Audio Editing Instructions

Introduction & Sample Talk

The number of instructions on this page may seem overwhelming but actually should be relatively easy to follow once you have done this one. In general, section on editing out irrelevant / distracting material is the most creative; other sections are pretty mechanical.

You can listen to the podcast once, note all the things you think should be edited and then do the editing work on the second pass. When in doubt, please don’t hesitate to consult us on the Slack channel.

You should also take a look at the sample talk (edited and unedited versions as well as a document detailing what has been edited out) in the Sample Talk (Unedited and Post Edited with Instructions) folder on the Google Drive.

Editing Out Irrelevant / Distracting Material

❏ Review and follow any specific editing instructions outlined in the Dhamma Talk List document on Google Drive.

❏ Listen to the talk to identify and delete any excessive and/or distracting background noise:

  • people coughing, doors slamming
  • excessively long pauses or coughing, frequent “hums”, etc. from the speaker
  • only delete background noise when you can do so without breaking the conversation. If the noise happens at the same time as the speaker speaks (i.e. someone coughs through teacher speaking), it may be better to keep but de-amplify the sound rather than introducing an unnatural sequence of sound by removing it.1

❏ Delete parts of the recording that are obviously irrelevant, such as an interruption to discuss the lunch schedule, as well as parts that contain personal information not meant to be recorded (e.g. a retreatant revealing sensitive personal information in a question to the Ajahn). Apply your best judgment: sometimes just a name by itself does not reveal a lot of personal information (in fact, names would occur frequently in Q & A types of talks), but sometimes there will be a very personal story attached to the name, in which case it should be edited out.

Volume and Sound Quality

❏ Change the recording from stereo to mono. This helps the editor to simply edit a single track without compromising the quality too much.2

❏ Apply background noise reduction to diminish the ambient noise and static inherent in the recording, if required.3 Please listen to the before and after effect when you apply any techniques to do that and try to avoid making the speaker sound like they are speaking in a vacuum.

❏ Increase the volume of the audio by increasing the amplitude to be closer to the range limit.4 This may require to removing or de-amplyfying chunks that are already at the range limit (make sure that if you are deleting something that it still sounds natural, otherwise try de-amplifying).

Beginning and Ending of the Talk

❏ Delete all recording except for 4 seconds of silence before the Namo Tassa at the beginning of the talk and the Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu Anumodana  after the talk. Use your discretion to determine the beginning and end if the Namo Tassa or the Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu Anumodana is missing. If there is no “silence” that can be used, either use a bit of silence from the other part of the talk.

❏ At the very end of the editing process, apply Fade In for the beginning and Fade Out effect for the ending seconds of silence5.

File Metadata6

❏ For Artist Name, specify the speaker’s name (e. g. Ajahn Viradhammo)

❏ For Track Title, put in the Talk Title from the Dhamma Talk List document.

❏ For Album Title:

  • use Tisarana Dhamma Talks for regular talks
  • use Retreat Name Year for example Tisarana Winter Retreat 2016, if part of the retreat.

❏ For Track Number, if part of a retreat, use the order of the talks, 1, 2, 3, etc. Otherwise, leave blank.

❏ For Year, specify the year of the talk from the Dhamma Talk List document.

❏ For Genre, put in Dhamma Talk.

❏ For Comments, put in the Talk Summary from the Dhamma Talk List document.

File Export and Naming Convention

❏ Export the audio file using the following settings7:

  • File Format: MP3
  • Bit Rate Mode: Preset
  • Quality: Standard, 170-210 kbps
  • Variable Speed: Fast
  • Channel Mode: Joint Stereo

❏ Name the finished file using the following convention: YYYY_MM_DD_NAME_INDEX.mp3, for example if a talk happened on April 1st, 2016 and was given by Ajahn Viradhammo, you’d name the file 2016_04_01_Viradhammo_01.mp3.

Footnotes

1In Audacity, this can be done by using the amplify function in the “Effect” menu. Choose “-3.0” in the first box of the pop-up amplify window of the “Effect” menu. Repeat if necessary.

2 In Audacity, this can be done by selecting “Stereo Track to Mono” under the “Tracks” menu.

3 In Audacity, this can be done by selecting 5-10 seconds of typical silence in the recording. Clicking “Noise Reduction” under the “Effect” menu and clicking “Get Noise Profile”. Once done, select the entire talk by using the “Select All” command. Go back to the “Noise Reduction” option and proceed to step two by clicking “OK”. You can accept the default values shown in the pop-up window.

4 In Audacity, this is usually done by applying the Compressor and Normalize filter. This can be done by selecting the entire talk and choosing “Compressor” under the “Effect” menu, and clicking “OK”. You can keep the default values. Then, select the entire talk and choose “Normalize” under the “Effect” menu, and click “OK”. You can keep the ticked boxes and default value shown.

5 In Audacity, this can be done by selecting the seconds of silence at the beginning of the recording, and choosing “Fade In” or “Fade Out” option from the “Effect” menu.

6 In Audacity, this can be done by selecting “Edit Metadata” from the “File” menu.

7 These are the settings that you can specify in Audacity. If using different software, please try matching these as close as possible.