How easy is Audacity?

I’m new to the forum and not exactly sure where my question should be posted. Hopefully, I’m in the right place.

I haven’t downloaded Audacity yet. My question is: How easy is Audacity to use for someone who has NEVER edited video? I manage a website for my church and they recently started doing Facebook Live videos. I download those videos and post them to the church website. However, the audio quality is not the best. The phone is several feet from the pastor so it is difficult to hear unless you turn your computer volume up quite a bit. Here’s the link to one of the videos so you can get an idea of what I’m working with:

So, how easy would it be to increase the audio volume so the user doesn’t have to crank their volume up? Hopefully, this makes sense. Thanks for your time!

In theory, you would open the .mp4 file in Audacity and it would split off the sound portion for editing. Then apply volume controls, effects, filters, etc. Then it gets a little messy. Export a stand-alone sound file from Audacity and use your video editor to put it back into the video show. It’s two editors.

You should know we can’t take echoes out of a performance, so even if we make it louder, it may not get any clearer or easier to listen to.


That may not be the best way. I would try putting a second phone right on the podium very close to the speaker and use that sound with the video from the first phone. You’re going to be ripping the picture and sound apart anyway, and that may give you far better sound quality than trying to rescue the work from the large room echoes.

That’s how I shot this interview. This is just a phone on the table in a crowded restaurant.

Yours would have the advantage of a quiet room. These are all advanced techniques and none of these is easy. Do you have a video editor and does anybody know how to drive it? That’s the starting point no matter which direction you go.

You could change the goal a bit. Distribute a still picture with a good sound file and call it a day. Everybody goes for the full Hollywood thing, but you don’t have to do that.


With the idea you’re going to be in a video editor anyway, I’d be shocked if the video editor didn’t allow you to split the sound off and make it louder. That’s pretty basic.


That sounds good. Before I got your reply, I found a video on YouTube from Sold With Video about making a lapel mike, using a second phone for audio, and syncing audio and video up. That sounds much like what you suggested.

Um, you’re talking to the “video editor” LOL. The majority of our members are senior citizens with zero tech knowledge. I used a video editor program for the first time yesterday so I’m learning as I go. I’m using Microsoft Photos 2020.19111.24110.0. All I’ve done so far is change the landscape size and trim the videos to cut out about 5 min at the beginning showing them setting up and a minute or less at the end showing the pastor walking away.

I haven’t explored the program further than that but I’m guessing it should be able to do at least a basic version of what you’re describing. I’m trying to keep cost down since the church can’t afford to pay for anything for the website.

I’m trying to keep cost down

Right. That’s why instead of investing in a lavalier (chest) microphone, you might want to try the much simpler lay a phone on the podium and try not to bump into it during the service.

Is someone already has the phone that’s 0$ USD.

You do need to do a few tests. I’ve been known to use my iPod for this and I know where my iPod microphone is.

So if I lay it face-down, the microphone is up and toward the performer. If you have an actual phone, it’s going to have more than one microphone and it might take a little research to figure out where everything is.


For example:

Other phones and recorders may differ. I only picked a phone because someone is likely to have one or have access to one. You could use a voice recorder (Olympus in this case) …

… or sound recorder, too. That’s a Zoom H1n.

We’re not producing “Gone with the Wind” here. You just need to get the pickup closer to the performer. I can hear you saying, “If only there were a zoom microphone.”

There is.

How many thousand$ do you have?


There’s all sorts of tricks here. You can make the phone slightly more obvious and more impervious to table noises with the book and towel trick.

It doesn’t have to be that big and heavy. You can use a paperback book and a washcloth. Tape the phone to the book so it doesn’t fall off. That lets the performer shuffle papers and lean on the podium without (too much) sound getting into the show.


The sound people are fond of reminding everyone that sound without the picture is a radio production. Picture without the sound is a rehearsal.


One serious note: Use a sound pathway beginning to end as a test before you commit to a show.


Thanks for all the great ideas! Stupid question: what’s a sound pathway?

I thought about getting them a table top tripod (like the one below) and having them move the table they’re using now closer to the podium. That would help with the sound quality but also make it easier for the hearing impaired to read lips.

The legs can be bent or straightened in any combination.

what’s a sound pathway?

Dress rehearsal. Start with someone’s lips and voice and check the whole thing beginning to end before you commit a show to it. In my particular case I got a perfect and correct sound file stuck on my device and it took extraordinary measures to move it into Audacity. Of all the things that could go wrong, that was not at the top of my list.

Mobile tripod is a good idea. I know people using that one or one like it and it’s pretty good stuff.

The performer isn’t operating in a vacuum, either. They will become accustomed to playing to the camera (and microphone). It’s good to remember they’re making eye-contact with the phone camera, not the room or other screens. It can be a little disconcerting having one lone parishioner front-row center 100% of the time.

Camera elevation is a big deal, too. Do you want him to appear overbearing, dominant, neutral or submissive. Those are all camera positions, looking up to looking down.

“Tape” a short segment with him walking up to the podium showing the whole wall. Stop. Move the camera to a closeup and start the actual presentation. Cut between them in the editor. You get a feel for how that looks.

You will, of course, want to adjust background and lighting. Am I going too fast?


There is a caution here. Know how much storage there is on the phone and how much you have left. Nothing like getting half-way through the show and the camera beeps MEMORY FULL. Also charge fully and turn the sounder off.



A little bit, my head is spinning LOL. We’ll probably keep it pretty basic. I’m not the one operating the camera or on-site when the recording is done. I would like to have the speaker at eye-level so you feel he’s speaking directly to you (not looking down or up). Not exactly sure how we’d accomplish that on the cheap other than stack a chair on a table and put the tripod on the chair.

We’re not going to mess with lighting and stuff. Like you said, we’re not going all Hollywood here,

I’m assuming the person recording is deleting them after he uploads them to Facebook or however a Facebook Live video is done. I notify him once I’ve got them downloaded, edited, and posted to the church website so I guess he deletes it then.

Funny, I got a text from mom as I was typing this LOL.

I guess he deletes it then.

That may be worth an email.

Who’s keeping the archives?

Did you find out where in the editor it allows you to manage the sound?


Thanks kozikowski for all your ideas and help! I ended up buying a full-size tripod and the picture is awesome now. The sound still leaves something to be desired so I’m going to suggest they use a second phone for the audio and then I’ll try to use the video editor program to get them together. Worse case scenario, they can leave the sound as is. It’s not great but better than nothing.

Thanks again!