Join Sven-Erik Seaholm for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Editor panel and the Zoom navigator, part of Soundbooth CS4 Essential Training.
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The Editor panel is where all the action is in Soundbooth. Anytime you are working with your file, whether you are editing or checking the results of your edits, the visual display is going to be in this area right here. Up along the top here you can see the Timeline Ruler and currently that's displayed in Hours, Minutes and Seconds, but if I right-click on it you can see that you can change it to Decimal or by the Sample, or if you are working with animations or video, frames per second. We are just going to leave that how it is right now. If you prefer while you are working to not be looking up all the time, you'd rather look at the bottom down towards the Transport controls down here, just go up to View and you can select the Bottom Timeline Ruler here, and it shows a Timeline Ruler along the bottom as well.
Over to the right we have the Vertical Ruler and what that is showing is the relative volume of your audio here in decibels. Now there is an interesting thing about digital audio versus analog audio which is that 0 means the loudest. It can go no louder than 0 dB; everything over that is digital clipping or overs. So everything underneath that is like -3 dB, -6 dB, -12, on down to infinity, which is silence.
Over towards the bottom left here you'll see another display, which is an even more accurate display of where you are within the file. So if I click here you can see that I am pretty close to 5 seconds, and if I look down here at the bottom left you can see that it's 04:25. Just to the right of that is the Fade In function. Let's say I want to click right here about-- I want 4 second fade in. I can just click at 4 seconds hit the Fade In button and it makes a professional fade in, just like that.
I am going to go ahead and hit Ctrl+Z to undo that and show you the Fade Out button which let's say I want to start my Fade Out from right there, and then fade it out. I just go down here to the Fade Out button and to press that, it'll automatically give you a professional fade out, which is great. Ctrl+Z undoes that. If you are working with specific sorts of editing as far as looping or cutting and editing, perhaps you'll want to set an In Point using this function and what that does is it basically says I want to start my selection here and it's going to select the rest of the file all the way to the end from there.
In just the same way we can say we want to make our file eight seconds long, we want it to end right here. I can just say Set Out Point and it selects the entire file from the beginning to that point there. Next we have some basic Transport controls you may already be familiar with. The square box is Stop, the triangle is Play and just to its right is the Loop Playback function. Now if I depress that what will happen is every time this file plays through it's going to go all the way to the end and then start over again at the beginning. I can also make a selection with the Loop Playback and hit Play-- (Man 1 singing: I've been waiting for you... I've been waiting for you...) And it will just loop that selection, which is really handy when you are trying to make loops. I'll just turn that off so that it won't do that and I can show you the next button, which is the Open Record Dialog. Now when I click the red button here, let's say you need to make a new recording. You'll click that and it will bring up a little dialog box here where you can set your input for your device, sample rate and the like.
Just to the right of that we have the Go To Previous, which sends your cursor back to the previous marker if you have them or just to the beginning of the file. Conversely, if I click to the one on the right it will go all the way to the end of the file as you can see by the little icon here. Next we have the Louder function, which couldn't be more simple. Click this button and it makes your whole file louder. I am going to hit Ctrl+Z here to undo that. The next button over is the Equalize Volume Levels. Let's say you have a narration where some of the words are kind of dropping out a little bit or you have some loud ones. It's going to take all of the words or phrases and equalize the volume levels so they are all evened out for you, so you don't have to go through and do all that by hand.
In the center top of the Editor panel here you'll see an interesting volume feature where if I place the cursor over it, it turns into a little finger with two arrows. If I click it and I drag it to the right it increases the volume as you can see by the shaded area, and if I drag it over to the left it decreases the volume. I am going to go ahead and hit Ctrl+Z here. Maybe you are more used to a knob type interface. Let's just click the knob and turn it to the right to turn it up or to turn it down, bring it to the left. And again, we'll hit Ctrl+Z here.
Finding your way around the file is really easy due to the Zoom Navigator up at the top here in this yellow bounding box. Now what this is signifying is everything within this yellow bounding box here is what's currently being displayed in the Editor panel. So if I were to move the mouse up to the upper right-hand side of the Zoom Navigator and it turns into two arrows with a magnifying glass. Now if I click that and drag it over to the left you can see this is sort of kind of crunching down and actually zooming in on your waveform, so you can just drag it all the way over until you are looking at right about the resolution you'd like to be looking at your audio at , you can let go of it.
But let's say this isn't where you want to work on it. Where you want to work on your file is somewhere over here. We'll just move the mouse over to that, it turns into a little hand icon as you can see. Click on it and you can navigate your way over to the area that you would like to work on. It makes it so easy to find your way around here. If you want to get back out of there, just grab one side, pull it that way, grab the other side, pull it that way and you have the entire waveform displayed in the panel.
Becoming familiar with the Editor panel and the Zoom Navigator is invaluable in finding your way around the audio you are working with. You should take some time to make yourself comfortable with it and you'll be rewarded with even greater efficiency.
- Understanding digital audio terms and concepts
- Learning and customizing the workspace
- Cleaning up hisses, rumbles, clicks, and pops
- Working with distortion, equalizers, reverb, and other effects
- Setting up markers and Flash cue points
- Making high-quality recordings