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GarageBand provides several methods for saving your projects and a few of them even offer some hard drive space savings, but at a cost. Now, in my opinion, the best thing to do is just get yourself a nice, big external FireWire or a USB hard drive. They are incredibly affordable now-a- days by comparison to even a couple of years ago, and just keep all of your project files backed up on it. Anything you're still working on or likely to work on again soon, you can keep on your computer, but if you're done with it, or have made several mixes and you want to just back it all up, then you can save it all to your external hard drive and not worry about it.
Everything is at its full quality, the resolution that you originally recorded at, and you don't have to worry about making choices about saving hard drive space. That said, let's go through some of the options that you have for saving and archiving projects. Some of them may actually be particularly useful to you. First of all, there is the standard File > Save As. Now, the thing with Save As is this is the largest file format that you can save it. So all of your original audio that you've recorded into the project, all of the data for your MIDI performances, all of the loops that you may include, as well as your automation data are all saved into the GarageBand project package, and then that takes up as much space as it takes up, depending on the tracks you have and how long your file is, et cetera.
But you can always just use Save As. Call this final_mixdown-SaveAs, and save it. If I actually go look at that file and do a Command+I for Get Info, I can see that it's 92.7 megabytes for a one- minute song of some 8 or 10 tracks. Keep in mind too that if you're recording at an even higher quality, press Command+Comma to go in to Preferences and Advanced and under Audio Resolution, if you have this set to Best, you will be recording at 24-bit as well as exporting 24-bit files.
This is going to add again to your overall file size, so depending on what size you're using for your recording, that will have a large impact on the size of your final file once you've saved it. Another option you have is Save as Archive Project. Under File > Save As. Now, what Save as Archive Project does is it will actually save all of the real instrument loops that you have used in your project directly into the project file, so that you can actually bring this GarageBand project to another Mac who may not have the loops that you have and continue to work on the project.
So this is actually the way that we've saved a number of the exercise files in this course, so that you could have access to some of the loops that are located in the Rhythm section jam pack, which you may or may not have. So you just click Archive Project and I will name this one Archive and Save, and we'll go back out and take a look at this one, see if there's any difference. 93.5, so a little bit of file difference. Saving as an archive project is always going to be a little bit bigger because we're including the Apple loops as well as all of the other stuff that we've recorded.
Now, there is another check box in File > Save As that we will visit, and this is Compact Project. Now, what you do with Compact Project basically is trade quality of audio for file size. So for some reason you need to save a workable, editable GarageBand file but with much less file space. Some examples might be a situation where your hard drive is getting quite full and you still need to save the project or maybe you are going to save hundreds of GarageBand files off to a laptop maybe and take them on a trip with you.
You can use these three different settings for Micro, Small, and Medium, which basically takes all of your audio files that you've recorded and converts them to Apple's supportable format, which is AAC, and you can choose three different quality levels. Medium size compact projects at 192 actually sound fairly good. You are going to be mostly happy with that if you have to save down to this file format. I definitely recommend using the Medium. So we will just go ahead and Save this one as well and we will compare our file size.
CompactMed so we know it's medium, and we click Save. Well, this might take a little bit longer because it has to do the conversions. All of our audio files over to AAC. But luckily, this project is only 1 minute long, so it's going pretty quickly through them. I will go back to the Finder again and take a look and we see that our project size is now 21.3 megabytes. But this is still a completely editable, workable GarageBand project file. It's just that all of the audio files have been down-converted to AAC.
Good practice and good rule of thumb is to always save a master mix as well using the Share > Export Song to Disk command and make sure the Compress button is unchecked, so that you can save a full resolution file off to your hard drive as well. Now, you've got a CD-quality master saved to your hard drive and you can burn that to a CD, you can archive that, you can save it, upload it somewhere, so it's always going to be your backup of your best quality of this final mixdown.
I usually save a master mixdown file AIF like the one I just saved and my original GarageBand project file in a folder called whatever the name of the song is and back that up to an external hard drive.
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