FLAC helps editing across the miles

FLAC is a freeware audio codec that allows you to make the file size of a WAV much smaller with NO loss of quality. This makes it easier to send huge files over the Internet to collaborate, outsource, or Feensource editing.

When Neema Vedadi and I edit our Freedom Feens podcast, it presents unique challenges. We live in different states, but we produce a podcast that sounds excellent, and sounds like we’re in the same room. We record as a double-ender podcast, each recording our end only, then sewing them together and editing more. I used to do all the editing, but Neema has started helping.

The problem is, we send each other WAV files, not MP3 files, to preserve quality as we edit, and WAV files are huge. See, every time you make an MP3 of an MP3, or edit and save an MP3, it sounds worse and worse each time. So we do all the editing as uncompressed WAV files, and only output to MP3 once, when we’re done. That helps preserve the stunning and stellar Feens quality that is part of what sets us apart from other, lesser casts. (The other thing that sets us apart is our brilliance and humor.)

More on how we record Freedom Feens is here.

WAV files are about ten megs per minute (ten times the size of an MP3). So they can take a long time to send back and forth for editing a 90-minute cast. We record the podcast in four 25-minute chunks, send each other files to mix and pre-edit, then edit. We do it in sections, and using FLAC makes it quicker and easier to send the files across the miles via FTP.

USING FLAC:

Grab the small FLAC utility:

For Windows. For other operating systems.

It converts WAVs to FLAC, and FLAC to WAV. Works quickly, with absolutely no audio loss, and the FLACs are about half the file size of the WAVs.

Install it, then use “FLAC Frontend” to do your encoding/decoding.

I converted a 16-bit 44.1 Hz stereo WAV of a full 51-minute Freedom Feens episode to a FLAC. It was one of the older ones, before we went to 90 minutes. The WAV file was 519 megs. The resulting FLAC file size was 293 megs. Conversion took two minutes.

I converted that FLAC back to a 16-bit 44.1 Hz stereo WAV, file size returned to 519 megs, audio quality was EXACTLY the same as the original. No loss whatsoever. Converting back took about 30 seconds.

The settings I use are in the image below. Set your FLAC Front end settings like this, and set the folder you’re using. Drag your WAV file in and drop.

To convert from WAV to FLAC, click “Encode.” (Bottom right button.)

To convert FLAC to WAV, click “Decode.” (Above the “Encode” button.)

Simple as that.

If you want to test a FLAC file for audio quality, they will play in VLC video player.

–Michael W. Dean

More info on FLAC.

p.s. If any audio editors want to volunteer to help feensource our editing, let us know in a comment below.

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