GarageBand (1): Creating Music Files on a Home Computer
Garageband, now version 5, is far simpler, although it has been used by several groups. I use it every week to record the eXtensions podcast, using a USB microphone, so the interface changes were immediately noticeable.
The overall look of the screen is darker, but tracks are displayed in the same way as before. The Loops panel is now to the right, with the Information and Media Browser panels. This now means that all the extras not connected with the tracks themselves are in one place. Loops may be viewed in columns, as buttons or as "podcast sounds", but when the panel is being used, the recording panel is restricted. Before, loops were underneath so did not obscure the tracks. Clicking the button underneath closes the panel.
The information panel has two sections: Real Instrument and Master Track which are each split into browse and edit panels. Some new instruments and voices are now available. The Edit panel adds some new functions, including Gate for adjusting noise levels with real instruments, Speech Enhancer and Compressor.
Below the tracks panel are two buttons, for adding a new track and for editing. In the latter, as before, more accurate work on recorded tracks is possible. These new features for instruments and editing add considerable flexibility to recording in the way that tracks may be altered and enhanced.
The podcast project opens with two voice tracks, a track for jingles and a Podcast track to which we can add images. A Media panel allows access to Audio, Photos and Movies. If we add video, the track changes to a Movie Track and adds a Movie Sound track which can be edited.
Creating a movie project in GarageBand reveals a panel with a blank Movie track. We can add video to this from a number of sources, via the Media panel, including Photo Booth, so it is easy to create a quick message and add some loops. Importing, like the Podcast project, adds a Movie Sound track which can be edited or cut.
Export of the product via the Share menu may be to iTunes, iWeb, iDVD, to a CD or to the disk as a file. A number of quality settings are available for this.
GarageBand provides several ways for users to create sound files with a variety of media. As part of the iLife installation it integrates with the other parts of the suite. It is ready installed and free with all new Macs.
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