Final Draft: Adobe Audition

My name is Erin, and I love audio.

In my last post, I shared my draft of our audio assignment

For this assignment, I interviewed a colleague and mentor, Desirée. She is writing a memoir and has served as a cheerleader throughout my own writing journey. I drafted several, open-ended questions for her and shared them with her ahead of time. The questions included her definition of a memoir, surprises she’s experienced as a writer, her writing process, and any advice she has for people on the same journey.

I recorded the interview in a room with just the two of us and my favorite Blue Yeti microphone as Track 1. Next, I recorded my spouse, a guitar player, playing one of his original songs as Track 3.

Time to edit!

The first edits were easy. While Desirée and I talked in a room with a closed door, people in the room next to us were so loud, and my microphone is so effective, that some clips with too much background noise were the first to go. Adobe makes this easy. You just select a portion of the recording and click delete. 

I also took out all the “ums” and “ahs” that are often a natural part of a collegial conversation. Select. Delete.

Next, I cut up her commentary into soundbites, used Merge to combine some clips, and rearranged the order to fit a throughline of the writing process using the Move tool. This made it easy to tell a story with clips.

When I had the clips I wanted, I drafted what I would say between each clip for storyline transitions. I recorded these transitions as one track of speech in Track 3. This track was trimmed into clips and the clips were inserted into Track 1.

The last part of drafting involved the music. I faded in the guitar at the beginning and faded it out at the end, as well as lowered the decibels during the talking portions so the music wouldn’t overpower what was being said. 

The feedback I received on this drafted piece focused on two points: increasing the volume of my voice during transition clips, and reworking the abrupt speech ending.

To support the change in amplitude of my voice, I watched a couple of tutorials on this practice, including this one from Adobe, and this one that specifically addressed when there is a difference between a host and a guest.

I discovered that I could adjust the clips of my talking using the Match Clip Loudness Tool in the Clip menu in Audition. I could either do this with the individual clips of me speaking or select all of the speaking clips and do this all together. After using the tool, I checked the new decibel settings and noticed that this Tool increased my volume in each clip by an average of about 8 decibels in each clip. That number served as a checkpoint to not only see the visual amplitude of the waves, but to read the decibel level changes in the Properties section for each clip.

(This made me want to record a work meeting with multiple voices then isolate the different speakers to see at what levels different people tend to speak, just for the sake of science. Another day, another time!)

Next, I recorded a short outro, something to summarize the piece and smooth out the ending. I tacked this clip to the end of my others, then used the Match Clip Loudness Tool to adjust this clip as well. This increased the volume of my voice by 7.8 decibels which I predicted. I love how what you learn about your process becomes a checkpoint for future application.

Lastly, I extended the music track (since Audition is not destructive) and shifted the volume and fade out time periods 10 seconds further out.

Ahhh, balance.

Here’s the final draft of my project – I’d love to hear what you think!

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