Electronic Studio Resources I: Assignment 2 — Audio Editing
You should edit the speech so that each soundbite contains no more than 2-3 words.
At the same time, try to make the result as musical as you can. What could possibly be musical about people talking? Think about the rhythms and contours you create with their extracted words. Try to make sequences of words that are like musical phrases. Have some places where the audio clips run together smoothly to create a convincing sentence. Have other places that are choppy but timed in an interesting way. (Think about the mysteries of comic timing.)
Use multiple tracks to build a complex texture of spoken sounds.
You should try to come up with about 60 seconds of material. A shorter sequence is okay if the editing is very fast-paced.
Save frequently! Back up your work onto a cloud-based service like IU Box.
Let us know if you’re new to the Mac and need help handling files, disks, and so on. It’s sort of like Windows — but sort of not.
Be prepared to play your sequence in the next tutorial.
Audio tracks are either stereo (for 2-channel audio), mono, or multichannel (quad, 5.1, 7.1, etc.). The number of squiggles next to the track name tells you whether a track is mono (1 squiggle) or stereo (2 squiggles).
You can use stereo soundbites only in stereo audio tracks, and mono soundbites only in mono audio tracks. The files you use in this assignment are mono, so make sure you have severeal mono tracks.
If you need more tracks, create them by choosing Mono Audio Track from the Project > Add Track menu.
When you see the light blue rectangle, release the mouse button to drop the file into that track. Digital Performer won’t let you drag a stereo sound file into a mono track, or vice versa, and it won’t let you drag a sound file into a MIDI track.
Or, if you don’t have any audio tracks, just drag the sound file into the empty space below the list of tracks, which contains the input, output, trackname, and other columns. A new audio track will appear, with the dragged audio inside of it.
The imported audio file appears in the track as a new soundbite; the soundbite refers to the entire duration of the audio file you imported.
When you import sound files, Digital Performer automatically copies them into the Audio Files folder inside of your project folder.
In the Soundbites cell, you can click on a soundbite name to hear the soundbite.
CAUTION: If you double-click, instead of single-click, on a soundbite name in the Soundbites cell, then you’ll open the Waveform Editor, a destructive audio-editing environment. You don’t want to do anything destructive now, do you? Close that window before it’s too late.
A project folder contains a sequence file, as well as folders for sound files and other things. Because a project contains multiple files and folders, you need to be especially careful about backing up. Our recommendation is to keep everything relevant to the project inside your project folder, and copy this folder to and from your backup media as a single unit. In other words, don’t take items out of the project folder and copy them separately.
NOTE NOTE NOTE
You should run your project only from the local hard disk (in our case, the external drive behind the computer, which is attached directly to the computer). Do not run a project from a flash drive or a file server. Even though this may work some of the time, it’s too slow to be reliable, and you will certainly not be able to record reliably. You might hear audio drop-outs, or Digital Performer might complain about not being able to run all the audio effects you want.
To reduce the chance that Digital Performer will use a sound file on your USB drive, instead of one on the local hard disk, eject all other disks and servers before opening your sequence file.
The Sequence Editor shows all tracks, including Conductor and MIDI tracks, in one view. This is where you’ll do most of your soundbite editing.
You can hide and show tracks in the Sequence window by clicking on track names in the Track Selector, which you can show by choosing Track Selector from the Studio menu.
There are many ways to edit with soundbites, copying and moving them around, as well as creating new soundbites that have different dimensions.
Here are some of the more common editing techniques.
These let you choose a note value for a grid. When the grid is on (box next to note value is black), then dragging soundbites will be constrained to the increments of the note value. You can quickly toggle snapping on or off by holding down the Apple key when dragging.
CAUTION: Click in the waveform part of the soundbite, not on the name of the soundbite, when you have the option key down. If you option-click the name, DP lets you type a new name for the soundbite.
Now click and drag. This changes the start (or end) time of the soundbite, relative to the start of its sound file.
NOTE: When edge-editing, don’t drag the edge near the top of the soundbite, since that time-scales the soundbite instead.
By default, edge-editing affects the current soundbite and all instances of it in any track, as well as future instances. If you don’t want the soundbite you edge-edit to affect other instances, first click on it to select it, then issue the Audio > Duplicate command. This makes the soundbite you select unique — independent from other instances of it.
Choose Select Unused Soundbites from this menu, followed by Remove From List or Delete Soundbite (careful with that one). Try using the View By pop-up menu. Rename soundbites and sound files by option-clicking their names in the Soundbites cell.
You get rid of clicks by applying a volume envelope to a soundbite. Even a very quick, barely noticeable attack or release can suppress a click. The best way to create these envelopes is to use fades.
There is a graphical shortcut to using the Fade command: move the mouse over the edge of a soundbite, in the area just between the waveform display and the colored title bar. When you see the crossfade cursor, click and drag toward the middle of the soundbite to create a fade (or crossfade).
The soundbite stores the start time of the whistle, relative to the beginning of the sound file, and the duration of the whistle. (You can see the duration in the Soundbites window.) When Digital Performer plays this soundbite, it looks up the timing information in the soundbite, and then uses it to read just the specified portion of the sound file.
Here’s the important part: the soundbite does not contain a copy of the portion of the sound file. In other words, the soundbite does not contain audio samples copied from the sound file. It just contains two references — start time and end time — to the sample data in that file. This means that the soundbite doesn’t take up very much memory or disk space — nowhere near the amount used by the audio data. It also means that editing soundbites is very fast, because only the start-time and end-time references must change, not the actual audio data in the sound file. Soundbites are the cornerstone of Digital Performer’s non-destructive editing environment: they make it possible for you to cut and paste bits of audio without ever altering the original sound file.
NOTE: Soundbite is a Digital Performer term. The same thing is called a region in Pro Tools and a clip in some other programs.