To enter a Sermon, Service, or Lecture, you must upload an audio file. Creating an audio file requires a number of steps before the upload. Generally, this steps are:
- "Ripping" the tracks from an audio CD. This converts the CD into MP3 files that can be uploaded to a website. This is most easily done with an audio player program such as iTunes or Windows Media Player.
- Editing the MP3 files to create appropriate upload files. The CDs can have an entire service and sermon in one file (if it was saved as one "track" on the CD) or a service can be divided into a number of tracks (one was divided into 14 different ones), creating that number of MP3 files. You edit these file by cutting and pasting, using an audio editing file, such as Audacity (a free download). Generally, you have to listen to tracks, combine them to make single service with separate sermon, taking out unwanted "dated" material such as announcements (if recorded) or "Caring and Sharing" time, with is generally inaudible anyway.
- Saving the file right size/quality to upload. This is also done with the editing software. The upload maximum file size is currently 125M, which is quite large but it may not be large enough for a long Service or long-winded Sermon saved at the highest quality. Quality is usually lowered in the saved MP3 file to reduce file size. Spoken content, such as Sermons and Lectures are just as good at a much lower quality. Music is degraded, but not noticeably at higher levels.
- Saving the file with appropriate name. Files are named so that they can be understood when uploaded. The naming standard is date-type of content, ie, 021713service.mp3, 021713sermon.mp3, or 021713lecture.mp3.
- Uploading to the website. This is the simplest part of the process. When creating a record with an audio, you will see a blank audio field. Next to Audio, click "Choose File" button. This takes you to your system browser. Find MP3 file you just saved and click on it. This puts the name of the file in the field. Click "Upload" to upload audio. Wait while it uploads. If the file is not too large, it will show it uploaded and its size. If upload fails, the screen will reload with no such information.
To understand these processes in a little more detail, we provide the instructions below for using specific programs for these tasks.
1. Rip the Services CD to cover to an MP3 file. To do this with Window Media Player (at time of this writing):
- Before inserting CD, open Windows Media Player. It should come up into Library mode if no CD is in your drive. If not, click in lower right hand corner of the Play Mode box to go to Library mode.
- See your current Rip settings by going to menu item Organize>Options and clicking Rip Music tab. There are two important items on this Option tab, the Rip Music Location and the Rip Setting Format.
- Rip Music Location shows the directory where MP3 files are saved. You need to know this to find files later. Common directories are /Users/Username/My Music/iTunes or /Users/Username/Music/Amazon MP3. You can change to another location if you want using the Change button. To keep SCC content separate from my music on the computer, I usually change to an SCC audio directory in My Documents directory. NOTE: Within this directory, the MP3 files are in a sub-directory determined by Artist/Album on the CD. You can set these after you load the CD if you want, but I usually leave as "Unknown" (usual default) to simplify process.
- On the Rip Music option tab, set the format to MP3 from the pull-down menu. Windows usually defaults to a Windows audio format, which will not work for upload.
- You should set "automatic ripping" if you want (so rip starts automatically when inserting disk) by clicking on appropriate box.
- When done with Rip Music option tab, hit "Apply" to save options and then "OK" to return to Library screen.
- Insert the CD disk in your computer. You should see it start copying the tracks on the CD. If not, use the Rip command to start.
2. Edit with Audacity. Audacity is a free audio editing program you can download from Web. Download the Windows installation program and the MP3 encoder from this page. There are two separate installations, one for the program and one for the encoder. After running the installation, use the following instructions to extract a Sermon from a Church Service MP3. Download as .exe file for Windows automate the process of installation.
- Open MP3 files by clicking File > Open from top menu and then use browser to go to the directory you saved your files in. Select an MP3 file. You can only select one at a time. Generally, I open all the tracks from a given CD at one. While loading, you cannot opening or work with another track.
- To listen to tracks, make sure selection tool is selected. It looks like a capital I right after the record button. After selecting, click anywhere on track with it to listen to that section and click the play button that looks like a greater than sign >. A line shows where you are playing. If you audio is on, you should hear the track.
- While playing any track in Audacity, you cannot do anything else on any other track. Stop playing by clicking the stop button that looks like a solid square. You also cannot do anything on any other track while loading or exporting a track.
- Make sure selection tool is selected. It looks like a capital I right after the record button. To select a portion of a track, select the selection tool and click anywhere on the track, and hold down right mouse button and drag mouse right or left to highlight a section. While not selecting, hit HOME key to go to beginning of track. Hit END key to go to end. Pressing Ctrl-A will select a whole track.
- To see more track detail, click on the zoom tool (a magnifying glass with a plus in upper right) to see more track detail and make finer selections. Use the slider at bottom of track to move along it when zooming. To zoom out, use magnifying glass with minus sign.
- After selecting, you can then copy section with Ctrl-C, cut a section with Ctrl-X, or delete high-lit section by hitting Delete key. If you Delete by accident, Ctrl-Z will restore.
- To remove unwanted portions of a track, highlight section and hit Delete key (won't work if playing). Long pauses are easily visible as long straight lines. Sections such as "Caring and Sharing" are usually barely audible because there are no microphones in the congregation and are usually selected as well. Time sensitive material, such as announcements are also usually deleted.
- To combine tracks to make a complete service audio. Sometime services are made of many MP3 tracks. Open them all as separate Audacity files. To copy one file to the end of another, go that the second file. Click on track. Type Ctrl-A to select and highlight entire track. Hit Ctrl-C to copy. Go to end of the first file, click anywhere on track, press "End" button to go the end, and press Ctrl-V to paste copied file to it. Continue through all tracks to create a complete Service file.
- To cut a Sermon out of a larger Service track, find the beginning and end of the sermon. Highlight it. Press Ctrl-X to cut it from the sermon. Open a new track by going to the top menu and click on File > New. An Audacity file will open without a track in it. Hit Ctrl-V to paste. Wait and a track will appear. Long sermons can take some time.
3. Choosing file size to save the resulting tracks.
- When finished editing tracks, you export the file to create a new MP3. Use the File > Export command from the top menu.
- Hit the Option button in lower right of Save screen to bring up the Export MP3 Options.
- Click on the circle in front of "Variable" on the baud rate line.
- Select the quality. Generally, qualities from 3 to 5 are fine for Music (1 and 2 are generally create files too large to upload services). Spoken works (sermons and lectures) are fine down as low a quality 7 or 8.
- Leave Speed at "standard" and Joint Stereo radio button selected.
- Hit OK. You quality will stay at that level until you change it.
- You should still be in the Export File Menu (File > Export from top menu).
- Choose location to save new MP3. I have a special SccAudio Directory to keep separate from Music files and separate from raw CD rips.
- Enter name of file to save. Use date as the first part in MMDDYY format (021713 for Feb 17, 2013) and a description of material: sermon, service, or lecture. For example, 021713sermon.mp3. This will identify the file on the website.
- Make sure you are saving as MP3 (picker box below file name).
- As file saves, it will show an Export box. This takes some time. While files are exporting, you cannot do anything else in any Audacity file.
- NOTE: Best not to exit Audacity until you have uploaded all files. Some may be too big and you won't know that until you try to upload. If a file is too big (bigger than 125M), save at a lower quality.
- After saving all files and uploading all files (see below), you can Exit Audacity by clicking File > Exit from top menu. It will ask you if you want to save changes, but you already have in Exporting so click on No. This Save will save a project file that you don't need.
5. Load up to Church Website:
- Go to you web browser. Go to the SCC website and log in.
- Select the type of content you are creating from Create Content menu on bottom of screen "Sermon," "Service," "Lecture", etc.
- File out the screen. Screens will different depending on type of audio records being created.
- Lectures start with a Title. Enter it.
- Pick the Date from popup (no need to type it ). This is on all screens. Date defaults to today's date, which if fine if you are uploading audio on same day, but the date should be date of actual audio, not date uploaded.
- For lectures and sermons, the next field is "Given By" meaning the person speaking. Defaults to "Pastor Mike" in new "Given By" field. Change this to the speakers name if it is not Pastor Mike. Other names that have been entered before will "auto-complete" for you. Just hit the down arrow to select and hit Enter.
- Enter the name of sermon or lecture series under Series Title. For example, the current sermon series is "Mark" and the current lecture series is "Deepening Conversations with God." Start typing and, unless it is a new series, the name will appear. Use existing name rather than retyping to make sure spelling is the same. This is important for sorting them out correctly.
- Under Audio, Click "Browse." This takes you to your system browser. Along with the file names, you should see file sizes. If not, add this information by right clicking on the title line and putting a check in front of Size.
- Find MP3 files you just saved and check their sizes. None should be bigger than 125M.
- Click "Upload" to upload audio. Wait while it uploads.
- Click "Save" at the bottom of the screen.
- Check "Sermons" menu item to make sure it appears.