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Editing sound in FCP

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Matias Pires
Editing sound in FCP
on Mar 20, 2011 at 8:57:20 am

Hi guys,

I was wondering if anyone could help me out with a conundrum. I have a movie project in FCP and am presenting it at a digital movie theater. I've already run some tests at the theater and it looks fine. But I think the audio could be better explored, specially when I'm able to present it in 5.1. surround sound. Would taking this stereo project and making a multichannel track in Soundtrack Pro be any smart?! If so, do I edit everything and send it back to FCP or make an independent audio file without touching the FCP project? I'm really new to Soundtrack. If there is a tutorial about this, do excuse me, but I'd really like to take advantage of the surround resources in the theater and have found nothing online that could enlighten me on the subject.

Thanks in advance!


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Ben Holmes
Re: Editing sound in FCP
on Mar 20, 2011 at 4:56:10 pm

It's relatively easy to export your audio as a multitrack file (OMF) to Soundtrack Pro. You can then make each track a surround track and use the surround panning controls to send your effects etc. to the relevant speakers. As a rule, dialogue comes out of the front centre, music to the left/right front (as per normal stereo) and effects as required (ambient effects are great at the back where relevant).

You can either export this to discrete 5.1 channels or make an ac3 file that can be burnt with your video to a Blu-Ray or DVD.

Have a read of the Soundtrack Pro manual - I found it reasonably clear and useable.

Edit Out Ltd
FCP Editor/Trainer/System Consultant
EVS/VT Supervisor for live broadcast
RED camera transfer/post
Independent Director/Producer

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Jean-Christophe Boulay
Re: Editing sound in FCP
on Mar 21, 2011 at 9:06:08 pm

Surround mixing is a pretty involved subject. I'd recommend you tread very lightly. There is still debate amongst pro audio engineers as to the best practices and there are many standards to understand and apply, especially levels-wise, to ensure a mix that is reproduced correctly. And that is based on the assumption you're mixing in a properly-calibrated 5.1 room with adequate metering. If you do not grasp these concepts or have access to the proper environment or tools, I'd recommend you either hire an experienced mixer or just let it be. Otherwise, you could be tilting at windmills for quite a while.

A good stereo mix is miles better than a bad surround mix.

JC Boulay
Technical Director
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada

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