How I Edit: Finishing Up

Posted 1 week, 6 days ago.

Ok, so far we’ve taken our recordings, cleaned them up, cut them up and managed to get something edited. Good job, everyone! High fives all around! We’re in the final stretch now.

The next bit is taking the audio from Logic Pro X (or your editor of choice) and getting something resembling an MP3 to release. In Logic, this is called bouncing, and even though you could just bounce an MP3 from Logic directly, I do just a little bit more work to make things just right.

Obviously, parts of this process will vary from editor to editor. I’ve not used a bunch of other editors, and really this is just my process. Your mileage may vary.

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How I Edit: Stitching Words

Posted 8 weeks, 4 days ago.

If audio editing is done right, you don’t even notice. You just think that’s how it sounded. This leads to people saying things like “I don’t even know why you spend so much time editing, it sounds fine as is”, which sounds harsh, but in reality is a huge compliment.

One of my favourite tricks falls directly in this area because, when done right, it sounds seamless. The trick is taking two parts of a sentence where the speaker repeats themselves a little, and stitching it together into one fluid statement.

A simple example of this occurs in the last post, where I said I’d never finished reading the Steve Jobs biography, but what this post will cover is the harder trick: stitching to parts of a word together into a single utterance.

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How I Edit: The Basics of Editing

Posted 8 weeks, 6 days ago.

In all honesty, I’m not great when it comes to speaking. I have a tendency to stumble over my words, start and then re-start sentences, and even completely forget words mid-sentence. My co-hosts are better in many respects, but even they have shortcomings: Russell pauses frequently between phrases, and Jake speaks slowly; often with long spaces between words.

My approach to editing is likely a lot more heavy-handed than some, but all I really attempt to do is to reduce these foibles, not so much that we all speak perfectly (despite the rumours, I’m not magic), but so that the dialogue sounds natural, is easy to follow, and is devoid of long, unnecessary silences (“dead air”).

The truth is, the better your recorded audio is, the less editing you’ll need to achieve this sort of result. You can train yourself to speak better and more fluently, but this process will help cover it up when you don’t.

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How I Edit: Pre-Processing the Audio

Posted 10 weeks, 1 day ago.

The best way to get clean audio is to do everything you can to improve the basic recording: don’t record in a room where echo is present, close the doors so you don’t get noise from outside, and ensure that you use something other than the mic built into your monitor or laptop.

But even then, there is noise that can make it onto the recording. For a long time I used a Macbook Pro that had begun showing it’s age by revving up the fans as it tried to stay cool during a recording. Depending on the weather, you might have noise from an air conditioner. You might even just have low-end equipment which presents some noise in the background.

All of this will make editing difficult, and in some cases can be distracting or annoying, so you’ll want to get rid of it.

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How I Edit

Posted 10 weeks, 1 day ago.

Up until about Tuesday this past week, I had an episode ready to launch as Topical’s first (or its first legitimate episode, anyway). This changed pretty soon after the Apple event that occurred on the 9th, as Rusty had some feels to get out.

This lead to recording an episode, and as I was otherwise occupied for the remainder of the week, handing over the editing reins to Russell. He had never edited audio before, but I gave him the best start I could and left him to it. The result? A Friday where we each took turns making improvements to his original edit and prepping it as quickly as we could so we could get it out there on-time, or as close to as was possible.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to somewhat document my editing process in a series of blog posts. These are mainly for his sake, but also because there are a lot of potential podcasters out there who would like to know how this process takes place. While I am by no means an expert in audio editing, I pride myself in the quality I put out, and maybe this will help others improve theirs.

I’ll be writing and publishing these over the next few weeks and linking to them from here. I hope you enjoy the read, and maybe learn something. If you think I’m doing something wrong, please let me know; I’m always up for learning a better way of handling this stuff. God knows I could do it better.

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