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Extracting and Using a Recorded Sound Effect with VLC and Audacity

Jun 24, 2010, 18:35 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Terry Hancock)

"I found a useful sound effect in an online video from NASA which replaces an earlier temporary sound I used in a scene soundtrack for the Lunatics pilot, "No Children in Space." I'm going to extract the sound from the video (with VLC), cut out the sound I need, clean it up, and insert it into an existing sound mix (all with Audacity). This should give you some insight into using Audacity and a VLC on a real project.

"I needed the sound of a particular type of hatch (namely the docking hatch used by Soyuz at the International Space Station) being opened. I originally had only my best guess at what this would sound like, and I conjured something up by mixing sounds from an ordinary house door, a washing-machine door, and a hissing steam sound to create something artificially. I didn't think I'd be able to find the real sound, but then — there it was.

"In doing the research for this part of the film, I came across a NASA video which included the actual hatch being opened. It's almost hard to tell — the hatch doesn't make a very loud sound (it's quieter than my fake version was). There's a lot of other sounds going on in that scene (people talking, a commentator, other movement noises), but by a stroke of good luck, the hatch sound itself is well-isolated for the fraction of a second that it lasts."

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