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Podcasting with Audacity

An Introduction

Dr Jan Oosthoek k.j.w.oosthoek@ncl.ac.uk

School of Historical Studies Newcastle University 2008

Table of Contents
Installing Audacityp. 3 Preparing your recording...p. 4 Audacity controls - An overviewp. 6 Editing a recordingp. 6 Publishing a podcast..p. 9 Creating an RSS file.....p. 10 Most common problem......p. 12

Info This handbook was produced by Dr Jan Oosthoek as part of a podcasting project in the School of Historical Studies, Newcastle University. The project was carried out in the context of course HIS2049 - Environmental History of Northwestern Europe in the autumn semester of 2007. The project was kindly supported by the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for History, Classics and Archaeology and the Newcastle University UTLC Innovation Fund. For further information visit www.eh-teaching.org.

3 Audacity is an open source, freely downloadable, multitrack recording programme and editor for audio. The editing environment allows you to integrate many separate audio clips into a professional-sounding audio file. What follows is a step-by-step guide how to create a podcast with audacity. Installing Audacity A. Visit the Audacity web-site at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

The Audacity download page

B. Download Audacity for Windows version 1.2.6 (December 2007) C. Now you need to download and install LAME MP3 encoder Allows Audacity to export MP3 files. Click LAME link on the Audacity download page to download the file. Open the file and follow the instructions.

4 Preparing your recording Before you start recording you need to set the preferences. Open Audacity. 1. Click on Edit ! Preferences

This opens the Audacity preference screen with at the top a series of tabs. Select first Audio I/0 to set the playback and recording preferences.

2. Select the audio device, which is the sound card of your computer, if this not detected automatically. Then select if you want your recording to be mono or stereo. If you record just voice for a podcast it is recommended to select mono to keep the file size to a minimum.

3. In the Quality tab you set the sample rate and format of your recording. This is important because it defines the quality of your recording. Set the sample rate at 44100 Hz, which is CD quality and the sample rate at 16-bit. Leave the other settings as they are.

5 4. To enable Audacity sound files to be converted and saved as mp3 and wav files users must install the Lame Converter. You can download Lame Converter from http://lame.buanzo.com.ar/. After downloading the file, open it and follow the instructions. 5. After installing Lame, click now in the Audacity Preferences on File Format tab. Select Read directly form the original file. The export format must be 16-bit WAV. Click now Find Library in the MP3 Export Setup section. The next screen asks you to locate the lame_enc.dll file. Click on yes and select the folder in which you saved the Lame Converter.

6. In Audacity Preferences select the tab Directories and select the location where you like to save your audio files.

7. Connect a microphone to your computer. Make sure the settings in the windows preferences are correct.

Now you are ready to make your first recording.

6 Audacity controls - an overview

To start a recording click the Record button and to terminate the recording click Stop. Now you have made your first recording you can listen to it by jumping to the beginning of the track and click on Play. Editing a recording Delete a section If there are any unwanted errs or umms and you like to remove them identify the section you want to delete. You can use magnify tool to zoom in on the track to help you selecting the section. .

Highlight the section with the Selection tool

Press the delete button on your keyboard to delete the section.

Adjust volume level If a section of the recording is not loud enough you can adjust the volume level by doing the following: Select the section that is too silent. Go to Effect in the menu bar at the top and click on Amplify.

Adjust amplification (Db) accordingly with slider. Adding new tracks If you like to add a new track, because you like to add a second voice for example, just click the Record button. After you have recorded voice and you like to add intro music you can add a music track as follows: Click on Project " Import audio and select the music track you like to add to your podcast. You can also drag and drop the file into Audacity to add an audio track. Place track in proper position If voice is not needed during the intro music it needs to be moved to a position where it should start. For doing this use the timeshift tool .

Select the timeshift tool " drag voice track forward to desired position and release the mouse button.

8 How to duck music? If you desire to have music playing in the background of speech but the music is too loud you need to adjust the music level. This is called Ducking. To Duck music do the following: Select music section that needs to to be in background " click Effect " Amplify. Add fade in and fade out In case music needs to fade in or out do the the folowing:

Select the section that needs to fade in our out " click Effect " Fade In or Fade Out. Solo and unsolo track

Sometimes it is necessary to hear only one track in order to edit it. For this purpose a track can be soloed or unsoloed. To do this click on the Solo button left of the track that needs to be solo.

9 Publishing a podcast Publishing a recording as a podcast is simple. The first step is to create an MP3 file which is done as follows: Click on File " Safe Project " type file name in frame that appears and safe. A new screen (ID3 tags) will ask you to provide so called metadata. This information will tell media players what the name of the podcast is, the author etc. It is good practice to lable your podcast so that people know where it came from and who made it. Ajust the metadata (info) further in iTunes.

iTunes Open the MP3 file in iTunes and right click on the file name and click on Get Info.

A summary screen providing technical information about the file appears on the screen. Click on the tab Info.


In this screen you can adjust information about the podcast such as the title, producer/presenter, name of podcast and year of publication. Name = title of podcast Artist = name producer or presenter Album = name or title of podcast series Genre = This is normally Podcast Do not use the comments box since the show notes, i.e. description of the podcast, will be provided in the RSS file. When done, click on OK and now the MP3 file is ready to be uploaded to the server and made public. Creating an RSS file. If you are creating an RSS file that includes podcasts, you should use the RSS 2.0 format. There are also many additional optional elements for podcast RSS files described at the Apple Web site (see link below). Once you have placed the audio file (MP3 file) on the server, you must then create the RSS file to which people can subscribe and place it on the same Web server as the audio file. The example below shows an RSS file that supports podcasts. You should change the bold portions of the file to be specific for your site. Don't change the rest of the code! <?xml version="1.0"?> <rss xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/DTDs/Podcast-1.0.dtd" version="2.0"> <channel> <title>Your podcast series title</title> <link>http://www.url.ac.uk/learn/rss/podcasts/</link> <description>This is a test podcast series</description>

11 <item> <title>This is a title of an episode</title> <description>A short description of a particular issue of the show</description> <guid>http://www.locationOfAudioFile.com/learn/rss/podc asts/test.mp3</guid> <enclosure url="http://www.locationOfAudioFile.com/learn/rss/podcas ts/test.mp3" type="audio/mpeg" /> <pubDate>Fri, 7 Dec 2006 11:20:00 GMT</pubDate> <itunes:author>Jan Oosthoek</itunes:author> <itunes:duration>18:28</itunes:duration> </item> <item> <title>Sample Podcast 2</title> <description>A short talk on picking bananas</description> <guid> http://www. locationOfAudioFile.com /learn/rss/podcasts/test2.mp3" type="audio/mp3</guid> <enclosure url=" http://www. locationOfAudioFile.com /learn/rss/podcasts/test2.mp3" type="audio/mp3" type="audio/mpeg" /> <pubDate>Fri, 7 Dec 2006 11:20:00 GMT</pubDate> <itunes:author>Jan Oosthoek</itunes:author> <itunes:duration>18:28</itunes:duration> </channel> </rss> Posting Your RSS File When you are finished creating your RSS file, save it with .rss as the extension. (for example, name the file finearts.rss) If you want people to find the RSS feed place the following code line between the HEAD tags of yoru web page (replace the bold with the location of your RSS file: <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="url/to/rss/file"> For more information about making and publishing RSS feeds visit: http://www.apple.com/itunes/store/podcaststechspecs.html#metad ata


Useful references
Centre for History and New media, http://chnm.gmu.edu/ Jack Herringon, Podcasting Hacks. Tips and Tools for Blogging Out Loud (Sebastopol, CA : OReilly, 2005). Phillip Torrone, What is podcasting?, http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/2005/07/20/WhatIsPodcasting.html What is RSS?, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rss

Most common problems

Problems encountered by students during recording and editing sessions and recommended solutions.
Problem Converting audacity specific format files (.aup) to MP3 (.mp3) files that can be played on most media players Solution A Lame MP3 encoder must be downloaded from the audacity website http://audacity.sourceforge.net/, and installed somewhere on the computer. The first time an attempt is made to export a file to mpg, the programme requires the location of the plug-in. Choose appropriate file for PC or Mac type. The recording has been constructed from too many separate tracks. 810 tracks is an ideal maximum depending on the speed of the computer. Tracks can be amalgamated by cutting and pasting one onto the end of another, leaving a 2-3 second gap before pasting. The gaps allow easier identification of different tracks and can be edited out later. Better digital microphones are more sensitive to voice at normal speaking volumes, but the recording can be amplified through Effects: Amplify from the main menus

Computer begins to run slowly during the editing stage

Recording too soft when played back