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Best sound editing software (for a semi-professional)?

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Jack Whiteley
Best sound editing software (for a semi-professional)?
on Mar 10, 2010 at 12:40:08 pm

Hi there,

I do a lot of video and sound editing using Final Cut Pro but as my filmmaking progresses I am growing more and more aware of the limitations of using Final Cut for sound. I'd like to know which software people would recommend for someone wanting to get into sound design for film.

Pro Tools seems like the obvious choice as it appears to be the industry standard but it seems way too expensive for someone just starting out. I've heard others talk about Logic Pro and Cubase but aren't they aimed more at music engineers and producers as opposed to filmmakers? I am aware of Soundtrack Pro but I've always felt like it's not quite good enough (but maybe I underestimate it?).

Anyway I'm generally just curious to know what other people use for their sound design work. Obviously I need the software to be Mac-based and compatible with Final Cut. Also I don't have much more than about £400 to spend so the cheaper the better.

Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated!

Warmest regards,
Jack.


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Ty Ford
Re: Best sound editing software (for a semi-professional)?
on Mar 10, 2010 at 2:48:35 pm

Hello Jack and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

I use FCP and like you, I don't get Soundtrack Pro. It's like audio software created by IT people. I've been an audio pro with hardware and software for years, but I find Soundtrack Pro a click or two off. I've even asked Apple to let me consult to make it a better, more intuitive product, but they are a little defensive about it.

SoundtrackPro has been integrated better in terms of exporting from FCP and getting back it, but it's still like stepping off a bus to Dubuque, Iowa for me. I have learned to use the tools within FCP and have found I can get most of my work done there.

I also use Pro Tools LE and a Digi 003. The only thing it lacks its the SMPTE ability, If that's important to you, you can get the Video Toolkit option and have SMPTE. I think that about another $1k. YOu might try one of the smaller interfaces that uses PTLE to start with. Digidesign usually has a "step up" program where you can trade in your old hardware for newer more capable hardware, should you need it.

Hope this helps,

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Jean-Christophe Boulay
Re: Best sound editing software (for a semi-professional)?
on Mar 10, 2010 at 4:44:07 pm

In post it's all about ProTools. I've personally given a shot at pretty much every DAW out there. Logic and Cubase are both superb software for composing and mixing music. Logic even does a very good job of simple post work. But the real post tool that does it (almost) all would be Pro Tools. Nuendo has a great feature-set that could position it, but it lacks the adoption level PT has. I really hate to recommend something because "everyone else is doing it", but to get into sound design the alternatives all have more downsides. To work to picture, SMPTE is of course super-important. I'd personally say the Video Toolkit add-on to PTLE is almost essential to work to picture. If you can get your hands on an old MOTU MIDI Timepiece, you could convert SMPTE to MIDI TC that PTLE can chase. That's probably the cheapest way to TC-enable PTLE. You also need quite a selection of plug-ins in most sound design scenarios, which adds to the outlay.

There's no doubt that, by gearing up for serious sound work, you're opening a can of darn expensive worms. As Ty pointed out, Digidesign almost always have upgrade plans in place to go up a notch once you've reached the limit of your current setup. Most of all, with PT, you are guaranteed your DAW and audio interface will play nice, since they are from the same company.

As for Soundtrack Pro, I have yet to hear an audio pro mention it outside a humorous context. In four words: it's a joke.

JC Boulay
Technical Director
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


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Peter Groom
Re: Best sound editing software (for a semi-professional)?
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:22:07 am

Another vote for Pro Tools here, but Id point out that to do the audio properly, you must be able to export from FCP and import into PT an OMF. This is the extra cost Ty mentioned, but it is the "key" to the pro world of tv post.
Peter



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Jean-Christophe Boulay
Re: Best sound editing software (for a semi-professional)?
on Mar 11, 2010 at 2:40:21 pm

Oh yeah! I forgot about DigiTranslator, which is needed for OMF interchange.

*flush*

That sound was the MIDI Timepiece workaround going down the drain. It's no good having TC if you can't move your project around.

JC Boulay
Technical Director
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


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