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GarageBand 3: First Look

by

Episode 52
January 20th, 2006

I received and installed my copy of iLife '06 yesterday. I have only played with GarageBand so far, so I'm not ready to give you a real review of any of the iLife '06 apps just yet. Instead, here's a "first look" at some of GarageBand 3's new or improved features and my first impressions.

When you launch GarageBand 3 you'll immediately notice some of the new features, namely Podcast Episodes and Movie Scores, as shown in Figure 1. Now, in addition to creating music with GarageBand, you can also create a podcast or add an audio track to a movie.


Figure 1: GarageBand 3 has two new project types: Podcast and Movie Score.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

Let's see what happens when we click each of the buttons, shall we?

Clicking the New Music Project button opens a project that looks almost identical to a project in GarageBand 2 with three notable exceptions:

1. There's a new "Share" menu that lets you: Send Song to iTunes, Send Podcast to Web, Send Movie to iDVD, or Export as QuickTime Movie as shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2: The new Share menu.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

2. The floating Track Info window in version 2 has been replaced by a much more convenient Track Info pane attached to the right side of the main window as shown in Figure 3.


Figure 3: The Track Info button and pane.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

3. There's a new media browser pane that appears in the same place as shown in Figure 4.


Figure 4: The Media Browser button and pane.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

So that pretty much wraps up the new features you'll see when you create a Music Project…

Now, let's take a look at the two new kinds of GarageBand projects you can create-Podcast Episode and Movie Score.

When you create a new Podcast Episode, rather than finding a Grand Piano track you'll find five tracks-Podcast Track (for artwork), Male Voice, Female Voice, Jingles, and Radio Sounds-created for you as shown in Figure 5.


Figure 5: The five pre-created tracks you'll find when you create a new Podcast Episode.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

There are two more things to notice in Figure 5:

1. You'll find new loops, namely jingles, stingers, and sound effects, designed specifically for podcasting (or radio).

2. You'll find a new control for ducking (a double-headed arrow) on each audio track.

What is ducking? Glad you asked... Ducking is lowering the volume of some tracks to make others easier to hear. In other words, you'd want to duck (lower) the volume of your jingles, sound effects, or background music when you start talking. The ducking control arrows allow you to have all the ducking done for you automatically. Quite frankly it wasn't that hard to do a cross fade in GarageBand 2 (and you still can in GarageBand 3), but having it done for you -- automatic ducking -- is quite cool.


Figure 6: This is a cross fade-the music gets softer when the voice gets louder.
In other words, ducking performs a cross fade for you, automatically, which is pretty darn cool.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

Other new features worth noting are the track for building artwork into your podcasts and the ease of exporting your podcast directly into iWeb as shown in Figure 7.


Figure 7: I selected Send Podcast to iWeb in GarageBand 3's Share menu and this page was the result.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

Notice that the hard stuff -- subscribing to my podcast or RSS feed -- was all taken care of by iWeb. That's WAY cool.

Now let's look at a Movie Score project. In GarageBand For Dummies I spent nearly five pages showing a kludge for adding a score to a movie by opening QuickTime Player and GarageBand at the same time. Now, with GarageBand 3, you merely create a Movie Score project and place your video on the Video Track as shown in Figure 8


Figure 8: With GarageBand's new Movie Score projects synchronizing audio and video is painless.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

But wait, there's more... For example, there are over 200 sound effects you can use to augment your podcast or movie. And you can record audio right from iChat AV so creating audio interviews is easier than ever before.

I've only played with GarageBand for a few hours so far and I'm already in love with the new features. If you ask me, upgrading to iLife '06 is a no-brainer for anyone who dabbles in podcasts or movies.

And that's all he wrote...

Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus has been a Macintosh user for a long, long time and has written 49 computer books including Mac OS X Tiger For Dummies and GarageBand for Dummies. He also offers expert technical help and training to Mac users, in real time and at reasonable prices, via telephone, e-mail, and/or unique Internet-enabled remote control software. For more information on Bob and his services, visit www.boblevitus.com.

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