Editing Adham with Audacity

Posted on July 22, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Adham Najdi

Adham Najdi

Adham Najdi is a young Lebanese man who was severely injured by a cluster bomb that exploded near his grandfather’s house in Srifa, Lebanon, after the July War of 2006. I interviewed Adham on several occasions. The sample audio file we’ll use comes from one of these interview. I edited Adham’s interview down to about 1:44 and saved it at three different bit speeds so that we can evaluate the trade-off between sound quality and download speed. Here are the steps I took to edit this piece with Audacity 1.3 on a Mac. I’ve also listed steps of how to do it on 1.2.6 for Windows. The photo is of Adham and was taken by Gabriela Bulisova.

  1. Project–>Import Audio, located the adham-short.wav file
  2. File–> Save Project As…
  3. Click on: Copy All Audio Into Project (safer)
  4. Click on magnifying glass, then next to track beginning to enlarge waveform.
  5. Select all, and duplicate track in case anything goes wrong. Mute and minimize original track. Adjust gain to +15dB.
  6. Insert cursor at about 2:51, “What were you studying in school?” Edit–>Select…”start to cursor.” When the selection is highlighted, Ctrl+X.
  7. Save
  8. Edit–>Move cursor to track start.
  9. Zoom in with the magnifying glass to see the shape of the waveform. If you zoom in too far, hold the CTRL key down to zoom out.
  10. Tap the space bar to play and pause and play again.
  11. Where you hear an “uhhhhhhhh,” select that area and zoom in. (Use edit–>Select…move cursor to end of selection to try something new.)
  12. Play again, noting precise times and where to cut.
  13. Use hand selector tool to refine your selection.
  14. Cut the section between about 6 seconds and 22 seconds.
  15. Start again around, “Why were you studying that?”
  16. Cut from about 10.8 to 14.8.
  17. Edit–>Split New 44.837 to 53.46. Save.
  18. Select Tariq’s “umm” response with shift+arrow key. Cut.
  19. Zoom all the way into 1:53:827 “ghalaT” to get the last bit of the T. Insert cursor.
  20. Edit–>Select to end. And cut.
  21. Select the last region and Edit–>Split New.
  22. Delete unnecessary tracks.
  23. Select a bit of the end of the first track. Go to the Effects menu and choose Fade Out.
  24. Fit in window to get a sense of where we are.
  25. Zoom in again.
  26. Select timeshift tool. <–>
  27. Move second half of track to where the first half will overlap it a bit. Select a bit of the initial audio. Go to the effects menu and choose Fade In.
  28. Go to the Effects menu and select Fade In. Repeat if it’s not sounding quite right.
  29. We need to even the volume out a bit. But first let’s condense the two tracks into one. Select them both by shift+click. Then go to Tracks–>Mix and Render.
  30. Select the volume envelope tool. Create and drag points to adjust the volume where necessary.
  31. Listen to the whole track and make sure you like it.
  32. Save. Go to File–>Export to MP3. Set your streaming speed by clicking on Options. Save several times to compare the quality of different bit rates. That’s it!
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