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17 February 2016 @ 07:48 pm
GarageBand Tutorial, Part 2  
This is the second part of a basic tutorial on podficcing in GarageBand. You can find Part 1 of the tutorial here.

Step 3: Music and Sound Effects

a. Adding sound effects
Select the track where you want the sound effects to go (I usually create a new track just for sound effects). Move the playhead to the correct time. Copy-paste the file from your computer to that track. It creates an audio bubble that acts like any other audio bubble and can be moved, cut, copy-pasted, and edited.

This technique works for .mp3s and most other audio types. But .mp4s tend to be "locked" so that you can't move them or make cuts to them or edit them in any way. Generally you're better off using an .mp3.

Google 'free sound effects' for lots of options. I also like to go to YouTube, find a sound I like, then convert it to an .mp3 with KeepVid.com.

b. Adding music
Just like above, select the track where you want the music to go (I usually create a separate new track for each song). Move the playhead to the correct time. Then copy-paste the music file from your computer -- as above, .mp3s generally seem to work best.

But DO NOT leave music at its original volume. 99% of the time, music is much louder than a podficcer's voice and will blast out your listener's eardrums. Instead, go over to the volume slider on the left side of the screen and slide it to the left. I recommend starting at -20 dB and tweaking from there, depending on how loud the song and your voice are.

To create a fade-in/fade-out effect, click on the button with the yellow dots. That will turn on the master Automation options. Make sure the button with the yellow dots is also turned on for each individual music track as well. Now when you click on the music, you will create little dots. Those yellow dots set the volume level. In this picture here, the volume on the music goes from totally silent to -15 dB to totally silent again -- your basic fade-in/fade-out effect. You just have to keep moving the dots and the music around until you get a sound you are happy with.

I know there's a tool in Audacity that will do this for you automatically (and to my ears the final result sounds a lot better, too). There's probably a tool to do this in GarageBand as well, and I just haven't discovered it yet. If anyone can teach me a better way to do this, I will be eternally grateful! I will shower you with puppies and cookies and gold stars and Internets!

The Automation tool is set to "Volume" on the left, which is why the dots adjust the volume. You can click there to turn on Echo or Reverb or Pan or a ton of other effects, so play around with it if you want a certain sound effect to fade in and out throughout a track.

Step 4: Final Touches

a. Betas
Never hesitate to ask on Twitter or Tumblr for a beta, especially if you're new to podficcing. Podficcers are an incredibly friendly and helpful bunch! I always happily agree to beta a first-timer's podfic when work and personal time commitments allow.

b. Exporting
1.) Select Share -> Export Song to Disc.
2.) Export once as an .mp3. I can't tell the different between the quality levels, so unless you can actually hear a difference, you're probably safe just going with Medium quality.
3.) Export a second time as an .m4a. Once it's finished exporting, change the file type from .m4a to .m4b to make it an audiobook file.
4.) Open both audio files in iTunes.
5.) Open the "Get Info" menu and type in the metadata. My system is:
Name: individual podfic name, or chapter name
Artist: podficcer
Album: individual podfic name, or name of entire chaptered story
Album Artist: author
Composer: fandom
Grouping: individual podfic name, or name of larger series
Genre: Podfic
I can hear some of you gnashing your teeth from here. I know this is not a system many people approve of! I am happy to live and let live where metadata is concerned.
6.) Click over to the Artwork tab. Then copy-paste the cover art file from your computer to this window.
7.) Click over to the Options tab. Check "Remember playback position".
8.) The file is now ready to share with the world!!! Or, you know, be beta'd and put through Auphonic. But you can call it done now if it will make you feel better!

c. Multivoice podfic
Unfortunately, it seems that GarageBand will only record from one source at a time. So if you are on Skype or some other communications application, only your individual voice will be recorded. Make sure everyone else is recording on their own devices at the same time, or there are software options out there that will record multiple audio sources simultaneously.

d. Visual editing
I am the world's clumsiest reader, so I flub lines about once every two sentences. I just have to resign myself to spending hours editing EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE IN THE $%&@#$*$% PODFIC. But for those of you fortunate enough to be able to go entire paragraphs without making a mistake, here's a helpful hint: after you make a mistake, clap your hands or snap your fingers or tap something. This will create a spike in the volume level. Then when you start editing, you can easily see those spikes in the volume and know that cutting those parts out will eliminate most of your mistakes. Many podficcers say it cuts down significantly on the amount of time they spend editing.

Step 5: Creating a Template

They "updated" GarageBand with all these "helpful" new features, so when you create a new GB file, a ton of presets are already turned on. Just looking at this window makes me twitchy, and it's really irritating when I have to set up GarageBand to work the way I need it to EVERY SINGLE TIME I START A NEW BLEEPING PROJECT. So instead I made myself a "Podfic Template" that I keep and reuse for every new podfic I make.

1.) Create a new GarageBand file.
2.) Set the Display Mode to Time instead of Beats.
3.) Delete all of the tracks; they probably have weird presets anyway. Create new tracks from scratch: Original, Edited, Blank, music tracks, a sound effect track.
4.) If you use any of the preset audio filters in the Library (I like Female Narrator Noisy and Female Radio Noisy) turn those on for the Edited track.
5.) Drop the volume on the Music track to -15 dB.
6.) Close any windows you don't want to see when you first hit Record.
7.) Zoom in or out on the Main window and the Editor window to the level of detail you prefer. (I usually zoom in so that the timeline across the top displays each individual second, but YMMV.)
8.) Make any other adjustments you need to make so that the minute you open this file, you are ready to hit Record and start talking. Who wants to mess with adjusting the zoom level on GarageBand when podfarr strikes?!?! The idea is to set this template up so that you can open a new file and start talking immediately, without having to mess with any of GB's crap.
9.) Save it with a name like "Podfic Template" and stick it somewhere easily accessible.
10.) When you're ready to start a new podfic project, open the template, select File -> Save As and name it for your new project. Don't make accidental changes to the original blank template!
11.) Use the template for a few podfics, making tweaks as necessary.
12.) When you have a final version of the template that you like, right-click on the file in Finder, select "Get Info", and set the sharing and permissions so that no one can make any changes to the file, not even you. This way you won't accidentally make changes to your template and it will force you to create a new file for each podfic project.

Okay, that's all I can think of to put here. Anyone have questions I should answer in Part 3?
chasingriverchasingriver on February 18th, 2016 02:26 am (UTC)
This is all sooooo helpful, thank you! Setting up a template is a brilliant idea. I have been so confused and overwhelmed by all the settings (that are so different from Audacity) that I've never bothered with the program beyond a few frustrating attempts. I'm looking forward to trying all this stuff out. I have a ton of stuff to edit, and a few hours still left to record on this epic podfic I'm working on, so I'll definitely give it a go. I'll let you know what questions I come up with. :) Thanks again for this!
chasingriverchasingriver on February 18th, 2016 03:16 am (UTC)
How do you get the Voice->Narration Vocal preset? I only have nine options under my Voice one, one of them being "Natural", and no options for Legacy. I've looked into it via google a bit and can't find how to get them for v10. I'm using 10.1.0, if that helps. Do you know some secret tips, or are you just using an older version?

(ETA: It looks like you can get them if you upgraded from V6, but not if you installed v10 fresh. Sigh.)

Edited at 2016-02-18 03:20 am (UTC)
happyhanabihappyhanabi on February 18th, 2016 03:22 am (UTC)
Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean. I'm on GB 10.1.0 too. I usually go:

Library -> Legacy -> GarageBand -> Podcasting -> and either Female Narrator Noisy or Female Radio Noisy, whichever sounds better.

Is that what you were asking?
chasingriverchasingriver on February 18th, 2016 04:10 am (UTC)
It's an issue for people who have only ever had v10. You can't get the Legacy stuff unless you had a previous version installed. There are some pages that talk about it, http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/download-the-old-garageband.1663903/, https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6770630?start=0&tstart=0, - but sadly, since I don't have the previous version, I don't have those instruments. I'm not sure if copying them from someone else's machine would work. It's probably not the end of the world, just frustrating.
chantress_songchantress_song on February 20th, 2016 03:54 am (UTC)
I don't use GarageBand, so I have nothing useful to add to this particular discussion, but I wanted to tell you that "podfarr" is a brilliant, highly accurate phrase and I fully intend to make use of it in future. JSYK. :D
happyhanabihappyhanabi on February 28th, 2016 03:11 am (UTC)
I wish I could take credit for it! It's in pretty common use in podfic fandom, and I don't know who invented it, but it's perfect, isn't it?