photokaboom

Learn Photography

Photo Tips >

Audio Editing with Audacity

Audacity is a well-known audio editing program.

A donation is suggested.

The audio capabilities of slideshows is limited in Lightroom and Photoshop Elements.

You can edit your sound track with Audacity for these programs.

Audacity can import WAV, AIFF, and MP3 files.

If the FFmpeg library is installed, other formats may be imported.

A good source of music is Free Music Archive: Creative Commons.

Generally, you can use the music if you credit the author.

Check the license.

1 - Open, Play, & Stop

Go to File > Open, navigate to your music file, and click Open.

Nobara Hayakawa - "Trail" (03:26) was opened here.

Your screen looks like this.

The left channel is on top, the right channel, on the bottom.

The waveforms show the volume.

Click the green Play button.

q

A black line travels across the waveforms.

q

Click the brown/orange Stop button.

The Space bar alternates between play and stop.

2 - Choose Parts of the Music

Selection Tool

Make sure the Selection tool is selected.

q

Start Point

With the music stopped, click on the waveforms.

Press Play.

The music starts at the position where you clicked.

Press Stop.

Select a Section

Place your cursor on the black line, hold, and drag.

Press Play.

Only the the portion of the music that you selected plays.

Zoom Tool

If you need to select a certain length, you can zoom in on the waveforms and the timeline.

Select the Zoom tool.

Its below the Selection tool.

Click on the waveform repeatedly to zoom in.

To zoom out, press and hold the Shift key, and click on the waveform.

To return to the 1:1 or 100% view, press Ctrl + 2.

3 - Trim

Make sure the Selection tool is selected.

Select part of the waveforms.

Click on the waveforms, hold, and drag.

To trim the waveforms outside the selected portion, go to Edit > Remove Special > Trim Audio.

To undo, press Ctrl + z.

To redo, press Ctrl + y.

4 - Save As

Go to File > Save Project As to save your project.

A project is your work in Audacity.

The file extension for a project is .aup.

When you need to use the music in Lightroom or Photoshop Elements, you'll export it as a MP3 or other audio format.

Save Periodically

Press Ctrl + s as you work.

5 - Move the Trimmed Portion

Select the Time Shift tool.

q

Click and hold on the clip, and drag the music to the left.

When the clip is at the beginning of the timeline, a vertical yellow line appears.

Scroll Bar

q

Move the timeline to the left using the scroll bar, located below the waveforms.

To see more of the timeline, reduce the size of the waveforms with the Zoom tool.

6 - Add More Music

Krill.minima - "Sommerdellen" (03:39) was opened here.

Go to File > Import > Audio, navigate to another music file, and click Open.

The new music waveforms overlap the first music clip.

q

To move the new music waveforms, select the Time Shift tool.

Click and hold on the new music and drag it to the right.

A vertical yellow line appears when it's at the end of the first music clip.

q

7 - Fade Out & Fade In

Make sure the Selection tool is selected.

Select a portion of the first music clip at its end.

Go to Effect > Fade Out.

The volume is gradually reduced during the selected portion of the first music clip.

Select a portion of the new music at its beginning.

Go to Effect > Fade In.

The volume is gradually increased during the selected portion of the new music waveforms.

8 - Cross Fade

The music will become silent.

If that's not appropriate for your slideshow—overlap the fade out and fade in of the two clips—cross fade.

Select the Time Shift tool.

Drag the new music clip to the left.

q

9 - Record Narration

Go to File > New to open a new project.

Right click on the microphone icon and select Start Monitoring.

q

Speak and check the recording levels.

The volume should peak no higher than -6 dB.

If the levels are clipping, distorted, use the microphone sliders.

Click the red Record button.

When finished, click the brown/orange Stop button.

Go to File > Save Project As to save your project.

You may need to trim the beginning and end if they're blank.

As mentioned, the project file is used in Audacity only.

It's not an audio file that you can play.

To save your narration as an audio file, follow the directions below.

Next, go back to your music project.

Go to File > Import > Audio, navigate to your narration file, and click Open.

The narration clip is at the beginning of the music project.

You can move it, if needed.

Select the Time Shift tool.

Click and hold on the narration clip, and drag it to the right.

10 - Mix Narration with Music

q

11 - Exporting

WAV Format

Click on File > Export Audio.

The name presented is the name of your project.

Give the file a different name so the project file isn't confused with your WAV file.

Navigate to a location.

In the Format menu, select WAV (Microsoft) signed 16-bit PCM.

Click Save.

MP3 Format

First, you need to download and install the LAME MP3 encoder.

Then, click on File > Export Audio.

The name presented is the name of your project.

Give the file a different name so the project file isn't confused with your WAV file.

Navigate to a location.

In the Format menu, select MP3 files.

Click Options to set the bit rate and other options for the MP3 file.

You can choose between variable, average or constant bit rate.

Or, you can choose one of four common presets.

Click Save.