Tips & Tricks

Converting Conference Messages to MP3

Scope

Describe the steps to edit (polish) the recorded messages and convert them to MP3 using Audacity. The instructions below pertain to version 1.3.13 which was in Beta at the time of this writing.

Considerations

The following presuppose the message has been recorded using Audacity (version 1.2.6 at press time) and that you have access to the source Audacity files of the recording.

The goal is to create two files to post to the website:

Process

Making the Recordings

Single, All-In-One, File

The following process is to create a single mp3 file of the entire meeting. This file can be played directly from the website (streamed). However there are not 'chapters or tracks' which makes navigation or starting up where you left off more difficult. This will yeild a single track perhaps up to 2 hours long. This process also lowers the quality of the mp3 file so as to make the file as small as possible.
For the small, single mp3 file:
  1. Open the original Audacity File (it may still be open.)
  2. Trim any unneeded parts of the audio, using Edit-->Cut, or just highlight and then use the delete key.
  3. Once the project is saved, select the entire project and then select Effects >> Normalize and be sure the checkbox is checked to remove the DC offset. Then select OK.
    Audacity_Normalize.gif
    The Normalized value of -0.2 is desired but the default value of -1 is OK also.
    This process may take a minute or so.
  4. Amplify or Reduce Volume on any portions by highlighting thefect- section, and using Effects->Amplify Use negative numbers to reduce volume, positive to amplify. Try numbers like 3, 5 or 10 and and use "undo" if it doesn't sound right. Once a desired amplification is determined, it can easily be repeated for other similar portions by using command-R
  5. Effect-->Fade In or Fade Out is also sometimes helpful at the beginning and ending.
  6. If it is already mono, go to step (7).
    If recorded in stereo, convert to mono by clicking the audio track title bar just to right of the X (close) box on the audio track (typically says Audio Track in title bar), and selected Split Stereo To Mono :
    Audacity_SplitTracksToMono.gif
  7. Then click the X (close) box for the second track to delete it.
    Audacity_DeleteOneChannel.gif
  8. Click the audio track title bar, then Set Sample Format and set the sample format to 16bit pcm. This takes a minute for the conversion to occur.
    Audacity16BitPCM.gif
  9. Use File-->Export.  In the Save as Type drop down, select the type of MP3 Files... 
  10. Navigate to the proper directory (creating it if necessary, one directory per message) and name file (as Msg01.mp3, etc), and select MP3 under the Format menu.  Click the Options and use the settings for minimum size:
    Audacity_MP3Options.gif
    1. Bit Rate Mode: Variable
    2. Quality: 9, 45-85 kbps
    3. Variable Speed: Fast
    4. Channel Mode: Stereo
    5. OK when done
  11. Click Save and a dialog box will appear. Type in the tag data. Suggestions are (substitute dates and titles accordingly):
    Audacity_MP3MetaData.gif
  12. Save tag using Save... so that you don't have to retype it. The saving process will take a few minutes.
    (Note: if this is the first time you've used Audacity to export mp3, it may ask you to locate the libmp3lam.dylib file which can be freely downloaded from http://lame.buanzo.com.ar/)
  13. Select Ok to save the file

Multiple-Files

This process will yeild multiple track files in a single album. Each track will be 5 minutes in length. The quality will be higher. Playing these files makes it easier to navigate (jump in 5-minute increments) and to pick up where you left off.

Follow same steps as above, except when you get to step (9), jump back here and proceed as follows:
Prepare the Labels for Multiple Tracks
Click on the menu item Analyze then select Regular Interval Labels...
Audacity_Analyze.gif
Audacity_RegularIntervalLabels.gif
  1. Time to place first label: 0
  2. Label placement method: Label interval
  3. Label interval: 300 (this produces multiple smaller files, 300 seconds or 5 minutes for each track.)
  4. Label text: _S13Msg01 (etc...). This indicates the conference was in the Spring of 2013. The leading underscore will seperate this text from the auto generated track numbers. The result will be 01_S13Msg01, etc.
  5. Minimum # of Digits in Label: 2 (before label) This will cause single digit tracks to have a leading zero: 01, 02, etc.
  6. Add final label: Yes
  7. Adjust label interval to fit length?: No
  8. Click Okay (This produces a Label Track)
    Audacity_LabelTrack.gif
    Note: In the picture above the labels are at each one minute. This was done for documentation purposes. Your labels should be at 5 minute intervals and may be bunched really close together depending on your zoom setting.
Export the file as Multiple Tracks
  1. File-->Export Multiple...
    Audacity_ExportMultiple_1.gif
  2. Export format: mp3 files
    Audacity_ExportMultiple_2.gif
  3. Click Options...
    Audacity_ExportMultiple_3.gif
  4. Bit Rate Mode: Variable
  5. Quality: 4, 145-185 kbps (this results in a higher quality than the all-in-one file above.)
  6. Variable Speed: Fast
  7. Channel Mode: Stereo
  8. Click Okay to get back to Export Multiple Dialog box
    audacityExportMulti.gif.gif
  9. Make sure the Export Location is as desired
    Note: It is best if you DO NOT build these files in the website directory. For example, store in
    C:/Media/Conferences/Messages/EdMarks/Apr2011/F10msg01, etc.
  10. Split files based upon:
    1. Labels radio control (no change)
  11. Name files: 
    1. Select the option for: Using Label/Track Name
  12. Click Export button
    Select Yes if prompted to create a non-existent directory.
  13. Type in tags substituting the proper title and date. Is should remember the last values. If not, and you saved your settings, you can load them. The entries should match what is above in step on Meta Data.
    1. Now click OK.
      You will be prompted to click OK as many times as there are tracks. So just keep clicking OK. Track numbers increment though everything else remains the same.
    2. Audacity will now create mp3 files for each section. When done it will display a dialog showing all the files it created. Select OK.
    3. You can close Audacity now as you are done with it. (Save the project when prompted if you haven't already.)
    4. NOTE: This results in a bunch of files with the track # in front of the filename (02_F11Msg03.mp3) and the track titles are all the same (F11Msg03). Need to figure out what steps are needed to get the track titles to include the track number.
    Zip the files
    1. Use windows explorer to navigate to where Audacity stored the individual track files
    2. Select all of the small MP3 files - the ones with the sequence numbers (01-02)
    3. Right click select 7-Zip 
    4. Then select the item "Add to <file name>.zip" where <file name> is the name of the message you are working on.
    5. Copy the Zipped file AND the single MsgX file (large, all-in-one file) to the website directory where the message files are stored (C:/Website/ChurchInSpokane/Messages/EdMarks/Apr2011/
    6. If you want, you can delete the unzipped small files back in the 'raw files' directory (not in the website directory.)

    Update Website

    Ideally someone familiar with website editing will have already setup the web page and created the text and links. You should only need to FTP the files to the proper location on the website insuring the filenames are in the expected format. They are case sensitive. E.g. Msg01.zip and Msg01.mp3.

    Below is a quick list for someone familiar with editing web pages.
    1. Open Nvu and navigate to the ministry messages directory.
    2. Open the index.htm file.
    3. Edit the page accordingly and create the links to the files. Note that the files may not yet be on the site so you may have to type the link location (cannot select a file that isn't there.)
    4. Save the page when done.

    Post The Files to the Website

    1. Open FileZilla.
    2. Connect to the Church in Spokane website. (Hopefully you can simple click the button to connect to the last connected server.)
    3. Insure the Toggle Synchronized Browsing selecting is selected so that when you navigate on one side the other site will follow.
    4. On the left side of page, navigate to the folder messages/EdMarks/April2011
    5. Make sure the corresponding location on the webserver is also opened (e.g. messages/EdMarks/...)
    6. You should see on the left (PC side) the message files you just copied there.
    7. Control and select the two files that you would like to move to the online server example (message3 large Mp3 and message 3 Zipped files). Also select the index.htm file if you recently edited it.
    8. Drag the files over to the right side of the page.
    9. You should be able to see a bar with a percentage of files being uploaded to the web.  

    Lev 25:32 (note 1)