One of the most useful tools I have found in any video or audio recording software seems only to be found in Reaper audio software. That tool is called "Glue Items." I use it so often in Reaper that when I edit audio I find myself searching for the same tool and not finding it. This tool allows you to immediately combine multiple audio or MIDI items on a track and treat them as one item.
When working with audio or video, there is a horizontal container or track, that I sometimes call a swim lane. Audio or video items are placed into these tracks. Now if you simply have a single audio file that you have open in your software (such as Reaper or Adobe Audition), maybe an mp3 you just wanted to make louder or something, the concept of gluing (glue-ing?) won't be an issue. You just plop your single audio file into a track, apply your edit (increase the volume maybe), and render the result.
However, if you were recording a voice track for music or narration or whatever, you might have several takes on the same track. One of the great things about recording software is that you can mess up, or sneeze, or have a cat jump on your keyboard, and just keep on recording!
I would probably just stop recording, save that take, and then start recording again on the same track, picking up where I left off. Each time I stop and start, a new audio item is created on that track. I can (and do!) end up with tracks that have 5 or 10 separate items.
Another way that multiple items end up on the same track is if you slice up a long file into parts. You might want to cut out a section of a song, or make copies of a section (handy for times when you have a repetitive guitar part - just copy one measure and paste it multiple times...but I digress).
Regardless of the reasons (there are many), things can get more difficult when you have lots of items on the same track.
You might move one item and mess up the timing or placement of others, especially if you have ripple editing turned on. This is where it becomes very useful to be able to simply highlight two or more items and immediately turn them into one single item.
In most audio or video programs you'd have to create a selection that included those items, render just the selection into a new file which you'd have to name. Then you'd have to import that file back into your project. Then you'd have to insert that file into your track.
But with the Glue Items action in Reaper, you simply highlight the items you want to treat as one item, then select "Glue Selected Items" from the context menu that pops up. Voila! Those multiple items are now rendered in place as a single item.
That can make things so much easier to deal with, and it is immediate. You don't have to save a new file, hunt for it, import it, etc. Glue Items creates a new file that will be added to all the files in your project, and auto-names it according to the settings in the program.
One of the reasons I use Glue Items so often is that it allows you to double-click a glued item and have the underlying previous items all open together in an editor. This is especially handy for MIDI items (music recording) or when creating loops.
This tool should be available in all audio and video editors. Tell your congressman:).
If you are aware of a similar tool in whatever video or audio software you use (hey, I can't use them all), please let us know by commenting below.
To learn more about Reaper's incredible audio tools, check out The Newbies Guide to Audio Recording Awesomeness 2: Pro Audio With Reaper - our latest video tutorial course.