Episode 38 : The Wonders of Editing

by Ian

in Audio, Editing, Podcast, Technology

Audio editing is easier than you think!

Unfortunately there is some fear of editing, especially when you first see editing software but it needn’t be so. In this episode of Create Your Life Story we’ll look at some of simple things that you can do to make your recording amazing.

Basic editing with an 80% in improvement of your recording is quite easy to achieve. Sure to get professional results you may need to put in more effort but for most of us, particularly as we’re primarily working with voice  and in a relatively controlled environment, we can achieve quite spectacular results with minimal effort. The biggest effort is the time involved in going through the audio in it’s entirety.

Record & Edit My LIfe Story

Hindenburg Recording and Editing Software

Five Aspects of Editing

Audio editing can include as much or as little as you want to be involved with but it involves a few simple aspects

  • Removal of any unwanted recording
  • Rearrangement of segments
  • Enhancement of quality
  • Chapterise into manageable sizes
  • Addition of music and sound effects

The most important aspect of editing audio is the removal of all the lumps and bumps of a conversation. When listening back to a conversation the natural interruptions which are tolerated during a face to face conversation because of the non verbal cues will only hinder the listener and it’s much better if the bulk of these are removed. There is no need to be obsessive with this but for some people with stammers and multiple pauses, particularly if brought on by a medical condition, they can be helped with editing out the bulk of these in order to improve the listening experience. The trick is to improve the audio without removing the personality from the audio. Note: Sometimes the pauses say more than the words.

With any long conversation covering as much history as a Life Story, there will be some tendency to rehash items or return and mention something additional that fits elsewhere in the timeline. These items can be removed and rearranged into whatever order is more appropriate.

Edit Your Life Story with Audacity

Audacity Editing Software

You could be discussing a topic that needs to have all the audio clips combined together to make sense of that topic or maybe it’s important to maintain the order so as to get the importance of the development of a subject. All these things can be achieved by rearranging the audio. It’s even possible to reuse audio to make a point that was mentioned earlier.

Often the quality of the audio could do with a little enhancement. Maybe removing a little of the background rumble that we normally don’t notice, particularly in cities. This can be done with the equalisation features available in most editing programmes or using compression to bring quiet passages up to the level of the rest of the conversation. Programmes like The Levelator can help with this to bring all the audio to the approximate same level.

Again using the technical aspects of enhancement will only improve the listening experience and is well worth experimenting with to see the results that can be achieved.

Music and sound effects can take an adequate listening experience into the realms of a unique listening experience. Music can add emotion almost like nothing else and I would recommend using it at the beginning and end of a chapter of audio to ease into and out of the conversation. Particularly using music that is classic for the era that’s being discussed can create the feeling of those times.

Effects can add an almost subliminal nature to the conversation, placing you in the time being discussed. Background atmosphere of a summer thunderstorm rolling in while chatting about that big storm many years ago will help to create a feel for the time and events.

Edit Your Life Story on Garage Band

Garage Band from Apple iLife

All or nothing it’s up to you

The thing with editing is that it’s there to enhance your project. The first and foremost importance is to make the recordings. If considering the editing causes you to feel overwhelmed, ignore it for the moment but if during recording you screw up something just repeat it knowing that you can fix it in editing and if it’s never fixed at least the information is still there.

If you do take the time to tidy the audio up with some simple gap tightening and umm removal or go the whole hog and create a radio documentary style with effects and music you’ll improve the audio to create a better listening experience for others.

It’s easy to make significant improvements easily once you have the conversation recorded. Then you can let your creativity flow.


  1. Recording the conversation is always first priority
  2. Remove the stammers, interruptions and unnecessary conversation
  3. Chapterise the Life Story
  4. Add music to suit the era or personality
  5. Include effects if necessary


Have you heard some audio that has taken you breath away? Let us know in the comments below.

Interesting Links from this Post

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Music is from

Carles Cases
“Rosita Please” (mp3)
from “Tribute to Humphrey (Recomposed 3)”
(Temps Record)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album


Kermit Ruffins
“Panama” (mp3)
from “Happy Talk”
(Basin Street)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

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