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Condensing 12 tracks of audio into 2 tracks on merged clip

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Sam Lee
Condensing 12 tracks of audio into 2 tracks on merged clip
on Jan 11, 2016 at 6:02:56 pm

I'm editing a short film in 7.0.3. It was shot with a separate SD 788T. Upon merging the clips from the Varicam 35, I'm getting a whopping 12 tracks of audio. It is very hard to be creative when you have 12 tracks of audio to process. Very hard to move and shift around. Is there an elegant way to collapse it down to 2 tracks? I'm looking at nesting but it's not flexible when I razor blade it, it will unnest itself.

I'm thinking of putting it in the sequence and manually export all of the merged clips with 12 tracks of audio into 2 tracks. But this doesn't preserve the original time code.


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Shane Ross
Re: Condensing 12 tracks of audio into 2 tracks on merged clip
on Jan 11, 2016 at 6:18:26 pm

If you plan on sending this to an audio mixer...don't mix down no nest anything. That'll be a disaster at the mix stage.

I have to deal with between 6 and 16 audio tracks when cutting reality shows...nature of the beast. Yes, it's a big difficult, but what you have to do in order to preserve the audio. Now, do ALL of those 12 channels contain audio? All separate mics? Or are some empty? If so, don't use all of them. Another option is that if you have one or two tracks that are a mix of the others (I often have this) then you can opt to use only that, but then you'll have to buy software called SYNC N' LINK to make it bring back all the rest of the tracks (I think that's what the software does...not 100% sure). It's at intelligentassistance.com

But really, if these are all separate mics and you will need them for the mix, you'll have to deal with it. It's what we have to do when cutting this type of audio. Or you can see if there's a stereo mix and if the audio guys will do a conform back to the masters to get all the audio. Communicate with them. Often they just work with the embedded AAF audio you send after you lock picture.

Shane
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Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Sam Lee
Re: Condensing 12 tracks of audio into 2 tracks on merged clip
on Jan 11, 2016 at 8:22:25 pm

The 8 tracks of poly wav audio varies. Sometimes the sound guy forgot to turn off the unneeded tracks. Any many instances they're properly turned off but forgot to provide the last two tracks as the mix. This makes it very hard to track down which track is which. There are many situations where the final mix can't be attached (via XLR) to the cam because of mobility and location restrictions. Plus the sound coming from the cam over and over just doesn't sound as good as it's from the recorder's CF. It lacks that sonic clarity and nuances that only a dedicated sound recorder can produce.

The Syn-N-Link is nice but quite costly for this particular production. I've already moved on to FCP 10.2 for several years but occasionally have to use the legacy 7 for clients who just don't want to bother with the upgrade. Not sure how much longer 7 is compatible with OSX. So far El Capitan is OK. But 10.12 and beyond may be not.

For me now, I'll have to go into the tracks and determine which track is best and mix it. That's what the producer wants and I'll follow it. But I think it's not the best plan and prefer everything track to be able be unmixed and in its native isolated track. Then I"ll manually place them on a sequence and export them via the work area one by one. In an ideal production environment it'll be nice of the sound recordist use the same gear all the times and with consistence track layout throughout the entire shoot and use the Auto Mix feature on the higher end recorders (SD and Zaxcom) where it actually auto mute unused tracks and/or silence it when it's quiet. That in itself is a huge post time saver.


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