So as I thought this week about what I might write, I decided to review the various tools that I use to get stuff done. I started this post with the stuff I use to create the blog articles every week and, as it turns out, that ended up being a post worth of content right there.
So, maybe next week we’ll pick up this idea and look at some other set of tools.
I write the main article using Windows Live Writer. Yeah, I know it is a relatively old tool. But it still gets the job done and is still the only tool that lets me write off line in a WYSIWYG mode.
There have been a few times when I’ve written the article on my iPad first but that is only because I haven’t been able to use my desktop. For that I use BlogPad Pro. It gets the job done but it isn’t as good as Live Writer.
To create the word cloud, I use Wordle
Once I’ve create the blog post, I record the audio. For this I use a Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone. This is the XLR model. I purchased an XLR To USB Preamp to plug it into my computer. I could have purchased a Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone (Notice Podcaster, not Procaster) and saved some money, but my setup allows me to use the XLR adapter to plug other things into my computer, like my guitar, or a sound board while also allowing me to use the Procaster with my iPhone and iPad using an XLR to iPhone. I use iTalk when I need to record stuff on my iPhone.
To actually record the audio, I use Audacity. Audacity is an OpenSource sound editor and recorder. Which, I think, does a pretty good job of cleaning up the sound without spending a whole lot of time.
Here are the steps I use to clean up the sound.
When I start recording, I wait for at least 10 seconds prior to saying anything. When I finish recording, I select that ten seconds and then from the menu I select “Effects” > “Noise Removal…” and then click the “Get Noise Profile” button.
Once that has completed, I select the whole track and select “Effects” > “Noise Removal…” and then click “OK” using the defaults that are set.
Next I select “Effects” > “Equalization…” and then enhance everything above the 5K range by 12db. This improves my diction and, I hope, makes me easy to understand.
Finally, I select “Effects” > “Compressor…” and use the defaults to normalize the volume for the whole track.
Once the recording is cleaned up, I import the intro and outro music and move the tracks around horizontally so they overlap the main recording.
The final step is to record the title of the show. I use the same noise profile from the original recording but otherwise clean up the title audio in the same way I cleaned up the main audio.
Then I export as MP3 and upload to my server using the upload media feature of WordPress.
I created the intro and outro music using Jammer Pro. I got this software a long time ago for another purpose, but it has been nice to have something that produces unique tunes that I don’t have to worry about copyright issues.
Finally for video I use Camtasia . I’ve been using this tool so long that I’ve forgotten when I first started to use it. I’m using version 6 and I’ve not any any good reason to update.
For the PowerPoint components of the videos that I produce, I use Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
I tweaked the settings for creating the video for YouTube a very long time ago and I haven’t had any reason to change them. Here is what they are. I create a MOV to upload. I set the frame rate to 15 frames per second with a key frame every 24 frames. My compression is set to high, using H264.
The audio settings for the MOV are set to 44khz, 16bits mono.
How long does it take?
To write the article, record it, edit the recording, create the video and upload everything where you can get to it, generally takes me 2 or 3 hours. This is why you only see something once a week.