After repeated listens to the original recording of my interview with Tiffany LeGal (see previous post), I streamlined the monologue to make its informative structure more clear. Listen for yourself!
First I removed my own voice from the original, which was something I did happily since I’m usually a little disturbed when I hear my voice in recordings. Next I set the scalpel to any of Tiff’s vocal distractors: the ‘uh’s, the ‘er’s, and any small stutters or dead air. This process was fairly time-consuming, but I get a kick out of tampering with sound files so it was an excuse for me to geek out for a while.
I thought Tiff’s self-introduction in the original recording was somewhat shaky before she found her confidence in the topic. I remedied this by
recreating the original recording conditions as well as I could, and I gave her a specific script, which was shorter than the first intro by about 20 seconds and sounded much better.
Audio surgery at this point left me with a 3:30 total run time, so the comic relief was the next to go. Tiff’s story about the theater major engaged in bizarre performance art in a late night lab session was colorful and chuckle-worthy, but it couldn’t stand on its own to support the interview. The focus was to inform, not to entertain. Sorry, theater guy! Snip snip!
My only distress during editing was fine-tuning the fade-ins and fade-outs (or is it ‘fades-in’ and ‘fades-out’?). This is especially noticeable in the first few cuts, when the word “department” fades out too soon, and later the volume of the word “information” rises awkwardly. As my familiarity with Audacity grew, the cuts became more fluid. And there are quite a few cuts! Some are discernible only in headphones, which I guess is the point! If no one notices an edit is there, I’ve done my job!
Lastly, I had some fun with sound effects, all of which were lifted from a previous ambient sampling project. A few noises seemed to fit the plan I had for the interview. Just don’t tell anyone in I.T. that I used an old dial-up modem to represent their department. I’m pretty sure they haven’t used dial-up for years. A couple of sounds run a few seconds too long, but I’d listened to various sound files so many times I warped my own sense of timing. If I were to trim the interview down further, I’d begin with briefer ambient samples that fade more effectively into the speaking sections.
I lucked out for this project in that I lived with my subject. This allowed us to experiment with topics, takes, and re-record in order to hem up any seams in the original interview.
Now that it’s over, I’m looking forward to meticulously manipulating more audio!