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voice & speech: resources: editing

Editing on the computer, cds & techtalk Recommendations

by Eric Armstrong

By using a computer to edit the recordings, you can take advantage of the features of your recorders. A stereo recorder can function like a two track recorder: by using two different microphones, one on a lapel and one on a tabletop, you can often fill in the blanks when crowd noise and body noise conspire against you. Gillian points out that,


"recording with the monaural setting is perfectly fine for voice recordings, and I can make them stereo when I edit with ProTools (a computer sound editing suite). ProTools is wonderful, and I am getting quite handy with it. I had a fabulous interview with an old man in County Mayo, but the flow of his speech was a little halting at times, and he required encouraging noises to get him going. I was able to edit the piece so that it now flows quite smoothly and most of my input is gone. And this did not take very long. I feel quite competent with the program, which makes up for the fact that I still seem to be quite hopeless at other computer activities."

She has even learned to improve the quality of tapes by using her sound software. Gillian is also using the industry standard: Digidesign's Pro Tools; most theatre sound professionals use this software on a daily basis.

Michael Barnes points out that the standard for the average actor/student these days has shifted away from audio cassettes to CD (though WalkPersons are everywhere still). There is a way you can create CDs at home, by using a computer and a peripheral called a CD recorder. The process is a fairly slow one, called "burning a CD" in the industry. There are two types of recorders, CD-R (for Recordable) and CD-RW (for ReWritable). The latter has the advantage that you can rerecord over a disc, while CD-R makes a permanent copy; it can only be recorded on once. Unfortunately, at this time the CD-RW format is not supported by regular CD players. Some DVD players (a new audio/video read-only format) may play CD-RW in the future, but few do now. The only hazard is that CDs only hold 75 minutes of material, whereas audio cassettes can be 90 minutes. The media (i.e. blank discs) are quite cheap for CD-R at ~US$1.50 each, whereas CD-RW is about twice as expensive. CD-R "burners" sell for about US$500.

TechTalk Recommendations
As the DAT recorders are probably twice as expensive as the MiniDisc recorders at present, most voice and speech professionals will find that the quality of MD exceeds their needs, that it's more convenient to work with and within their budgets. Some are now available for under US$300, while DATs still hover around the US$700 range. Whatever you choose to do, don't throw away your analog recorder. Use it as a backup to your recording sessions.

  1. Introduction
  2. MiniDisc vs. DAT: Which is best for us?
  3. Accessories
  4. Editing, CDs & TechTalk Recommendations