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Whether one is producing music, podcasts, game sounds, or film sound effects, Digital Audio Principles provides the tips and techniques that will make the project a success. Author Dave Schroeder explains the basics of digital audio production techniques and covers the essential hardware and software. He also discusses sound theory, frequency response, the range of human hearing, and dynamic range.
Okay. In this section, I want to talk about making silent trims and cuts. When we talk about trimming or cutting, we're talking about where we are in the waveform. A cut happens in the middle of the waveform, and a trim happens in the beginning or the end of the waveform. So, a cut happens somewhere in here, and a trim is when we're taking the heads or tails off a waveform. The trick to making a silent cut is to make your edit right at the zero crossing point. I'm going to zoom in really tight here on this waveform, and just show you the waveform against the zero crossing.
So, we can see, here is where the waveform crosses this zero line. Here is where it crosses it again. When we make our edits, we want to make them at that point, anywhere the zero crossing is. So, I could do it here, here, and that will produce a silent cut. If we make our edit like this where there is amplitude, especially if they are on different sides of the zero line, we'll get a little pop or click, or a zzz. It's kind of a little nasty glitch sound. We will call it a pop. So, let's zoom back out and take a look at a voiceover file I have here, and see if we can do a little bit of editing to change things.
First, let's start by kind of tidying up the heads and tails. So, we've got a lot of extra sound here that kind of looks like there must be some noise there. Let's take a look. We'll solo that. Yeah, so there we go. Right off the bat, I know I don't want to start with that, so I'm going to trim the front, and I'm going to get as close as I can. Now, you can always zoom way in. Zooming is a big part of editing. So, we can see there is a little bit of sound there, maybe a little bit of room tone at the beginning of a breath. Let's back it off and see if it's really silent. Nope. So that's just kind of the room tone.
But we can't really hear it, look at the difference there. (audio playing.) So, we want to get close, but we don't want to cut it off. We want to give it a little bit of time to come in, maybe a couple of hundred samples, which is about the equivalent of a hundredth of a second. (Dave: The rumors about me in the--) A little bit more. (Dave: The rumors about me--) Now let's go and make sure we're kind of-- Now this is really kind of nitpicky because it's the very beginning. But still, it's moving a little bit. There is some of that room noise. So, we want to try and find a point where we're right on the line.
That's good enough, right there on the line. So, theoretically, this will start out without a pop, and we'll hear the voiceover. (Dave: The rumors about me in the press are completely inaccurate) Works good! Now, at the end, we notice we've got a similar story: a breath and a little lip smack. Let's get rid of that. So, we'll just trim it up. In the next section, I'll show you how to kind of put a fade on there, which is also a nice way to make fast trims without having to worry about kind of your heads and tails and making sure that they're at the zero point.
But that's the next movie. So, here is our file trimmed. (Dave: The rumors about me in the press are completely inaccurate.) Not bad! So now, let's try and make in a cut in the middle. (Dave: The rumors about me in the press are completely inaccurate.) So, let's zero in. (Dave: Completely inacc-- Completely inacc--) So, let's see.
Let's go ahead and just try and make a cut and get rid of that. Let's see, something like this. I want to try and--I want to take that in out, and I'm going to go in a Shuffle mode, which is when I delete this, what's there is going to slide up. So, watch! Boom! So, it's lit up, and I'm trying to make him say accurate instead of inaccurate. (Dave: The rumors about me in the press are completely accurate.) Well, that's not a good edit because it doesn't flow well, so we better smooth it out a little bit more. So, we'll trim the edges.
(Dave: Accurate. Accurate) So, we've got that. (Dave: Are completely accurate.) There is a little pop there. Now, if I were to make a really lousy edit, just for demonstration purposes, and go in here, it would look something like this. We're not really at the zero. Now this should produce a pop that you don't really want to have in your edit.
(Dave: --in the press are completely accurate.) Yeah, hear the snap, the pop there? (Dave: --in the press are completely accurate.) Now, in addition to the timing not being so great, that little pop is a mess, and we have created it; it wasn't there. It's because we have made an edit that's taking place where we're not at the zero crossing. But we can still get this one to work. Let's see what we've got. (Dave: Completely accurate.) That's pretty good! Let's zoom in and take a look at about where we're at. Make the cut here on the zero. Bring this to the zero. And actually, since if one waveform is on the way down, I like the other one to kind of pick up on the way down, so we'll zoom in a little bit, give this a little bit more here.
We'll go like maybe right here where it's on the way down, and we'll check it out. (Dave: are completely accurate.) So, that's a good edit. No pop. Timing is pretty good. (Dave: The rumors about me in the press are completely accurate.) So, that's a good edit! Let me give you one more quick example of a noisy pop and an edit, and we'll do that here with our nice bass track. Three notes. (bass playing.) Let's say I just want to-- the keyboard player played this last note a little too long, and I want to take some of that out of there.
So, I'm going to go in and say, oh, we got to lose some of this. I just go in randomly and say, yeah we need what, this, like the four seconds. We've got to take that out. We delete it. Obviously, visually, we can see, this is probably not going to be a clean silent trim. Let's listen back. (bass playing.) Oh yeah, quite a pop! But we can still make this work, and we get nice and close. Zoom in, find this one on the way down, hitting the zero crossing, and find this one on the way up. Sorry, continuing on the way down.
Zoom back, zoom out a little bit there, and see if our short note works. (bass playing.) Nice! A nice silent trim! So, making your cuts across the zero line is the secret to making a good silent trim or cut. Again, we're doing this inside of Pro Tools, but this kind of editing and editing for silent trims along the zero line will work in any waveform editor. That's a general principle. So, you can apply this to any software you're working with.
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