Have you ever wondered how Real Instrument recordings are stored on your computer? GarageBand stores all of the Real Instrument recordings in a Media folder inside of your project. Understanding how your Real Instrument recordings are stored will enable you to find the recording files and reuse them in other projects.
In this exercise, you'll locate the Real Instrument recordings for the project Alaska Sunrise. Let's start by quitting GarageBand.
Choose File > Quit, or press Cmd-Q, to quit the program.
On the Desktop, double-click the GarageBand 3 Lessons folder.
Click the Column View button to change to Column view.
Click the Lesson_02 folder to show the Lesson_02 files in the next column.
Notice that there are two GarageBand projects.
OK, so you found the projects. Where are the Media folders for the projects? They're inside the project files themselves. GarageBand project files use a special format called a "package," which acts as a container for a number of files and folders but looks like a single file in the Finder. Let's locate and open the Media folder for the 2-2 Alaska Sunrise Final project.
Ctrl-click the project 2-2 Alaska Sunrise Final and choose Show Package Contents from the shortcut menu.
The Finder window shows the contents of the 2-2 Alaska Sunrise Final project. The contents include a Contents folder, Freeze Files (rendered files), the project data, and a Media folder.
Click the Column View button to view the contents in columns.
Now that you have located the Media folder and changed the view to columns, you can preview the recordings directly in the Finder. Your goal is to locate the timpani recording.
Click the Media folder to reveal its contents in the next column.
Recordings are always saved with a project. Loops, movie files, and still images stored in other locations on the computer are only saved in a project if it is saved as an archive.
Six different recording files appear in the right column.
These recordings are numbered according to the recorded take that was saved in the finished project. Let's preview the different takes to find the timpani recording.
This was not an actual recording of a timpani drum. However, the region in the song was called Timpani because that was the sound I played from the samples on my external keyboard. To preview the recording, click the recording to open it in the Preview pane.
Click Recording#48.aif to open the file.
Recording#48.aif opens in the Preview pane.
In the Preview pane, click the Play button to preview (listen to) the file.
You may not hear audio right away, depending on when that actual sound starts after the beginning of the recording. Remember, Real Instrument recordings begin at the playhead position when you click Record, not when you play the first note.
So what does locating and previewing recordings have to do with your projects? The biggest thing is that you can duplicate and import (option-drag) these files directly into the Timeline of your GarageBand projects so you can reuse them whenever you want. You can also drag your recordings to the Loop Browser to add them to your loop collection. You can learn how to save files as loops in "Adding Loops to GarageBand" (Bonus Exercises > Add_Loops.pdf) on the accompanying DVD.
When you save a project, all of the Real Instrument recorded regions, which are purple (if original) or orange (if imported), are saved to the Media folder of that project.
Now you know how to locate and reuse recordings from one song to another.
Archiving Your Recordings
You can archive your recordings by saving all of your best takes in one project. You'll then have your best recordings available to reuse for new projects.
The specific steps for archiving are simple. When you first record a project, save all of the best takes to that project and add the word "recordings" to the name of the projectfor example, Alaska Sunrise Recordings. Save this version of the song, then choose File > Save As, and save the song again with just the song name (Alaska Sunrise). For this version, you'll delete everything except the takes you want to use for the actual song. Resave the song when you finish deleting the unwanted recordings. The result will be two versions of your songone version with all of the best recordings archived, and the other with just the best takes you actually use in the finished song.
After the song is completed, you can always delete the recordings version of the song if you want to clear some disk space and don't think you'll ever need the other takes again.
Archiving Your Projects
As I mentioned earlier, in GarageBand you can archive an entire song and all of its contents. Normally when you save a song, the project file references the movies, loops, and Software Instruments you have stored on your computer. But what if you want to take that song to a different computer that doesn't have all of the same loops and media? Perhaps you are using loops from one of the Jam Packs, or you recorded and saved your own loops. Whatever the situation, you now have the option to save a song and all of its regions to the project file's package contents. Then, when you open the archived song on a different computer, it contains all the regions needed to play and edit the project.
To save your project as an archive, choose File > Save As, then select the Save As Archive option in the Save As window.
Saving a song as an archive greatly increases the size of the song file because it contains media for all of the regions in the song, not just Real Instrument recordings and references to loops and Software Instruments on the computer.
That's itthe end of the Real Instrument lesson, and the beginning of your recording careers! You now have a solid working knowledge of recording, saving, editing, and archiving your recordings. Now that you can record and arrange your original music, the next lesson will show you how to mix your tracks to polish the overall sound.