Tuesday, 4 July 2017

2 Ways to Edit Faster in Audacity

Long form voice work such as audio books or e-learning modules can be a pain to edit, but if you employ either of these two editing techniques it will cut your editing time (and pain) down dramatically.

Method One: The Long Track

1. Start recording. (Why not ‘open Audacity’ or plug in your mic? Some things should be obvious by now.)
2. When you make a mistake, cough, the cat launches a hairball at your feet, or other factors occur that should not be included in the recording, make a loud, sharp noise. Clap your hands (if people start bowing you are clapping too long), snap your fingers, crack a whip, or slap your face. (Kicking the cat is not recommended.) This will insert a spike on the waveform.

3. Continue recording until you are ready to edit the file.
4. When you are editing you will see peaks everywhere you have a piece you want to cut. (The loud, sharp noise spikes.)
5. A quick way to select the bit you want to cut is to:
- find the start of the selection you want to remove (it’ll be just before the spike – you’ll want from the flub to the spike)
- click in the track at the start of the section you want to remove (this moves the editing point to that point)
- hover the cursor over the end of the section you are removing (just past the spike), but do not click there yet
- hold the ‘shift’ key
- press the ‘end’ key AND left mouse click simultaneously

You should have selected only the bit you want to cut out. (You did press ‘end’ and click the mouse while still holding ‘shift’, didn’t you? You did have your cursor floating over the spot just after the spike, right? You didn’t click on the spot just after the spike before doing the above, did you?)

Now you can zip through that long Audacity file and merrily rip out the unwanted chunks.

Method Two: Individual Rungs on a Ladder

1. Start recording. (Not this again.)
2. When something happens you don’t want to end up in the final product, stop recording.
3. Start recording again. Don’t start a new project, just hit record. A new track will be added below the one you were recording.
4. If something else happens you don’t want (early in the new recording), just hit the X to remove the track. Then hit record again to get a new track and carry on.

5. When it’s time to edit, hit the ‘solo’ button on the track you want to listen to / edit. That will mute all the other tracks.

6. Cut and paste the edited tracks together if you want one long file or cut and paste the individual tracks into separate files.

There you have it. Two ways to make editing in Audacity faster.
If you have any tips or tricks to share, please leave them in the comments below.

One side note: Your microphone (in the majority of cases) only records in mono, so you don’t need to be recording stereo tracks. To switch to mono recording, see the picture below.

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