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On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)

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Franz Bieberkopf
On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 2:49:19 pm
Last Edited By Franz Bieberkopf on May 10, 2014 at 3:00:15 pm

… a follow up to recent thread digressions, Daniel Lanois on "performance mixing":







"I don't see the console as a piece of technological equipment particularly; I see it as an instrument - a musical instrument."
~ Daniel Lanois, "Here Is What Is" (2008)

… great to watch his hands on the faders (even when he's just demo-ing tracks). This clip (the mix, around 5mins in) suffers from the implication that it really should be shot from directly overhead the mixer, but the hand-held from behind gives you his mixing dance, and his talk-through is great in terms of just sharing his inner monolog while he works the faders.

I hope it might inspire someone out there to grab the fader tools and record some automation if they never have before.

Obviously, it's a piece of music, but audio always offers orchestration since it's used more in parallel than picture is (which tends to be serial in arrangement). Even at the level of "offline" editing (which is what I'm doing most of the time) audio can influence the structuring of a piece. While I'm never doing anything so elaborate as Lanois' dance, I can't imagine being restricted to point and click operations.

NLEs are DAWs - though their functions may be limited, it's hard to come up with a definition of DAW that an NLE doesn't fit (though they lack multi-track recording capabilities). The fact that most editors will not extensively use the DAW functionality doesn't change that.

Franz.


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Marcus Moore
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 3:17:33 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "NLEs are DAWs - though their functions may be limited, it's hard to come up with a definition of DAW that an NLE doesn't fit. The fact that most editors will not extensively use the DAW functionality doesn't change that."

I'm not sure I agree here. A DAW is exclusively audio focused- so the toolset can be optimized specifically to be the best audio tool possible.

An NLE by its very nature is at cross purposes. What works best for lean, fast, and efficient picture editorial is certain to compromise what may be best for audio. Conversely, a NLE which is a great DAW is probably making all sorts of compromises to picture cutting, especially as the audio stack becomes more complex.

This is why I think it's a foregone conclusion that top tier audio finishing (in the same way as graphics) will always be done in specialized apps.

Of course, the balance that has to be struck in any NLE is what level of features is "enough", and what level of compromise do you make between being a great picture and sound editor within that NLE.

There's no right answer here. Everyone has their own level of functionality and compromise that they find sufficient to meet their needs for NLE audio. And this depends entirely on individual workflows in question- How much responsibility the editor has for audio in the production? What level of complexity is required?

It's always an interesting topic. As it relates to FCPX- it's obviously the least DAW'ish NLE out there, with it's forsaking of conventional track structure. Apple is clearly putting the emphases on picture first- and i'm curious as anyone to see how more complicated audio functionality is figured into that structure.


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Dennis Radeke
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 3:18:29 pm

I would say that an NLE is a DAW in its function: that is it can do many of the functions of a digital audio workstation. The counterpoint is that an NLE is not a DAW in its focus. An NLE's focus is video whereas a DAW is audio.

Dennis - Adobe guy


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David Mathis
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 4:12:00 pm

Bazinga! It will be more interesting to see how things get when Resolve 11 is released. Looks like a pimped out FCP X system (in a very good way) with tracks. On the video side, tracks can get in the way sometimes, not to mention patching this to that. On the other hand, really prefer tracks for audio. Part of it is personal preference, the other is I am the occasional control freak and do not like things getting too automated.

David

FCP X Motion and Resolve Guy!

Sorry, just could not resist saying that. :-)


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Steve Connor
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 4:31:37 pm

I honestly think people may be holding out a bit too much hope for the next version of Resolve.

Steve Connor
Mellowing slowly


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Charlie Austin
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 4:45:26 pm

[Steve Connor] "I honestly think people may be holding out a bit too much hope for the next version of Resolve."

Ya think? :-) I'm also unsure what it is everyone is hoping for. If you want an NLE with tracks there are currently a couple available that I'm aware of. I could be wrong...

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~


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Steve Connor
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 4:53:21 pm

One of the biggest things we take for granted with modern NLE's is real time playback, most of them are very good at it, even on low spec systems. Resolve needs Power to get RT and unless they've re-coded it to make it less resource intensive then it isn't going to compete (not that it's BM's intention to - at the moment!)

Steve Connor
Mellowing slowly


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Lance Bachelder
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 7:38:28 pm

Steve and Charlie - have either one of you had a live demo of Resolve 11? If it's stable its gonna be huge. Remember its FREE! And the $999 version has workgroup features that we've all dreamed about. For those who love FCPX but still wish it had things like tracks, an audio mixer and better collaborative tools it may be the answer. And it may be the first cross-platform NLE to truly make both Windows and Mac users happy.

If you love FCPX as is, it will simply be an enhancement to your workflow with true round-tripping. Maybe the first release of 11 won't be there but the writing is on the wall - BMD is serious about this thing.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


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David Mathis
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 8:02:24 pm

This will be huge and now wondering what impact it will have on those that are thinking about signing up for Adobe CC, from my opinion it could cause some competition.

You would have Final Cut Pro X for editing, Motion for motion graphics along with some compositing and Resolve for color grading. Someone could be running Windows others OS X, to me this is going to have a positive impact.


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Lance Bachelder
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 11, 2014 at 12:03:58 am

I agree if it's a good NLE it could really hurt Adobe and Avid more than Apple - most folks have already paid their $299 for FCPX so even if they completely stop using it it won't effete Apple. I'm a CC subscriber and would have no prob downgrading to Photoshop only subscription if editing in Resolve is as good as I hope...

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


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Charlie Austin
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 8:13:13 pm

[Lance Bachelder] "Steve and Charlie - have either one of you had a live demo of Resolve 11? If it's stable its gonna be huge"

I haven't, but I'm really looking forward to it. I've had a bit of a back and forth with some folks at BMD and it sounds promising. I'm more interested in using it to enhance my X workflow as I've really gotten comfortable cutting in X. I do use other NLE's fairly regularly and fixed tracks drive me nut now. That said, I think R11 is going to be a great addition to the NLE stable.

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~


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Scott Witthaus
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 11, 2014 at 11:26:01 am

[Charlie Austin] "That said, I think R11 is going to be a great addition to the NLE stable."

Agreed. I will enjoy having R11 as a compliment to X when there is CC that X and plugins can't accomplish (which doesn't happen much on properly shot footage). But X will do the "heavy-lifting editorial".

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Mitch Ives
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 12, 2014 at 3:55:46 pm

[Steve Connor] "I honestly think people may be holding out a bit too much hope for the next version of Resolve."

I think you're thinking too literal. What has people's attention is that R11 has accidentally done a lot of things better than FCP X has on purpose. People see R11 as just the first step... and a big one. OTOH, Apple's pace of development on FCP X could best be described as glacial.

That's why I think there is so much excitement on R11... everyone is hoping it lights a fire under Apple's a**.

Mitch Ives
Insight Productions Corp.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." - Winston Churchill


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Walter Soyka
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 5:04:51 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "audio always offers orchestration since it's used more in parallel than picture is (which tends to be serial in arrangement)."

[Franz Bieberkopf] "NLEs are DAWs - though their functions may be limited, it's hard to come up with a definition of DAW that an NLE doesn't fit "

I think that difference is in the philosophy of the toolset, as you noted above. Aren't NLEs optimized for serial operation and capable of parallel operation, whereas DAWs are optimized for parallel operation and capable of serial operation?

I'm hoping Lance chimes in with some Vegas knowledge, Vegas being an outlier in our conversation in that it's an NLE based on a DAW.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jim Giberti
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 5:26:56 pm

I've grown up as a music producer and a film/video producer.
I've spent countless hours sitting at different evolutions of mixing consoles and yeah, as a musician I can definitely see the analogy of the console as an instrument.
In fact just the other day my partner and I were talking about complex mixes, before automation, where we would rehearse our fader moves on 32 track mixes, repeated over and over - taking the instrument/band analogy even further.

That said, I just finished a mix in FCPX that didn't allow for me to get the audio into Logic or DP where I mix now.
But, having my main processors from Logic available in FCPX and after getting very comfortable with CCing levels of audio, using the range tool to even initial levels, and then using the CCs as "fader groups", I was able to get a very good mix done.

Coincidental to this thread, I made a comment to said partner how I've really evolved away from the mixer/instrument paradigm as the sole means of creating good audio.

Now, I'm not talking music, where I would/could never create elaborate mixes without everything laid out in real time before me. But that's a demonstrably different experience than creating, say, a 3, 6 or maybe 8 track audio mix for a TV spot.


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Lance Bachelder
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 7:31:20 pm

Thanks Walter - you're right Vegas started as a DAW and Pro Tools competitor - Sonic Foundry added video capabilities in version 2 which is when I started using it. Vegas was the first NLE to have real-time dissolves and fades on picture (DV days). I think the only reason Vegas doesn't get its due is because its Windows only. I was already a FCP 1 user when I discovered Vegas and me and my Mac only buddies were floored by it at the time but they refused to use it because they thought Bill Gates was satan - truly. But the proginal programmers were all Windows gurus which is why Vegas was 10 years ahead on Pro Tools on many features.

I don't do much picture editing in Vegas anymore but I still mix everything I can with it. I still find it way faster than any other DAW and doing 5.1 mixes is a breeze. In the past I've cut and mixed many shows on it and being able to sound design, mix, cut picture and color time were huge. Unfortunately they've fallen way behind on real-time picture and none of the fx and plug-ins for picture have ever been improved, in fact, when they switched to OpenFX they redesigned many plug-ins and made them worse - strange...

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


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Walter Soyka
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 15, 2014 at 5:11:39 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I think that difference is in the philosophy of the toolset, as you noted above. Aren't NLEs optimized for serial operation and capable of parallel operation, whereas DAWs are optimized for parallel operation and capable of serial operation?"

If the above is true -- are DAWs more analogous to compositors than NLEs?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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James Culbertson
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 10, 2014 at 6:14:05 pm

I've always felt that video editing was like playing a musical instrument, and when I edit I am equally aware of the effects and rhythms of the audio I am working with as I am the visual component. I've always cleaned up ragged audio (as for instance in dialogue cutting) in order to properly work with the visual edit. But I've noticed that many other editors I have worked with leave this sort of clean up for audio-post. Drives me nuts and I don't understand how anyone can really properly edit when the audio isn't at least somewhat cleanly edited as well.


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Michael Gissing
Re: On Faders and Mixing (NLEs are DAWs)
on May 14, 2014 at 8:20:08 am

I can tell you that doing audio on FCP7, Premiere or Resolve is frustrating compared to Fairlight with faders and its architecture for clips, stacking, tracks, busses and grouping and plugins at so many levels. I have repeatedly said that NLEs would be far better with some of these DAW features.

Dialog, music and FX are ridden like an instrument with faders, something a mouse or clip level system doesn't do and without track or bus based plugins NLEs are rough and good for offline only in my opinion. Vegas and Premiere do have bussing and track based levbels and plugins but without being driven by dedicated controllers and motorised faders they are still mouse clunky.


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