LibriVox Video Tutorials

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Great Plains
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Post by Great Plains » November 19th, 2009, 7:33 am

For your consideration, the scripts for videos 2 and 3. I discovered in writing this that my plans for video #2 were way, way too ambitious for a single video, so I decided to split it up into 3: downloading and installing Audacity, etc (#2); recording basics (#3); and uploading the file to LV (#4 pending).

Also, these videos are very long because they have a broad and complex scope. My plans for future videos are much narrower in scope and should thus be much shorter (1 or 2 minutes).

#2 is about 650 words (about 4:20 to 4:40 play time)
LibriVox Tutorial #2 - Getting Started

Welcome to LibriVox video tutorials #2. In the next three video tutorials, we are going to be covering the basics of how to set up your computer for recording, how to record, and how to submit that recording to LibriVox.

To record for LibriVox, you're going to need a few things:

1) Audio recording software (free)
2) Audio encoding software (free)
3) A microphone (not free)
4) An account on the LibriVox forums (free)
5) A little bit of quiet time (not free)

LibriVox does not have many technical requirements, and if you already have a recording set up, you can continue to use the software and hardware you are already using. Be sure to consult the LibriVox wiki at wiki.librivox.org for details.

[On Screen:
sample rate: 44100 hz
sample format: 16 bit
MP3 bit rate: 128 kbps
]

This video is a complete newbie's guide to setting up a recording environment from scratch.

The most common audio recording software among LibriVox volunteers is Audacity. Audacity is a free program that works with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Let's download it now by going to audacity.sourceforge.net and selecting one of the download links.

As of this recording, there are two versions available: the 1.2 series and the 1.3 series. If your computer can handle it (and most likely it can), I suggest the 1.3 series. It has all of the cool new features that we'll be using in later video tutorials. However, if you find that the 1.3 series doesn't work well on your computer, you might have better luck with the 1.2 series. It's just as good for all the basic tasks, and it'll get you started.

Click on the version you have selected, and click on the file you want to download. Do not close this webpage.

Once Audacity finishes downloading, you'll have to install it. The process for installing Audacity varies depending on your operating system. There should be instructions on the download page to walk you through the process.

Once you finish installation, return to the download page.

When you record audio, you record it in an uncompressed format called Au. Au files are huge, way too big for the Internet to handle comfortably, but they are okay on your computer. So when you're done recording and editing, you're going to compress your file into another format called MP3. You're most likely familiar with MP3 files from the music on your iPod. MP3 files are much smaller than Au files, and they can be easily uploaded and downloaded to the Internet.

So we're going to need software to do this compressing. The software we're going to use is called LAME. Fortunately, there is a link right here on the Audacity download page. Click on it and follow the appropriate instructions for your operating system to install it.

Now that you have Audacity and LAME installed, you're going to need a microphone. Many computers these days come with microphones built-in, but these are generally low quality. Your best bet is to purchase an inexpensive USB microphone. They come in hand-held and head-set varieties, and they shouldn't cost more than about $30.

I recommend you get a USB microphone. Try to avoid analog audio jack microphones. The reason is something called "DC offset", which we'll be covering in a future video. If you buy a USB microphone, you don't even have to worry about it.

Now we're ready to record. First, plug in your microphone. Your operating system should automatically detect it and configure everything. The very first time you plug it in, it may take a few moments for the operating system to install all the appropriate bits.

Next, launch Audacity.

In the next video, we'll talk about how to get all your new recording equipment to work together and the basics of recording with Audacity. And in the third video, we'll see how to upload your recording to LibriVox.

Thank you for watching!
#3 is 990 words (about 6:30 to 7:00 play time).
LibriVox Tutorial #3 - The Hope of Audacity

Welcome to LibriVox video tutorials #3. In this video, we will make our first LibriVox recording using Audacity. Before you begin, please watch video #2 for instructions about how to set up your microphone and install Audacity and related software.

If you have not already, start Audacity.

If it's your first time starting Audacity, your operating system may ask for verification that this is a safe program to run.

This is the main Audacity window. You will be spending most of your recording and editing time here. In future videos, we'll cover the various tools you'll need and how to get everything configured. But for now, we're just concerned with the very basics.

The first thing we want to do is go into Audacity preferences to make sure the recording device is our microphone. If it is not, go ahead and change it now. Also, make sure the "Channels" is set to "1 (Mono)". All LibriVox recordings should be mono tracks. Stereo tracks require twice as much room, and they don't offer any benefit for our purposes. If you accidentally record in stereo, you can fix it during editing.

Next, go to "Quality" and make sure the "Default Sample Rate" is set to 44100 Hz. You can also confirm that your current recording is using the correct sample rate by viewing the "Project Rate" toolbar down here.

To record, click on the red "Record" button, or press "R". While you record, you can watch the waveform here, and you can check the input levels here. You want to make sure the waveform and the input levels don't get too high, but you want to make sure they are as high as they can be. It is a balancing act, and we'll cover volume control in a future video.

When you're done recording, click on the yellow "Stop" button.

If you make a mistake, simply stop talking for a few moments and then repeat the text from the beginning of the sentence. You can delete your mistakes by stopping the recording, selecting the mistake, and pressing the "Delete" key.

To restart the recording, set the cursor at the end of the recording and press the record button again. The new recording will be in a new track. At the end of the recording, you can move the tracks around with the move tool.

A new feature in the 1.3 series of Audacity is the ability to resume recording by pressing Shift+R. This will cause the new recording to be automatically appended to the end of the last recording.

The LibriVox standard is to have at least 5 seconds of silence at the end of the recording to act as a buffer [on screen: 10 seconds for recordings greater than 30 minutes]. You can let the microphone record 5 seconds of silence. Or you can put the cursor at the end of the recording by clicking on the "Skip to End" button, and then generating five seconds of silence by going to Generate->Silence, enter 5 seconds, and click "OK".

If you find that an entire track is of an insufficient quality, you can delete the entire track by clicking on the "X" button on the left header bar.

You can zoom in and out by clicking on the "Zoom in" and "Zoom out" icons, or by pressing Control [on screen: Command on Mac] and using your mouse's scroll wheel.

When you finish your recording, play it through and listen for any mistakes. You can go back to the beginning of the file by clicking on the "Skip to Start" button. Then click on the "Play" button. If you find a mistake, simply highlight the mistake and press the "Delete" key.

Of course, like all computer work, be sure to save early and save often. Go to File->Save Project, and give the recording a name. Audacity creates two files: a folder containing a bunch of audio bits and chunks, and a Project file.

All LibriVox projects have a standard format dictating file names. The format can be found in the first post of the project's thread. This rule only applies to the final MP3 file, but I find it simplest to start with the correct name from the beginning.

When you've finished your recording and you're ready to show it to the world, you must export it. Go to File->Export. This will bring up the Metadata window. You can also access the Metadata window by going to File->Open Metadata Editor.

Metadata is how you tell the computer or the iPod what the recording is about and who the author is. All LibriVox projects have a standard for what data should be in each of the fields of the metadata. You can find the standard in the first post of the project's thread. Usually, the "Artist Name" is the author, the "Track Title" is the chapter number and name, and the "Album Title" is the title of the book. Leave "Track Number", "Year", and "Genre" blank. You can optionally put your own name or website in the "Comments" field.

Click OK to close the metadata editor and open the save dialog box.

Make sure the name of the file conforms to the project's requirements. If you named the Audacity file appropriately from the start, this should already be taken care of for you.

Make sure the "Format" is "MP3 Files". Rarely, a LibriVox project will want another format, and you can change that here.

Click on "Options". Make sure "Bit Rate Mode" is set to "Constant" and "Quality" is set to "128 kbps". Click "OK".

Click "Save" to export your recording as an MP3 file. Depending on the length of your recording, this process can take several minutes.

Now that you have a completed recording, you need to upload it to LibriVox. But we'll be covering that in the next video. Thank you for watching!
Daniel, the Cylon
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TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » November 19th, 2009, 7:54 am

"You're most likely familiar with MP3 files from the music on your iPod."
- [whiney voice] Do we haaaave to say iPod? [/whiney voice] I hate advertising a certain brand. Or is it considered a universal name for an MP3 player, like Kleenex is for a facial tissue?

LAME - many people don't know they have to install it, not just download it. Any way to make this clearer?

---

"A new feature in the 1.3 series of Audacity is the ability to resume recording by pressing Shift+R. This will cause the new recording to be automatically appended to the end of the last recording."
- Or Shift while clicking the Record button

"Metadata is how you tell the computer or the iPod"
- or the /MP3 player/ :wink:
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Post by Cori » November 19th, 2009, 11:35 am

LOL at Hope of Audacity!

"All you need is a microphone, an understandability in your preferred languages, and a little bit of courage." I'm not sure I'd understand understandability if I hadn't read this discussion.

How about:

"All you need is a microphone and a little bit of courage. You can record in any language that you speak clearly."

"All you need is a microphone and a little bit of courage. Record in any language you speak (as long as native speakers can understand you, it doesn't matter about accents or dialects!)"
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

Great Plains
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Post by Great Plains » November 19th, 2009, 7:17 pm

TriciaG wrote:"You're most likely familiar with MP3 files from the music on your iPod."
- [whiney voice] Do we haaaave to say iPod? [/whiney voice] I hate advertising a certain brand. Or is it considered a universal name for an MP3 player, like Kleenex is for a facial tissue?
I've always used is as a genericized trademark. I don't like "mp3 player" because that's kind of a tautology. How about "portable music player"?
LAME - many people don't know they have to install it, not just download it. Any way to make this clearer?
You know, I've never actually installed LAME myself. I think my computer has always had it pre-installed or something. Hmm. Nevertheless, I'll see what I can do. But I don't want to really clutter this up, so maybe I can make installing LAME in detail an entirely separate video. Like "Video Tutorial 2: Supplemental!"
Cori wrote:"All you need is a microphone and a little bit of courage. You can record in any language that you speak clearly."
This one me likes. Which means ...


LibriVox Video Tutorial #1 uploaded to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-cUv2yGzAs

The high-def version is still being processed by YouTube as I type this.
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Jc
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Post by Jc » November 19th, 2009, 7:54 pm

AWESOME!

EDIT: I created a page in the Wiki to display your guides.
http://wiki.librivox.org/index.php/Video_Guides
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Hazel Pethig
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Post by Hazel Pethig » November 19th, 2009, 9:09 pm

What an excellent video! Very well done

--Hazel :D
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Post by Lucy_k_p » November 20th, 2009, 4:29 am

That's excellent.
So little space, so much to say.

Great Plains
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Post by Great Plains » November 20th, 2009, 5:16 am

Thanks! I guess I'll continue with vid 2 then :-)
Daniel, the Cylon
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Cori
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Post by Cori » November 20th, 2009, 5:20 am

Vid 1 is made of Pure Awesome ... looking forward to #2. :D
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

russiandoll
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Post by russiandoll » November 20th, 2009, 5:27 am

Lovely! :clap:
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Post by dii » November 20th, 2009, 6:06 am

Great video! I'll watch them all and maybe will learn something new! :mrgreen:

Thanks for making these videos!
Diana

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Post by RuthieG » November 20th, 2009, 6:11 am

That is very good. :thumbs:

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Post by KiltedDragon » November 20th, 2009, 6:18 am

That was awesome, Daniel. Great Job!!!
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Post by aravis » November 20th, 2009, 2:12 pm

Wow, that's awesome! :D

Elli
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Post by kayray » November 20th, 2009, 2:13 pm

Fantastic! I'm about to embed it on my blog. Thank you so very much! I can't wait for more.
Kara
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--------
"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

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