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combining 5.1 and stereo files in a single timeline

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Jack Bonnett
combining 5.1 and stereo files in a single timeline
on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:23:07 pm

Hi everyone and thanks for the help with my earlier questions pertaining to this increasingly painful job.

I am currently trying to crash together loads of clips from a PR company into discreet 2 minute sets of 5 or 6 clips. Some of the files are 5.1 and some are just Stereo. The client would like to maintain the 5.1 if possible but each of the edits must end up as one single MPEG. Not having a decent 5.1 monitoring setup here is making things interesting but not theoretically impossible......

If it is at all possible what would be the correct way to set these timelines up as far as having some parts that are 5.1 audio and some parts that are just Stereo? If I use the default 5.1 FCP timeline preset (L,R,C,LFE,Ls,Rs) would just leaving the stereo audio on tracks 1 and 2 work? or do I need a unique set of stereo tracks too e.g tracks 7 and 8?

More info can be provided if required and thanks again for the great help on these forums



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Dave LaRonde
Re: combining 5.1 and stereo files in a single timeline
on Mar 21, 2013 at 3:50:23 pm

You mention MPEG. On what software or device will these files be played? They may not even be capable of reproducing 5.1.

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Joseph Owens
Re: combining 5.1 and stereo files in a single timeline
on Mar 21, 2013 at 4:49:51 pm

As long as you keep the correct track hierarchy, SMPTE standard is 1.L 2.R 3.C 4.Lfe 5.Ls 6.Rs, for the surround-formatted audio and leave the other tracks blank for the stereo while leaving 1 as Left and 2 as Right, then although the switching will weird out many viewers, it will work. Left and Right will still occupy roughly the same "stage".

Players that don't directly support surround should "Mixdown" the multichannels to stereo -- but sometimes crudely and one reason why it is imperative to get the "dial norm" correct so that you don't get glaring differences, which mainly have to do with how the center channel is re-distributed.

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Jack Bonnett
Re: combining 5.1 and stereo files in a single timeline
on Mar 21, 2013 at 5:02:41 pm

Thanks guys, it's for TV demos so mostly the sound will be off but the client would like the option there if it's available so need to do what we can to accomodate them. It's one of those jobs where everything has come in in different sizes, formats, frame rates and they don't want to do the easy option of keeping everything as an individual file on the playback box as the systems are set up to autoplay a specific file name. Hence my wondering if I could safely create one timeline the mix of audio on it...... We'll give it a go and see what we get.

I'm hoping that the dial norm is OK as the 5.1 audio has been ripped out of existing files and not remixed by us here. If I make sure that the stereo files roughly match the L,R and the centre which has most of the dialogue I should be alright, I think?

Thanks again



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Joseph Owens
Re: combining 5.1 and stereo files in a single timeline
on Mar 22, 2013 at 6:07:03 pm

Remembering that ac3 is quite lossy, and ripping a surround track back to discrete 5.1 is probably not ideal, agree that mostly just re-balancing the overall sound pressure levels is going to be most of the trick.

When you say TV demos, does that mean that these clips are being configured for point-of-purchase or convention/exposition play? General practice, at least in my experience, is that most of the time, sound is not part of the public presentation. It drives everybody crazy to listen to the same 2 minute blurb 50,000 times a day for one thing, and worse, "volume creep" usually sets in when Booth "A" cranks it up a little, causing Booth "B" to crank it up a little, and so on and so forth until its an AC/DC concert, but the same 2 minutes, 50,000 times a day.

Suggest subtitles.


jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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