When I tried to come up with an idea for a radio bumper, dozens of ideas came to mind. Probably many of them were not practical, would have taken hours to track down the clip I needed, etc. So I decided to follow up on my animated gif by creating a bumper using audio from American Beauty (The greatest film of all time. Of all time.).
Generating this was a pretty involved process. For those interested in the steps I went through (on a Mac):
- I downloaded the American Beauty trailer from YouTube using PwnYouTube.
- I extracted the audio in MPEG Streamclip. Audacity also has the ability to do this if you import the mp4 as audio, but I found that I liked the quality of the audio better using MPEG Streamclip, and this way I have the audio file to work with in other programs. To extract it:
- Open the mp4 in MPEG Streamclip
- From the File menu select Export Audio…
- Save it as an aiff file
- In Audacity create a new Project.
- Go to File -> Import -> Audio. Select the aiff file.
- You can select and delete all of the audio you don’t want to use. You can also select the portion that you do want to use, then go to Edit -> Duplicate. Then close the track that contains the extra audio.
- To create the “DS106 Radio” audio:
- I found a free demo of an online text-to-speech program.
- For the voice, I used “Julie (US)” with an echo effect.
- To capture the audio into Audacity I used Soundflower. Setting it up as an input device requires changing your system preferences. There is a tutorial here. And don’t forget to change them back after!
- I then trimmed out the dead air portions when I was switching from Audacity to the browser and then back.
- I decided that the transition between the clip from American Beauty and the text-to-speech was too rough, so I smoothed it by copying the music from the beginning of the film clip and lined it up with the text-to-speech at a reduced volume.
- I then exported the bumper as an mp3. This requires having the LAME encoder plug-in.
In all my years of listening to radio and the random 10-15 second audio clips they use, it never occurred to me how much work this can be. I’m sure in a radio studio the equipment available makes it easier. But that still doesn’t narrow down the number of options to choose from. Makes me glad I have the greatest film of all time to fall back on.