You’ll rarely be 100% satisfied with any recording, and in most cases you’ll want to perform at least a basic edit to an audio file. In order to do so, it’s crucial to understand how to make selections in audio waveforms. This video explains how making selections works in Audacity.
- [Instructor Chow] At this point we've seen how to record and import audio files into an Audacity project. But, rarely will you record something that you're 100% happy with. You may hear unwanted sounds or maybe you flubbed a line of dialogue that you immediately restated and you need to edit out the bad version. If you're working with an imported audio file you might only want to use a portion of it in your project and discard the rest. Whatever the case, in this chapter, we're going to go over some basic editing techniques you'll need to become proficient at in order to mold your project into what you want. I'm going to keep working on the podcast project I started in the previous chapter.
If you have access to the exercise files, you can open up the save version and work along with me. So the most fundamental editing concept to understand is one you probably already know from working with word processors. Just like when you want to change the font or color of some text in a word processor, you have to select the text you want to change. When working with audio in Audacity and pretty much all the other audio editing applications for that matter, you have to first select the section of audio you want to edit. I already covered a bit of this previously, but let's review and expand on what we've seen. So to make a selection you need to use the selection tool, which is the default tool when you open up Audacity.
Let's solo the first track. Soloing a track mutes all the other tracks so you don't have to hear them while working on the soloed track. You can solo multiple tracks too. For example, I could solo the second track, so I could hear it as well, and now I just won't hear the music track. Alternately, I could have just muted the music track. It's the exact same result so it's up to you to decide whether it's more effective to just mute a single track or to solo several tracks. Alright, let's give it a listen. Hello and welcome to the video learning podcast. I'm Garrick Chow and this is episode 105.
As usual, we have an incredibly diverse collection of tutorials that were released this week. Including courses on typography, mobile app creation, 3D animation, forming business plans, and advanced spreadsheet design. We'll get to all that and more in just a moment, but first let's see what's been happening in the world of digital photography this week. This week, Canon announced an update to their line of PowerShot point and shoot cameras. Alright, so again if I wanted to make a change to any part of that wave form, I need to select it.
For instance, maybe I made a mistake and this week there's no coverage on 3D animation courses, so I want to get that part of the audio out of there. I need to find the part of the wave form where I say 3D animation, select it, and then delete it. So I'll try to find that here in the audio by clicking and clicking play. Released this week, including courses on typography, mobile app creation, 3D animation. Alright, so it's this chunk of wave form right here. This is a relatively easy edit because I have decent pauses on both sides of the phrase. I'm going to get my zoom tool and zoom in on that part of the wave so we can see it a little bit better.
And I'll get my selection tool again. So there are a couple different ways to make the selection. I can drag with the selection tool, like so. And remember when you have a selection made, hitting play will only play that selection so you can hear if you captured it all. 3D animation. 3D animation. If you need to adjust your selection, hold shift and click inside or outside the selection to add or remove from the selection. So if I wanted to make this a little bit tighter, I could hold down shift and then click within the selection on both sides to tighten up that selection. Or if I need to expand that a bit, I continue to hold down shift and I can click outside.
Alternately, you can place your cursor over the very edge of the selection, so you see this pointing finger, and then just click and drag in or out. That works on both sides. Now there may be times when you may find it more useful to create your selection while listening. Maybe you're listening to a long stretch of audio and you want to make sure you mark the beginning of the selection point and the end while you're listening. Audacity lets you use the left and right bracket keys to mark the beginning and end of a selection. I'm just going to click to deselect what I've selected so far and I'm going to scroll a bit to the left and maybe just zoom out a little bit.
And again, I'm holding down shift to get the zoom out tool, so I can click a little bit further back and start listening. So I'm going to let this play now and when I reach the point where I want to start the selection, I'll hit the left bracket on my keyboard, and when I reach the end of the selection, I'll hit the right bracket. Including courses on typography, mobile app creation, 3D animation, forming business plans. Now, you're probably not going to land exactly at the beginning and end points you want, but this allows you to get close while listening and you can always readjust afterwards.
But, now with my selection made, I can hit the delete key, and the section of audio has been deleted. Let's hear how it sounds now. Including courses on typography, mobile app creation, forming business plans, and advanced spreadsheet design. Alright, so that doesn't sound too bad. I do think the pause in there is a little but long, so I'm just going to click in here and select a little bit more audio, and shorten that up a bit. On typography, mobile app creation, forming business plans, and advanced spreadsheet design.
Alright, so that sounds much better to me. So that's basically how to make a selection before you can make a change. Now you can also select across tracks. So if you wanted to remove or edit an entire section of your project, you can just click and drag down through the tracks. Like so. Now one annoyance I have with this behavior is that once your cursor touches a track, let me scroll back up here and make another selection, you can't drag back up to deselect that track. So if I really only wanted to select these first two tracks, but I accidentally touched the third one here with my cursor, I can't drag back up to deselect that track now.
I'd have to first click out to deselect everything and then click and drag down again. So that's how to select across tracks. I also want to point out the selection toolbar here at the bottom of the window. So if I make a selection here, you can see exactly where your selection starts and stops in terms of hours, minutes, and seconds. You can toggle between the end and length as well. End it shows you the time code where the selection ends. So you can see I'm going from 15 seconds to 17 seconds right now. And length displays the actual length of your selection. And you can see that it was rounding up because it was only a one second selection.
And you can also type a specific value in here as well. So if you wanted a perfect 10 second selection, you just click in here, and type in 10. So if I switch back to end now, you can see I'm going from the 15 second mark to the 25 second mark. You can also adjust the values that are displayed here by clicking the menus. And you can see that there's a wide selection of display modes. You might find it useful for example, to select hours, minutes, seconds, and 100ths of seconds. Which might allow you to be more precise with your selections. Alright, so that's an overview of basic selection techniques that you should be familiar with in order to perform edits in Audacity.
- Downloading and installing Audacity
- Importing audio
- Recording two tracks simultaneously
- Splitting clips
- Exporting your project
- Installing the LAME MP3 encoder
- Inserting silence
- Removing background noise