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SyncAudio's MusicbedDV 1.6.1
I've always considered myself a bit of an expert when it comes to editing music to fit a certain space in my timeline, so I have never really felt the need for a "music creation" program that will create music to fit my every need. But, when I was approached by Sync Audio to take a look at MusicbedDV (MBDV), I figured I'd give it a shot, and see what I was missing.
Since I am demoing the NFR version of the application, I received it by courier, and was a little surprised to see just a DVD ROM with no box or instruction manual (I am a big fan of instruction manuals, as opposed to the now standard PDF's), but I consider myself a smart guy, so I should have no problems figuring things out. I put the DVD into my machine, selected my installation location, and clicked go. The installation process was long, but relatively painless. Once installed, the real wait began. I had read that the program requires you to "cache" the music files upon first installation, but I didn't expect to wait half an hour for it to finish. At least it only does it when you install new music. O.K. Now with that out of the way, let's see how this program works.
Ease of Installation : 7.5 (out of 10) (I won't hold the lengthiness of the install against it)
How It Works
MBDV is a music creation program that allows you to import video from Final Cut (or any QuickTime from any program for that matter) into its environment, and use it as a reference to create unique music tracks that you can give a beginning, middle (including crescendos and other music builds) and end, to create seamless pieces of music that lasts for whatever duration your video segment is.
Overall, I was generally surprised at the ease at which I could create seamless music tracks. I liked the way you can pick tracks to listen to, and as they are playing, you can adjust the Music Characteristics to make them more "Punchy/Smooth," "Dry/Spacious," or even "Soft/Intense," and these are updated in almost real-time, so you have an idea right away if that is what you are looking (or listening) for, and, if you are not really sure what you want, there is a list of about 15-25 presets ready to click and listen. I also thought that the ability to add keyframes to actually "crossfade" between the characteristics was very clever. Once you have the sound you are looking for, a simple button click will save it as a favorite for you to go back to at a later time. MBDV also has the ability to import markers from FCP and they will appear in your timeline, so you can edit your piece, select the parts where the music will change by simply inserting scoring markers, export the clip with the markers included, import into MBDV with markers, and you're ready to create. Included with the ability to keyframe between the Music Characteristics, is the ability to do a "Volume" mix, so once your piece of music is done, no further mixing is required in FCP. The export capability of the program is quite robust, letting you export as AIFF or WAVE. You can choose sample rates from 44.1kHz to 48kHz to 96kHz in 16, 24 or 32 bit, and you can even export 5.1 stems for surround sound work. Pretty impressive!
|Musicbed main window|
Practical Use : 8.5 (out of 10)
With every program you will, of course, come across some downsides, and unfortunately, MBDV has one big one and that is that the Markers feature doesn't work as well as it could. First of all, you have to go through a two step process to get the markers into MBDV (you import the video, then import the markers). I think this should be streamlined to just importing any markers when the video is imported. Second, it doesn't import any of the marker information other than its location. If you have 15 markers in a 3 minute piece, and have gone through in FCP and labeled them all, there is no way to know what each one of them does, as MBDV doesn't (or can't) import the marker details like Soundtrack Pro does. I found the flaws in the markers in MBDV to be frustrating, as I was constantly going back and forth between FCP and MBDV to figure out where I was, and what type of music I wanted for different sections of my video. Also, there is a link to SyncAudio's webpage where you can find a tutorial video on how to use MBDV that is a whopping 23MB, which could easily have been included on the disc for all us users out there that don't have Internet access on the computers we edit on.
Downsides : 6 (out of 10)
Final Total : 7.5 (out of 10)
Purchase Recommendation : BUY
- Ease of use
- Creative Music Characteristics "cross fade" ability
- Reasonable price point ($249)
- Universal Binary support
- Annoying tutorial setup for users with no Internet access
- Markers are too basic, and need more FCP integration (like Soundtrack Pro)
I think that SyncAudio's MusicbedDV has a lot of potential for its $249 price point. It is a good program for audio creation, with a simple, yet problematic issue that if resolved, would make it far easier to use. Let's keep our fingers crossed for MusicbedDV 2.0! To take a look for yourself, head on over to http://web.synkaudiostudios.com/musicbed-dv-download/ to download a demo, but be prepared for a wait, as the demo is 2 gigs big.
|Kevin P McAuliffe is currently a Senior Video Editor working in HD post production in Toronto, Canada. He has been in the television industry for 12 years, and spends his days onlining on a Final Cut Pro HD. Kevin's high definition onlining credit list includes concerts for Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol, Sum41, Paul Anka, Il Divo and Pussycat Dolls, to name a few. Also, Kevin is an instructor of Advanced Final Cut Studio 2 at the Toronto Film College. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org|
Related Keywords:Musicbed, music creation software, NLE, video editing