Thread: voice editing
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Old 05-03-2006, 05:57 PM  
Art Evans
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Art's guide to speech editing in Reaper:

Reaper can be used as an excellent speech editor, even though it does not have the traditional single-file "edit view" of programs such as Cool Edit / Audition. Its multitrack view can of course be used with a single file on a single track, and the functionality of an "edit view" is provided by its ripple editing features.

To turn on ripple editing, look for the group of six square buttons to the right of the waveform window. The ripple editing button is the rightmost on the top of the two rows of buttons there. A tooltip will pop up to identify it when you hover the mouse cursor over it, and will also show which of its three possible states it is in....

Ripple editing disabled
Ripple editing enabled (if you click it once)
Ripple editing enabled - all tracks (if you click it twice)

When editing on a single track, there is still an advantage in having the third "all tracks" state enabled, because that will ensure that markers (and envelopes) move appropriately as you edit. In the advice that follows, I will assume that you have got "ripple editing enabled - all tracks" switched on.

Another initial setup worth considering is whether you want auto crossfading enabled, and whether you want to have a default crossfade length specified at edit points.

"Options > Automatically adjust fades on overlapping items" causes crossfades to automatically be created covering the overlapped part of items. "Options > Preferences > Editing > Default fade shape / length" specifies what crossfade will be created at edit points - to turn it off, specify a zero length. The advantage of having a very small default crossfade specified is that it avoids clicks if the edit is not at a "zero crossing" point. I'd suggest having a small default crossfade enabled, and to leave the automatic crossfade option ticked too.

Now to start editing. Assuming that you've got your file inserted into track one using "Insert > Media File" - or using the Media Explorer window - start playing to the first edit point.

When you get to that point, you can either type "m" as it passes to drop a marker on the fly.

Or, you press "enter" to pause nearby, then by clicking on what looks like the right point in the waveform and pressing the spacebar to play, you can pin down the exact point. Click on that point and type "m" to create a marker while the transport is stopped.

Note that while playing, if you click beneath the track or above the track, playback will immediately restart from the point you clicked, and this too is very handy to pin down the edit point. (If you click ON the track, playback continues, but will commence from that point next time you start playback).

Having established the "in" point for the edit, continue playing back until the "out" point, and repeat the procedure just described to place a marker for that "out" point.

If you want to finely adjust the location of the markers, you can drag the orange marker "flag" at the top of the screen.Having dragged it, click on it again and that will make the playback cursor jump to the marker. Press spacebar to play from that point, to check the marker is in the right place.

Once you are satisfied that the markers for the "in" and "out" points are in the correct places, double-click on the timeline at the top of the screen, between the two numbered "flags" above the marker lines you've just created. The area between them will be highlighted.

To delete the portion now highlighted, there are a couple of alternative methods. You can right-click on the selection above or below the track (not on it) and choose "Remove contents of selection (moving later items)". Or, to use the keyboard only, type "S" - a capital S not a small one - which will cause the highlighted part of the item to be split from the rest, as a separate item. Then press the delete key to delete it. Because you have got "ripple editing all tracks" enabled, all material to the right of the deletion will be moved to the left, as will any later markers and envelopes. The "in" marker will disappear but the "out" marker will remain to show the location of the edit.

If when you play back the edit you decide that some adjustment is required, you can do so via the obvious "undo" mechanism, and then change the in or out points, or you can simply extend or reduce either the outgoing item or the incoming item by dragging the edges of the item, then slide the incoming item to left or right as appropriate, which will also move all items, markers and envelopes as well. If you increase the overlap between the outgoing and incoming items, you'll also create a longer crossfade between them. You can adjust the crossfade by dragging the vertical line representing its start or end, or by shift-dragging, you can move the crossfade and the edit point altogether.

So although no preview of the edit is provided (you can't skip the loop selection on playback in the current version of the program) it is very easy to adjust the edit afterwards, or of course to simply undo it.

The only downside to editing in a non-destructive way like this is that you've got to use the File > Render command when finished to create the new edited file. The upside of that is your original file is of course unchanged.

Using Reaper for speech editing is much quicker to do than to explain! But I hope these notes will enable you quickly to find out how easy it really is.

However - Justin - a keyboard shortcut for inserting or deleting time at the selection (is t and T taken already??) would be handy, as would the provision of "skip selection" playback to preview an edit before it is made (though that's a bigger ask, I realise).
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