Recording Narration

There are several options for recording the narration for your digital story. You can record directly into Windows Movie Maker or Photostory 3. You can record narration with Windows Sound Recorder. You can record your narration and mix audio with Audacity. All of those are free applications.

Recording Directly into Windows Movie Maker

Windows Movie Maker will allow you to record narration directly into your project through its own sound recorder.

1. Open your project in Microsoft Movie Maker.
2. After you have imported pictures and/or video clips into your project, then click the microphone icon in the timeline or storyboard view frame.
3. Test the audio recording levels by speaking into the microphone. The sound level should reach the top of the yellow or bottom of the red for optimal recording quality.
4. Click the Start Recording button. Your project will start running as you record the narration to help you time your narration with the video.
5. When you finish the narration, you can play back your project to preview it.
6. Click Done when you are finished recording the narration.

If you want to make minor edits to your narration, you can follow the directions below.

Trimming video or audio clips

1. You can trim a clip by clicking on either the right or left end of the clip and dragging the mouse toward the center.
2. Let up on the mouse to cut that area from the clip.

Modifying a video or audio clip

1. Split a clip by clicking in the timeline right above the clip where you want to split the clip.
2. Go to Clip, then Split.

Movie Maker only supports one separate audio track at a time. The only way to get narration and a soundtrack is to record the narration, then save the whole project as a video. Follow the directions below to save your project as a video.

Saving the Project as a Movie

1. Save your video by clicking File, then Save Movie File.
2. The first step of the Save Movie Wizard is to choose where to save the video. Choose My Computer, then click Next.
3. Type a file name for your video, then click Browse to find the folder that you need to save the video in. To open folders in the Browse window, click the + beside the folder. Then click Next.
4. Choose the quality of the video and click Next.
5. The video will be saved as a Windows Media Video file.

Then follow the directions to start a new project and import your digital story with the narration, and import the audio that you want to use for a soundtrack.

Importing Video and Audio into the Project.
1. Open Microsoft Movie Maker©.
2. In the Movie Tasks task pane click on Import Video.
3. All editable clips of the video will appear in the collections box.
4. Click and drag a clip of video to the project timeline.
5. Click the play button in the project timeline to review the clip.
If you want to add another section of video, then drag that clip to the timeline. Drag all clips of your digital story to the timeline view frame.

The Import Audio functions work the same way. You just drag the audio that you want to the project timeline.

That will play the narration that you recorded for the video and the soundtrack that you have chosen. You can right-click on the narration in the timeline view to adjust the volume. Do the same with the soundtrack in the timeline view until you get the best audio levels for your story. Then follow the directions for saving the video again, this time with the soundtrack.

Recording Directly into Photostory 3

You can also record directly into Photostory 3. Photostory 3 requires you to narrate each picture individually, but you can automatically move from one picture to the next as you record your narration. That will set the timing of your story also. Follow the directions below to record your narration.

After you have imported all of your pictures into the Photostory project and adjusted the order of them, you can add some basic effects like sepia and black and white. The same step of the wizard will allow you to type a title on the pictures.

The next step in the wizard will allow you to record narration and customize the motion settings for each photo.

There are some buttons on the right half of the Photostory window that start and stop the recording. The left half of the window shows the picture that you have selected. The lower corners of that preview area have a button the points to the left or the right. Those buttons will advance to the next picture (right) or go back to the previous picture (left). All of your pictures are in the storyboard along the bottom of the Photostory window.

1. Make sure that you are on the first picture of your story.
2. Click the record button with the red dot to begin recording the narration.
3. Read the portion of your script that applies to the picture that is showing.
4. Click button under the picture that is pointing to the right to advance to the next picture.
5. Continue with the portion of narration that applies to the new picture.
6. Click the button to go to the next picture
7. Continue until you get to the last picture and finish the story.
8. When you are done click the stop button to stop recording.
9. Click the mouse on the first picture to go back to the beginning of your project.
10. Click the Preview button to preview your project with the narration.

The next step in the wizard is to add the soundtrack.

1. Click the Select music button.
2. Navigate to your project folder and select the soundtrack that you want to use.
3. Click Open to insert the music into your project.
4. Click Preview to preview your project with the narration and the music.
5. You can adjust the volume of the soundtrack with the volume slider on the left side of the Photostory window.
6. Click next when you are finished, to move to the step where you save the project as a video.

Recording into Windows Sound Recorder

Recording into Audacity

Audacity is a free audio editing application. Audacity will allow you to mix several tracks together.

1. Open Audacity and click the Record button to begin recording your narration.
2. Click the Stop button to stop the recording.
3. Click the button that is to the left of the Play button to go back to the beginning of the audio project.
4. Click the Play button to preview your narration.
5. Watch the marker as you listen to your narration.
6. When you get to a spot that you want to edit, click the Pause button. That will show the time coordinate for your edit.
7. Take note of that time coordinate because when you click the stop button the marker will return to the beginning of the audio track.
8. You will not be able to make any edits while the pause button is down, so you will need to click the Stop button to go on.
9. Click the mouse on the audio timeline near the time coordinate that you want to edit.
10. Now when you click Play, the audio will start playing from the moment that you selected.
11. Clicking Stop, will return to the coordinate that you selected.
12. You can click the mouse and drag to the left or the right to select a section of the audio.
13. You can trim out everything inside the selection area or outside of the selection area.
14. To record another track, click the Record button and begin reading the text that you want to record.
15. Click the tool button with a two headed arrow to move the newly recorded section to the time coordinate where you want it to play.
16. Each track that you record should be arranged to play in the order that you want it to play.

It is best to record the entire narration at once. You can edit out sections that you want to get rid of, but if you try to piece together several different tracks, it can be very difficult to make them fit together smoothly.