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Sony Sound Forge Non-destructive Editing Techniques, Part II (Playlist)

By Jeffrey P. Fisher

In the previous article, we looked at using Sound Forge's project file format for non-destructive audio editing. Here we'll look at the Playlist feature which also lends itself to editing your work without affecting the file and therefore protecting your valuable original data.
 
This particular approach is best suited for straight-forward editing tasks such as making longer recordings into shorter pieces, voice-overs, audio books, podcasts, and so forth. It works well for re-arranging music selections, too. It is not for audio processing, though.

The workflow is a snap. Essentially, you select the best parts from a longer file, add these selections to a spreadsheet-like Playlist, and then compile these takes into a single, final file. Best of all, you don't harm the original file in any way and can go back to the Playlist and tweak it until it meets your needs.
 
To get started using this technique, open the file you wish to work on in the Sound Forge workspace. Find the part and/or section you want to use and select it (hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse pointer). Press R to make this selection into a Region. Sound Forge automatically numbers these Regions sequentially. I prefer to right-click the Region marker and give it a more meaningful name.


Continue to work through the file creating Regions and naming them until you are finished. Your file will be marked up with a variety of regions that represent the parts/sections you want to use.

Next, select View > Playlist to display the Playlist dialog

Now double-click inside a region to select it. Once selected, drag and drop the selected region to the Playlist floating window. You may need to re-arrange your workspace slightly to make this process move ahead efficiently.

Click for full view

Continue dragging and dropping the regions until you add all the parts to the Playlist. Note that you can re-arrange the order by selecting and dragging an entry around. Click a play button to preview. Enter a number in the CNT field if you want a given section to play more than once. This is useful when looping music section.
 

What if you need to adjust the Region Start and End points? Go ahead and adjust the region in/out marker points in the regular workspace and the Playlist entry updates automatically. You can enter values directly into the Playlist Start and End fields, too. These two techniques are especially helpful when you need to tweak an edit slightly.

When you are satisfied that the Playlist contains the material you want to keep, right click in the window and choose Convert to New from the pop-up. Sound Forge will then compile your Playlist into a new file ready for you save to the format of your choice.

Here's another cool Playlist feature. If you are collaborating with another person you can send just the Playlist to one another as long as you have the same media file at both places. Right-click the Playlist window and choose Save as and then name and save your Playlist file. This tiny text file is easy to email. Your collaborator can open this Playlist and easily preview (and tweak) the edits you made without the need for sending audio files repeatedly.

Using the Playlist is an invaluable way to condense material, fiddle with the order of certain projects, make music edits, and generally work on sound files without physically editing them. You save time, get added flexibility, and also work in a way that prevents accidentally destroying important, original data. 


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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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