GarageBand Tutorial

These instructions are based on GarageBand 6.0.5, which is installed on all J-school computers. Your laptop may have a newer version. The general concepts of GarageBand are the same as described below, but if you need more specific instructions, you can find free GarageBand tutorials via SMU’s licensing contract with Lynda.com – http://www.smu.edu/OIT/Services/Lynda

Part 1 – Starting GarageBand

  • Activate the GarageBand program (click on the guitar icon)
  • Create a new project (select the piano)
  • Name the project file and save on an external USB drive or, failing that, User Storage (don’t worry about the tempo, signature, key, bpm, etc.)
  • At the bottom, you’ll see a musical note indicating “Measures.” Click the upper arrow to switch to “Time.” Now the timeline will measure the length of your project in seconds, not measures.
  • Load your audio files into GarageBand by dragging them onto the GarageBand timeline.
  • In the TRACK menu, select “new track.” Choose “real instrument track” and create. Call it Sounds. This will be your track for all natural and ambient sound.
  • Repeat the above track to create a second track. Call it Voices. This will be the track for all voiceover and soundbytes.
  • Save your file.
  • Click the very beginning of the 00:00 mark at the top of the timeline, right next to the piano. You should now see a red line running down the beginning of the timeline.
  • Press the play button or hit the space bar to listen to your audio files. If the files are on top of each other in your timeline, you can mute all the other competing files by pressing the volume button near the file name.
  • You’ve listened to the files, so you know what you have to work with. Now, it’s time to edit!

Part 2 – Editing With Garage Band

*** PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: JUST AS WITH FINAL CUT PRO, COMMAND Z CAN REVERSE ANY ACTION THAT YOU WANT TO UNDO. ***

*** PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT #2: MANY OF THESE COMMANDS ARE THE SAME YOU USE FOR MS WORD AND FINAL CUT. EDITING AUDIO AIN’T ROCKET SCIENCE, FOLKS. BUT IT REQUIRES KEEN ATTENTION TO DETAIL. ***

  • Double-click the audio file from which you want to splice your opening audio. A larger version of the file will appear at the bottom of your screen.
  • Select your desired clip and highlight it with your mouse.
  • Hit COMMAND C to copy the highlighted sound clip.
  • Depending on what kind of sound you’re copying, click on your Sounds or Voices track (it’ll turn light blue).
  • Hit COMMAND V to paste your clip into either your Sounds or Voices track.
  • Listen to your clip in the track timeline to make sure it sounds like you want. (We’ll worry about the volume and fade-in later).
  • Hit COMMAND S to save your file (do this early and often)
  • Now, repeat the above steps to select the other sound clips that you want to use.
  • OPTIONAL: If you would like to run soft nat sound in the background during your voiceover and soundbytes, copy some nat sound and paste it on the canvas, layered underneath the primary sound you want to accentuate with nat sound.

Part 3 – Mixing With Garage Band

  • Now it’s time to adjust the volume levels, to create a pleasant flow from nat sound to VO.
  • In the commands for your Sounds track, click the triangle icon from facing down to facing up. You have now activated your track volume, which runs below in blue.
  • Activate the volume for your Voices track as well.
  • As shown on the “Multimedia in Minutes” tutorial video, click to create volume control buttons on the volume level lines for both tracks. Reduce and adjust the volume levels (much like Final Cut Pro) to create an opening fade-in and a smooth transition to your voiceover.
  • Listen to make sure your audio piece begins with a fade-in and flows into your next clip properly.
  • Getting the idea? Remember that you’ll need to turn off the sound in your original files to be able to properly hear your edited tracks.
  • Adjust the volume to make sure the tracks fade smoothly into each other, and include a fade-out at the end.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: When finished editing, drag the purple end-of-project arrow to the end of your project timeline. This prevents dead space at the end of your edited piece.

Part 4 – Save and export your .mp3 file

  • Save your project file.
  • Under the SHARE menu, choose “export song to disk”
  • Check compress using MP3 Encoder. For Audio Settings, High Quality is fine. Click “export”
  • Save into your USB external drive or, failing that, User Storage. GarageBand will create a mixdown that will deliver the .mp3 into your desired folder.
  • In your folder, single click your new .mp3 file. Then, under FILE, select Open With iTunes (QuickTime’s OK, too).
  • If it plays like it should, you’re done! Congratulations on being a multimedia warrior!

One thought on “GarageBand Tutorial

  1. Pingback: Audio Editing Lab: Oct. 13 and 14 « Digital Journalism @ SMU

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