Digital Audio & Video Editing

Posted on July 23, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

There are two main distinctions between editing digital audio and video and analog audio and video (you know, magnetic reel-to-reel tape and celluloid film).

The digital editing process is:

1. Nondestructive
2. Nonlinear

Editing both audio and video comprises a sequence of decisions that will produce an infinite number of unique variations that vary according to the author’s voice.

There are three discrete parts in the post-production process:


Source files/clips are imported to a storyboard or tracklist.


Then, a rough cut is assembled via cutting out unnecessary data and arranging the clips according to a storyboard or script. Next, we apply transitions and effects to the rough cut, reflecting our tone and/or style.


Once we have finalized the piece, we prepare it for sharing, i.e., distribution and/or archiving at places like and

First, we’ll loosely follow along with this audio tutorial shared by Mindy McAdams on her amazing blog Teaching Online Journalism, which has been posted to the blogroll.

Then, we’ll work with your video clips in Windows MediaMaker, according to instructions shared in Journalism 2.0, a resource made possible by the Knight Citizen News Network that no online journalist should be without—and that some enterprising Arabic speaker should translate to share the wealth.

Below I’ve transcribed the audio of the photoessay we saw on Monday, Continuous War: Cluster Bombs in South Lebanon, to give you an idea of how many words (267) fill 1 minute and 44 seconds of airtime.

Rasha Zayoun is a 17-year-old teenager from Maraka, south Lebanon, who lost her leg to a cluster bomb. One that was tangled in a bush of wild vine and unwittingly brought home by her father. As Rasha started sorting through the herbs, she was attracted by a bell-shaped object. She thought it was a toy. She picked it up. It vibrated. She dropped it. It exploded. Rasha still has nightmares about the incident but she puts on a brave face. Inside she’s very upset. She wants to be with her friends, to walk, to go to school, to see the world. But she’s ashamed of her leg, so she stays home. The young boy she’s in love with stayed by her side and that made her love him more. More than the whole world, she says. Rasha feels that everybody is more concerned with how she lost her leg than they are about her. From when she was young, Rasha always wanted to be a dressmaker. Without the limb, for her, that would be difficult. The limb is her ticket to independence. To not feeling ashamed. To not feeling different. She’s scared of the future. Of being able to get a limb. So many thoughts run through her mind. What if the limb costs money? They have no money. That would be totally crushing. I might as well die, she says. In the future, when Rasha has children, and she hopes she will, she won’t let them out of her sight. She’ll keep them close to her, to try and protect them from a fate like hers.

Finally, anyone who wants to know more about producing and writing for audio, should visit Transom.


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