Actually, I doubt anybody actually cares about this. I mean, really, who cares about this? But most of the purpose of this blog is to document my life and experiences so I can look back someday and think "Gosh, who cares about this?" [Actually, I love having all these stories from before we were married, getting married, and so far the first year of marriage. I love having a history. And so I might as well document this too.]
Anyway, I just thought I'd take you through a normal day in the life of a Broadcast Editor. I really love my job - it's what I've always wanted to do. I'll try not to be too terribly technical, but, well, I work in a semi-technical field, so feel free to insert "blah blah blah Ginger" where needed (anybody get that reference?) if I get into jargon you don't understand. Or, if you're actually interested, you can ask questions about it. I don't mind.
Some basic Mandy vocabulary:
FTP - a magical way to transfer files from one person to the other on the internet
Amb-OS - a magical place we put our programs so the stations can automatically receive and air them
SAW - the multi-track audio editing software I work with
.EDL - A session file in SAW, like a word document is a .doc
Voice Tracks - audio tracks that the announcer, Dave Spiker records for before and after the preaching part of the program. This is where he introduces Chuck's message and tells you all about the stuff you want to order from us at the end.
My job here is to actually assemble the programs. I'm the last one to get them before they air.
Before I can do what I do, Chuck preaches at the church, and the recorded message (every single word, cough, burp, and stutter) is transcribed onto paper.
After that, Cynthia (his wife and our CEO) reads it and edits out the things that shouldn't be in the broadcast, such as an audience cell phone ring or a reference to something we don't have permission to air.
Another editor, Joanna, makes all the edits to the messages and makes them the appropriate lengths for the broadcasts. Then, someone writes a script for Spiker to introduce and conclude the programs. He records them, and finally, everything comes to me for assembly. This is where my job starts.
When I arrive at work, it's sometimes to some kind of small crisis. It's usually just our FTP/Amb-OS host or a station telling me there's something wrong with a program (gosh, that makes me sound like I'm good at my job, doesn't it?). That's the first thing I deal with when I arrive.
Some days we have a staff meeting, in which I say three words about what I'm working on and enjoy my coffee as I listen to others say their three words about what they're working on. Once a week, we have a devotional at this time, in which we usually discuss a Biblical topic or a book we're reading together and do some praying. I love working for a place like this.
- I grab the scripts and voice tracks off our FTP from Spiker and convert them into .wav (uncompressed audio file - best for editing) format. Then, I open the scripts that he's marked with his mistakes on my second screen so I can edit on my big screen and read the scripts on little screen.
- I open an .EDL and put the music, voice tracks, and Chuck's message kind of where they need to go on all the tracks. I build five versions of each broadcast - International, Domestic, Border between US and Canada, Canada only, and Podcast. The main difference between the versions is the addresses, URLs, and phone numbers Spiker gives in his voice tracks, but the messages from Chuck are the same.
- I put Spiker's voice tracks into double-speed, so he's talking really fast and high like a chipmunk. That lets me get it done a whole lot faster.
- There are parts of the voice tracks that are the same across all the versions, so I copy that part to each version and edit the rest using the scripts I'm given. Then, I listen to the voice tracks and edit the parts he made mistakes on. Sometimes, he says things that make me laugh a lot (which makes editing more fun). He's a very funny guy.
- After the voice tracks are edited, I put them back to normal speed and add them to the beginning and end of the program. I put everything in order and mix the levels on the music and voice so they sound right.
- I add any inserts that had been scripted to the broadcast, such as commercials for our Alaska trip or special messages from Chuck. Then, I mix it down into a single wav file.
- After that, I convert them into all kinds of different formats, like mp3 and mp2, and deliver them to various FTP sites and Amb-OS, and burn CDs for the stations that still receive the programs via snail-mail.
You. Are. Welcome.