Friday 30 September 2011

First Dance Friday: The Technical Edition

As I was reading Any Other Wedding on Tuesday (and you should go look just to check out Aisling's jaw droppingly beautiful garden wedding), I noticed a mild level of discombobulation in the community regarding editing music together. I figured it might be useful to cover a few really basic tricks we used at our wedding to help in the music department.

Now, normally Sam would be in charge of this sort of thing. However, about a month before the big day I realised none of the techy music stuff had been done, and I would have to do it myself (or risk my brain exploding from the stress of it being done the day before the wedding). So Little Miss Technophobe got her shit together.


This is free downloadable software for editing mp3s. It's totally easy to use, and you can get it here. This is what it looks like....

It's not as complicated as you think, I promise. You basically load up one song in the top (squiggly blue line), and one in the bottom (other squiggly blue line), and physically move them around til they intersect at the right  moment. Either overlap them by dragging with your mouse (you can then crossfade with the controls) or just drop them next to each other. You then save the new file you've made into a new mp3, and presto! You are a DJ. Sort of.

You can use this to edit a few tracks into one mp3 (eg. to use with Picasa in a slideshow, which was what the girls were doing on Tuesday), or you can actually cut into one song while another is playing. This is what I did for our first dance, cutting from The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson into Technotronic's Pump Up The Jam, so we didn't have to dance for the whole song before it started getting fun.

Spot the groom with a head made of tulle

You can also really mess about with songs if you're feeling fruity. Sam came in at the 11th hour and used this software to make an interesting re-edit of our recessional music (Tenderoni by Chromeo) by basically sticking the same track on top of itself, but slightly out of line, so it sounded different to the original and the key line "You and I, baby we go side by side" was more prominent. You definitely couldn't do this with every track, and you'd need spend a bit more time synchronising the beats, but it just goes to show what you can do with this awesome and totally free programme.


We couldn't afford a DJ and didn't feel we could ask our mates to do it, so we made two master playlists in iTunes (one for the start of the reception with a lot of oldies, and one for later with the party tunes on) and used the iTunes crossfade function to mix the songs in each, thereby avoiding any awkward pauses between tracks.

This is how you do it:

-Go into iTunes, select EDIT, then PREFERNCES

-A dialogue box will open, select PLAYBACK.

-You will see an option to crossfade, check the box if it is unchecked, then use the sliding tool to select how long a fade you want. We used 6 seconds but you might want to play around a bit and see what works best for you.

I then listened back to the playlists with the crossfade to work out which songs started suddenly, ended quickly or had over-long intros, and used Audacity to trim or extend the tracks accordingly so they worked together. Yes, it was painstaking, but the whole thing sounded GREAT. And it's not difficult, it's just time consuming, and if you're on a budget it could save you a fortune (not to mention avoiding Terry's Mobile Disco clearing the dancefloor in seconds with a Black Eye Peas medley).
 Our friends like to dance, probably even to BEP - they're not classy. Don't let those fancy frocks fool you.

Good luck with your music, whether you're planning your wedding, a party or just want to make your iTunes shuffle sound a bit more sexy. Computers may be confusing and annoying, but ultimately they are facilitators.


1 comment:

  1. Sarah - mrsod2b201218 May 2012 at 13:18

    just found your twitter post when I typed in 'first dance' and your article here is exactly what I was looking for,... I judt didn't even know it yet! the ehole playlist thang has been giving me stress and I've put it off for months... am gonna give it a shot tonight to pull up a playlist... thanks so muh x x