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A quick post today as I am so busy with completing several projects at once including an 8 x 1 hour music documentary series for an independent production company here in the UK as well as being the NVQ assessor for the Advanced Media Apprenticeship scheme being piloted here in Manchester, England.A group of folks have got together to share a site for sharing shortcuts and PT tips and although not strictly 'post' related is providing a useful resource bank of tips and shortcuts. Go and have a look
I have been considering my options and I have made some decisions.I have decided having a Mojo unit to handle my video requirements is mad. Apparently the range of content it supports is limited, on HD rigs you are supposed to have a Sync I/O with it, which I don’t own, so I will be putting my Mojo up for sale on Ebay soon. I then may either buy a Canopus AVDC 110 unit or just continue using the video window on my right hand computer monitor. The other advantage of not having a Mojo is that it won’t tie up my firewire buss and I win back my last PCI slot. If I had kept the Mojo I would have needed to use the last slot for a firewire card.I have also decided to use the internal SATA slots in my Mac Pro as ‘work in progress’ drives rather than Time Machine backup drives as present.I will then use one the Sonnet internal to external SATA adaptor to connect a raid array to my Mac Pro for Time Machine or similar to backup on to.I may well drop using Time Machine to back up my Mac HD and my ‘work in progress’ drives and use something else that will give me a backup drive that can be booted from. Also the backup application I will use for my ‘work in progress’ drives needs to be set up so that when I clear sessions off my ‘work’ drives they get removed from the backup drives automatically, ideally a period of time afterwards.I still have issues to resolve, like what sort of raid array I should use for my short term backup, and what I should do about my long term backups, as currently I don’t charge the clients for this service.
I got an email from Minnetonka yesterday announcing that their Dolby E plug-in is now supported for Pro Tools 8.Minnetonka, MN – March 24th, 2009 – Minnetonka Audio Software’s SurCode for Dolby E Encoder and Decoder now support Digidesign® Pro Tools® 8 for Pro Tools LE® and Pro Tools|HD® workstations on both Mac® and Windows® operating systems. This version is offered as a free upgrade for existing SurCode™ for Dolby® E customers.It surprises me a little that such a new plug-in wasn't released as Pro Tools 8 compliant, but the good news is that it is now!
How many times have you had a situation like this....where the waveform are different heights on different tracks? You can of course adjust the vertical audio zoom but that changes it for all tracks so you end up with tracks looking like this....What would be really great is to be able to vertically zoom one particular track on its own. I have known this must be possible somehow for a long time. I started noticing it when importing tracks from other sessions and noticing that they sometimes seemed to have different vertical zoom settings. Well you can! What you can do is to select the Zoom Tool either from the toolbar or using the F5 button on your keyboard and then when you hold down the Control key (Mac) or Start key (Windows) and by dragging you can continuously adjust the vertical zoom on one track. Drag up to increase the vertical zoom, and drag down to reduce the vertical zoom. Make sure you start dragging over the track you want to change.....You can also drag left or right and that will continuously adjust the horizontal zoom but of course all tracks will zoom horizontally in this case.
It took me a little while to get used to it. Initially I found the grey and the overall lack of contrast hard to come to terms with, but I have got used to it and I thought it somehow looked 'cheaper'. Interestingly when I went to do some work on a clients system and they still have Pro Tools 7 and the thing that struck me the most was the thickness of the automation lines. In PT7 it looked like a massive marker pen had been through my edit window when I was in volume mode. Also I initially was concerned that the contrast for highlighted regions wasn’t great enough but I haven’t found I am struggling to find the highlighted region.I do find that the PT8 look is more restful on the eye. I do like the new toolbar and the clearer buttons although it is taking me a while to get used to the different locations for some of the drop down menus like the Region List one as I am so used to clicking on the title bar and now I have to go for the little arrow button. I initially thought moving the A/Z button was a mistake but it is more difficult to hit it by mistake in its new location. I am not sure about the way the region names are displayed in PT8. I guess it is all part of the ‘smoother’ look but I find I am zooming in more just to read the region name as it is truncated so often. The fact that the default setting for the Edit window gri is on is a real pain for those of us for whom Grid is not part of our working day.I would like to see a better set of appearance options than the existing contrast and saturation on the colour pallete so we can choose the shade of the backgroundThose are some of my thoughts, what do you think?
SRS announced this by sending users and resellers an email announcing they were stopping support for the TDM plug-in. This is what it said...Dear SRS Circle Surround® TDM Pro Reseller and User,Since its introduction in 2005, SRS Circle Surround TDM Pro has empowered broadcasters and post-production facilities to deliver professional quality audio. We thank you for your support and your continued interest in our Circle Surround TDM Pro software over the years.The purpose of this letter is to inform you that SRS Labs has decided to exit the TDM Pro software business and we will no longer be supporting the product with upgrades or patches. Currently, SRS Circle Surround TDM Pro 2.1 software supports Pro Tools® 7.1 and 7.2 systems; however, with Pro Tools 8 now available, we will no longer be able to dedicate resources to update our product.We will continue providing technical support for the SRS Circle Surround TDM Pro within the Pro Tools 7.2 and earlier environment for the next six months, until September 4, 2009.Sincerely,Cyndee PelinoSenior Marketing ManagerSRS Labs, Inc.I for one, am very disappointed at this and it is a sudden announcement that makes a significant investment worthless. Folk are already commenting on the DUC. I used it as a way to easily create an LtRt stereo compatible mix from a 5.1 stem as it was easier than using the Digidesign Dolby Surround plug-in because you have to get the 5.1 stem into LCRS before putting into the plug-in.Also the SRS plug-in could be used as an Unwrap plug-in too as I explored in my article in Sound on Sound, for those you can't afford the excellent TC Electronic UnWrap plug-in.Has anyone got it to work in Pro Tools 8? Comments on the DUC are mixed, but I will try and find some time to check it out.
In my post about the new Dolby E plug-ins I asked if anyone had had any experience of using them.Miguel Torres from Spain has very kindly emailed me with his experiences and I share it with you all with his permission...We have hard tried Minnetonka and Neyrinck plug-ins on PT 7.4, 10.4.11 and HD3 system.Controls, 8 track encoding and decoding its 2 tracks works are perfect for us, but when inserting Dolby E into a dbtc tape, we have to hear a decoded return, to hear what we are sending to our clients.We haven´t been able to AES/EBU real time monitor for QC. Pro Tools AES/EBU aux track with plug-in return from tape decoding a Dolby E signal (not with Neyrinck or Minnetonka). Have you?When a clients send a Dolby E tape, you have to record it into a Pro Tools stereo track.Both plug-ins are based on a "select stereo file" system to decode, but mono tracks are not admitted (neither stereo interleaved or 2 mono files). Have you found this problem too ?Have you found a Tape QC monitoring work flow or record a Dolby E signal and decode it in Pro Tools ?Glad to feedback with other pros.Very best regards.Miguel TorresTech ManagerSONYGRAF DIGITSOUNDThanks Miguel for this. As yet haven't personally got involved in Dolby E so cannot answer any of Miguel's questions. Over to you....
Minnetonka are currently offering a special NAB promotion on their new Dolby E Pro Tools plug-in. For a limited time, SurCode™for Dolby® E (both encoder and decoder) has been reduced to a special price of $4,499 and now includes SurCode™ for Dolby® Pro Logic® II RTAS™ ($795 US MSRP) plug-in for FREE! Get All three products for only $4,499! This is a savings of over $2200 from original retail value. They also have produced an excellent Dolby E FAQ with questions ranging from What is Dolby E? through What is metadata? to Can I edit a Dolby E stream?If you are looking at bringing Dolby E into your workflow then this is well worth a look.
Johnny suggested using a FW800 to 400 adaptor to resolve how I could support clients FW400 drives if I went the e-sata route with my Mojo on the system. Thanks for the thought, you are right but with an Avid Mojo on the system, my understanding is it takes the entire firewire buss both FW 800 and 400 so if you want to attach firewire drives you will need a PCI-e firewire card. However if I have fitted an e-sata card in my remaining slot then I won't have the slot to fit a firewire card as well. Johnny also suggested MaxDigital products as a more cost effective solution than replacing my removable drive system. I supply the MacPower Pleiades enclosures to clients and there is an equivalent 3 way case. I then put Seagate drives in them. Interesting you should point to Wiebetech, I have started supplying clients with their 2.5" buss powered cases ToughTech, and I am very impressed with their quality. My Intel machine is about to be fully loaded with drives, one system drive, one 'storage drive' which has all my sound effects, and two drives for Time Machine which I have set up to backup the system, storage and my two 'external 'work in progress' drives. Thanks to Johnny for his excellent input. Folks please keep it coming as I hope this will helps other people in similar situations.
I have done some more research and discovered a number of interesting points with regard to using eSATA in a Pro Tools environment. Assuming one has a Mac Pro there are two ways of getting SATA to the outside of the computer. You can get an eSATA card, which will take up a PCI-e slot. This will give you between 2 and 4 separate eSATA sockets and will enable you to hot swap your eSATA drives. Alternatively you can get an adaptor plate that picks up two unused internal SATA sockets and presents them as eSATA sockets so you can connect extrnal SATA drives to your computer. This method is much cheaper and doesn’t cost a PCI-e slot and doesn’t load the PCI buss but you cannot hot swap drives connected this way. Now if a rack or desktop chassis like the Sonnet R400Q for example, will I be able to access each drive separately all will all four drives just appear on my computer desktop as one drive. I know that Pro tools won’t support these system in any of their RAID modes, I am referring to their JOBD (Just One Big Drive) mode. Because if I cannot access each drive separately them I cannot easily swap drives around to work on different projects. The other issue that is niggling me is why Digidesign haven’t approved the use of eSATA? It seems strange although even in my research so far I have read about people not able to get some configurations to work with their Mac let alone work with Pro Tools. So is this high-speed technology still struggling from to many ‘ifs, buts and maybes to be reliable? If anybody has any comments, observations or experience I would value your input.
I currently use a Storcase DS321 FW800 1U case with 2 DE110 IDE removable carrier slots in and have amassed 10 drives in matching DE110 carriers. The first problem is I can no longer get Seagate IDE (PATA) drives. It is all SATA drives now. So what do I do? I use drives as my backup format so 8 of my 10 drives in carriers are backups of previous work with the other two acting as 'work in progress' drives. So the new system will need to maintain access to these drives in a format where I don’t need to copy off the backup drives to work on any content on them, so I need to have them attach to the system quickly and easily as Pro Tools ‘R’ drives which rules out any sort of USB to IDE converter that takes bare IDE drives.CRU Dataport, who have taken over the Storcase range, do a receiving frame that will take both legacy PATA carriers and 1.5Gb/s SATA carriers but I would have to replace everything in my DS321 chassis, ie both receiving frames and find a Pro Tools compatible (Oxford chipset) SATA to FW800 bridge card. Alternatively I could go completely SATA for my Pro Tools media and get a SATA card for my Mac Pro and bypass the FW interface altogether but still be able to put my legacy carriers into the dual standard receiving frames. This would have some merit as I am getting an Avid Mojo to handle the video side now I have migrated to an Intel Mac with PCI-e slots and my Miro cards no longer work! However somehow I must maintain some form of FW 400 connectivity for clients who bring work on FW400 drives so if I went this way I would probably need a FW400 card. That would need a combined SATA & Firewire card as I have an HD2 rig in my Mac Pro. So what to do?All ideas welcome, and I will post again as my investigations proceed.
Have you ever had the problem where when you have taken your session somewhere else you find some elements are missing? Wouldn’t it be nice to know where this is going to be a problem before you left base? How about an Indicator in Pro Tools like Session and Timeline in the Edit window that would warn you if you have files split across more than one drive?Well I have, and now I have come across a way of at least being able to check a session and fix it before sending it off to another facility.Open the Project Browser and arrange the window so you can see the Path column in the right-hand section. In the screen, you will see that there are some audio files on 'Storage 7' while most of the Session is on 'Work 3'. Sorting the Path column makes Pro Tools bring all the files on each volume together in the list, so you can see how many volumes are used. To consolidate files onto one drive, highlight all the files on the other volume (in this case those on Storage 7) and select Copy and Re-link from the 'Toolbox' menu in the Session Browser. Pro Tools will then ask you where you want to put the copied files: the default offered is the Audio Files folder of the Session on the volume that has the Session document on it. Select Choose and Pro Tools will go off and copy all the files onto the correct volume as well as re-linking the Session so Pro tools will use the files in their new location.
Acousticas continue to release impulse response collections of some of the classic reverb units. The latest is the Lexicon 224 adding to their collections from the Lexicon 300 and EMT245.From their web site…After we recorded the Lexicon 300 many of our users asked us to record the 224XL. We finally found one that had our name written on it. We have dubbed this baby “Marilyn” and she has indeed found a place in our hearts.I have to say their prices are very reasonable varying from €49 for the EMT IR library to €79 for the new Lexicon 224XL library. The samples they have put up on their site some very promising too. Go and take a look.
Smart AV have released a video which shows it working with Pro Tools. You might want to mute the sound as it consists of an annoying track and no commentary. But at least we can see how it works with Pro Tools. I haven’t yet managed to get my hands on one though.
I have written quite a lot about restoration plug-ins mainly in Sound on Sound firstly in August 2005 when I undertook a comparative review between The Waves Restoration Bundle, Bias Soundsoap Pro and Sony Oxford Restoration package. In this article I also included advice and tips on how to restore audio. In November 2007 I brought the review up to date using the same sample files and scoring system to include Sonic's Nonoise package, Waves Z-noise plug-in and WaveArts MR Restoration bundle and added in a Peak Distortion test. Finally in July 2008 I reviewed Izotope's RX Restoration bundle again with the same samples. Having visited all these plug-ins I thought you would be interested to know what I use day to day in my work which is mainly documentary audio post production and I see a wide variety of material that means some or a lot of attention. So my first chioces are.. Izotope DeClipper for handling clipped audioWavesArts MR Noise for treating broadband noise like hiss and air conditioning.Sony Oxford DeClick for handling anything that has come from vinyl as well as digital clicks and splats.Sony Oxford DeBuzz for removing buzz and hum. It is great because it will autotune itself to the problem sound. All of these I choose because they produce great results quickly. It may well be that other plug-ins could produce better results with time but these work for me in a quick turnaround environment. How I have shown you mine, what works for you?
This book is an excellent handbook for anyone wanting work in surround with Pro Tools whether for music, broadcast or film and is full of pictures, screenshots and practical examples of real projects to help you to get stuck in very quickly. Rich starts in chapter 1 with brief overview of how we have got to today’s range of surround formats starting with Walt Disney’s Fantasia from back in 1938!In chapter 2 Rich goes through the monitoring system including speaker placement, the ITU standard, calibration, and bass management.Chapter 3 looks at the best way to record for a surround project with practical outlines and examples using both traditional mics and more specialised ones like the SoundField and The Holophone mic systems.In chapter 4 Rich shows how to prepare a Pro Tools session to mix in surround, including setting up surround paths using the I/O setup, routing to the interface outputs, the different ways of surround panning with either Digidesign plug-ins or the Waves 360 plug-ins and the difference between the Sub and LFE.Chapter 5 looks at how the different control surfaces, both Digidesign and third party, work in a surround facility.In chapter 6 outlines different multi-channel mixing concepts using case studies, how to use the centre channel and LFE channels, and how to work ‘to picture’. The final case study in this chapter is a look at how a DVD is designed and the ‘data rate & bit budgets’ that go into the design and authoring of a DVD.Chapters 7 & 8 look at ‘printing’ and mastering your final mixes.In chapter 9 Rich goes through in detail a broad range of surround capable plug-ins including the Waves 360 bundle, Digidesign’s ReVibe and Sony Oxford dynamics. Then he moves onto the software available for surround encoding like the SRS Circle, and Dolby Surround Tools as well as other software packages like Apple’s A.Pack, which come as part of DVD Studio Pro as well as external hardware processors like the Lexicon 960L and the TC Electronics M6000 units.Chapter 10 goes through the current range of surround delivery formats like DVD-Video, SA-CD & DVD-Audio, the Dolby range from Pro Logic to Dolby EX, the DTS system and then Rich takes a look at an example of how our wonderful surround mixes are heard at home, all be it with a top end consumer receiver.Chapter 11, the final chapter looks at other applications for surround like computer games and commercials.Rich includes 2 appendices, one lists some of the resources out there and the other one, outlines what is on the DVD that also comes with the book. There are a number of example sessions with the first 11 being short clips showing extracts and elements of surround mixes but the last 3 are complete mixes. The DVD will play on any surround receiver with a Dolby AC3 decoder. This DVD with the accompanying written notes are much more than an after thought. They are an excellent resource, which confirm the very practical tone that Rich takes through this entire book.I would recommend this book to everyone who works, or plans to work in surround audio projects.Pro Tools Surround Sound Mixing from Amazon.com by Rich Tozzoli and is published by Backbeat Books.Pro Tools Surround Sound Mixing from Amazon.co.uk by Rich Tozzoli and is published by Backbeat Books.
I get calls regularly from clients saying “My cursor doesn’t do what I expect it to do”. There is usually one of three reasons for this. You have got the Keyboard Focus turned on which in 7.4 is an A...Z button just above the timeline near the Zoom buttons in the tool bar and in Pro Tools 8 is in the top right hand corner of the Edit window. With Keyboard Focus the whole keyboard changes to a series of one button shortcuts and you can even get a Mac or PC keyboard with the shortcuts printed on them. In this case the N key turns "Timeline follows Playback" on and off and as it is so close to the Space bar it is very easy to clip the N key when starting and stopping Pro Tools. If you don't want Keyboard Focus on then deselect it from the toolbar or click on one of the other A...Z buttons like the one at the top of the Region List and then you will be able to select items from the Region List by starting to type their name on the keyboard. The Link Timeline and Edit Selection button has been deselected. This is a curious looking button in the toolbar that is close the A…Z button on Pro Tools 7 but has become a much bigger button on Pro Tools 8. For a quiet life, make sure this button is selected and lit up. Pre-roll has been turned on. You can see if that is the case by looking for the flag on the timeline. If it is coloured in then Pre-roll is on. However if pre-roll setting is very large you might not be able to see the flag. In this case the easiest thing to do is to Show Transport and see if the Pre-roll button is lit, if it is and you don’t want Pre-roll then click the button so it isn’t highlighted.
Just a quick one today as I am waiting for a client to come to put together part 5 of 8 x 1 hour music documentaries on Legendary Record Labels like Stax, Factory, and Philly.Brent Heber on his excellent Pro Tools for Audio Pros blog has posted a great tutorial on how to use the new Expand tracks by timecode feature, that was introduced in PTHD7.4cs5. Go and check it out, it s a real time saver.
When you buy new external drives for Pro Tools be aware of three things.USB is not supported. Pro Tools won’t allow you to record or playback off USB drives. They can only be used as ‘transfer drives’.Firewire drives should have Oxford chipsets. Most drives that have Oxford chipsets do advertise the fact. Most cheaper drives don’t, so be careful. Although firewire drives that don’t have Oxford chipsets will work with Pro Tools you can expect problems with both performance issues and even data loss so my advice is don’t go thee, it isn’t worth it.When you get your new drive home re-format it. For all Mac users use Apple’s Disk Utility as all drives attached to Mac based Pro Tools rigs must be formatted ‘Mac OS Extended (Journalled)’. For more help see the free help guide on my web site.New MacsAlso remember that the new Macs announced yesterday have only have one Firewire 800 port and no Firewire 400 ports. If you go for a new Mac you must buy a Firewire 800 to 400 adaptor cable if you are going to use any of Digidesign's existing hardware, although remember that Digidesign have yet to announce support for the new Macs so you will be in unsupported territory until Digidesign get their hands on some of the new machines and put them through their exhausting test procedures, but don't expect a quick answer. If you want to be safe then do a deal on an existing approved model.
I have just found out that Neyrinck have also released a Dolby E plug-in and stand alone package. It surely shows how important Dolby E is in a 5.1 surround production flow.Dolby E is a clever trick from Dolby that takes the 5.1 audio and packs it up into a digital format that looks like a stereo AES/EBU data stream and so can be recorded and distributed around the existing stereo AES/EBU infrastructure.Until recently one needed Dolby hardware boxes to convert to and from Dolby E, but with the introduction of the Minnetonka and Neyrinck plug-ins we now can bring that part of the workflow into the world of Pro Tools.This from the Neyrinck press release...SoundCode For Dolby E is a set of software tools to manage audio and Dolby metadata using Dolby E encoding and decoding and multichannel broadcast wave (MBWF) files with embedded Dolby metadata. Now Dolby E streams can be encoded at your workstation faster-than-realtime to a stereo WAV file. Now a Dolby E layback can be confidence monitored directly in Pro Tools. Now a Dolby E encode can be delivered to a video facility as a file. Now Dolby metadata can be embedded in a WAV file, where it belongs. Now file-based workflows can be implemented that carry Dolby metadata with the audio. Now Pro Tools can import and export SMPTE ordered files larger than 4 GB. Now multiple programs can be combined into a single audio file. Specifications And CostPro Tools RTAS Broadcast Monitor plug-ins - Stereo, 5.1 (HD or Complete Production Toolkit required), and 8-out (using stereo auxiliary output stems)Pro Tools AudioSuite plug-ins - Broadcast Encoder, Broadcast MonitorStandalone Application - Broadcast Encoder, Broadcast MonitorSample Rates - 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz (Dolby E operates at 48 kHz only)Pro Tools 7.0 or later requiredMac OS X ( Windows XP / Vista Coming Soon$4495 MSRP It is interesting to see that if you want both the encoder and decoder plug-ins, then Paul Neyrinck's offering at $4495 is quite a bit cheaper than Minnetonka's plug-in package at $5995. I look forward to seeing how they both perform.If anyone has tried either of these plug-ins out please comment here, thanks.