Digitize media files

If you've made a digital recording, find out how to work with digitized media files.

By Joseph T. Sinclair

If you've made an analog recording, you must rerecord it digitally onto your hard disk using audio editing or video capture software. In other words, you play back the recording on the analog recording device while recording the playback on your computer with your editing or capture software. Recording the playback is what converts the analog content to digital.

If you've made a digital recording, you simply transfer the recording from the digital recording device to your computer.

You can find high-quality audio editing software such as Cool Edit or Sound Forge XP for about $50. You may also find capable audio editing software bundled with your sound card. Video editing software costs more than audio editing software, but if you're on a budget and can't afford a more robust product, you can use the lower-end video editing software that comes bundled with video capture cards.

Sound cables and connectors can be mono, stereo, balanced, digital, or optical. Video cables and connectors can be composite, S-Video, or digital (IEEE 1394, a.k.a. i.Link, DV, or FireWire). Make sure you have the appropriate sound card or video capture card with the appropriate cables and connectors to use with the rest of your production equipment. Refer to your owner's manuals for the best recommendations. For instance, most sound cards and video capture cards do not have the connectors appropriate for digital recording devices.

Windows Volume Control

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to success is the Windows Volume Control, found at Start/Accessories/Multimedia. Windows Volume Control needs to be regularly monitored and adjusted to adapt to volume fluctuations. The Volume Control has two modes, Play Control and Record Control. Record Control is found at Options/Properties/Recording. The Properties window has a "Show the following volume controls" dialog box that allows you to select the volume controls you need to use.

Check this accessory program periodically to ensure that the control you need is selected and that the volume is set appropriately. Leave the program open while you work. If you develop problems with your audio levels, a quick check of the Volume Control will often solve the problem.

Joseph T. Sinclair developed the first gourmet food store on the Web in 1994 using Web database technology. He has written seven books about the Web.

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