For this assignment I was tasked with editing the rough audio portrait I completed for the last blog post. To do this, I used the free audio editing program Audacity. I edited out about three minutes of content, erased troublesome background noise, and rearranged some of the dialogue to give the story better cohesion. The edited interview can be heard below.
I had a lot of fun editing this interview. I had expected cutting and rearranging audio to be much more difficult than it proved to be. With the silences already in place, it wasn’t actually that difficult to cut out a phrase here or there and still leave the piece sounding natural. I’d even like to work more with it.
I was surprised at how much my recording device picked up. Even the silences are far from actually being silent – there is a constant kind of ground noise that just seems natural to the air. I had unplugged anything that was making noise, and at least to me the room sounded silent, but if I “generated” silence in Audacity it sounded unnaturally quiet.
I appreciate the work that goes into this kind of medium a lot more now. Even if I found editing to be easier than I thought it was going to be, it still took hours and it was disappointing that snaps or crackles from either me or my subject fidgeting ruined pieces of audio for the final piece. Some of that I could cut around, and I figured out that I could make almost all of it sound better, but other noises seemed buried with the voice and I couldn’t isolate them.
What I especially enjoyed was being able to create a sense of organization with the parts of the interview that I chose to include. Though the interview itself did not exactly flow perfectly from subject to subject as we spoke, once I was in Audacity I could move things around and transition from subject to subject more naturally. It helped that I needed to cut out so much anyway, so parts of the interview that didn’t fit could be cut without penalty.
If I could do it again I would attempt to fix the issues I ran into by getting a clearer interview and by working harder to avoid distracting noise while we were talking. You can do a lot with an editing program like Audacity, but you can’t fix everything. I grew comfortable with the program itself quickly though, and didn’t struggle – partially thanks to advice from past students and my instructor.
Thanks for reading,
Joshua C. Geiger