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Audio for Post at NAB

Widespread video functionality and consoles that serve as DAW controllers By Frank Moldstad

It was hard to get close to Digidesign's new D-Command.
The interdependence of audio and video was summed up nicely by Academy Award-winning editor Walter Murch in a taped presentation at Apple's NAB press conference. People don't "watch" a movie so much as they "listen-watch," he said, because the two senses are so intertwined.

And as NAB product introductions showed, developers are heeding that relationship with features that give much greater control over audio for video. A range of new products at NAB -- from Apple's Soundtrack Pro to Digidesign's new D-Command console -- have bulked-up features for manipulating audio in a video project. In this article, we'll take a look at audio-for-video functionality among new NAB software and hardware products, beginning with the software..

A closely guarded secret right up until the show, Apple's Soundtrack Pro has multi-track audio capabilities, 50 plugins from Logic Pro 7, 5,000 Apple Loops and Find-and-Fix repair and restoration functions to eliminate clicks and pops, power line hum, DC offset and phase problems with a right-click and analysis procedure. Problems can be fixed individually, or with a ?Fix All option. The program is seamlessly integrated with Final Cut Pro -- when Soundtrack Pro project is saved, it is automatically updated in Final Cut Pro's timeline. Not to be overlooked is the fact that Apple's Final Cut Pro 5 NLE has the capability to record up to 24 simultaneous audio channels simultaneously at up to 24-bit/96kHz sampling. It is also newly compatible with Mackie Control Protocol devices for tactile mixing.

Sony's Vegas 6 debuted at NAB, with new features that extend the already rich audio capablities of this video NLE, including VST effects compatibility, tape-style audio scrubbing and support for the Broadcast Wave file format and AAF Import/Export. It can also be used with Mackie HUI-compatible controllers and has surround mixing and encoding capabilities. One of Vegas' stablemates at Sony, the venerable audio editor Sound Forge, added the ability to import Flash and HDV files to its toolset in the just-released Sound Forge 8. 

Digidesign's Pro Tools 6.9 upgrade has tighter integration with Avid picture systems, increased support for hardware interfaces, and a broader range of compatible file formats. It can be used with AVID DNA peripherals such as Avid Mojo via the Digidesign AVoption|V10 and the Avid Media Station|PT application for integration with video projects. Among the new video-oriented features are upgrades to Pro Tools' Movie Track, including the ability to arm the Movie Track for digitizing video to the Timeline with the Record/Enable button. Plus, the Movie Track's  I/O View has Input, Output, and Video Record Volume Selectors, and a display for the current video output format (NTSC or PAL) and available record time. Other video upgrades include the ability to digitize video to the Pro Tools Timeline; import/export, playback and editing of MXF audio files; and import of OMF/AAF files with mixed sample rates and/or bit depths. The version 6.9 upgrade also incorporates a ?Send to DigiDelivery command to take advantage of Digidesign's new file delivery system



Steinberg's Nuendo 3 is being positioned as an audio post application, and includes a Warp to Picture feature for syncing of video to audio, which is useful for dialog replacement or aligning music to picture. Nuendo 3 can also Import and Export AAF (Advanced Authoring Format) files, opening compatibility with AVID, Apple, Digidesign, SADiE, Merging, Fairlight and Adobe systems, among others. A new pull up/down 0.1% function in both the QuickTime video player and the new DirectX player provides adjustable video playback speed for readjusting video files that have passed an NTSC Telecine process to match the original audio recordings.

BIAS, Inc. showed its upcoming Peak Pro XT 5 package, which includes the Peak Pro 5 audio editor along with the company's SoundSoap and SoundSoap Pro audio restoration plug-ins. SoundSoap Pro, introduced last year, features four tools designed for high end video and film use ? Multi-band noise reduction; Click and Crackle removal; Hum removal; and a Noise Gate.

Adobe's Audition audio editing application had no new functionality at the show, but version 1.5 already includes the ability to exchange Edit Original files with Adobe Premiere Pro, providing a a wide range of audio editing, mixing and effects tools.

CEDAR Audio announced that its Retouch noise reduction software will soon be available as an AudioSuite plugin for Pro Tools (PC only). It is designed to remove individual sounds and notes from complex audio, such as car horns, church bells, banging doors and coughs, as well as wrong notes from audio recordings. The plugin includes all the features of the recently released Retouch v3, including multiple Retouching in a single pass, copy/paste, and real-time auditioning.

Merging Technologies announced the release of its Pyramix Virtual Studio 4.3 SP2 DAW upgrade. Pyramix is available both in native format or as a standalone hard disk audio recorder (At NAB Merging also introduced its VCUBE HD recorder designed for audio post ... see below). The Pyramix SP2 upgrade includes video-oriented features such as AAF File Interchange Support; Virtual Tape Mode (with punch-in punch-out mode for multi-track film dubbing); and Re-conform features, including 'Re-link To New Media' that allows an imported edited video file referencing 16 bits stereo files to re-link 24 bits multi-channel original location recording files. Also, for the hardware version of Pyramix, a new integrated Firewire Video option eliminates the need for third party video capture/playback cards. Finally, a new plug-in is available -- Cinema 24fps to 25fps and 25fps to 24fps Time Stretcher. 

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Related Keywords:NAB 2005, Soundtrack Pro, ICON D Command, Vegas 6, Pro Tools 6.9, Peak Pro XT 5, MC controller

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