When you make a recording of an event in WebEx, you get a proprietary internal format with a file extension of WRF. I'm generally not a big fan of proprietary playback formats, but WebEx eases the pain by making a recording editor available. They are the only vendor I'm aware of that includes this functionality. You can cut and paste segments of the integrated audio/video stream to get rid of things like introductions, dead air, pauses for audience interaction, or speaker flubs.
The recording editor is not as sophisticated as dedicated applications devoted to editing digital media files, but it gets the basic job done. I have had difficulty getting fine timing divisions to come out correctly. You think you are cutting a segment right before someone says "ummmmmmm..." and find out after the edit that it cut off the preceding word as well. WebEx says they have been working on greater fine edit accuracy.
One of the things the editor lets you do is to export your recording to a Windows Media format (WMV file). The conversion process takes quite a while and generates a significantly larger file. I used this on a recent client engagement to create a standardized format and then strip out the audio. I ran the audio through an audio editing program to match volumes between the speakers, fix flubs, mute extraneous noises and so on. Then I planned to use the WebEx editor feature to overlay the audio stream back onto the video.
When I tried it, I received a popup error message, saying I had an invalid WAV format.
Fair enough... There are a lot of ways to encode a WAV audio stream. After checking the online documentation and finding no specifications, I called up WebEx tech support. A friendly rep went off to ask an engineer, then came back and told me the specs they wanted. I tried it again. No luck. Then I tried formatting the audio stream in six different formats. None of them would dub in.
So I called tech support again and started to describe my problem. My rep told me there was no such feature for audio dubbing, so I led him through the tool in his product. He tried it on his machine with a test file. It wouldn't dub for him either. He said he'd have to take it back to engineering. That was on October 4. On October 19 I finally got a response:
"I got clarification from the engineering and product management teams. Because the Editor was originally an internal-only tool, there are some legacy features that are still included but aren’t useful for you as an end user. The “external WAV” format we’re expecting is audio from a WebEx recording, but it’s something that can only be created by the engineering team, not a traditional .wav format. We’re working on making that clarification in the client to prevent any confusion, but the only way to dub in audio is to play it through the mic input."
By the way, the tech savvy among you (and who else would still be reading at this point?) should be asking why I bothered trying to go back to the original WRF format. Just take my edited audio file and overlay it on the WMV video. I did this. The file size shot up from the original 12.8 MB of the WRF file to an astonishing and unmanageable 1.05 GB for the assembled WMV file! I don't have a good explanation for that, but it got to the point where I was unwilling to continue my experiments.
I'm rather peeved about the chain of events here. First I got a response indicating the feature would work, given the right format. Then I had to show a rep what I was talking about, since he had never heard of it. Then it took 15 days to tell me there is no practical way to use the feature. I wasted a lot of time and effort on a dead end, which is why I'm letting my readers know about it in case they might be thinking of trying to edit their audio on a WRF recording.
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