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Digital Audio Principles

Fades and automation


From:

Digital Audio Principles

with Dave Schroeder

Video: Fades and automation

So now it's time to talk a little bit about fades and automation. Fades are a great thing that we can use to kind of clean up our files. They come in really handy all the time, but if you're doing a lot of editing, they can kind of be a lifesaver if some edits are hard to make without a pop or a click, and they can also just be a really efficient way to make quick edits. So, I'm going to go in and show you a couple of edits using fades, instead of zeroing in on that zero crossing, but kind of doing it quick and dirty and using fades. You can add fades at the head or the tail of a file, and you can do that via the file.
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  1. 50s
    1. Welcome
      50s
  2. 39m 10s
    1. What is sound?
      4m 15s
    2. Hertz and frequency response
      5m 34s
    3. Phase
      2m 39s
    4. Capturing audio
      3m 39s
    5. Sample rate
      6m 16s
    6. Bit depth
      9m 47s
    7. The waveform
      5m 3s
    8. Audio file formats
      1m 57s
  3. 7m 25s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      2m 59s
    2. Typical DAW signal flow
      4m 26s
  4. 50m 33s
    1. What microphones do
      1m 57s
    2. Element types
      5m 0s
    3. Pickup patterns
      6m 51s
    4. Axis
      2m 52s
    5. Frequency response and the proximity effect
      5m 10s
    6. Phase issues
      1m 41s
    7. Microphone types
      8m 44s
    8. Miking vocals
      5m 39s
    9. Miking amplifiers
      2m 17s
    10. Miking drums
      10m 22s
  5. 16m 39s
    1. Cables and connectors overview
      2m 42s
    2. Balanced and unbalanced cables
      3m 19s
    3. Common cable types
      7m 13s
    4. Cable tips
      3m 25s
  6. 12m 16s
    1. What is an I/O device?
      1m 41s
    2. Analog to digital conversion
      3m 10s
    3. Tour of an audio interface
      4m 49s
    4. Interface considerations
      2m 36s
  7. 21m 5s
    1. What is a preamp?
      3m 21s
    2. Input levels
      5m 29s
    3. Padding
      2m 18s
    4. Phantom power
      2m 37s
    5. Phase reverse
      3m 4s
    6. Preamp demo
      4m 16s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. What is a mixer?
      5m 55s
    2. Input section
      1m 17s
    3. Channel strips
      3m 16s
    4. Master section
      2m 28s
  9. 18m 21s
    1. What is monitoring?
      2m 11s
    2. Speakers
      4m 47s
    3. Room considerations
      5m 43s
    4. Headphone types
      3m 50s
    5. Monitoring levels
      1m 50s
  10. 15m 23s
    1. What role do computers play?
      1m 36s
    2. Performance issues
      4m 11s
    3. Hard drives
      4m 38s
    4. Mechanical noise
      2m 10s
    5. Authorization
      2m 48s
  11. 6m 54s
    1. Planning for recording
      54s
    2. Doing a system check
      1m 26s
    3. Planning your inputs
      1m 42s
    4. The recording environment
      2m 52s
  12. 25m 52s
    1. Types of digital audio software
      38s
    2. Multi-track recorders/sequencers
      4m 56s
    3. Two-track recorders/waveform editors
      4m 55s
    4. Loop-based music production software
      5m 44s
    5. Plug-ins
      6m 56s
    6. Other varieties
      2m 43s
  13. 18m 59s
    1. Common components
      46s
    2. The transport
      2m 4s
    3. The toolbar
      3m 19s
    4. The Edit/Arrange window
      4m 42s
    5. The mixer
      5m 8s
    6. The file list
      3m 0s
  14. 19m 17s
    1. Setting up a session
      3m 30s
    2. Assigning inputs and getting signals
      3m 19s
    3. Input modes
      3m 28s
    4. Overdubbing and punching
      5m 14s
    5. Bouncing down
      3m 46s
  15. 19m 42s
    1. What is editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Waveforms
      2m 53s
    3. Making silent cuts and trims
      7m 1s
    4. Fades and automation
      8m 27s
  16. 1h 23m
    1. What are plug-ins?
      3m 0s
    2. Using plug-ins
      6m 11s
    3. EQs
      7m 4s
    4. Dynamics pt. 1: Compressors, limiters, expanders, and gates
      5m 40s
    5. Dynamics pt 2: Applying dynamic effects
      7m 2s
    6. Pitch shifting
      6m 14s
    7. Reverb
      9m 28s
    8. Echo and delay
      6m 23s
    9. Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus
      9m 39s
    10. Sound tools pt. 1: About, gain, normalize
      7m 39s
    11. Sound tools pt. 2: Reverse and time compression/expansion
      6m 29s
    12. Sound tools pt. 3: Noise reducers, dither
      8m 11s
  17. 23m 43s
    1. What is MIDI?
      3m 6s
    2. Keyboard controllers
      1m 23s
    3. Computer-based virtual instruments
      1m 6s
    4. Control surfaces
      1m 6s
    5. Recording and editing MIDI
      12m 4s
    6. Virtual instruments
      4m 58s
  18. 27m 29s
    1. What is mixing?
      1m 54s
    2. Some common objectives
      3m 4s
    3. Some useful techniques
      5m 59s
    4. A quick mixing demo
      16m 32s
  19. 18m 48s
    1. What is mastering?
      2m 24s
    2. Sonic maximization
      9m 43s
    3. Final preparations and exporting
      6m 41s
  20. 13m 34s
    1. What is audio compression?
      2m 16s
    2. Popular formats
      2m 9s
    3. Bit rate, sample rate, and channels
      5m 42s
    4. Other adjustments and considerations
      3m 27s
  21. 15m 6s
    1. Essential gear
      7m 36s
    2. Voice recording setups
      1m 43s
    3. The voice production process
      5m 47s
  22. 10m 4s
    1. Analog vs. digital
      2m 48s
    2. Tube vs. solid state
      5m 6s
    3. The continual upgrade
      2m 10s
  23. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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Digital Audio Principles
7h 57m Appropriate for all Mar 02, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Whether one is producing music, podcasts, game sounds, or film sound effects, Digital Audio Principles provides the tips and techniques that will make the project a success. Author Dave Schroeder explains the basics of digital audio production techniques and covers the essential hardware and software. He also discusses sound theory, frequency response, the range of human hearing, and dynamic range.

Subjects:
Audio + Music Audio Foundations Acoustics Microphones
Author:
Dave Schroeder

Fades and automation

So now it's time to talk a little bit about fades and automation. Fades are a great thing that we can use to kind of clean up our files. They come in really handy all the time, but if you're doing a lot of editing, they can kind of be a lifesaver if some edits are hard to make without a pop or a click, and they can also just be a really efficient way to make quick edits. So, I'm going to go in and show you a couple of edits using fades, instead of zeroing in on that zero crossing, but kind of doing it quick and dirty and using fades. You can add fades at the head or the tail of a file, and you can do that via the file.

You can actually draw a fade to a region, or you can draw it in the track. We're going to start by drawing it to the region, and then later when we're talking about automation, I'll show you drawing volume changes actually in the track, or in the channel. Again, we're in Pro Tools, but a lot of the same functionality will be available in a lot of different audio software. So, I'm going to go in here and trim up my bass track a little bit, and take a listen so you know what we're working with. (bass playing) I get this little tool that I can draw there to fade that in.

We'll make it long, so it's obvious. (bass playing) Pretty straight ahead. You can move these around, put different curves on them. (bass playing) So, that's just a kind of a straight fade at the head of a sound. We can also go in here and put one at the end, so it fades in and out, and adjust those fades. (bass playing) Pretty simple, pretty cool! It works great when you're ending long files, and you just instead of going in there and finding the zero, you just give yourself a little bit of breath.

If you know another file is going to pick up, like a voice file or like this file, I can go in there and do this and do this. That way you know you have silence here, but you know that your in and out points of the edit will be silent, because this fade is turning the volume up from zero. And this, of course, represents kind of bringing up the volume to the full level. But the other kind of fade that you can do which is really interesting is the crossfade, which actually fades one region into another. So I am going to go ahead and take these fades back, just make them real tight.

Now, let's say I wanted to go in and just shorten this bass note. Now, I could go in and find where the waveform crosses the 0 axis. But what I'm going to do is just drop that out, because I know I want it to be at certain length, bring them pretty close together, and then use the Fade tool. In Pro Tools I can drag like this. See how I now have two fades. What that's going to do is trim that outgoing region down, and the incoming region up at the same time.

So, we kind of have a blend or a crossfade. (bass playing) So, you notice there is no pop or click, we have a little bit of a dip there in terms of the volume. So, it's not the best edit. This is a bigger one, so that you can see what's going on. Let's get rid of the fade. Do another one. You can make a really, really short one, and we'll zoom in actually, so you can see that. Notice this is actually a pretty bad cut, and that still was pop-less, so that's cool. So, here is this really short crossfade. We'll zoom back there, and take a listen of that.

(bass playing) So, now we've got a little bump. It's actually there. (bass playing) But the other thing you can do with a crossfade, and this is important and definitely worth knowing about, is that this kind of crossfade is a linear crossfade, in that the volumes are coming and going at the same time. So, actually when you get to here, you're at a low point volume, and you can kind of hear that. When we play it back, you can hear that the volume level dips. (bass playing) Something called Equal Power basically means that the rate it goes out and the rate it comes in kind of becomes a wash, so that you maintain a consistent volume.

This is great for making quick edits on the fly. (bass playing) There's till a little waver in there but-- (bass playing) --it's a lot better than the linear fade. So, those are things you can do. If you're working with a lot of voiceover files and trying to push things closer together, or replace things, crossfades can be a quick way to make a lot of seamless or seemingly seamless edits. They can also be great if you're doing sound design or trying to make sound effects. You can use a fade to make a sound appear quickly or slowly.

You can take something, like if you have an explosion, if you fade that in slowly instead of having that big impact at the beginning, you can actually make it sound kind of like a bonfire or something like that. So, same deal with taking a sound and making it fade out quickly or slowly; you can really have an effect on the character of a sound. This is also great with music at the end, when you get to the end of a song or end of a track, and you want things to kind of fade out or end: applying different separate fades to different tracks can be really convenient, as opposed to having to just fade down the whole mix.

So, it's something to keep in mind no matter what you're working on. That's talking about drawing fades actually on the file, but let's talk a little bit about automation. We'll start by doing some volume fades, but with automation. To do this, we'll keep using our bass track, but I'm going to change what we're looking at to show volume. This line represents volume. I'm also going to open up the Mix window. Here I'm going to hot-key into our Mix window, and we'll kind of reshape this so that you can see it. I put it over here and move this over here.

Now I want you to see what's going to happen over here. So, I can go in, and this line basically corresponds to where this fader is. We don't have any automation there yet, so when I move it, nothing happens. But if I go in and draw some automation here, which is really just clicking and dragging. Here is no volume, here is up, you can see when I click on there, I get a little number that shows me where I am volume-wise. So, I can go in and draw a fade-in. Here we'll make this face in all the way from zero.

And it will do, it will fade in. Now what's cool is if you look over here while we're doing that, you can see that the fader actually follows that animation. Here, I will pull that down so when we're here--it's all the way down, and then if you watch that, as we play, it comes up. So that's kind of how automation corresponds from the Edit window into the Mixing window. You can automate other things, like pan. I want to get rid of that so we can just focus on the next one. We can go into pan, which is left/right, which sonically you might not be able to hear this because you might not be set up to enjoy the thrill of stereo.

But in a nutshell, I'm going to use this automation to pan the audio to the left side, and then to the right side. You'll be able to watch the pan control over here in Pro Tools move. (bass playing) So, that's pan automation. Pretty cool! When you're doing mixes, things like automation are a great help, because you can set these things up and know that they're going to be the way that you set them. So, if you want to mute a certain section, you don't have to always remember as you're playing back to hit the Mute button;, you can automate it, and it will happen every time.

Then if you don't like the way it works, you can go back and just make slight adjustments. So, let's look at the last thing you can automate here, which is the Mute button, and we'll do some fast mutes here. Let's do another one, so we get kind of cool effect. Well, might not be that cool, but we're going to do it. Again, you can watch the Mute button here. It will probably light up here and over here when it goes into mute.

(bass playing) So, we've just automated mute, which is also another really cool thing you can use in terms of kind of mixing, and in editing. If you're working with voiceover, I would probably go in and take out all the sounds. But if you want, you could go in and just draw mutes or volume fades for different purposes. If you're putting a music bed behind a voiceover track, you can automate that it fades in and then maybe automate it muting out at the right time, or fading out.

So, that's it for fades and automation.

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