there is an excellent, free (and not watermarked or crippled), sound mixing and editing program called Audacity. it will do nearly everything the multi-thousand-dollar professional editing suites (which must be run on custom hardware) will do. as a former professional in the field, i recommend Audacity most highly. and did i mention that it's free?
Thanks Ace. We discussed Audacity before when we were discussing Senator Kate Lundy (not sure when). I fired it up this morning but from what I can see it only allows one input source - mic, line in or whatever.
The "Sound Control" in Windows XP" - usually found in control panel or in the task bar is a program in the Windows directory called sndvol.exe or (with XP) sndvol32.exe. This does allow mixing from multiple sources. There's also a sound recorder found under "accessories" - sndrec32.exe. I've only ever used the "Sound Control" to raise or lower output volume and at this moment I'm confused as to why there are different levels for playback and recording.
I have some very short clips of New York and Copenhagen but they are "raw" to put it mildly. In New York my fingers were so cold I could hardly hold the camera. The same thing in Copenhagen. I may be able to make something of them by adding commentary.
I was also considering taking some video around the townhouse and Werrington and perhaps looking for wildlife much like Battyden does. There are kangaroos and coloured birds in this area but the 'roos hide in the woods and getting shots would involve a walk and patience.
no matter what software you use, your computer's sound card will only have two inputs, "mic" and "line". the "mic" input is for a microphone, obviously, which is generally a somewhat low signal level; "line" would be for something like the signal out of another audio device (like a cassette player, or the audio output of a video camera). the Windows "mixer" allows you to control the levels of each of these separately while recording, so that you can, for example, talk over the beginning of a song the way a DJ does. the output level is separately controllable because it has nothing to do with what levels you need while recording.
none of the audio software we're talking about will permit you to mix more than one "line level" and one "mic level" source "live". what you need to do is record each separate part - audio from your video clip, background music, voice-over commentary, etc. - as a separate file (.wav, .mp3, .ogg, whatever). then Audacity will allow you to mix these files, adjusting them so that various things synchronize, controlling the levels to produce a pleasing sound mix, and so forth, and then save the result as a new sound file. (in Audacity, you can only "save as" an Audacity "project" - but you can "export" the file as an .mp3, or any other popular audio file format.)
i'm afraid i don't know how to apply the finished audio back to a video file; i don't have any knowledge of video editing software.
oh, and the Windows "sound control" is not a mixer, although it looks somewhat like one. it simply provides volume/level controls for each possible audio source - mic, line, onboard CD player, onboard "synthesizer" (part of the sound card, usually used for playing MIDI files used as background music on websites), and, of course, the output to your speakers and/or headphones. the "sound recorder" built into Windows is a very minimal program with hardly any editing capability - really, it's a legacy app from the Win3.1/Win95/98 era.
no matter what software you use, your computer's sound card will only have two inputs, "mic" and "line". the "mic" input is for a microphone, obviously, which is generally a somewhat low signal level; "line" would be for something like the signal out of another audio device (like a cassette player, or the audio output of a video camera). the Windows "mixer" allows you to control the levels of each of these separately while recording, so that you can, for example, talk over the beginning of a song the way a DJ does.
That's all I require. Sound from an analogue sources such a VHS player or indeed sound from a DVD mixed with voice over from a microphone with the ability to dampen sound from the analogue source while recording the material to a DVD recorder. The sound from the Line In (VHS whatever) goes into the Line Input. The sound from the microphone goes into the Microphone input. The video signal goes into the composite or VHS input of the DVD recorder while the mixed sound is diverted from the speakers to the input of the DVD recorder.
This produces a VOB file which can then be transferred back to the computer and then edited using software such as MPEG-VCR which will output an MPEG2 file which can then be converted to a .wav file using readily available software. This can then be uploaded to YouTube. A long detour perhaps but it works. I also have a VGA to composite / Super VHS converter mixer box which I purchased when I got fed up with DRM. Such a device is impervious to DRM.
you'd still be better off recording the voice-over as a separate track, and then mixing them in Audacity (or some other sound mixing/editing program like GoldWave). for one thing, you can record your voice track, then edit it to filter out background noises such as the computer fan. for another, you can adjust it to fit the video precisely the way you want it to, down to one one-thousandth of a second. once you've got the track mixed, save/export it, then play it back into the audio input of your DVD recorder.
while the separate volume controls in the Windows sound controller will allow you to adjust the relationship between the DVD sound and the voice track, it really was never intended to be used as a mixer. the idea was to allow you to set the level of the mic once, at the beginning of recording (or talking in a chat situation), and not fiddle with it while it was in progress; likewise, if you were recording from an external source - "ripping" a vinyl record to create mp3 files of the songs, for example - you'd adjust the level once when you began. the Windows software really isn't satisfactory for actually mixing the two inputs.
I have discovered using versions of video capture software that the recording option of the sound control is the suggested method of mixing sound input. There are two options within the control - one for playback and one for recording. It's the recording option that some video capture software (which records directly to the computer rather than a DVD advises users to use for mixing purposes. Blaze Media Pro from Mystik Media is one such product.
I have other products such as MPEG-VCR which allow demuxing the sound from the video and then combining it again, and indeed it would be possible to mix two audio sources but without the video as a guide to what is taking place it would (for me at least) to know what to say and when. Yes it's possible to demux and then reimport a file. If the two were to be played seperately I believe there could be major synch problems with the sound and the video.
My application for dole has been approved and it appears that as I haven't been working for three months I will be paid newstart this week (a fractional payment to start with ) but then I'm told that on account of my age I won't be required to submit fortnightly forms - only quarterly ones. I have paid for Blaze Media Pro. I found a site that had a coupon code that provided a discount. The company appears to be somewhat cautious in sending activation codes so I may have to wait for it to be delivered.
The software is most certainly cheaper and more versatile than a simple hardware mixer and it will mix mic and line input using the sound control we've been discussing. It is described as the method of mixing the sound levels while recording and the controls will not get int the way of the video.
I know you are a sound and radio professional but there's much about audiacity that I don't comprehend. It looks as though the Blaze Pro software will meet my needs. It comes highly recommended in reviews.
i'm sorry you find Audacity hard to understand. i thought i'd have trouble with audio mixing/editing software myself, because all my training and experience was with analog hardware - actual knobs or sliders controlling audio levels on a mixing console, and editing sound by physically cutting and splicing recording tape. however, when i tried the first few versions of CoolEdit, i found it very easy to make the transition. (CoolEdit had a freeware version at first, but i found it so useful that i actually paid for the unrestricted version - it wasn't terribly expensive. but after a while they didn't allow you to upgrade to the newest version without paying more money, and the "free" version was a useless demo with annoying "watermark" noises built in. and then Adobe bought the company that made CoolEdit, and absorbed the program into their very pricey audio/video software.) more recently, i had the opportunity to learn a bit about using ProTools, which is the industry standard now; as i said, i find Audacity compares very favorably with it. however, as i also said, i know next to nothing about how this integrates with video editing software. at any rate, i'm "subscribed" to your videos on YouTube, so i'll see and hear everything you produce - i'm rather looking forward to it ;-)
congratulations on being approved for the dole, and not having to submit forms as often. alas, i think the only benefit i get for being old is the privilege of ordering from the "seniors" menu at certain chain restaurants...