17 August 2020

Trialling Audio for a Virtual FantastiCon

What a weekend that turned out to be, sitting drink in hand for six hours each day watching FantastiCon unfold on my laptop. Covid-19 has a lot to answer for, but Dan Grubb is a can-do kind of fella, and he will not be beaten by a mere world-wide pandemic. 

He and his wife run Fantastic Books Publishing and their annual FantastiCon is an in-person event held at Cleethorpes, just south of the Humber, with attendees travelling in from far and wide, including Hungary and the USA. This year it was held on a computer screen near you via TwitchTV. This rather curtailed the usual nerf wars and gaming extravaganzas, so it became more of a Litfest with extras. After all, there were six new titles to be launched.

My involvement came about when I was approached to do one of the short readings to be used as fillers. Using your smartphone will be fine. It might have been if I owned one. But if FantastiCon could go Virtual, surely I could use my laptop to video myself reading an excerpt or two. Mmm. Perhaps not. Well, I did, but let's just draw a veil over the result. I attempted to back out but Dan was having none of it. He was also compiling audio recordings. I had a go using software integral to Windows 10. Er... no.

My deadline was looming. It was then that I bit the bullet and downloaded Audacity, the free open source "easy to use cross-platform audio editor and recorder". Yeah, right. But it was! In a single afternoon I found my way round the basics, recorded two tests and a very passable final, then followed instructions to remove the inevitable ums, ers, and fluffed words. I amazed myself. Dan added book covers and it was good to go. 

If you should wish to listen to my rather non-dulcet tones, start at 6hrs 30mins HERE of Day 2. The recording of the event should stay live until mid September.

What this has done for me, of course, is open up a whole new world. I have languishing a YouTube channel carrying a couple of book trailers. All I need to do is learn how to add music and graphics tracks to audio files and I shall be uploading some of my short stories. First, though, I need to take lessons in speaking proper. Isn't there always a problem?

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