At first, I thought this would be a daunting task. I was sort of lost when I first opened Audacity. It looked really clunky, to begin with, and had a few symbols I’d never seen before, like the Envelope Tool and Multi-Tool. I’d used Ableton Live and, to a lesser degree, Garageband for a little bit of very basic audio editing, but the hard drive on my old MacBook Pro can’t really handle audio anymore–it freezes and skips. I know I should replace it, but that’s another matter entirely, so I’ve been working on my Dell on Windows 7. I already knew a bit about audio editing, hence my admittance of using Ableton Live before, but I used it more like a toy, for entertainment; never finished a project. So, I feel like I’ve turned a page.
Now I’m starting to see how people get so invested in audio editing. Not only is it fun, but it’s almost immediately enjoyable for the creator. Drag and drop 2 samples together, and you’ve got your own peice of art–no need to pick which font you’ll use, or worry about stretching text boxes and image scaling.
Now, I didn’t use many effects on my samples, only 2 simple fades were used for this radio bumper.
I found all of my samples on freesound.org. It’s such a nice repository, and the overall quality of the samples is above-average, to me. Although, I will note here that:
I think I'm going to be put on some list somewhere with the searches I'm having to do for #noir106 audio…
— Spencer Scott (@spencer_cscott) February 4, 2015
I had originally planned to use sound clips of a pistol cocking and shooting, but I eventually found that those weren’t very distinct or powerful. I had made a little storyboard of what I wanted my bumper to sound like: a door opening, someone cocking and shooting a gun, followed by the sound of a body hitting the floor, then a door closing. What I ended up with was this:
The door opening was pretty easy to find, but finding a matching door closing sound was proving much harder than I anticipated. Then I found the perfect clip: the same door creakily opening and closing, with a few seconds of silence between them. I thought “Ugh, I need actually need to edit this one”, so I downloaded it, and within a few minutes of destroying and undoing, I found the “trim” tool. Perfect! I surrounded the door opening noise, used the gnomish magic of the trim tool, and voila, I’d made my first legitimate edit in Audacity. Things were looking up.
Like I said, I found a pistol being cocked, and threw that in next, followed by a pistol shot. I scoured for a body dropping noise, and was pretty disappointed. They all sounded similar to the pistol shot somehow, my guess being that it was the distinct sound of a head hitting the ground that was causing my dismay. So, I figured I’d move toward the action of my bumper, scrapped the body dropping sound idea, and found a clip of a series of groans. “Perfect,” I thought. I’d already used the trim tool, so I knew just what to do. I added the door sound again and, this time, trimmed off the opening door sound, and used the “Move” tool, and oh the places you’ll go‘d it, right at the end.
I then added my voice, a simple “You are now listening to ds106 radio”.
I felt like I was done then, but listened to it a few times. “More chutzpah!” I said to myself. I dropped the weak sounding pistol noises and replaced them with a single shotgun, loading and shooting, sample. I played my bumper back to myself, and decided it ended abruptly, so I thought “This clip needs to somehow move the listener into safety, away from the gunshot” and found quickly found the sound of a car’s screeching tires. It seemed to fit well once I added it in, but I put a fade out effect on it to give it a little more of an into-the-night feel. Presto! I was done!
I hope you enjoyed my clip as much as I enjoyed creating it. I feel like I’ve dug myself deep enough into Audacity to feel comfortable with it, so a personal goal was accomplished in the process of this assignment.