Editing is a pain. Well, it is for most people at any rate.
I do know podcasters who get a lot of satisfaction out of editing. In the right context, I’m one of them. If you’re producing something slick, refined, highly edited, then it’s worth the result.
But, standard, day to day, common garden editing, where you’re removing mistakes, coughs and ummmms you just can’t bear to let slide. THAT’S a pain…
The problem is, the majority of us edit this stuff out by listening through our recording. You can speed it up in Audacity, giggle your way through that even-hilarious chipmunk voice, but even then it still takes quite a while.
Well, there’s a technique to cut this down in a huge way. It’s the way I always edit my normal episodes, those that need only that standard editing I mentioned before. It’s nothing new, I certainly didn’t invent it, but it’s so useful that I’m always surprised isn’t more widely used.
So, what is this method? Let’s have a look.
Clicking the Click
I'll include the detail below, but here's how it works.
Click editing, as the name suggests is a method by which you click into the microphone every time an edit’s needed.
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For example, I’m chatting away and suddenly my voice catches, I cough and need to take a drink. No worries, I simply pause for a few seconds, click my tongue into the mic 3 times, pause again and then continue.
Similar, if I’m talking and I suddenly realise I’ve missed the point, or I've made a mistake – the numbers were wrong or I’ve mixed up a fact – then I do the same.
Pause. 3 clicks. Pause. Continue.
Once you’ve finished your recording, load the file into Audacity (other DAWs are available…) and then zoom in a little. Start to scroll through, left to right, and watch out for gaps. If you’re on the right zoom, the gaps and the 3 clicks will be really, really obvious.
There’s no need to listen right through, no need to review – you’re relying on your clicks to show you places to edit.
When I find the edit point itself, here’s what I do. I hit play on the section right after the click, hear the re-recorded section, and then go back to find the right edit point. The corrected version will give you an indicator on the point at which you need to edit. You need to go back and find where you started that point the first time around.
Try to think about this edit when you re-start after the click. Think about something you said, just before the mistake and repeat from there. That repetition of phrasing makes this even quicker and easier.
Other Edit Points
I actually use this method for other types of edits too. For example, when I have to insert my scene transition, such as an advert, or a sting, then I’ll make TWO clicks instead. Or, perhaps I need to insert a short interview clip, again, two clicks.
When I see those double clicks, I know to listen for what to insert, rather than find a mistake to fix.
Using this method, I can edit a half hour show in probably 5 minutes or so. My average is, maybe, 5 to 10 edit points, which take probably 30 seconds each to edit. Then I pop in the music, save and export. Done!
Of course, you should always be listening to your own shows from time to time, refining your approach. But at least this way you don’t have to listen to every single one, and you can save a tonne of time in editing.
The Tricks with Clicks
Next time you’re recording, try it out.
If you make a mistake, just stop for a second, click your tongue 3 times, pause, then repeat the section using a similar starting word or phrase.
And if you're wondering about the rest of the editing process, check out the MEE Podcast Production process for super-quick editing.
It's a system for cleanup and editing that keeps things nice and simple, taking up little time, but also keeps the audio quality high.
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