How to Even Out Sound Levels In Your Audio/Video Project

How Uneven Audio Happens In Your Projects

Sometimes, when you’re putting together an e-Learning project or even a simple  audio/video blog post, you end up with funky sounding audio levels.  Some parts of your clip seem louder, while others sound softer.  You may have seen this happen, too, when you conduct an audio interview with one or more people who are each at different distances from the microphone.  The folks who are closest to the microphone sound louder than those who are further away.  This is a leveling problem.

audio file that could use leveling

One way to fix this problem is to tweak your audio clips with an audio editor like Audacity (free), SoundForge (not free), Soundtrack Pro (even more not free), or something similar.  You would basically highlight the sections you want to make louder (or softer) and then use the Amplify effect in your audio editor to nudge it up (or down) in an attempt to “level out” the entire clip.  The thing is, that could be a lot of tweaking if you have a lot of interaction in your interview or if you’re compiling a lot of different audio files into the same project.  That’s where a free software tool called Levelator can help do the heavy lifting for you.

What Is Levelator?

Levelator is free software (available for Windows and Macintosh) that automagically adjusts the audio levels within your audio file for variations between one speaker and the next.  It’s like magic… only real.

In the video above you can see a before and after comparison of an audio file that I use to demonstrate Levelator.  Take a look.  I think you’ll be impressed.  (If not because of the ease with which this free software tool can help level your audio, then I’m certain you’ll be impressed with my rendition of “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers….”  😉

5 (plus 5 more!) Tools For Creating a Screencast

5 Free Tools

Sarah Kessler over at Mashable posted a nicely succinct piece today about 5 Free Tools For Creating a Screencast.  Included are:

If you’re testing your hand at screencasting, Sarah’s article is a nice list to get started with.

And Here’s 5 More!

From the list above, I might recommend Techsmith’s Jing as one to get started with.  Although, Articulate’s Screenr is pretty decent, as well.

That said, after the screencasting bug bites you, you’ll eventually want to start considering paid versions of screencasting software.  The main reason is because of the flexibility and robustness of editing, zoom/pans, callouts, to say nothing yet about the flexibility they afford in production settings.

For paid versions of screencasting software, I’ve long been had a hard-on (can I say that) for:

And, for the under $100 crowd, there’s:

  • Shinywhitebox’s iShowU family of products.
  • Animoto.com.  This is a nifty little tool that lets you create video slideshows.  It’s worth a looksee if you haven’t checked it out yet.  Prices range from Free to a couple of flavors of subscription plans.
  • and finally, I’d also add CamStudio.  (Not to be confused with Techsmith’s Camtasia Studio listed above.)  This on’e opensource / freeware.

What Else?

But, the field’s always changing.  Do you have any recommendations you think should be on the list above?