Tool #7: Audacity

My former roommate, Derek, who works on the film side at Fort Worth’s Red Productions, recently told me that audio is the last step in film-making. That syncing the audio and determining how long and which parts of songs to incorporate into a final film is an arduous, exacting, and extremely-important task.

To any rookie filmmaker, this is quite obvious when attempting to sync speech, music, and video. Tools like fading-in and out, precisely adjusting beginning and end points, and mixing multiple sources of sound together are just some of the unique features in this free application.

Many basic, free movie-making tools like Windows Movie Maker do not allow “stretching” the audio track to be extremely precise or multiple layers of sound stacked on top of each other like Audacity does. It essentially allows users to have studio quality sound editing at their fingertips. Even better, the software is visual and intuitive, meaning a novice user can perform like an expert in a short amount of time.

Given the prevalence of online videos, podcast, etc., I think it’s fair to say our society’s media consumption has lowered our attention span. You almost have to present information in a short video with dramatic music and narration – like a movie trailer – to get anyone’s attention. More and more teachers are using short videos in and outside class to supplement text and verbal instruction. I would argue that sound quality is more important than video quality in these instances. Have you ever tried to watch a videotaped lecture where the video quality is good but the people speaking cannot be understood? It’s infuriating.

Therefore, Audacity is a great tool to share with students to help them improve the audio quality of and podcasts or videos they produce in their academic pursuits.

PS – This assignment was adapted from Jane Hart’s 10 Tools Challenge: http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/2013/01/08/take-the-10-tools-challenge/

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Posted in 10 Tools, Uncategorized

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