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Audio Hard Limiter

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TJ Ingrassia
Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 28, 2015 at 4:51:50 pm

I've been trying to figure out how to add a hard, "brick wall" limiter to my Projects, but can't seem to get anything to do it. Every limiter filter changes the entire dynamics of the audio, rather that just clipping off the peaks above whatever threshold I set.

Am I doing something wrong? Is there nothing like this built into FCPX?


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John Davidson
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:43:04 pm

Try Effects, Compressor.
Change compressor threshold to 0. Click the bottom right "limiter' box. Use the "Limiter Threshold" meter to set your limit to 0, -5, -10, etc. That should do what you want.


Personally I set my Compressor Threshold to -10 and set my Limiter Threshold to about -5. Brings up things that are too low and limits anything too hot. Nice for client rough cuts. Play with the settings, knee, etc. You might find a setting you like, if you do, save it as a preset or as a unique effect and you can quickly apply it to all future rough cuts if needed.

Cheers,
John

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 28, 2015 at 9:17:26 pm

If you need to limit the master level of the whole mix, you will need to compound the audio and apply the filter to the compound clip. And FWIW - if this relates to loudness compliance - the result will still not guarantee broadcast (CALM Act) compliance.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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TJ Ingrassia
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 28, 2015 at 9:46:07 pm

This is very helpful and has gotten closer than anything I've yet found. A couple follow-up questions...

1. It looks like if I use the "Gain" feature within the Compressor filter, it raises the level of the clip, but still obeys the "Limiter Threshold" that I set. However, if I raise the level of the clip in the Timeline/Inspector, the Limiter doesn't seem to work...like it will only clip the levels that it recognizes from within the effect itself. Does that make sense? Am I doing something wrong or is this just the way it works?

2. You mentioned saving my settings as a "unique effect". I do this all the time with video effects (then use Motion to setup Rigs for custom controls within FCPX). However, it won't let me right click an "Open a Copy in Motion." Is there some other way to save my custom settings as it's own separate effect, or does it only save my settings within the Compressor effect itself?


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Oliver Peters
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 28, 2015 at 9:54:35 pm

[TJ Ingrassia] " However, if I raise the level of the clip in the Timeline/Inspector, the Limiter doesn't seem to work...like it will only clip the levels that it recognizes from within the effect itself"

That's correct. The volume control for the clip occurs after the application of the audio effect in the hierarchy of effects in FCPX. Therefore, adding a filter has no affect on the volume levels that you set.

[TJ Ingrassia] " it won't let me right click an "Open a Copy in Motion"

Audio filters are AU (audio units) plug-ins, not Motion templates. Therefore, you can't modify the filter itself using Motion or any other external application. You can only save custom presets within the filter itself.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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John Davidson
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 29, 2015 at 12:01:40 am

Oliver is right about the compound clip. We usually create one, throw this effect on it, export, and then break it apart so we can keep working.

[Oliver Peters] "Audio filters are AU (audio units) plug-ins, not Motion templates. Therefore, you can't modify the filter itself using Motion or any other external application. You can only save custom presets within the filter itself."

With all due respect Oliver this is outdated info. With the last update you can save your settings for any effect as a unique effect, as well as a preset from within an effect (in some cases).



Just click the 'Save Effects Preset' and name your effect whatever you want. We call our compressor rough cut preset 'Taint', because it provides a decent leveling of everything, and the audio quality is in between a standard rough cut and final mix.



John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 29, 2015 at 1:19:59 am

[John Davidson] "With all due respect Oliver this is outdated info. With the last update you can save your settings for any effect as a unique effect, as well as a preset from within an effect (in some cases)."

These are not unique effects that are created or accessible by external programs. These are simply custom presets that appear in the browser as separate templates. The same thing happens when you create a saved effect from a color board preset. In each case, that's completely different than modifying an effect or creating a new effect in Motion, which is what the OP was asking.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 29, 2015 at 5:20:08 pm

Well, to be fair Oliver - I think the guy just wanted to get his brick-wall compression in place and get the damn job done.

Something all of us can appreciate.

As well as the preference not to have to "custom recipe" the same set of tasks over and over again in the future.

Sure AU save and exchange files in the Motion Templates sense would be nice.

But I suspect not critical for most.

YMMV.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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TJ Ingrassia
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 29, 2015 at 5:30:29 pm

[I think the guy just wanted to get his brick-wall compression in place and get the damn job done.]

That's exactly what I wanted.

"Taint"... that's classy.


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John Davidson
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 29, 2015 at 11:45:07 pm

[TJ Ingrassia] ""Taint"... that's classy."

Thanks :).

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 29, 2015 at 5:37:02 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Aug 29, 2015 at 5:39:14 pm

[Bill Davis] "Well, to be fair Oliver"

And I think he got answers that worked in the first two replies.

[Bill Davis] "Sure AU save and exchange files in the Motion Templates sense would be nice."

I doubt that's even possible in the short term, because it would require a way to "rig" the parameters. For example, have Logic open filters as editable and republish new versions. I doubt AU supports that, nor that the third-party developers would necessarily go along with it.

As it is, he was given two ways to do this.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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John Rofrano
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 29, 2015 at 11:40:15 pm
Last Edited By John Rofrano on Aug 30, 2015 at 2:59:20 pm

[Oliver Peters] "That's correct. The volume control for the clip occurs after the application of the audio effect in the hierarchy of effects in FCPX. Therefore, adding a filter has no affect on the volume levels that you set."
It's also important to note that Auto Gain will adjust your gain unless it's turned Off. In John Davidson's post, Auto Gain is set to 0.0 dB. if you feed a -20 dB test tone into it, you will get a -17 dB test tone out! It adds 3dB of gain. You must set the Auto Gain to Off if you want the compressor to just hard limit the audio and not change the gain.

I'm only pointing this out because you said you wanted a transparent hard limiter that would not affect the dynamics except to limit.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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TJ Ingrassia
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 31, 2015 at 3:58:18 pm

[Oliver Peters] "That's correct. The volume control for the clip occurs after the application of the audio effect in the hierarchy of effects in FCPX. Therefore, adding a filter has no affect on the volume levels that you set."

Just wanted to follow up. This little nugget is huge for me and explains so much about my frustrations with limiters up to this point. I've thus far been doing my mixing in the timeline, then throwing a limiter on the clip and wondering why no Limiting is taking place. I now know to add any gain that I need from within the Limiter filter *first*, and then make further adjustments in the timeline.

Awesome tip!


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John Rofrano
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 31, 2015 at 4:20:01 pm

[TJ Ingrassia] "I now know to add any gain that I need from within the Limiter filter *first*, and then make further adjustments in the timeline. "
Yea, this is how any audio mixer would work. The FX inserts on the channel are always pre-fader. The volume on the clip is the equivalent of your channel fader on a mixer.

What FCP X is missing are audio buses. I really miss those coming from Sony Vegas Pro. There needs to be some way to sum the audio and control it without having to make compound clips. Even if there was a master audio bus output that you could place the brick wall limiter on would help the overall mix stay broadcast legal.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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John Davidson
Re: Audio Hard Limiter
on Aug 31, 2015 at 5:27:32 pm

Yeah, I've always wanted a 'compress' option on any export to accomplish this exact thing.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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