Once I move to the editing part, this is more of a routine for me, although the majority of it is still fun and creative. First I get the mundane stuff out of the way. I run the raw file through CEP to do two tasks only at this point; first I'll take one of the long pauses from the recording and use it to create a noise reduction profile, and then use that on the entire recording, which will eliminate most of the background noise that will still filter in no matter what you do. Then I normalize the entire recording; which brings all of the vocals into the same sound range; everything sounds like it’s at a steady volume and you can’t hear the points where I turned away from the microphone or pulled back.

Now for Audacity. I'm sure there are people that will tell me that CEP can do all the things that I use Audacity for, but I'm more comfortable with the interface for some tasks, so this is what I use. Here I'll open two tracks, the raw vocals and the background music. And this is the mundane boring part of the editing; first I go through and pull out all the long gaps and flubbed lines. Then I go through and silence all of the gasps for breath  This is when I also think about how I'm going to edit the background music; is there an intro I need to lose, and after I've pulled the flubs from the vocals, is the background track long enough, and do I need to add another chorus or whatever. I'll edit the background track till it's at least 10 seconds longer then what my vocals run. Simple explanation; once I set the vocals to the timing I like, add the effects and whatever, then the music should be just long enough to fade it out after I do the final tag line. Then I save the remixed backing track and the new edit on the vocals as separate wavs.Back to CEP; I now go through and add chorus and echo. I try not to go too nuts with this; I'm only wanting to add a punch to certain lines, or make a line sound like a conspiratal offscreen whisper. After that's done, I normalize it again, and that’s the drudgery done.

Now to the fun part of the editing for me, the sound effects and timing.Now this is tricky, and I may not have it completely mastered yet. I don't use sound effects to cover dead air, and I don't like to use sound effects to cover up lulls. I use sound effects because I want the listener, and myself, to be able to close their eyes while listening  to this and suddenly hear a sound byte or noise that emphasizes my joke, or expands it and adds another joke; the right sound can make the humor that much more funny; see a movie like the Naked Gun or Beetlejuice; a good honk at the right spot can add just a bit of spice. And some of the effects I hear in my mind do not exist. I may want to use a quote from a movie that is popular enough that most people know it as soon as they hear it, or I may want something specific to enhance that mental image I have. This comes down to pulling audio from YouTube, video or audio interviews, combining effects, adding echo or tempo changes, etc. Believe it or not, and some folks may have picked up on it, there are some small sound bytes where it may be Elvis or The Grimace saying something I want to use, and I'm actually the one that did the vocals, changed the tempo and threw in an effect or two just because I wanted it there. But one rule I do use; if it takes you more then 8-10 minutes to put together or find an effect you want; skip it.

At this point, you’re turning it into work, and you're losing that quick and punchy feeling, which will affect other parts later in the story and how you look at them, cause you may be burning yourself out. Also, 2 tips I use religiously; every few minutes listen to the track from start to last edit with the background music and make sure the flow is still there, and SAVE SAVE SAVE! One good power flux will not only kill hours of work, but also kill your enthusiasm to work on the project. The effects and all, editing wise, can last between 1-2 hours, depending on material length. I use audacity for this entire part of the process; I'm more comfortable with the commands for on the fly editing, cut and paste, etc. After all of that, you're almost there. I run the entire vocal with effects through CEP, normalize again, and at this point add whatever compression I want to use, usually the high radiogate setting. It just sounds nice to me; experiment and find what works best for you. Then Audactity again; put the music together with the vocals, make sure the levels are where I want them, and fade the whole thing out at the right time. Then CEP again, one last normalize, then save it to both Mono and Stereo MP3. If I have time I’ll send it out as a preview for feedback in case there’s something I need to fix or doesn't mesh well, but at this point I'm pretty much done.

All that’s left is a title, if I haven't already come up with it, the written short desc, and whatever I want in the postings about it, and it's done.

I hope people find this helpful. I may edit or add stuff to it from time to time, and feel free to email with any questions I may have left off you'd like to know about.

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Last updated February 14th, 2009 23:33