The Grassroots Corner March 28, 2022

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  • Source: FAIRtax
  • 03/28/2022

How To Get Candidates To Sign The FAIRtax Pledge – 4th and Final Installment: Video Processing

[Editor’s note: This is the fifth and last of a five-part series (the “first” part being the introduction) by Author and FAIRtax volunteer John Gaver, who by far has brought in more candidates to sign the FAIRtax Pledge than anyone else. Read this series to learn John’s secrets. Here we give you John’s tips on how to process your interview video, if you have time, to send to the FAIRtax organization. Primary Day is coming soon in your state, so please read these articles.]
This is the final installment in a four-part series on how to easily get candidates to sign the FAIRtax Candidate Pledge. In the first part, we covered how to identify all the candidates in a race, how to find their contact information, and how to approach them and ask for a meeting. In the second installment, we covered how to prepare for the interview. In the third installment, we looked at how to actually conduct the interview. In this final installment, we'll look at some of the technical procedures regarding how to prepare the video, before sending it to

These are steps that can be done by the guys at However, they are very busy promoting the FAIRtax in other ways. So, if you can do it yourself, please do. But, it's really easy. Even so, if after reading this article, you think it's beyond your abilities, don't worry. Just send in what you have. We'll make it work. The important thing is that you got the Pledge signed by another candidate.

It's really quite easy to process the video yourself, using a basic video editor, such as iMovie, that is free with MacOS and I imagine that something similar comes with Windows. I want to emphasize that this doesn't require any expensive professional software and it should only take a few minutes, even if you are new to all this. If you want to do it yourself and you don't already have a video editor, there are several options.

If you have a Mac, you may already have iMovie, which is an excellent video tool for non-professionals. In fact, it's so useful that I think every Mac should have it. If you have a Mac and don't already have iMovie, you can download iMovie for free, from the App Store.

If you're on a PC, there are some good free or low-priced video editors available for Windows. Movavi Video Editor Plus is a very good low priced video editor, at just $64.95. If that's too much, there is the VSDC Video Editor that's freeware. The VSDC Editor is quite good, but non-standard. If you were using it for something more complex, I would suggest paying for Movavi, since VSDC is rather non-standard. But for this kind of simple task VSDC is probably all you'll need.

I don't know the menu option names for features on anything but the video editor I use, which is FinalCut Pro, used by many movie professionals, so the feature names may be slightly different on other apps. For example, iMovie might say "Blade", whereas another app might say, "Split", even though both do the same thing (it splits a video into two pieces, at the play head).
1) Checking and editing your audio:
When you get the video home, the first thing you want to do is open the video and listen to the audio. If there is too much background noise, then you will want to run the audio through an audio editor. Just about any audio editor will do. If you don't have an audio editor, I suggest that you download Audacity, which is freeware/donationware for both Mac and PC. 

IMPORTANT: Do NOT trim the ten-second noise sample off of the front of the audio file yet. That's because the first part of the audio file also contains the sharp noise that you will use to sync the audio back to the video, after noise processing.

If you need to filter out noise, there are two possibilities. 1) You recorded the audio on a voice recorder. In that case, you can simply open that file directly in your audio editor. 2) If you didn't use a separate audio recorder, then you will need to open the video and export the audio in an audio format. With most video editors, you can open the video file in your video editor and export it as "Audio Only". That will usually create an MP3 file that your audio editor can deal with. Once you separate the audio into a separate file, you can open that file in your audio editor, for noise reduction.

The noise reduction feature is a two-step process. You begin by sampling the background noise. That's where that 10 seconds of background noise that you recorded comes into play. Highlight most of that 10 seconds and then open the noise reduction window. Click on "Sample Noise", "Identify Background," or whatever button seems to have the same meaning. This will identify that section of the audio as the background noise sample. After establishing what the background noise sounds like, exit the noise reduction window, select the whole file, and then run noise reduction on the whole audio file, using the previously sampled noise.

You may have to tweak the level of noise reduction, to get the best result without making the audio sound artificial. That means that you will have to UNDO the first noise reduction, adjust the level of reduction and try again. If you're not familiar with this process, then don't be surprised if it takes three or four tries, to get it to sound the best. Worst case, it takes five or six tries and 30 to 60 seconds. Just remember that you won't be able to eliminate all background noise. You just want to get it to where you can clearly hear yourself and the candidate and neither of your voices sound artificial.

When your audio sounds right, export the audio to a format recognized by your video editor. MP3 is a common format for this. Give it a name that you will recognize later.

Open the video in your video editor and import the previously saved audio into it. Then drag the audio to the timeline and place it below the video. Use the sharp noise that you created to align the audio spike that is in the audio, with the audio spike in the video. To do this, you will see a sharp spike in both audio waveforms. Just align the spike in the imported audio with the spike in the audio that is part of the video. Then, in most such editors, you just right-click on the video, in the timeline, and click "Detach Audio" (or something that sounds like means the same thing). Once detached, right-click on the audio that you just detached and click on "Disable" (or an option that looks like it means the same thing).

That was easy. At this point, you have replaced the noisy audio with the improved audio and aligned the audio with the video and you are ready to trim the video.
2) Trimming your video:

(Note: The FAIRtax Guys or I can do this, if needed.)

A) Open the video in your video editor, if it's not already open.

B) If you imported audio, then play the video and double-check to ensure that the visual clap or glass tap that you used to create the sharp noise is properly synced with the audio of that noise. If not, move the audio left or right, so that the spike in the audio waveform aligns with the exact moment that the clap or glass tap occurs on the video.

C) Play the video to the point where you first begin to speak (i.e., when you begin to introduce yourself). Notice the exact time, on the video editor clock, when you first begin to form the first word with your mouth. You may have to play that few seconds over a few times to identify that exact position. If you are familiar with video editors, you can "scrub" to that point, but it's not important to be that accurate and I'm not going to try to teach you to use any more of the video editor than necessary. Once you have identified the exact moment that you begin to speak, rewind the play head to about one second before you begin to speak.

D) Your play head should now be where you want the video to begin. Since there are a variety of video editors out there, I won't give you exact keystrokes. Instead, look through the menus for one of these words or phrases - "Blade", "Split", "Trim Start", or "Trim End". You won't be using "Trim End" here, but you may use it later. The words "Blade" and "Split" probably mean the same, depending on which editor you are using. Think of that feature as taking a razor blade and cutting a piece of old movie film. If you use something like blade or split, your video will be cut into two pieces at the play head. In that case, click on the audio waveform at the same place and blade or split that clip, as well. Then delete the audio and video clips on the left. Make sure the audio and video are still in sync. Alternatively, you may use something like "Trim Start". If you use that feature, it will blade and delete everything to the left, at one time.

E) Watch all the way to the end of the video and look for a point about one second after you stopped speaking. Make sure that both you and the candidate are smiling at the same time. Also, make sure that the video is less than six minutes long, at that point. That's where you will "Blade" or "Trim End" the video. It works the same way you did it for trimming the beginning, except that you will be deleting everything to the right of the playhead.

F) Now, play the video from beginning to end, in your video editor, to make sure that everything looks and sounds good. If something is not right, you can UNDO what you just did and start over.

G) Export the video for YouTube or Facebook. When doing this, make sure that you place the exported file in a folder where you will be able to easily find it, for sending to the guys at
3) Send your video to the FAIRtax Guys. You may be able to do this via email. But if your file is very large, you may have to upload it to a service like Google Drive or DropBox and send them a link.
4) Scan the signed Pledge and send a high-resolution copy of the signed Pledge to the FAIRtax Guys.

5) DONE.

If you have any trouble with any of these steps, don't hesitate to contact me or the FAIRtax Guys. We can be contacted on Facebook Messenger.
Thank you for your efforts in helping to promote the FAIRtax.

John Gaver

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