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Making Sound Tracks for your Skits

Summary

Instructions on how to use your Windows PC to create sound effects for your puppet skits.  Tools required: PC, Windows, sound card with audio output, tape recorder & cable, or CD burner.

Introduction

Good sound effects and music can really help to set the scene, add impact, or create mood for puppet skits.  And kids love it when something unexpected happens!  Because children today are brought up with computers, animation, and multi-media, they expect to find these things in puppet skits and they'll (sometimes!) pay more attention when they're included.

How to Find Sound Files

Obviously, before you can use sound effects in your puppet productions, you need to find some sound effects!  One good source of sound files is the many Windows Desktop Themes that have proliferated around the Internet.  You can just pick a subject, then download a few themes, and listen to the sound files out of these to see if they're what you want.

Where can you find some good themes?  Try these links:

Tucows
Yahoo (specific category just for Desktop Themes)

To Create a Sound Track

So once you've found some files you want to use, what now?  Well, you don't need any specific software to create a sound file, there's an application to do this that comes with Windows.  Have a look under Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> Entertainment -> Sound Recorder.  While this is the most functional of programs, it is very simple and easy to use.

  • Go to File -> New
  • Open up the relevant sound file from the desktop theme you downloaded (this will be a .wav file)
  • Press Play on the Sound Recorder.  Provided you've got your speakers switched on, you should hear the sound!
  • Now you can duplicate this file if you wish by going to Edit -> Copy (or pressing Ctrl-C) then going to Edit -> Paste Insert (or pressing Ctrl-V).  Now the sound will play once then repeat immediately afterwards.
  • If you want, you can continue to repeat the file or you can insert new files to play in sequence by going to Edit -> Insert File...  This will allow you to select another .wav file.

You can continue doing these steps until you've got a sound track of suitable length that provides the desired effect.

Other Sources of Sound Files

Transferring the Sound to Tape or CDROM

Once you're happy with the sound track, it's time to put it onto tape or CD. 

Cassette Tape

This isn't too difficult as you just need to plug your stereo or tape recorder into the audio-out plug of your PC's sound card (most are labelled reasonably well so this shouldn't be too difficult).  Then, with record pressed on your tape recorder, play the sound file on the computer and voila!  You can now take your cassette tape and play it in any stereo!

CD

If you have a CD burner, you can just record the .wav file onto this in the same way you normally create an audio CD (refer to your software documentation if you're not sure).

Finally

And there you go!  A custom-designed sound for your puppet skit in no time at all!  Go forth and blow your audience away! :-)

If you have any feedback about these instructions, please contact Jeff Robson.


 


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