So, How Do You Capture Audio Clips?

It’s a question I’ve been asked several times, mostly on Twitter. The explanation is longer than 140 characters, and would take multiple tweets to answer. Also, given the transient nature of tweets, I’d have to retype in case someone else asks.

So here’s my tutorial for how I capture audio for use as clips on podcasts/netcasts.

First of all, I use Audacity to grab audio clips. If you don’t have Audacity yet, for some reason, grab it, it’s a free download, and a great program.

Anyway, set Audacity’s audio input to Stereo Mix. Look for the microphone icon on the menus along the top.

Now, the screenshot I have has “SigmaTel Audio: Stereo Mix”. That simply refers to my soundcard settings. The dropdown list for microphone settings in Audacity should reflect your computer’s soundcard settings, but “Stereo Mix” should be there somewhere. Stereo Mix is what you are looking for. Stereo Mix tells Audacity that it should record whatever audio your soundcard is playing.

Now just load up the video you want to grab video from. It could be a video you have on your computer, which you play in VLC, KMPlayer, whatever. It could be from YouTube. Whatever, just load a video and get it ready to play.

Got that ready? Now, before you hit play on the video file, you need Audacity to start recording. Switch back over to Audacity, and hit the record button.

Good, with that taken care of, go back to your video and hit play.

Now, for longer videos, if you’re looking for a certain clip, just skip ahead to wherever the clip you’re looking for is, and let the video play. Once you have the audio you want, pause or stop the video, go back to Audacity, and stop recording.

There, you’ve got the audio you wanted there in Audacity. From here you can trim down the selected audio to what you specifically want. Two ways to do that, both require you to highlight your desired audio. Just click at one end of that bit of audio and drag to the end. Either hit CTR+T to trim it, or go to File and choose Export Selection.

There you go, that’s how I grab audio and make audio clips for use on podcasts, specifically those that I use on Marble Operator. Hope that helps!

A note: should nothing appear in the microphone settings in Audacity (either in the menu bar or in the main window for preferences (just hit CTRL+P in Audacity)), check the audio settings in Windows itself.

I know, I know, that’s Windows XP, not Windows 7 or 8, but it’s what I am using. What you’re doing is the same: check the audio input, to see if Windows itself has anything listed. You should see your soundcard listed, at least the drivers listed. (In that screen, you see AK5370, that’s my USB mic)

UPDATE: A much easier solution to this problem is to install the Easy YouTube Video Downloader add-on for Firefox. Once done, simply choose the “MP3 (128k)” download option.

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