Audacity – my audio editing program & editing process

Hello my name is Darrell Hyatt I’d like to welcome you to the computers with these podcast. I often get asked what software do I use when editing my audio files for my podcasts, as well as what do I do to the audio files them self to make them sound better.

For my podcast I use a free program called audacity to edit my audio files. The program is available for both Windows and Macintosh, and the program works very well in either platform. In terms of what do I do to edit and clean up the audio files themselves.

The first thing that I do once I load the file into audacity is to do a noise reduction which is listed under effects in audacity. One of the things I would recommend when doing audio editing is not to be editing the original audio file, just in case you have to go back to the original for some reason.

You don’t like the edited format you have the option of going back to the original, when using audacity there is a setting that will tell audacity to load a copy of the file rather than the original and this is definitely something that I use. Once you set it you don’t have to worry about it again and will be editing a copy of your file.

As I said earlier I generally do a noise reduction first just to get rid of any background noise that’s in the audio file before I start the actual manipulation of the file one of the first things I look for is any unusual noises that are in the file such as clicks that you may get when you first start recording anything like that that is in there I go ahead and remove.

I also look for breath sounds where I’ve taken a breath as well as any of my uhm’s or oh’s as I’ve been speaking. I also look for lengthy pauses anything obvious like that that I may want to remove, so I will go through the entire file and just delete out any of those obvious things first and you can do this by selecting the area that you want to remove with your mouse, it will be highlighted in audacity and then you can simply press the delete key it will bring up a confirmation and then you can press enter to say yes and each of those will be removed for you.

Then I go ahead and do a more in-depth listen to the audio file and cleanup anything that’s left if I have said the same word twice one after the other all go in and remove the extra word that I don’t want. Then I’ll go ahead and look through it, listen to it and make any other changes that I want to allow myself the cleanest best sounding audio that I can get.

This does take practice and it does take some time to get used to doing it but the more you do the better you will get.

I hope these tips have been helpful, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at darrell@computerswithease.com Thank you very much.

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Recording audio – what I use

Hello my name is Darrell Hyatt I would like to welcome you to the computers with ease podcast. On today’s episode I was going to discussed the idea of recording your audio when doing videos as well as podcasts such as this one.

As with video there is also a large number of options when it comes to recording the audio, and I had originally started with just the audio from my camcorder and I was standing about 5 to 6 feet away from the camera and initially I thought this was fine.

But as time went on I began to see how unusable the audio was and at that point I began to explore other options for recording the audio for my videos, and I originally went with an external microphone mounted on my camcorder. This appeared to work reasonably well in the beginning but again as my skill level improved and my needs advanced, I found this was not suitable because it required a lot more time in postproduction to edit out the unwanted noise that the microphone was capturing because of the distance between myself and the camera.

So after some research I head looked at the possibility of recording the video using my camcorder and then recording the audio using a separate recorder and microphone that I simply had on my lap and wore a Lavaliere or clip-on microphone.

I now have a Zoom H4n recorder with a rode LAV plus Lavaliere mic that I use not only for recording my video but I’m also using it for recording the podcast that your hearing now and this method with these pieces of equipment seems to be working extremely well for both purposes.

I know that the additional equipment is somewhat more expensive but in the long run it’s worked out very well for me, because it has cut down on the amount of time that I’m spending in the editing process for both my podcast and my videos.

It’s allowed me to be a lot more creative and generate a lot more content for you the listeners and for me it has definitely been a worthwhile investment and one that I will continue to use for a long time to come.

Let me know what audio challenges you are having as well as how your recording your audio for your videos and or podcasts. I look forward to hearing from you, feel free to visit my website which is www..computerswithease.com you can also email me at darrell@computerswitheasr.com Thank you very much.

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My video tips – lessons learned by doing

Hello and welcome to the computers with ease podcast. I wanted to talk about recording video and some of the ideas and concepts that I found helpful in doing this over the last several years. When I first started it was a matter of I set up the camera and away I went and recorded everything and then looked at it later and went darn I wish I had changed some things, fixed some things.

In the first few videos that I did I had actually the cut off my head at one point and had tended to move around a little more than I should have and that made the video itself difficult to watch as well as hard to edit.

As I got better some of the things that I’ve learned are when you set up the camera no matter which camera are you using, find yourself a good simple background and what I mean by this is say stand or sit in front of a evenly coloured wall with out light switches or anything of that nature in view of your camera.

You want to be sitting or standing somewhere that your comfortable with just to avoid number one being uncomfortable or having people walking in front of you things of that nature. One of the other things that you want to be aware of is make sure that when your setting up your camera you’ve got enough room above your head so that you not going to cut your head off in the shot.

Try not to move around too much with your hands etc. it’s wonderful to be excited and happy about what you doing and enthusiastic, but try not to jump around per se. Stay within the boundaries of what’s within the range of your camera.

Another tip is be prepared to do more than one recording look at them later and choose the best one. Stand or sit as close to your camera as you can well still getting in what you want within the shot particularly if you’re looking for something more then a talking head. Say a shoulders up perspective or even waist up depending on what your trying to achieve you want to as I said also stand or sit as close to the camera as you can to also get the best audio for the recording you can.

I always like to try and do more than one recording just because I usually make a mistake somewhere during the recording and rather then start the whole thing over again I just carry on and I will edit out the mistakes later on, because once you are in the flow of recording carry on and deal with whatever happens unless it’s the catastrophic mistake where you have to start over again.

The key here is practice and keep doing it, you will get better you will have times where you go darn that didn’t go the way I had wanted it to and we all have those and I think of them as learning experiences and try and do better next time. I hope these tips have been helpful.

If you have any questions or anything you would like to see on this podcast please feel free to email me at darrell@computerswiththese.com thank you very much.

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Look Back – start and move forward

Welcome to the computers with ease podcast. One of my favourite things to do is work on audio and video projects, I’ve been doing it for several years now and I wanted to look back at where I had started and give some of my favourite tips as it were.

As I look back on what was important when I started and what I know now, one of the first things I remember is being so afraid of recording either audio or video and not sure what it was going to look like or sound like. Looking back I wish I had just started and done what was in my head at that particular moment.

It doesn’t really matter what equipment you use and to a certain degree the result isn’t as important as the doing. I always thought that I had to have the best equipment possible and I remember reading as much as I could about things such as lighting setups, what equipment we needed, how long the video should be.

Looking at other people’s top 5 top 10 tips and thinking how in the world am I going to remember all of this and just being somewhat overwhelmed and therefore scared to start so it took me quite a while to finally get to the point where I would put a project together record an  audio whatever it was.

Now I have all the tools that I need it’s taken me several years to get to this point, I now have a process that works for me and I want to tell people to get started use whatever you have whether it’s your iPad your phone, your photographic camera for video whatever it is go ahead and use it and create because what I found was the more I did the better the results were and the more that I do the more comfortable I get sitting here as I am now recording this podcast for you.

The more that you do the more ideas that you have, and once you get started everything else will happen and flow and yes as you do more you will want to upgrade your equipment. You will want to change and you will certainly have questions all those things are fine just be willing to keep going.

One of  the other things that I want to make sure that I say is don’t be too hard on yourself, no matter how the project turns out what you think of it give yourself a break and look at it as objectively as you can. It’s not as bad as you think no matter how bad you think it is it’s not that bad. Give yourself credit for doing it and keep doing it.

One of the things that I’ve found is as I have an idea go ahead and do it set up your equipment and do it while you’re thinking about it, you can always work on it later edit it for example whatever as long as you have done it. I found that if I didn’t sit down and do it at the time I was thinking about it, it would get forgotten or never done because other stuff would come up and it never happened so now I tend to when I have an idea I go ahead and do it. If I can’t get to it to edit it or complete it I store it away and will go back to it.

I hope these thoughts and tips have been helpful, if you have any questions please feel free to email me at darrell@computerswithease.com Thank you very much.

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Dragon Professional Individual – a user perspective

Welcome to the computers with ease podcast. I’m going to talk about one of the programs that I use on a daily basis and that’s Dragon Naturally Speaking, their latest version has been out for a little while now it’s the Dragon professional individual.

This would be if we were counting versions this would be version 14, I have been a Dragon NaturallySpeaking user since version 4. Now that I’ve used the program for several weeks I have found that there are several enhancements that I like a great deal.

The first thing that I noticed him when I installed this version was the fact that it took my previous user file and adapted it to the new formats for the program as did version 13 however I found this version worked incredibly well.

One of the other enhancements that I really like is the fact you have the option to say “what can I say” and it will give you a list of the different categories and then if you speak the category such as navigation or correction it will give you a list of the commands that you can say.

I like this better than having the help system open up in a separate window which was part of what earlier versions had, I found having the separate window opened distracting and it took up valuable screen real estate.

One of the difficulties I have had with Dragon for several versions was the fact that I had trouble saying commands such as menu items for example if I wanted to open the file menu in word I had difficulty doing that, and so I ended up opening file menus and so on using my mouse which I found was distracting in terms of my thought process.

I had to actually stop my thought and go ahead and open menu or click on an item and then get back to my thought process, with this new version of the program I find it that this is greatly been enhanced it works much better for me in particular and  so I find it a great enhancement.

One of the things that I would still recommend is doing additional training even though the program is very good out of the box, I would still recommend doing an additional training just to increase the efficiency of the program and the recognition factor.

I have done one additional training with this new version and my recognition has gone from about 90 to 95%. I’m also able to speak much faster and the program will keep up with me and the text will appear on the screen almost instantaneously.

So over all I would highly recommend for people who have used Dragon and are considering doing an upgrade this would certainly be an upgrade to consider, for anyone who is new to speech recognition and wondering if it’s something that would be useful my recommendation would be give it a try.

You will find yourself far more productive than you ever thought possible. I now use Dragon for all my creative processes when it comes to having to write something I automatically now  start Dragon and do it that way because that is so much faster for me.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at darrell@computerswiththese.com. Please also feel free to sign up for my subscriber list and I will keep you posted on new items that will be of interest to you thank you very much.

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Welcome to 2016

Hello and welcome to the computers with ease podcast, welcome to 2016. I hope this will be a wonderful year for everyone, I personally am glad to see 2015 disappear although I know it could’ve been much worse it was not one of the more memorable years for me.

This leads me to a question what would you like to see happen for you in 2016? I know for myself I have many things planned for my business as well as some interesting things I would like to do personally.

One of the things that I want to do in terms of my business is connect with more of you I want to be more available for you questions and I want to help you with your most frustrating and troublesome tech questions.

I also want to be able to produce podcasts and videos on a regular basis that are of interest to everyone and I look forward to learning more about the technology that we all use and find new ways to use it.

I hope that the start of 2016 has been everything that you hoped it would be and that as 2016 moves along it provides you with the opportunities to achieve your most monumental goals and more.

Please let me know what topics you would like to hear featured on this podcast this year I look forward to hearing your comments. Thank you very much

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Painlessly convert stereo audio to mono

Here is my latest video to show how to easily convert audio from stereo to mono.  Enjoy

https://youtu.be/Oi8RllV_IIM

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Painlessly convert stereo files to mono

Hello welcome to the computers with the podcast. As many of you know I recently purchased a zoom portable recorder to make doing podcasts and videos easier and more professional for myself, upon doing some research about what would be the best recorder settings for doing video I found that 48 kHz was best for video.

I’m using the recorder in stereo and when I had done a test recording with the recorder it worked fine however when I went to transcribe the recording using Dragon NaturallySpeaking, I got an error message in Dragon that said you could not transcribe a stereo recording it had to be mono. it could be anything up to 99khz at that point I did what most of the people do which is do a Google search to see what I could find for a solution to this particular problem.

As I began to investigate most of the information said that it was impossible to transcribe a stereo recording upon finding this, I simply went okay let’s take this stereo recording and turn it into a mono recording and save it as a separate file and then create the transcript using the mono file.

I use a program called audacity which is a free audio editing program to edit all my podcasts and my videos and when I looked in to how to create a mono file from a stereo file it is very simple in audacity. Load your stereo recording into audacity and then go to the tracks menu at the top of the program, click on it and one of the choices you will see and in fact I think it may actually be the very first choice is stereo track to mono.

When you select this option audacity automatically will create a mono file which you can then save to any location on your computer and then you can proceed in Dragon to transcribe the new mono file that you have just created and saved. When I tried this the transcription worked very very well and is a useful option if you have a stereo file that you need in this format for transcription purposes

I hope you found this information useful if you have any other questions please feel free to email me @ darrell@computerswiththese.com Thank you very much

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My new equipment

Welcome to the computers with ease podcast. Recently I was able to purchase something that’s going to help create better content in not only my podcasts but my videos as well, I was able to purchase a Zoom portable recorder and a Rode lavaliere microphone.

One of the things I’ve wanted to be able to do was as I created my podcasts I also wanted to be able to generate the transcript at the same time, until getting this new equipment it meant recording the podcast audio first and then transcribing the audio using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Which worked significantly well however it meant I had to spend time editing the transcript and matching up the text from the transcript to the audio file.

This was a time-consuming and somewhat frustrating process because the audio when transcribed is not 100% accurate, with the new recorder that I have I’m now able to record the audio at the same time I’m dictating into the headset that I use for Dragon. and I’m able to see the text immediately on the screen so I can flag errors as they come up and I don’t have to worry about the audio because it’s being recorded separately at the same time.

Utilizing this new process will allow me to create not only better podcasts but also allow many create more podcasts in a much shorter period of time because I won’t have to spend as much time editing the transcript and I certainly don’t have to spend as much time editing the audio file itself because the zoom recorder gives me a much cleaner recording the first time so this is been one of my how shall I say dream items because I’m able to now create what I want to create in the way that makes the most sense for me and gives me the most freedom to do what I love to do which is create content that others can use and enjoy for their own use what have you been wanting to do that you’ve been putting off or have been unable to find a way to do that satisfies not only your needs but allows you to work and create in the most comfortable way for you I look forward to reading your comments you are welcome to check out my website which is www.computerswiththese.com thank you very much

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Windows 10 – windows 7 & windows 8.1 merged

Hello and welcome to the computers with ease podcast. Windows 10 has been out for a month now and I’ve been using it for several weeks and I thought I would give everyone my initial thoughts on the program itself.

When you first look at it, it looks like a cross between Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. By that I mean we now have a start button that looks like the Windows symbol and when you click on that you actually get the list of items that we had in Windows 7 such as settings but alongside that you get the tiles or squares that were part of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

So all of the major items that are on your computer or there, either in the tiles or you can get to them from all apps so in earlier versions of Windows it was all programs now it’s called all apps same thing just a different name.

One of the things that I did find that was a little unusual for me at first was in earlier versions you could get to accessories such as your defrag tool and a lot of those items were just under accessories, now they’ve renamed it to Windows accessories. So it just means that we have to scroll a bit further down on the all apps list to get to it but it took me a little while to figure out that’s what they had called it.

Now that I’m using Windows 10 and hadn’t updated the system for several days I thought I would see if there were any update to Windows 10 itself, and I had gone into Control Panel and looked for Windows updates and I could not find it. Upon further investigation I found that you have to go to start and then select settings and then it’s in there on the right-hand side under Windows update’s and then you can check for and install the Windows updates.

I think over all the changes have been successful, the program definitely does start faster than Windows 8.1 did so that’s a definite improvement. I think that the other changes it’s just going to be a matter of time from a user’s perspective until you get comfortable with where the new items are and some of the name changes that they’ve implemented. My best advice is to hang in there keep using it and it will eventually become familiar the way earlier versions did the longer we used them.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me at darrell@computerswithease.com you can also visit my website which is computerswithease.com Thank you very much

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