While I’m figuring out the long-term solution to my video production set-up, I need to just crank out some videos for my office fitness website.

I want to use my old Flip video camera for now. It creates good-quality video, but the built-in microphone yields a sub-par audio track. Luckily, I found a nice video tutorial on how to improve the audio of a Flip-created video. This is a really good tutorial, but it’s almost 20 minutes long. I hope I can save you some time by summarizing the steps here.

I work on a Mac, so this is a Mac-only solution. I recently upgraded my MacBook Pro from 2GB to 8GB of RAM and replaced the dinky hard drive that came with it with a 750GB drive – not sure how video editing would have gone with my old lean-memory set-up.

Basically, you need to:

  1. Save your Flip video in .MOV format with Quicktime Pro ver. 7 ($30 at Apple store)
  2. Clean up and normalize the audio with Audacity (free download)
  3. Combine the original video track and optimized audio in iMovie (comes with most recent Macs)

Saving your video in the .MOV format in Step 1 lets you edit it in both Audacity and iMovie. Audacity will open only the audio track, which you’ll clean up in Step 2. You then combine the newly cleaned audio track with the original video in iMovie. Since both of the files you’ll be using are the exact same length (if you follow the steps below), you won’t need to worry about syncing the audio and video tracks.

The details:

  1. Open your Flip video file in Quicktime Pro
    • Clip extraneous footage if desired (you could also do this later with iMovie, of course)
    • Export the file as a Quicktime .MOV file
  2. Open the .MOV file in Audacity (it will open only the audio portion of the file)
    • Select Edit -> Select -> All (or Command-A)
    • Select Effects -> Noise Removal 
      • First, click on Get Noise Profile so that Audacity can sample your file
      • Then, click OK 
    • Select Effects -> Normalize (the Amplify choice can do pretty much the same thing; see this page on Amplify and Normalize and play with these two options to see which works better for you)
    • Save the noise-reduced, normalized/amplified fil as a .WAV or .MP3
    • Import the .WAV or .MP3 into iTunes so that you’ll be able to include it in your iMovie project
  3. Open iMovie
    • Select File and create a New Project
    • Select File -> Import -> Movies and select the .MOV file you saved earlier
    • Right click in the work area where your imported video appears and choose Select Entire Clip
    • Drag the to the main work space
    • Click on the music-note icon in the library tool bar to open iTunes within iMovie
    • Drag the audio file you saved earlier to the main work space  - since the audio and video files are the exact same length there’s no need to worry about synching
    • Select Share -> Export Movie, choose the appropriate Size to Export, and then click on the Export button

Voila! Your new video will have a nicely enhanced audio track so that you look and sound better on YouTube and the web.

I hope this works as well for you as it has (so far) for me. If you have any questions or comments about this tutorial, please leave a comment below.

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A friend brought to my attention this Khan Academy video on how to use Google to search for images similar to one of yours. Apparently Google uses both the characteristics of the picture and the text in the file name to try to match up with yours the other pictures in their index. This worked pretty well for Salman Khan in his demo:

For my picture, though, the results were a little less relevant. Or maybe I’m missing something. Do you see the resemblance between me, Charlie Sheen, and that cute young woman?

Here’s the image I used for my search. I actually got different results each time I searched with it. This is my Gravatar image and my default avatar on most social media sites. My online profile is a lot lower than Salman Khan’s, but I’m pretty well indexed. So I’m trying to figure out the vast difference in quality between my image search results and his. Any ideas?

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My T-Shirts and Posters – image archiving website

January 31, 2012

When that favorite t-shirt, poster, or other piece of ephemera reaches the end of its life but you still want to look at the image on it, just snap a picture of it and upload it to an image archiving website.  

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Festival Naps – mobile on-site nap facility

January 24, 2012

Convert a semi trailer into a rolling pod hostel, permitting festival-goers to grab a nap in a quiet get-away at the edge of the festival grounds. Design: one side of the trailer has a drop-down panel that turns into a shaded walk-way. Seven-foot-deep sleeping pods, stacked three high, are accessed via the walkway. The pods […]

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Tidy SEO – search engine optimization information website

January 17, 2012

There is probably more information available online on SEO than on any other topic. It can be daunting for both newcomers and veterans alike to navigate the vast number of SEO resources out there. The last time I looked, even the simplest and most straightforward SEO websites had become cluttered and bloated. I had the […]

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George, Meet Fred

January 10, 2012

To explain how ancient lifestyle practices can help modern – and even futuristic – people, Fred Flintsone explains the paleo lifestyle to George Jetson. Really just a way to brand information on paleo eating and working out.

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Advance Centers Directory

January 3, 2012

Retreat centers are places where people go to retreat from day-to-day life. Several directories now list retreat centers – e.g., Retreat Finder http://www.retreatfinder.com/ , eXpandRetreats.com http://expandretreats.com/ , and All About Retreats http://www.allaboutretreats.com/ . Many are religiously or spiritually focused – e.g., Find the Divine http://www.findthedivine.com/ . Advance centers are retreat centers that offer personal growth […]

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