Field Guides to Food


Editing for content and erratic noise
When you open your recording in Audacity, your file will appear either as one track (mono) or two (stereo). If you've got two tracks, it's important to make the same edits to both in order to keep the tracks in sync. Cuts can be made easily by selected the undesired portion, and executing the "cut" function (command + x). You can also paste sections of your recording with the "paste" function (command + v).

If you notice a sudden spike in volume, or if you need to dampen a noise that's not part of your interview, you can select the noise and use the "amplify" function in the "effect" menu located on the menu bar. Also use this function to raise the volume on any particularly quiet part of the interview.

Normalize to 1 DB and set DC offset to 0
Once you've listened through the entire recording and set volume levels by ear, you should make sure the recording's overall volume level matches the volume of other episodes in the podcast series. You can do this by executing the "normalize" function in the "effect" menu. A dialogue box will ask you to set a new max volume, which you should set to 1 DB. Also set the DC offset to 0 in this menu.

Remove white noise
In every recording, a small amount of steady "white noise" is likely produced from a number of sources in the room (a good deal of this comes from the electric current in the mic, itself, and cannot be avoided). Removal of this noise can be accomplished with the "noise removal" function in the "effect" menu.

First, select 3-4 seconds of the recording that contains only white noise. Then execute the "noise removal" function and click "Get Noise Profile" in the dialogue box. This tells Audacity specifically which sounds you'd like to remove from the whole track.

Next, select a few seconds of spoken content and execute the "noise removal" function again. In the same dialogue box, you'll notice 4 sliders designed to help you further specify the distinction between white noise and spoken content. Make small changes to these, beginning from a middle setting on each and clicking "preview" to listen to the effect. There's no magic setting for every recording, so be careful: if you're too aggressive, your voices will begin to distort and warble (imagine a very low quality mp3 from the early days of Napster).

Once you've found a good setting, close the dialogue box without making any changes. Select the entire recording and run "noise removal" again with the settings you've found. This time, click OK to apply noise removal to the entire track.

Export the track

Execute the "export" function from the "file" menu. You may use the default format, which is usually WAV.

Record an introduction
In a new Audacity file, record a track in which you introduce the interviewee and some of the content of your discussion. This should only take 20-30 seconds, but should give the audience a preview of the interview to come.

Apply the same edits you applied to the interview track, and export this file as well.

Mix tracks in Garage Band
Open the "FoodWords Base" template in Garage Band. This file already contains a few tracks: intro music, interstitial music, exit music, and a standard introduction to the podcast. You can simply drag your two tracks and drop them into place between tracks in the template. Then, use "save as" to save your episode under a unique file name.

DO NOT change the volume of the existing tracks in the template. Instead, raise or lower the volume on your tracks to match the existing levels.

Of course, you'll have to move the exit music track so that it fades in at the end of your interview. Try to time this so that the music begins while you're speaking, rather than in the middle of your interviewee's last point (alternatively, it would sound like you were "cutting off" your interviewee with a musical cue).

Finally export your completed project as an MP3. Execute the "Export Song to Disk" command in the "Share" menu located on the menu bar.

Add meta-data and album art

The last step before uploading a finished project involves adding meta-data, which are saved as ID3 tags. To do this, open your MP3 with the program Kid3.

In Kid3, you'll notice several fields available for editing. Make the following changes:

Save your file one last time.

This page has paths: