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Sony Sound Forge Non-destructive Editing Techniques, Part I (Project Files)

working on a reference to the original media, and not the media itself By Jeffrey P. Fisher

When using Sound Forge for audio editing, clean-up, and mastering, you typically work directly on the original file. While you do have undo commands, once you save a file you make a permanent, destructive change to it. Most people get around this limitation (and potentially dangerous situation) by working on a copy of the original.

But there is a better way. You can actually force Sound Forge to work in a so-called project mode that allows completely non-destructive audio editing. This is the way virtually every NLE or DAW works, so the concept should sound familiar. Working non-destructively means you work on a reference to the original media, and not the media itself. Your undo history is available even past a save point. To commit the final file to a format, you render it just like every other NLE/DAW. It's a slick way to work that protects you from damaging valuable files. It's this kind of no-risk workflow that makes Sound Forge even more powerful than it might first appear.

Here's how to do this. Open up the audio file on which you need to work. Select File > Save as to display the standard dialog box.


From the Save as type drop-down box choose Sound Forge Project File (*frg). Select a suitable location to save the file and then click the save button. Sound Forge saves your file adding the .frg extension and also creates a new folder in that same location, copying the original media to that folder. Your Sound Forge workspace looks the same, but you will note the filename has changed to the .frg extension.

For example, there will be a file called VO Mic one test.frg and a folder in the same location called VO Mic one test_frg. That folder will contain media related to the .frg project file.

Now you can edit, tweak, fix, sweeten, and otherwise complete your audio tasks as needed. When you save, Sound Forge creates new temp files in the folder it created at full quality uncompressed PCM resolution. Unlike destructive editing, using the project file lets you go back through your undo history even after a save. You can't do that when working on the file itself.

After completing your audio magic, you need to render the output to the format(s) of choice. Select File > Render as to display the dialog box. Name, select your file type, and choose the proper template then click Save. Sound Forge will render the final file to your specifications and even offers to open this finished file in a new window.

What's more, because this is a project file, you can return to your work at any time and tweak or otherwise make changes and also render to other formats as needed. Don't forget that all your files related to this project get stored in the related folder. If you delete the project file or this folder, you lose your project.

Working non-destructively in Sound Forge is a snap and offers greater flexibility and protection from data loss. If you're used to working with project files and pointers to media with your other software choices, switching to this method in Sound Forge should feel comfortable and easy.


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Jeffrey P. Fisher is a Sony Vegas Certified Trainer and he co-hosts the Sony Acid, Sony Sound Forge, and Sony Vegas forums on Digital Media Net (www.dmnforums.com). For more information visit his Web site at www.jeffreypfisher.com or contact him at jpf@jeffreypfisher.com.


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