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Old June 9th, 2006, 01:49 PM   #1
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FCP5 and Soundtrack Pro Normalize vs Levels in FCP

I'm editing a video in FCP5 and the audio levels from the soundboard at dance recital are low and vary in loudness.

I need to normalize each section of the performance individually. So I'm going to use Sountrack Pro but I'm not used to the workflow. When I right click on the audio track and edit thought Soundtrack Pro it imports the entire clip (all 30 minutes of it) then its hard to find the area that the play head was at in FCP. Is there an easier way? I know I can adjust the levels in FCP using the pen tool but it seems like Normalize does a better job. Any help on the matter would be appreciated.
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Old June 10th, 2006, 11:34 PM   #2
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Audio editors

Pete,

Soundtrack Pro is a multi-tracking editor with MIDI capabiliites. It's not optimized for altering the scope, EQ curve or other acoustic aspects of single pre-recorded tracks.

The "normalize" function simply looks at the selected music and raises the entire track level so that the peaks don't go over the "digital zero" point and become overdriven. It will not raise the low-level information and make it "louder".

What you want is a compellor, which is a compressor/limiter. This takes the entire selection and raises the low volume sections while limiting the highs. In effect it flattens out the difference between the lowest points and the peaks. Radio stations use this for broadcast music so that quiet passages in music are as easily heard as the loud ones. This is the functionality you want.

The best audio editing software for this kind of work is either PEAK or DECK from Bias. Within PEAK is a plug-in called, "squeeze" which is the compellor functionality, but with a lot of control over how it does it's job.
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Old June 11th, 2006, 09:48 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Robert Lane
Pete,

Soundtrack Pro is a multi-tracking editor with MIDI capabiliites. It's not optimized for altering the scope, EQ curve or other acoustic aspects of single pre-recorded tracks.
Robert,

I'm sorry but this is not correct. Soundtrack Pro actually has two functions, in that it does do multitrack editing, but also does waveform editing and incorporates many, many audio processing functions. Some of them are taken straight from Logic Pro, Apple's high end audio software.

The old 'Soundtrack' did not have all this functionality and was pretty much what you described. Soundtrack Pro is much more robust than its predecessor and can also make use of any plug-in available in AU format.

This link, http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/soundtrackpro/ will give you a much better idea of the capabilities I am referring to.

regards,

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Old June 11th, 2006, 09:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Cofran
I'm editing a video in FCP5 and the audio levels from the soundboard at dance recital are low and vary in loudness.

I need to normalize each section of the performance individually. So I'm going to use Sountrack Pro but I'm not used to the workflow. When I right click on the audio track and edit thought Soundtrack Pro it imports the entire clip (all 30 minutes of it) then its hard to find the area that the play head was at in FCP. Is there an easier way? I know I can adjust the levels in FCP using the pen tool but it seems like Normalize does a better job. Any help on the matter would be appreciated.
Create 'scoring markers' in FCP. When you bring the clip into Soundtrack Pro, the markers will be there for you to easily locate the sections you wish to edit.

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Old June 12th, 2006, 12:23 AM   #5
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i ended up using the my tried and tru method of alter the levels with the pen tool in FCP.

robert thx you put a name to the thing i want to do. i'll give it a try.

btw, greg is also right soundtrackpro has grown into a more capable editor its not just for mixing multi tracks anymore.

One thing I'd like to add is that I found soundtrack pro buggy and frustrating in how it integrates with FCP. I spent all this time making edits, when I saved it had an error and corrupted the clip, making me have recapture 30 minutes of footage and loose my edits. The second time I tried it the audio was muted in FCP. when i played the clip in the finder it was ok in the FCP browser but not in the timeline. Why not just drag it back into the timeline? Well I had done many edits that would have to be redone. Bottomline I found soundtrack pro good by itself but aweful as an interal audio editor with in FCP.
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Old June 12th, 2006, 07:24 AM   #6
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Is there any reason why you didn't just use the compressor/limiter in Final Cut's Audio effects?
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Old June 12th, 2006, 09:31 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lorne Mathre
Is there any reason why you didn't just use the compressor/limiter in Final Cut's Audio effects?
I looked at the FCP audio filters but couldn't tell by their name what they do because I don't know much about audio besides raising and lowering the levels. thx I'll give that filter a try.
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Old June 12th, 2006, 11:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorne Mathre
Is there any reason why you didn't just use the compressor/limiter in Final Cut's Audio effects?
I just tried that filter didn't seem to have a noticeable effect
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Old June 12th, 2006, 04:55 PM   #9
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When I do recitals, I always get the original music played during the performance (usually a CD burned by the choreographer/instructor) and mix it into the audio along with the "house sound" (cheers, applause, etc.) I recorded with a mic. Then I can choose the levels of each during the edit to achieve a "live" sounding mix. I also record from the sound board, but only as a reference track. Like you, I have found that the levels coming from the sound board are not consistent.


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Old June 12th, 2006, 05:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Hanlon
When I do recitals, I always get the original music played during the performance (usually a CD burned by the choreographer/instructor) and mix it into the audio along with the "house sound" (cheers, applause, etc.) I recorded with a mic. Then I can choose the levels of each during the edit to achieve a "live" sounding mix. I also record from the sound board, but only as a reference track. Like you, I have found that the levels coming from the sound board are not consistent.
Mike.
I was doing a 2 camera shoot. one centered at the back for a fixed long shot of the entire stage plugged into the sound board. The second camera half way down off centered for pan/zooms/close ups with audio from the built in mic on the camera. The long shot camera was unmanned the even though i did a sound and light check it ended up dark and the sound was over driven rendering it unsuable for the most part.

Even if i had to do it over again I still liked 2 cameras because i could cover up my mistakes. but i did notice it added a lot of post production work (twice the footage to capture then having to sync them and pick which camera to show. since i'm inexperienced at dance recitals, it was hard to get close ups of all the kids while enticipating they eratic movement. friend in the business told me i just need to master a one camera shoot.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 01:40 AM   #11
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Jay Rose has a good article on compression at dv.com:
http://dv.com/news/news_item.jhtml?L.../2004/rose0405
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A compressor would be the most time-efficient way of tackling this problem... perhaps with a little manual mixing thrown in.
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