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Compressor and 5.1 Mix

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Marc Buhmann
Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 2:49:41 am

Granted this isn't FCP specific, but I didn't see a Compressor forum so I do apologize if this isn't the correct forum.

Anyway, I'm having trouble with Compressor mixing a 5.1 AC3 file for me. I've tried exporting each channel in FCP as Dual Channel, Stereo and Mono and taken them into Compressor and assigning them to the appropriate channel (L, C, R, LS, RS). And every time it the LS and RS are ignored. I don't have 5.1 set up for my computer, but I burn the DVD and test it on my home theater.

Any suggestions?


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 3:14:55 am

Marc,

Sorry, but what you've written does not compute. I don't know if it's because you don't understand how this works, or because you just weren't precise enough in your explanation.

Was your audio mixed in 5.1 surround at a mix facility with 5.1 capability, or are you thinking that Compressor will accomplish that for you?

Please, be more specific about what you're starting with. State exactly what the audio files are that you're working with.



David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Marc Buhmann
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 4:06:56 am

Basically, I have nine audio tracks in FCP: two left, one center, two right, two left surround, and two right surround. I'm exporting the two pairs (with the exception of the one center) as five mono AIFF files to combine into a 5.1 AC3 audio file using Compressors Surround Sound mixing tool.

I realize this is sort of a hackneyed way of doing it, but it's the best I can do at the moment.


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Michael Sacci
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 4:35:05 am

First compressor is NOT a sound mixing tool. It is an encoding tool.

You have to have 6 discreet mono (panned to the center) audio channels. Left is mono, not a single channel that is panned.
Left
Right
Center
Left S
Right S
LFE (this is the .1)

So everything needs to be mixed down to the 6 channels (5 if you don't have the LFE)



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Marc Buhmann
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 5:58:49 pm

Upon closer evaluation it looks like the mix is indeed 5.1. The reason I thought it wasn't though was because the back left and right speakers are a lot quieter than they're suppose to. When played in FCP in stereo they are quite loud and match everything, but when played on the home theater those speakers are barely audible. Is there a setting I'm missing in Compressor that may be dropping the volume?



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Michael Gissing
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 4:35:22 am


Crazy track configuration. Do you have a proper 5.1 mix (ie 6 track PCM either wav or aif files) from a surround mix facility?

If so, forget FCP. Use Compressor to make the Dolby ac3 directly from the 5.1 mix files.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 5:20:35 am

Thanks for filling in Michael and Michael.

Both Michaels were heading in the direction that I was going Marc. I think I understand that you are trying a "cheat," but that hardly seems worth the effort. You're better off with a really good stereo mix, then using one of the vast array of fake surround presets that come pre-programmed into most A/V surround receivers. Doesn't yours come with any of those?

BTW, a 5.1 mix out of FCS is actually doable these days using the 5.1 audio monitoring capabilities of the Matrox MXO2, five speakers, and a subwoofer, and mixing in STP, but I don't think anyone is doing that, and I think it's for good reason. And, I think if anyone was actually doing it, Michael Gissing would most likely fly from Tasmania and whoop them real good.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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cowcowcowcow
Michael Gissing
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 5:51:51 am

[David Roth Weiss] "BTW, a 5.1 mix out of FCS is actually doable these days using the 5.1 audio monitoring capabilities of the Matrox MXO2, five speakers, and a subwoofer, and mixing in STP,"

Don't encourage such foolishness David! Minimum requirement for proper 5.1 mixing is a mixer that can sub bus 3 x 5.1 stems with full EQ & dynamics on those sub busses plus a final mix bus with foldown to stereo capability with proper monitoring. STP isn't in that league and FCP doesn't have sub bussing at all, let alone proper track based EQ & dynamics.

If anyone wants to try it, I not fly out and whoop them. They are going to whoop themselves anyway when they find out what a disaster they are wading into.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 6:55:13 am

I agree with you completely Michael.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Stephanie Hubbard
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Aug 25, 2011 at 7:39:15 am

Hello there,

I am but a humble editor/director. My sound guy has given me a 5.1 mix - (on stems) I have dutifully laid it into my FCP timeline - along with the LtRt tracks.

I have researched the ways to output a 5.1 - and followed the directions to give to the "output guy" who was going to use compressor and some other things to burn me a SD dvd with a 5.1 mix.

But problems are occuring:

1) I can't seem to keep the names of the audio tracks when it outputs - so all eight tracks get called by the same name - so I gave the output guy a key to use.
2) so the Video of the prores output I made with the WRONG audio (it pressed it into stereo) won't match with the second, 8 track audio only output I made that I thought would solve the problem.
they are all 29.97 but they aren't synching - I think maybe the "output guy" told either the vid or the aud to be 23.98 or something.

3) I'm trying to render my program again to output with audio again - but frankly I'm worried -
is it even possible to output 5.1 from FCP? does he really need it to stay labelled Should we just make a nice stereo mix?

ADVISE please - to huranghu@gmail.com Thanks!
Stephanie.


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Craig Richard
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 11:02:54 am

Compressor does have the capacity to give you a surround mix if you feed it the right information. Your stems (all the channels you want to play from L on one stem, all for C on one stem etc.) you need to output from FCP and label them appropriately. Drop those stems into Compressors Surround and you will get your surround.
Problem, of course, is actually hearing your "mix" while you are doing it - which you can't do this way.
Firewire carries 6 channel audio, you could use something like a Motu Ultralight via firewire, output to your surround 6 channel in and hear it that way from something like Soundtrack Pro, it's a little whacky, but it would work.
good Luck.
c


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Marc Buhmann
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 2:55:45 pm

That's what I've done Craig. I've tried exporting the tracks for each stem (didn't know the proper term earlier) as mono, stereo and dual channel AIFF files but none of them worked. I really thought a mono version should do the trick. Again, it's just the left back and right back speakers. And the tracks are being put in the right configuration in Compressor.

Also, just want to thank everyone for the suggestions.


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John Ward
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 3:17:48 pm

We've had some luck using the ESI Gigaport HD - USB interface, 8 audio outs, headphone out - and mixing in STP with reference video for timing. Not the ideal solution but it got the job done. Link for the Gigaport is here:

http://www.esi-audio.com/products/gigaporthd/

We also used it in FCP using the 5.1 monitoring to get client approval on the basic surround mix done in STP but with the nice big HD footage playing at the same time. Trying to do the same in STP with full HD video playing wasn't smooth enough.

Since we had a 5.1 receiver sitting here we also just burned tests to a disk image and used the optical out of the workstation to check that the encode worked without wasting disc after disc.

I know there are much more technically accurate and elegant solutions but it got us where we needed to go with the budget we had. Be happy to answer any questions if you have them.

Good luck,

John Ward

Editor / Animator,
Synergetic Productions

john@synergeticproductions.com
http://www.synergeticproductions.com
315.437.7533


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Craig Richard
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Feb 15, 2010 at 7:15:09 pm

We've had some confusion with Stereo and Grouped outputs, meaning it sounded like some tracks just dropped out at times, usually when more than 20 tracks had something on them in FCP. I would take all stereo pairs out of the FCP stream, then output your stems, making sure when you output aif only the audible for those stems are on. It's a pain, but works. I've also heard that panning your tracks to the appropriate side or center helps, but that seems not to have any effect here, and shouldn't really with dolby these days.
You might try to import into DVDSP your ac3 Surround if you have an optical, or pcm adapter for your mac to your surround receiver, you should be able to hear it without burning so many discs.
Good Luck,
CS


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Paige Reitz
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Jun 7, 2010 at 8:47:02 pm

I am hoping to author a DVD with 5.1 surround sound for an upcoming documentary. I have never done this. And, frankly, I'm a little baffled by it. I'm hoping to find any tips and clarity on the workflow.

I have edited my footage in FCP. I exported my audio in OMFs to the audio post house. They returned the files from Pro Tools as .wavs (one mix the standard stereo pair; the other six files for the 5.1 surround, Left, Right, Center, Subwoofer, and Left back, Right back.) That's all good. I can re-import the .wavs back into FCP and synch up with the 2-pop. Obviously exporting the video and stereo mix is easy, and can be a quicktime export or sent to compressor. No prob. However--the 5.1 files are new for me.

As usual, the web offers a deluge of outdated and conflicting information. From what I can gather, there are two basic workflows:

1) in FCP, go to sequence settings and change from a stereo mix output to a 5.1 discrete channel output. Then export directly to compressor and apply the AC3 setting to the audio and it will then (in theory) recognize the discrete channels and encode them properly to be authored in DVD Studio Pro, which after burning, will be properly decoded and read by a 5.1 sound system.

2) export each channel separately out of FCP (repeat six times for each of the channels). And export the video solo without audio. then open compressor. load the video, apply the "best quality DVD" setting to it to convert to mpeg-2, and then click "add surround sound" button in compressor and then click and assign each channel a file from the six just exported individually. then compress those to AC3.

Overall, seems like workflow number-one is the fastest and most direct if it works, but may not assign the right channel to the right speaker--will the file for center track really replay in the center speaker or come out of the back left speaker? Step two seems to address this with actually selecting individual files and assigning them speaker configuration in Compressor. however, it seems like the repeated exports increase the workflow 6x--plus how do you know you are keeping synch between not only all 6 audio channels but also the video?

Anyway, I could be even more detailed in my questions, but it's all jibber-jab unless someone has done it successfully. So, as far as I can tell, it's a super easy workflow; I'm just new to it and would love a few tips on how to do it right.

If you you anything on it, hear anything, or could help connect me to someone with this info, I'd sure appreciate it!

Ian McCluskey
NW Documentary 115 SW Ash St, 620
Portland, OR 97204

-- posted via intern Paige

Paige Reitz
NW Documentary
Portland, OR
PReitz@ups.edu


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Craig Richard
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Jun 7, 2010 at 10:50:55 pm

We have had the best luck using your #2, it's seems to work very well and offers a slight bit more control, and you can hear your surround (if you are set up for it) in DVDSP in the timeline.


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Paige Reitz
Re: Compressor and 5.1 Mix
on Jun 10, 2010 at 9:56:43 pm

We have had some issues with the sound being off from the video by just one or two frames. Any suggestions on how to avoid this?

Paige Reitz
NW Documentary
Portland, OR
PReitz@ups.edu


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