direct link” or “mirror”. Only these links and the automatic download are authorized versions of Audacity. Disable any automatic download managers if the download is incorrect.
I also recommend that you download these optional files:
System Requirements: Windows-based Systems
The values in the “Recommended RAM/processor speed” column below are for tasks like recording for an hour, or editing three 20 minute tracks simultaneously. The values in the “Minimum RAM/processor speed” column will be fine for smaller/shorter tasks, especially if unused programs are closed.
|Windows version||Recommended RAM/processor speed||Minimum RAM/processor speed|
|Windows 98, ME||128 MB / 500 MHz||64 MB / 300 MHz|
|Windows 2000, XP||512 MB/1 GHz||128 MB/300 MHz|
|Windows Vista Home Basic||2 GB / 1 GHz||512 MB / 1 GHz|
|Windows Vista Home Premium/Business/Ultimate||4 GB / 2 GHz||1 GB / 1 GHz|
Audacity works best on computers meeting more than the minimum requirements in the table above. Where Audacity is to be used for lengthy multi-track projects, Audacity’s developers recommend using Windows 2000, XP or Vista running on machines of substantially higher specification than the minimum specs outlined above.
Installation instructions (MacOS 9 and OS X):
- Inside your Applications folder, create a folder called “Audacity”
- Double-click the downloaded .dmg to mount it
- Option-drag the whole of the .dmg contents (not the .dmg itself) into the “Audacity” folder you created
- Double-click Audacity.app inside the Applications folder to launch it
|Mac OS X version||Audacity Version||Recommended RAM/processor speed|
|Mac OS X 10.1||Audacity 1.2||64 MB / 300 MHz|
|Mac OS 9.0||Audacity 1.0||64 MB / 300 MHz|
Audacity’s developers recommend using the latest version of Linux/Unix from your distribution that is compatible with your hardware specifications. Audacity will run best with at least 64 MB RAM and a 300 MHz processor.
Installation packages for Audacity on GNU/Linux and other Unix-like systems are often provided by individual distributions:
- Alt Linux
- Fedora Core
- Fedora Project
- Mandriva i586
- Red Hat
- SuSE and packman (suse)
- Ubuntu: packages.ubuntu and rpm.seek
This list is not comprehensive. If you don’t see an up-to-date package for your distribution, search your distribution’s web site for the latest information. Alternatively, you can compile Audacity from source code.
New E-Learning Curve’s Other Podcast new episode release:
It’s the 70th anniversary of the first scheduled trans-Atlantic air passenger service, which opened in July 1939. Told against a backdrop of the momentous events of World War II, this podcast documentary tells the story of the town of Foynes on the River Shannon in Ireland, which served as the western European base for the majestic flying boats of Pan Am, Imperial Airways and other airlines in the Golden Age of Aviation.
From their proving flights in the late 1930’s through World War II and into the post-war period, Chief of Launch Operations at Foynes recalls his time working for Imperial Airways, and the effect of this glamorous mode of travel on a small Irish port. Even today, airplanes like the Catalina, the Short Empire class, and the majestic Boeing B-314 Clippers speak of a time now long gone.
Click on the link to celebrate the memory of the age, and the life and times of those who lived it.