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Chapter 20. Editing > General Editing Guidelines

General Editing Guidelines

As with any creative activity, there are about as many approaches as there are players. From the various techniques used in digital editing, the following are a few generally accepted guidelines. Editing tips specific to dialogue, sound effects, and music are listed in the appropriate sections later in this chapter.

  • It is physically easier and sonically cleaner to select the in and out edit points at silent spots in the track.

  • If there is no silent spot, listen and look for the attack of a dynamic, such as a hard consonant, a percussive hit, or other transient sound. The best place to edit is just before the dynamic. The quick burst of its onset usually provides enough separation from the preceding sound (see 20-6).

    20-6 Editing before the dynamic. The best places to edit in this example are just before the hard consonants in the words “can,” “together,” and “dear.”

    Stuart Provine

  • If it is not possible to find a silent or well-defined point in the track, start and end the edit at zero crossings. A zero crossing is the point where the waveform crosses the centerline. It denotes a value of zero amplitude and divides the positive (upper) and negative (lower) parts of the waveform. This technique brings little unwanted audio to the edit when segments are pasted together.

  • If the zero-crossing technique still yields too much unwanted sound at the edit point, crossfading smoothes the edit. A crossfade fades out one segment while fading in another and requires sufficient material on either side of the edit point with which to work (see 20-7). Crossfades can vary in length from a few seconds to a few milliseconds. The audibility of a crossfade of a few milliseconds is virtually imperceptible.

    20-7 Fades dialog box. This command allows several different fade-out/fade-in curves from which to choose in crossfading between two adjoining regions.

    Douglas Quin, Ph.D.

  • Editing during a continuous sound tends to be obvious because it usually interrupts the sustain. It is better to move the edit to the beginning of the next sound, particularly if the subsequent sound is loud, because the new sound distracts the ear.

  • In performing a fade-in, when a signal increases in amplitude from silence to the desired level over a period of time, or a fade-out, when a signal gradually decreases to silence, the rates of increase or decrease can vary. The rate of a fade’s curve can be linear—constant over the length of the fade; logarithmic—starting quickly and then slowly tapering off at the end; or S-type—starting quickly, slowing toward the middle, and then speeding up toward the end.

  • Avoid using time-based effects, such as reverb and delay, during recording. It makes pasting sections from different tracks difficult because they may not match. Dry tracks are far easier to edit because they provide a more uniform sound.


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