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My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...

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Paul Figgiani
My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...
on Jun 28, 2014 at 6:49:54 pm

Here is my personal perspective on what FCPX needs with regards to improved support for audio. I get that it makes sense to send to Pro Tools, Audition, or Logic X. However my guess is these days many editors prefer to handle audio finishing right in the NLE. I could be wrong.

[-- A mixing "Environment." For example - you can designate individual storyline clips or a selected group of clips and "Open in Mixer." This creates a typical channel strip for each instance with Inserts, Sends, and the ability to route to Buses. The signal routing in this Environment is the absolute signal chain. In other words - the output of the mixer is what you hear when you playback the Storyline.

This concept would add a ton of flexibilty in terms of audio processing, mixing, loudness compliance, metering, and outputting.

[-- Better Audio Meters. In fact standard PPM needs to be an option, not the only choice. I think most people still don't realize that Peak Meters are useless when it comes to measuring perceived loudness. The real purpose of Peak Meters is to prevent overload (aka clipping). You can have two individual clips with the same exact peak ceiling, and clip A could very well be much *louder* perceptually than clip B. Apple should add a dedicated Loudness Meter that measures Program Loudness, Short Term/Momentary Loudness, Loudness Range, and True Peaks. If you are not sending your mixes to Pro Tools or Logic X - well then compliance support is a necessity within FCPX, especially regarding The Calm Act, EBU R128, ATSC A/85, etc.

And even if Apple did not do this, my mixing Environment idea would make it possible to use Loudness Meter plugins on entire mixes, not just on individual clips on a per instance basis. That's highly inefficient. Sure, you can create a Compound Clip - but that is another story.

[-- A File Based Editor. Right now it's near impossible to perform intricate dialog edits in FCPX. Yup - I realize the Storyline audio clips can be customized visually to simplify editing. However it's still cumbersome. They need to do away with the cartoonish, rectified waveforms. Best case scenario would be an internal option to "Open In Editor" resulting in a file based editor similar to what is present in Audition, Bias Peak Pro, or Soundtrack Pro. And include basic DSP tasks like Peak Normalization, Average Loudness Normalization, Add Silence, Convert to Stereo/Mono, etc. Lastly, the ability to process files using the bundled plugins as well as any installed third party plugin options. What ever you decide to do to the loaded clip, the resulting edits are reflected in the Storyline instance.

That's my take ...

-paul.


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Lance Bachelder
Re: My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...
on Jun 28, 2014 at 11:10:06 pm

I agree with everything here but not sure Apple would consider this since every feature you're asking for is available in Logic for $199. I've been spoiled by over a decade of using Sony Vegas which has full DAW features along with full NLE features. I don't own Logic yet but considering giving it a try for post audio as it apparently can take a FCPX xml - just haven't heard from anyone using it on paying gigs.

BTW I just delivered my first full mix on a doc yesterday using nothing but FCPX and roles. 5.1 mix sounded great but I sure missed bussing my dialog, effects and music...

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


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Paul Figgiani
Re: My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...
on Jun 29, 2014 at 12:33:30 am

[Lance Bachelder] "BTW I just delivered my first full mix on a doc yesterday using nothing but FCPX and roles. 5.1 mix sounded great but I sure missed bussing my dialog, effects and music..."

Hi, Lance.

Cool. How did you handle Loudness compliance? Were you delivering to spec. or letting the network handle it after the fact?

Lately I've settled on the TC Electronic LM2n Loudness Meter, since most of the stuff that I do is 2-channel audio. It works well in FCPX. For 5.1 I have Nugen's VisLM. I bought the Waves meter as well. I don't use it that much.

As far as Logic X, I'm running it. I was getting allot of use out of it until I moved to Pro Tools 11.

The thing is the multitrack/mixing environment in Logic X is fine, as it is in Pro Tools. However the file/track based editing is not the same compared to something like Audition. For example in the Audition File Editor you select an area of a clip and press delete. Done. It ripples the file and adds a user defined cross fade without leaving behind the cut point. In Logic X you still need to manually overlap or select the edit point and add a cross fade. Not that big of a deal - OTOH it takes so much longer to edit a piece this way.

As far as file based processing, Pro Tools does it better than Logic X using Audio Suite versions of supported plugins and processes. You make a selection (or select an entire clip) and press Render on the plugin UI. Done.
In Logic X you need to bounce through plugins to track or disk. Pretty common and not a big deal.

So yeah, both apps are great. Logic X is at steal for that price. I still think apple needs to ramp up support for audio post in FCPX. I'm inclined to believe that this is wishful thinking. I'm not complaining, but it would be nice to pick up advanced support for audio.

-paul.


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Nicholas Zimmerman
Re: My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...
on Jun 29, 2014 at 12:38:17 am

I'll vouch for Logic Pro X as a mixing environment. I recently three short films with it and have no major issues whatsoever. I haven't tried with FCPX XML since they updated Logic to improve. Last summer when Avid released Pro Tools 11 I brought in an AAF from X2Pro and discovered that none of my plugins worked anymore due to their awful transition to 64-bit. Instead of downgrading the machine I just decided to try it in Logic Pro X and it worked no problem. On the second film I tried using the .fcpxml but there were a lot of issues at the time, so once again I generated an AAF with X2Pro and had zero issues. I know with the 10.0.6 update they redid the .fcpxml import, so next time I need to mix a project I'm going to try going straight to Logic.

______________________________

FCP X Certified Pro, Level Two
______________________________


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Marcus Moore
Re: My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...
on Jun 29, 2014 at 4:43:31 am

Roles- great for timeline organization, and great to facilitate audio mixing.

My thoughts here-

http://disproportionatepictures.blogspot.ca/2014/05/roles.html


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Scott Witthaus
Re: My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...
on Jun 29, 2014 at 11:56:10 am

My suggestions for that is to pony up the $199 for Logic and go from there.

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


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Michael Gissing
Re: My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...
on Jun 30, 2014 at 12:43:20 am

Personally my best approach is to ask Fairlight to embrace the FCPX xml format so I can load directlyan X project into Fairlight. Asking Apple to improve internal audio functions and exporting to other formats is likely to be a waste of time. They have clearly signalled that xml in and out is it and third parties can do the rest.

So going straight to opening a FCPX project in a DAW seems like a better approach where all the right audio tools already are - be it Logic, ProTools or Fairlight.

Meanwhile I am looking at the improved xml with Resolve 11 as a possible way to get an audio aaf out of Resolve from an imported FCPX xml. Although a third party round about way to get audio from X to a DAW it at least is a free option if it works. Not that I am saying X2Pro isn't worthwhile, but I have had editors balk at paying for that export functionality so I have mused that Resolve 11 Lite might be an alternative X to AAF pathway. I have a job sound and picture posting in a few weeks from an X project (still a rare thing for me) so I will experiment and report back.


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Marcus Moore
Re: My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...
on Jun 30, 2014 at 2:27:56 pm

I'm dubious as to whether Apple sees Logic as a proper audio post DAW. Interoperability certainly hasn't seemed a priority up to now.

My post is mostly interested in Roles as an organizational tool. Like Keywords in the Event Browser, it seems like using Roles to better organize timeline elements is an obvious course. Once you do that, Roles become sort of like Logic Stack Stracks, and lots of possible audio workflow possibilities arise.

I'm not interesting in Apple wasting the time to try and make FCPX into a full on DAW- as you say, if you're serious enough about it you're going out to a 3rd party app anyway. But I think the toolset could be expanded in some useful ways. People will always want a bit more functionality, so where to draw that line is I'm sure a CONSTANT issue not only for FCPX, but all NLEs.


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Andy Field
Re: My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...
on Jun 30, 2014 at 10:53:34 pm

once again...the "bargain" that is FCP X is not a bargain when it comes to audio mixing...

"pony up another 199" for logic or more for another audio mixing environment

spend time creating roles...when virtually every other NLE doesn't make you take these extra steps for a simple mix

as for loudness....Adobe's Audition has an excellent broadcast compliant loudness meter and a simple way to monitor and control this.

Andy Field
FieldVision Productions
N. Bethesda, Maryland 20852


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Marcus Moore
Re: My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...
on Jun 30, 2014 at 11:09:14 pm

Well, first off, you CAN mix within X- there's nothing that says you have to go to another tool. I've delivered lots of broadcast spots without punting to ProTools or Logic.

If you're using Premier & Audition, then you're on CC- and say hello to $55/mo. Which means even if I've paid for Logic and FCPX, then after 9 months on subscription you've paid more than me. After 18 months you've paid double what I have- I'm not arguing the value of CC (I'm a subscriber too), but playing this money game is a bit simplistic.

As for Roles, I set them at the start and then never have to worry about how many layers of dialogue or effects I have, never have to change my track arrangement if I need more channels for a specific audio type, and I don't have to tell the audio engineer what's where, because my Roles info comes thru in my AAF file.

Would I like some more functionality within X... sure. But the picture you paint is not the same one that I have from experience.


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Andy Field
Re: My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...
on Jun 30, 2014 at 11:18:55 pm

what do you do with roles when you set one as "natural sound" and suddenly there's a usable soundbite on your natural sound role - it's no longer in the right place and a few more steps.

Also...this is unrelated but i had to do it the other day....

needed to dissolve on a graphic on a "secondary" FCPX track....couldn't get it to work...know there's a trick..but why do we need a trick?

Andy Field
FieldVision Productions
N. Bethesda, Maryland 20852


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Marcus Moore
Re: My suggestions for improved Audio Post support ...
on Jul 1, 2014 at 12:46:11 am

First off, "place" doesn't matter, since there's no tracks. In your situation I'd just select the element I need to change the Role for and change it's role. It doesn't need to move, I don't need to find room for it amongst the other dialogue tracks, and I don't have to create a new track and bump everything else down to make room if there's no more space there.

Let me put it this way- my experience in editing on X after 3 years, and after editing in FCP Legacy since 2002, is that any time I may loose in having to make those occasional Roles adjustments, is WAY outpaced by all the times I don't have to worry what I'm doing with my edit, and what effect that has on the audio components below.

It's not a perfect system yet. I would love to see Roles dictate a visual order, grouping Roles together- but never forcing me to worry about individual audio clip conflicts.

On your other point, there's no trick to dissolves on connected clips. Select the end you want to dissolve and hit "t", and it adds a dissolve. This puts it into a container called a storyline- but that doesn't represent any extra effort on the editors part.


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