Sunday, May 24, 2009

25 days in Paris

A charming, nostalgic account of 25 days in Paris.

Note to self: get the film Zazie dans le metro.

Not on Netflix... So, where to get it?

getting good sound in an interview

I just finished my first podcast. It is here.

The main technical challenge in a podcast is getting good sound in the original interview. Once you have good sound, you can do whatever you want... edit it, add music, add an introduction...

But if you don't have good sound, you are lost. No amount of tweaking, filtering, or noise removal will help... much. You simply can't fix things like reverberation, white noise, and distortion caused by low quality microphones... no matter how much you try.

When I did the interview for the podcast, I just followed the instructions outlined in Digital Video Secrets for capturing good sound. And, know what?

It worked great. We got excellent quality sound.

(What a relief! Sound has always been--and continues to be--a huge challenge for me.)

TitleZ offline?

The TitleZ web page no longer now appears online. It looks like this excellent book sales tracking service is... dead... back!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

DV video to MP3 audio

A couple days ago, I taped an interview using my Panasonic DVX 100 (DV) camera.

I chose the camera rather than an audio recorder because I wanted to have both video and audio of the interview.

Here's what I did to convert the audio track of the interview to an MP3 that I could turn into a podcast. (This is a little cryptic. More details later.)

PS: This procedure is for a mac.

PPS: There's gotta be a simpler way to do this... but this is what I had to do to go from DV audio track to good quality MP3 file.

1. Record the interview using DVX 100 and good microphones.
2. Capture the movie onto a mac using iMovieHD.
3. Use the iMovie HD Export function to export the audio track.
4. Find the movie's 'package' on the Mac hard disk.
5. Cntl-click the package to open it and view the contents. Voila! There's my audio file.
6. Copy the exported audio file (aiff, 512K) and paste the copy in my Documents folder.
7. Download and install the free audio editor 'Audacity'. Good for audio editing.
8. Open Audacity, and then open the Audacity preferences control panel.
9. Change the Audacity recording quality preference to 48,000 hz.
(48,000 is what the DVX 100, and many DV cameras use to record audio. The default for Audacity and many other audio editing programs is CD quality, or 44,100 hz. If the preference is not set to 48,000 in Audacity, it will not process the file properly.)
10. Import the aiff audio file into Audacity.
11. Edit the file using Audacity. Take out ums, ah's, repeated words and off-topic discussions.
12. Save the edited file.
13. Export the edited file as a WAV file.
14. Download and installed the format converter program SWITCH (great program, BTW).
15. Convert the WAV (512 MB) file to MP3 (21 MB) using SWITCH.

Note: I later used the LAME encoder in step 13 to export the file directly from Audacity as an MP3. I still like Switch, however, and plan to keep it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Book publicist for first-time authors

Book publicists for first-time authors are hard to find.

One publicist who works with first-time authors is Lorna Garano of Lorna Garano Book Publicity. I interviewed Lorna while researching the 15 Do It Yourself Tools article. She is easy to talk to, and knows the publishing business intimately.

Lorna Garano

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Plug your book online

The author's enemy is anonymity.

Without marketing, your new book has a good chance of remaining forever anonymous and unread.

Steve Weber's Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, Book Publicity through Social Networking is a well-written explanation of how you might market your book.

What makes Weber's book vauable is his up-to-date knowledge of online promotion. He uses the techniques that he describes in Plug Your Book! to sell his own books.

The Amazon information alone is worth the price of the book. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Advice for authors, by Seth Godin

If you are writing or publicizing a book, *please* read Seth Godin's two extraordinary blog posts: Advice for authors (2007) and Advice for authors (2006).

Godin seems to be 15 minutes ahead of everyone else in the world when it comes to the Internet, social trends, and changes in the book publishing model.

Essential reading for authors.

15 Do It Yourself Tools To Promote Your Book

The Writers Store just published my article, 15 Do It Yourself Tools To Promote Your Book.

In the next couple weeks I will write more about each tool, on this blog.