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Audio Configuration - Multi Channel

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Don Alexander
Audio Configuration - Multi Channel
on Apr 30, 2017 at 6:52:27 pm

For the first time, we will be allowed to submit programming to a distributor in files rather than tapes. Thank goodness. But that raises some concerns in dealing with audio. The distributor has adopted the PBS Redbook standards. And that requires that we break out the audio to eight channels configured in the following way.

Channel 1 Left stereo
Channel 2 Right Stereo
Channel 3-6 Silence
Channel 7 Mono Sum or DVI (descriptive video information)
Channel 8 Mono Summed or SAP

In our case, we will be providing a mono summed audio program to channel 7 and 8.

Historically, our editors have been working with a two channel Master output with everything routed in a fairly basic manner. My task is to develop a template that would route their editing configuration semi-automatically to the required configuration. For example, all in-camera audio recordings, any VO tracks (mono), any music tracks or effects tracks would be routed to the left and right stereo channels as we are currently doing. But the same signals would also be mono summed and routed to the 7 and 8 channels.

I'm a bit confused on the process of how I can step up our audio production process. We are using Adobe CC on several current Mac Pro workstations.

Thank for any pointers!

Don


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Shane Ross
Re: Audio Configuration - Multi Channel
on Apr 30, 2017 at 11:41:29 pm

So you aren't having the audio mixed by a professional audio mixer who will then provide audio stems that you lay out in track order? What the editors mix on the timeline will be the final mix? Are they good enough to make this meet the audio tech requirements? I mean, I do a pretty good temp mix, but I always send the audio out to get professionally done

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Don Alexander
Re: Audio Configuration - Multi Channel
on May 1, 2017 at 4:18:16 am

No Sir, we are not sending out the audio to a specialist. I've read your advice to others in the past about this, and would advocate doing so. But we do not have the budget for this type of work. Management is already sweating the budget because the National Parks Service changed policy (or enforcement) mid stream and is charging for permits where they have not in the past. Even for non-profits.

So we have to rely on the editors to get an acceptable mix. That's our world, unfortunately.

Regards,
Don


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Jamie Pickell
Re: Audio Configuration - Multi Channel
on May 1, 2017 at 5:04:41 pm

I feel your budget pain, been there before.

There are probably several ways to do what you want via submixes, but I'm not familiar with them so perhaps someone else can help. That being said, I think the easiest thing to do is to have your editors cut and mix as they've always done and then export a full stereo mix.

Here is how to setup a multi-channel sequence in order to export a file with your designated audio configuration:

1. Create a new sequence with the video settings you need and in the tracks tab select multi-channel and set the number you need (8). You can set each channel as either mono or standard. Save this setup as a template.

2. Import your stereo track export of your final edit. Right-click on the file and select modify>audio channels. This will open a window, set clip channel format to mono and then set number of audio clips to 2. Then click OK. You will now have a clip that will use two audio tracks on your timeline, one is the left channel and the other is the right channel.

3. Use your new sequence that is mulit-channel, copy and past the video elements from your finished video into this timeline. Then place the full stereo mix on channels 1 & 2 at the appropriate timecode start. Place the rest of your audio stems on the appropriate tracks.

4. Make sure the track mixer window is open. Under the pan knobs you will see the numbers 1-2 with a little patch icon next to it. This is where you assign which channel that particular audio track on your timeline is going. So for tracks 1 and 2 you want that number to be set to 1-2, for 3 and 4 you want it set to 3-4 and so on and so forth. Click the patch icon to change which channel pair you want.

5. The last step is to now assign which channel of that pair each track will go to. Right now both tracks 1 and 2 will output to channels 1 and 2 and that is not what you want. In order to specify which channel of the pair you want that track to go to you need to pan the dials all the way to the left for the odd channels and all the way to the right for the even channels.

6. You can can now export your file with multi-channel audio. Make sure the audio tab in the export window is set to the number of channels you want.

Hope this helps.

Jamie



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Peter Groom
Re: Audio Configuration - Multi Channel
on May 15, 2017 at 11:03:50 am

Do you have loudness metering in all your edit suites?

Im not familiar with Redbook standards you mention, but think its likely that there will be some spec governing levels and Loudness mixing. I agree with Shane. Although you may have issues with budget, I suspect that without
1) Specific metering
2) Suitably trained, able, and interested editors

,youll get the mixes back again. Id take a close look at this issue. The world has just gone through a widespread change in audio delivery standards, and I doubt this will be completely outside that.

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Peter Groom
Re: Audio Configuration - Multi Channel
on May 15, 2017 at 11:12:14 am

Here it is

Measured loudness shall indicate the average loudness of normally spoken dialogue during the body of the
program, and the resultant average must conform to -24 LKFS, +/- 2 LU. True Peak levels shall not
exceed -2 dBTP at any time. See Appendix A for guidance in measuring loudness.

http://www.netaonline.org/PBS-TOS2014-MediaSubmission.pdf

Your edit suites have this metering capability in house operated by your editors?
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Don Alexander
Re: Audio Configuration - Multi Channel
on May 15, 2017 at 8:14:14 pm

Thanks for the input Peter.

We have hardware monitors in master control to check on the Measured loudness. The editors all have Premiere Pro and Audition with the Loudness Radar available to them. But I cannot speak to the "interested editors" question.

Actually, the whole loudness issue is the second portion of what I have been tasked with evaluating. Followed by an evaluation of the audio chain from the studio through to master control. We've seen some inconsistencies there.

I take note of your post. I will make sure the editors have a reasonable understanding of the loudness radar and actually follow the process and use it. We also have Telestream's VidChecker to assist in evaluating our ability to meet specs.

Regards,
Don


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Don Alexander
Re: Audio Configuration - Multi Channel
on May 15, 2017 at 8:04:38 pm

Belated thanks to Jamie. There might be a more elegant way to accomplish the task, but this is working. And I've created a sequence template to pretty much automate everything.

Thanks!


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Don Alexander
Re: Audio Configuration - Multi Channel
on May 24, 2017 at 8:23:07 pm

Stereo Standards (4 Channels)
Ch 1 Left Stereo
Ch 2 Right Stereo
Ch 3 Mono Mix or DVI
Ch 4 Mono Mix or SAP

I did make a sequence template, and have it working 3/4 of the way.

I created a new sequence.
Master was set to multichannel with 4 output channels selected.
I had channels 1 and 2 created as mono tracks.
Inside the project window, I changed the audio configuration for the finished piece, breaking the audio to dual mono.
In the track mixer, I created two additional Mono Submix tracks.
Channel 1 and two were both sent to tracks 3 and 4 Mono Submix tracks.
Channel 3 and 4 were routed to the 4 channel Master track and mixes set.
All 4 tracks showed up as active in Master track
AME was set to output 4 discrete channels



Almost there. Channels 1,2 and 3 all showed up on Premiere's meters and Master Control's monitoring hardware, Channel 4, not so much. Extremely low audio to the point of being non-existent.

Anyone see an obvious setting conflict?

Thanks,
Don


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