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Recording the Podcast Audio in GarageBand

Now on to the fun part: recording your podcast. At this point, you can close iWeb or leave it open in the background and launch GarageBand. If you’ve ever used GarageBand before, you know that it is a powerful and easy to use audio application. For those that are new to it, I’ll provide a brief overview of the controls needed to create a podcast.

GarageBand 3 (the version included with iLife ’06) comes with podcasting in mind. When you launch the application, the first dialog box asks what type of project you want to create. One of the options is New Podcast Episode, which is the one you should choose if you’re creating a podcast (see Figure 3). GarageBand opens with an environment designed for creating podcasts. You are then asked to give your project a file name and choose where on your hard drive to save it (the default location being the GarageBand folder in your Music folder).

Figure 3

Figure 3 GarageBand’s New Project dialog box

As you can see in Figure 4, the default display for podcast creation includes the iLife Media Browser to the right, the GarageBand main track display and editor (in an incarnation designed for podcast editing) to the left. You will notice that there are five tracks that are auto-created for a new podcast episode: Podcast, Male Voice, Female Voice, Jingles, and Radio Sounds.

Figure 4

Figure 4 The GarageBand "Podcast Studio"

With the exception of the Podcast track, which can contain artwork, text information, and links, the remaining auto-generated tracks can be used or not used at your discretion. If you feel that you need only one track, you can delete the others or simply not record or import audio to them. If you want to rename the tracks or add additional tracks, you can do that as well. To rename a track, simply click the track name and type in the new name. To delete a track, select and press Delete on the keyboard.

To record to a track, select that track and click the Record button (the circle with a red circle inside it) in the toolbar between the track display and the editor at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see a colored bubble appear in the track as you record (along with a sound wave of the recording) and you’ll see the red marker line moving in time with the recording. To silence the mic without stopping the recording, click the Record button again (and click again to reenable the mic). To stop recording, click the Start/Stop Playback button in the toolbar (the one that looks like a Play button on a DVD or CD player).

Notice that each time you click the record button, a new bubble is created in the track. Each of these bubbles represents separate audio segments that can be moved by clicking and dragging them to arrange or splice them together. You can also place the cursor into a single segment in the editor at the bottom of the screen (which displays only the selected track), at which point it becomes a cross-hair. Any area you select with the cross-hair cursor is split into a separate segment that can be moved independently, which gives you a lot of editing power in terms of moving portions of your recording around.

You can also select each audio segment and then use the Track Info pane to apply various effects to that segment. To view the Track Info pane, click the button that looks like an "i" in a circle in the toolbar. The Track Info pane replaces the iLife Media Browser (see Figure 5). You can redisplay the Media Browser by clicking the Media Browser button next to the Track Info button.

Figure 5

Figure 5 Recording audio segments and using the Track Info pane

Although you can record into any track you want, each track has a sound enhancer applied to improve the recording for a specific type of sound (that is, male or female voice). You can adjust the selected sound enhancer or replace the enhancer with a special effect by selecting the entire track and then opening the Track Info pane and clicking the disclosure triangle next to the word Details to display the Effects options (if they are not displayed already).

If you record multiple tracks (which need to be recorded one at a time on most systems), you can then adjust the volume, left/right stereo sound, and ducking of each track using the controls displayed in the Mixer column next to the name of each track. Ducking, which is controlled by the up/down arrows at the right edge of the track controls, determines that a track is louder (up selected) or softer (down selected) than all other tracks. Track volume is controlled using the volume sliders, and stereo playback is controlled using the virtual left/right dial.

You can also add recorded audio from other GarageBand projects or your iTunes library by displaying the iLife Media Browser (if it isn’t already displayed) and selecting the Audio tab (see Figure 6). This tab allows you to display any GarageBand projects that you created as well as any playlists in your iTunes library. You can add any of these audio files to a podcast by clicking the name of the song or project and dragging it to an empty track. You can then apply any effects or mixing to it in the same way you would a recorded track.

Figure 6

Figure 6 Adding audio to a track using the iLife Media Browser

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