I’m working with several colleagues doing audio mixing for podcasting, movies, etc. and ran into a problem: Audacity writes absolute links for external dependencies. Naturally, I could copy the files into the Audacity project data folder to compartmentalize the data, but that’s inefficient. We’re talking about gigabytes of data, and I want the ability to tweak the Audacity project file without having to touch the data folder.
Worse yet, when opening the file on the other end, the only option given is to replace said files with silence, temporarily or permanently. There needs to be an option to relink the files manually, if not through an automatic search.
Neither of these should be very difficult requests to implement. Hope we can see this in the next update!
Actually, as soon as you make edits, Audacity copies in the data relating to the edit. So if you make an edit to the whole track you then have as much data as you would have had if you just copied in the data to the project without editing.
As long as you don’t undo that first edit, or make further edits, you could then delete the aliased file with no harm to the project.
So the feature request is what, exactly? To be able to move or rename the dependent files after importing them, then adjust the location at File > Check Dependencies? Or to provide an option to make the links relative to some other folder?
Isn’t that the same request as that for “Check Dependencies”?
The obvious answer for the collaborators now would be to set aside a partition for dependent files having the same drive letter on all machines, then the dependencies would work.
It may not be as inefficient as you suppose.
Let’s say, for example, that you have 100 MB of files that are linked to the project, then each collaborator needs to have a copy of those files.
If you copy those files into the project, then they don’t need those “source files” as the project is now self contained.
If the original files were 16 bit, then they are expanded to 32 bit float, which takes up twice the disk space of the 16 bit original.
Lets say that the project size is 40 MB, then each collaborator needs to have the 40 MB project plus the 100 MB linked files. Total: 140 MB.
Now lets say that you copied in the data rather than linking to the dependencies. Assuming that none of the audio has been deleted, the project size will probably be around 200 MB (due to the expansion from 16 bit to 32 bit. Your collaborators will only need the project because it is self contained.
If parts of the audio have been deleted, then the saved project will be smaller than this (temporary files are cleaned up when the project is closed). At worst, in this example, the total size of data required by your collaborators is 43% more than using linked dependencies.
Now let’s say that you make a 7-ZIP archive (http://www.7-zip.org/) of the project before you send it to your collaborators. The resulting file size is likely to be around 65 MB, which is a lot less than the size of the dependencies. Your collaborators receive one file, which they can then extract to produce one self contained project. Note that 7-Zip compression is lossless. Their project is identical to your copy.