Music Making Needs Control: GarageBand iOSĀ 

creative uploads music GarageBand songwriting

I really like Garageband iOS on my iPad. Lately it’s been improved to the point where the annoyance of not being able to do something critical has been replaced by the smaller annoyance of needing to learn where they have hidden how to do some things.

Did you know that if you long press on the Undo button it pops up the option to Redo? Why would they hide that? There’s a perfectly good space next to the Undo button where a reversed arrow would have fit! Seriously made me mad, and now that I know, let me make you mad so it can stop driving you mad.

And volume control. For ages I have battled uneven volume in a single track. Usually vocals where I just sing a few phrases with a little more gusto. The workaround was to pick a level in between that you could live with, or create another track and split the different volume tracks between them, louder clips on one with the main volume brought down, and then a boosted track to bring quieter audio up to balance.

Now Apple has included Automation controls to add a volume level path to audio tracks as they play. I think Adobe used to call them rubber bands.
This feature overrides your ability to use the regular volume slider, so get that about where you want it for the majority of your track first. Yes, this means you should already have a rough mix worked out, if you want to work more efficiently.

To activate the Automation, you tap the instrument icon on the desired track, then the yellow lightning bolt type icon below it (reference the photo). This creates the first flat audio band, set to the current volume level. You can pull it up and down carefully and it will show you the decibel changes, but this pulls the straight line between points and doesn’t work in pencil edit mode.

When you slide over the pencil lock control in the upper left into edit mode (bright red), you can tap on the line to create additional points, or long press on existing points to move them up, down, or sideways. Experiment on your own. Remember you need two points for a volume transition, but it can be a slow fade or really close  together for a jump. (Great for taking down a sound without cutting the track apart.

And remember you have Undo and Redo buttons when you screw up. You will screw up. TIP: Don’t try to swipe around in tracks to different parts of the song by touching the activated track. Just don’t. 

When done with the editing you can slide the pencil edit off. But you also need to click Done in the upper right to close the Automation control and get back to other controls.

I used this feature extensively to mix and duck audio in the track I posted for my wife this Valentine’s Day. Hear my Simply Need song free on Bandcamp. It made it easier to get an acceptable mix under deadline and tweak things at the last minute.

Enjoy your free time! Or use it to make more stuff, that’s cool,too.

—–David

P.S. GarageBand is free if you bought an iOS device that runs it anytime in the last few years. Now if you want to convert it to another format, well, that requires a Mac since you can’t open or extract from the file on Windows. But using GarageBand on a Mac (also free, the software not the Mac) you can move it off the iPad and not have to keep everything you created on a device that might just die or get stolen one day! (Yikes! Lived that fear.) With Logic (about $100) you can work on your composition in a much more full featured (professional even) audio software tool. 

P.P.S. If you have a friend with a Mac and work in Windows, they can use Logic to actually unpack the file to get to the midi and audio stems, which you could then import into your own DAW (digital audio workstation). It’s a little bit complicated but might be worth it if your music is trapped on an iPhone and you want it in another format for future use. You cannot copy the file to Windows and move it though, you have to sync to the Mac (or maybe use iCloud).

Music Making Needs Control: GarageBand iOSĀ  was originally published on Creative Uploads

Free NPR Audio Training Online

A primer on audio issues with tips on preferably preventing them or trying to fix them after. This is fantastic if you use a microphone to record anything, for audio, video, music, podcasts, whatever. It will make you think first and have (less) problems later.

At the very least, you’ll learn the vocabulary so you can act all knowledgeable about things you are still learning. At the most, you’ll get better at what you do when creating cool things and improve your process. 

http://training.npr.org/audio/the-ear-training-guide-for-audio-producers/

And it has example audio clips for everything being discussed.

—–David

P.S. You’re still learning aren’t you? If you are still alive, it’s really the only way to go. And a bit of knowledge knocks the crap out of that self-doubt that keeps you in your shell.

P.P.S. Free. Go!

Free NPR Audio Training Online was originally published on Creative Uploads

Get: Audio tripod screw adapter to camera mount

I set up an Amazon store to share product links for items I am happy to own, to provide readers an honest recommendation and review from a real person.

On Stage CM01 Video Camera/Digital Recorder Adapter

This is a no-brainer — for under ten bucks you can get a hard to find adapter that screws to a 5/8″ standard microphone tripod and ends in a 1/4″ standard camera mount. It’s even got a screw ball mount to adjust the angle so you can frame your shot.

I wouldn’t put a particularly heavy camera on it though it is definitely good for a GoPro or smaller digital camera or camcorder.  The CM01 adapter is metal, not plastic. It locks in place so it’s not intended for panning and tilting, but depending on your tripod you might be able to work out something like a swing shot if needed.

I bought it after I nabbed a used heavy duty mic stand that set to rise 12 feet or so in the air or can boom overhead. I wanted to attach my Zoom H4N digital recorder to it, but it offered the camera size mount. Now I could screw a mic-shaped plastic handle onto the H4N and slide that into a mic mount then put it twelve feet up — No thanks. This gets screwed down tight and has served me well, plus it lets me easily aim the Zoom microphone array exactly where I want it.

Sometimes I add the GoPro to one of the posts using its much more expensive handlebar type mount which lets me put two things on the tripod. On my next shoot it will be in this mount though since the Zoom will be elsewhere. I will use a $4 GoPro to tripod head adapter for that one.

Anyway, check it out and read the reviews so you can consider any small issues some users have reported (like a loose padding strip) — myself I didn’t have any. I take negative reviews seriously but I also know people have to vent when they have issues more often than happy people report back on their joys.

This was a small joy. Well, a useful tool, but I was happy to find it after scouring hardware stores for a cheaper and less flexible solution.

— David.

P.S. I get a percentage of any sale made through my Amazon affiliate link at no additional cost to customers, which I think is fantastic. I used my order history to link literally to the exact products I am happy I bought, in most cases to the same company my order came through inside the Amazon umbrella.

P.P.S. I decided to link to some of the other items mentioned in this article so you could research them if interested, without having to go into a lot of detail here.  I do love my Zoom recorder. (These are the items but not always the store I used.)

  This Zoom H4n Audio Recorder link includes some great accessories for a portable device with a built in stereo mic and two Hi-Z/XLR inputs that can record four channels simultaneously.:
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This is the newer Zoom H6N recorder that I wish I had: you can record six channels simultaneously versus four, plus interchangeable microphones.
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Bargain! THREE GoPro tripod mounts for four bucks. You can put them on multiple tripods or lose a few and still be good to go.
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GoPro Handlebar mount — there are some variations online from other sellers, this is the company one and it will not drop your camera on a rugged mountain road, but if you aren’t shaking things up and just mounting to a tripod a cheaper one will probably be secure enough.
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I have the GoPro Hero 3+ Black but want the newer GoPro Hero 4 Black because it offers 4K recording at a useable frame rate, which you can shoot in and then crop to reframe your shot as you like while maintaining a high quality video image.
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If you want a newer model with the quality but fewer bells and whistles, the GoPro Session is a lot cheaper but only shoots up to 1080p.
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Get: Audio tripod screw adapter to camera mount was originally published on Creative Uploads