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I'm working on an audio skit with voices and sound effects. I'm really new at this, but I've got friends doing separate voice tracks (on their computers) and am tracking down sound-effects.

I'm using Audacity. It lets you place tracks and move them around so you can get the timing precisely how you want it. (I assume professional editing software is similar.)

The way I hear it in my head, timing is pretty important (especially for the jokes). Since I don't have most of the tracks done yet, I'd like to make some kind of chart or other graphic that lets me do the same thing. (I know it may not be too accurate until I know how long each clip is, but it would be a start.)

Is there some kind of tool that would let me organize the "tracks" with respect to each other? Is there a way to do in an app like a spreadsheet or presentation?

Is there a way to do it in Audible without actually having the tracks themselves?

  • Any map you try to make beforehand, short of a simple track assignment, will go in the bin as soon as all that disparate source material arrives. – Tetsujin Mar 27 '18 at 11:10
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Treat this project in the same way you would treat a film mix. You would have track groupings to cover:

  • Dialogue - DLG
  • Sound Effects SFX
  • Music - MUS

Start with editing and premixing the dialogue, then add in SFX and Music to taste.

Each set of groupings will be treated slightly differently.

In terms of setting up the template, you will want to bus your dialogue to a mono dialogue bus and premix only your dialogue. Mix in the SFX and Music as stereo tracks.

The "disparate source material" is likely to arrive either as WAV files, OMF or AAF. In your case, most likely WAV. When it arrives, ensure that dialogue is separated from any SFX that is supplied. If any material is mixed together send it back and get your supplier to give you separate dialogue and effects tracks.

Lay each type of material into the appropriate track set in the edit space.

Furthermore, I would recommend you use something like Reaper to achieve this project. You are not going to find Audacity is particularly useful in helping you achieve a good result.

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Not sure what you intend to accomplish by using a spreadsheet-like tool to plan timing for an audio drama.

If you're set with your writing, my sense is that you'd be wasting your time until you have actual recordings in hand from your actors.

If you're using this as a writing tool, you could record yourself in all the roles and create a throw-away edit to explore the timing issues, as well as wording, etc. Use audio processing to make your voice sound different in each role.

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