So we’re back from our trip and I’ve got several hours of recordings. Something I’ve been trying to figure out is how to turn the recordings I make of my family into more of a finished product. Over the years I’ve accumulated something over 600 recordings. Just like a huge stack of photos or a bunch of videos, the recordings are fine by themselves to a point, but they are often long and have lots of dead space in them. Or they may be full of just ambiance, but it’s 90 min and really 3-5min is more than enough.
How to edit this down? How do I make this something that is more entertaining, and has more of a structure?
The normal process is to start with a story idea, go collect audio based on that idea, then piece it together in a way that tells the story. But what if there’s no story at the start?
The good news is that the audience is very forgiving, if a bit small – me and my family, maybe a bit of extended family – and the story doesn’t have to be of NPR or even podcast caliber.
The bad news is that there isn’t an established process for forming a story from a bunch of raw audio. At least, I haven’t found one. So I’ve come to a basic strategy and we’ll see how it works:
- Listen to the tape, and see what the common themes emerge. For example, on this recent trip I made much more of an effort to get family banter so there is more discussion of the ‘Are you recording this?’ line along with discussion about which is better, audio or video in the beginning and then the discussion changes over the trip as recording became a bit more accepted (or they just got resigned to it). Another was that as we drove from one part of main to another we started to run into places being closed and it became a running joke.
- List these themes and the chronology of events.
- Form a story structure of the events & themes.
- Go back to the audio for the bits that support those items & pull the clips.
- Assemble the piece, using narration to fill the gaps as necessary.
I have no idea if this will work or no, but it’s the best I can come up with so It’s what I’m doing.
For what it’s worth, I’m using Hindenburg Journalist to do most of the editing, with Reaper being used to split up some of the polywav files.
Last but not least, what do I call the result? In the interest of helping whoever else might be trying to do the same thing, what do we call the audio version of home movies or a scrapbook?