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Adobe Previews Soundbooth

Seeks feedback from video editors and Flash users with free beta By Frank Moldstad

Basic spectral editing is included
Video editors and Flash animators have a chance to help influence the development of a brand new audio editing application designed specifically for their needs, called Adobe Soundbooth.

Available for download as a free public beta, Adobe Soundbooth was one of the surprises Adobe showed at its Max Developer conference in Las Vegas recently. The beta expires on February 29, 2007, and the final shipping version of Soundbooth is slated for sometime in 2007. The application will be released for Windows XP and Intel-Mac computers, and the beta is available for both platforms.

Adobe’s goal is an uncomplicated audio tool for those who want fast cleanup, noise reduction and effects without having to learn their way around a deep audio application like Adobe Audition. Soundbooth includes selectable presets for many common audio tasks, which can be adjusted if desired. It also has an AutoComposer feature for quick soundbed creations.

Audition will continue to be developed and marketed for those needing a fully-featured audio multitrack and finishing application. But Soundbooth is being groomed to take Audition’s place in the Adobe Production Suite, with file exchange capabilities between applications such as Premiere Pro. Soundbooth can also export and import markers – for instance, Flash animators will be able to create markers in Soundbooth and export them as XML for use with Actionscript in Flash.

The Soundbooth interface will look familiar to users of Premiere Pro and other products in the Adobe Production Suite, featuring the same customizable panels that can be moved around, docked, or hidden depending on the workflow.

Soundbooth interface

Even though it’s still a work in progress, the beta version I installed (.5) on a Windows XP machine already had a fair amount of functionality. I was able to import an AVI file, set markers, apply effects, create fades, and use cleanup functions such as Noise Reduction, Rumble and Clicks & Pops. In keeping with the keep-it-simple mantra, there are presets for effects and cleanup jobs that many people will find suitable out of the box. The settings are also tweakable for those who are so inclined.

As you might expect, Soundbooth is a stereo application. It has sample accuracy, with a simple horizontal slider for zooming in and out. The record function is a straightforward button that brings up a dialog box for sound card settings and file names, along with the record button. The naming box defaults to an Incrementing Number scheme, which would be handy for quick variations of voiceover takes – Take1, Take2, etc. There's also basic spectral editing, allowing users to raise or lower the amplitude of specific events by frequency.

Adobe is actively seeking input on Soundbooth from professional users through face-to- face meetings and via a user forum linked from the Adobe Labs site. The application will no doubt have many additions before the final release, but the basic get-it-done environment is in place. From that perspective, it looks as though Adobe is off to a good start. The beta version of Soundbooth is an intuitive and simple application – the challenge will be to keep it that way.

The Adobe Soundbooth beta can be downloaded at this address:

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Related Keywords:Adobe, Soundbooth,Video, editors, Flash, animators, audio editing

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