Friday, 20 November 2009

Sight and Sound in concert!


This week CC director Ali Muirden's husband Al talks about editing audiobooks.
In my last Blog entry, I talked about the myriad tasks I have become involved with to assist Ali and Lorelei in as many ways as I can…

One of the more important jobs that I have most recently got involved with is checking and editing audio content…

Creative Content is an audio publishing company, but it functions in much the same way as any publishing house - CC receives a manuscript from the author, then in most cases there is a period of editing required to get the text into a finished piece that can then be recorded or made into eBOOK format…

The main thing that sets CC apart is that Ali and Lorelei actually comission the content rather than wait to receive a manuscript out of the blue, thus avoiding having to make a decision to publish or not…in CC’s case that decision was made BEFORE receipt of the manuscript…

A reader is then chosen (not an easy task !) a studio booked and the finished text recorded and a “check CD” produced - that’s the point at which the audio edit comes in..!

Now it may come as something of a surprise that the check CD is NOT the finished product…

There may be all manner of noises on the audio files, there may also be re-takes and fluffs, gaps may need extending and so on - depending on the amount of time available, some of these will have already been fixed by the studio, but if time constraints come into play, there may still be a lot of tidying to be done…

One other important point to consider is that it’s sometimes difficult to be objective DURING the recording - a period away from the finished recording is very helpful - hearing it again a few days later when it has had it’s first proper edit, often allows Ali or Lorelei have a better perspective on what the finished product should end up being… especially as one or both of them will have actually produced the recording on the day…

So - what’s the big deal I hear you ask?

Well, to get to a point where the recording is “finished” and ready for sale, the audio has to go through this editing process and we utilise a combination of the senses of hearing and SIGHT… Yes, I did say SIGHT - to amend the recorded text you have to be able to SEE it as well as HEAR it !

In the accompanying picture, you can see what is known as the “waveform” - this is the visualisation of the audio and is what we use to listen and VIEW the sound, making changes as required (this particular example is from “Pulling Power - Pick Up Tips for Girls").

Editing is a painstaking process of listening and picking out the areas that need adjustment and then using the visual view of the audio to cut/paste/extend as appropriate until the file is ready for mastering - this is where the audio levels are all brought into harmony - the track is then finally ready…

So to edit audio in this digital world, we need to be able to SEE IT as well as HEAR IT - strange but true - you need a eagle eyes as well as the ears of an owl - it can be a lot of work, but it’s a crucial part of the production process…you gotta love it ! - Al Muirden

2 comments:

  1. Interesting. I'm especially interested in audiobooks and am a fan of LK. As an author, I'm seeing more outlets for self e-publishing; however studio quality is not easy to attract. I've tried some home audio and can understand a little of difficulties.

    Re: venture with crime. With a number of authors holding previously published traditional book rights now, are you thinking of widening your compass after crime to review direct audiobk submissions from authors?

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  2. Hi Lois! Our agreement with Creme de la Crime is for ebooks only at the moment.

    As regards our audio list, we're sticking to non-fiction for the time being (but who knows what the future holds - we may move into fiction one day!). In terms of business, speech and self-improvement titles though, we do occasionally receive direct submissions - in fact, two of the titles in our 2010 schedule came to us as direct submissions! Like all publishers, we're always on the lookout for good, saleable ideas with a wide appeal.

    If I had my way, we'd do loads of audio fiction, but - as you say - studio quality is expensive. As I've said before, I'm not allowed near the chequebook - and Ali is rather set on her old-fashioned notion that businesses should aim for at least a LITTLE profit! :oD

    But watch this space - we're always adapting and growing.

    And thanks for your kind words about me - it's very cheering to know that people are listening... - Lorelei

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