What a loaded question. The Technical Writing major in me says there can never be enough editing! But, feasibility and time are both issues. You can’t do everything, so what edits do you prioritize? How can you make the best product with the resources you have?
What is Pulling Back the Curtain?
This WNYC podcast explains the editing process behind On The Media Productions. Listen to it here. They talk about cleaning and tightening sound clips by breaking up the speech and adding silence. It’s all about tailoring information and presenting it in an organized fashion. There are tried techniques for piecing together audio files effectively.
What can we learn from PBtC and Middle C?
The goal of editing is to make people sound more articulate without losing any meaning. This often means you need speakers to talk in complete sentences because it gives you materials you can cut later. There’s also a common phrase in this process, “edit down.” The idea is streamlining how people speak to make them sound erudite and concise.
Going back to the Middle C podcast, which documents a woman’s one-year transition into becoming a man, many of these editing techniques were used. Silence and music are used to segment different entries to the year-long journal. It provides clear organization for the listener and packages stories with neat bows.
Middle C also makes use of the “edit down” concept, which gives priority to selections by cutting the unessential. This story covers an entire year’s worth of materials, but the changes they’re highlighting are most obvious when great swaths of time are cut from in-between entries. And, what stories do remain are concise and shine because of the priority they’ve been given by the editor.
Why is audio editing important?
Have you ever visited an older relative who just seems to ramble on and on and on? Editing takes the highlights of those stories and packages it so information is prioritized and organized. It throws out all the obvious uhms and uhs, trims the story to the bones, and ultimately creates a highly stylized version of reality to better serve the listener. Other posts on this blog have addressed the idea of fighting to be heard in a loud, loud world. Editing is one of the ways you can produce content that people will actually listen to. It’ll make you seem professional and your work worthy of their time. It’s an important aspect to any mode that deserves as much attention as creating the content itself.