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Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools

Bringing emotion to the mix with music tracks


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Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools

with Scott Hirsch

Video: Bringing emotion to the mix with music tracks

Music tracks are a key component to any audio for video project and part of our three main mixing stems. A lot of the time, music will come in as temp music from popular CDs from the picture edit. While this provides a soundtrack to edit to, it's not always possible to get the rights. Therefore it's called temp music. It does, however, put us sound people in a bind, because we're left with trying to fit music we do have the rights to in the edit originally intended for the temp music. Here's an example. After removing the temp score, we secured the rights to this drumbeat for the motorcycle race.
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  1. 6m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      40s
    3. Using this course with Pro Tools 10
      1m 57s
    4. Relinking audio files
      2m 33s
  2. 18m 37s
    1. Understanding the new audio for video features in Pro Tools 9
      5m 17s
    2. Exploring the hardware requirements for Pro Tools 9
      5m 19s
    3. Understanding the audio components of a finished video
      5m 22s
    4. Understanding the audio production workflow
      2m 39s
  3. 25m 10s
    1. Understanding video formats, SMPTE timecode rates, NTSC, and PAL
      6m 21s
    2. Understanding video formats, codecs, and pull-up/pull-down
      5m 16s
    3. Setting up your Pro Tools session for video
      8m 44s
    4. Exporting OMF and AAF files
      4m 49s
  4. 32m 14s
    1. Importing OMF and AAF files
      8m 8s
    2. Importing and the DigiBase browser
      4m 0s
    3. Conforming the OMF import to your template
      6m 51s
    4. Setting up groups and windows
      6m 2s
    5. Spotting film and using markers
      7m 13s
  5. 52m 55s
    1. Organizing the dialog tracks
      5m 0s
    2. Optimizing the dialog in the first pass
      4m 30s
    3. Using room tone
      4m 10s
    4. Creating fades to smooth out audio edits
      5m 4s
    5. Understanding sound effects, ambiences, and backgrounds
      7m 12s
    6. Sweetening and hard effects
      6m 52s
    7. Processing tips for sound effects
      8m 46s
    8. Bringing emotion to the mix with music tracks
      5m 33s
    9. Leveraging clip-based gain in Pro Tools 10
      2m 51s
    10. Exploring AudioSuite enhancements in Pro Tools 10
      2m 57s
  6. 15m 29s
    1. Preparing the session for foley and ADR recording
      9m 19s
    2. Recording ADR and editing with VocALign LE
      6m 10s
  7. 45m 5s
    1. Noise-reducing hums, rumbles, and buzzes
      8m 11s
    2. Eliminating crackles and digital clicks
      5m 30s
    3. Taming plosives and sibilance
      6m 10s
    4. Reducing broadband noise
      9m 26s
    5. Conforming to video changes
      8m 36s
    6. Pitch shifting for effect or utility, TC expansion
      7m 12s
  8. 56m 19s
    1. Setting up for stereo mixing
      5m 11s
    2. Calibrating levels using an SPL meter
      7m 2s
    3. Mixing with automation
      11m 4s
    4. Advanced mix automation
      8m 0s
    5. Automating plug-in parameters
      9m 22s
    6. Mixing with reverb
      7m 20s
    7. Ducking techniques
      8m 20s
  9. 42m 4s
    1. Setting up a surround mix template
      11m 14s
    2. Calibrating for 5.1 surround mixing and bass management
      9m 2s
    3. Mixing and spatial techniques for 5.1 surround
      14m 9s
    4. Downmixing, encoding, and using Neyrinck plug-ins
      3m 38s
    5. Automating techniques for 5.1 surround mixes
      4m 1s
  10. 10m 6s
    1. Print mastering and stem mixes
      5m 47s
    2. Mastering delivery levels and dynamics
      4m 19s
  11. 5m 29s
    1. Backing up your final project
      5m 29s
  12. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools
5h 9m Intermediate Jun 14, 2011 Updated Apr 04, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, professional audio engineer Scott Hirsch shows how to create an evocative sound mix for a film or video, built from basic audio collected during the shoot and transformed into a final mix using Pro Tools 9. This course shows how to set up and optimize a Pro Tools session template for projects with unique requirements, record Foley and ADR audio, layer sound effects, perform corrections such as noise reduction and pitch shifting, mix for stereo and 5.1 surround sound, and finally, how to format and deliver the finalized mix, whether destined for DVD, movie theater, broadcast, or the web.

Topics include:
  • Understanding video formats, codecs, and timecode rates
  • Importing OMFs and AAFs into Pro Tools
  • Spotting film and using markers
  • Using room tone
  • Creating fades to smooth out audio edits
  • Sweetening and hard effects
  • Recording ADR and editing with VocALign LE
  • Editing out plosives, crackles, and hums
  • Mixing with automation and reverb
  • Calibrating for 5.1 surround mixing and bass management
  • Mastering delivery levels and dynamics
  • Understanding the Audio Suite enhancements in Pro Tools 10
Subjects:
Audio + Music Video Audio for Video Post Production
Software:
Pro Tools
Author:
Scott Hirsch

Bringing emotion to the mix with music tracks

Music tracks are a key component to any audio for video project and part of our three main mixing stems. A lot of the time, music will come in as temp music from popular CDs from the picture edit. While this provides a soundtrack to edit to, it's not always possible to get the rights. Therefore it's called temp music. It does, however, put us sound people in a bind, because we're left with trying to fit music we do have the rights to in the edit originally intended for the temp music. Here's an example. After removing the temp score, we secured the rights to this drumbeat for the motorcycle race.

Let me solo the track and let's take a listen. (drums playing) As you can see, the intro part doesn't quite match up with the beginning of the race, and let's even check the end to make sure it works. (drums playing) So this music might sound right in context, but its timing doesn't quite match up.

So our job here as a music editor in this case is to make this music work in time with the track. So here are some tips to making it work. First of all, find a beginning, a middle, and an end to hit. As you can see, I've already dropped some markers in here of significant events. The music begin should be about this point. The race should start about this point in the video, and the end should hit right about when the crash is about to start. So we are going to do just some simple editing to this music track and see if we can make it work.

We are going to move the start point over just a tiny bit, and we are going to take the Selector tool and make a quick edit right before the drumbeat starts to get faster. I am going to use b to make an edit there, and let's see if we can move that over a teeny bit, so it will start right at that second marker I dropped. And then the last hit we want to happen right when the crash is about to occur. So here we are going to have to get a little tricky and kind of make an edit right there before that last beat.

I used b again to make that edit. And using the Grabber tool, I'll pull this over, and we might have to do a couple of crossfades to make this work. So using the g key, fade out and maybe a quick fade-in here, using the d key, and let's see if this works. I'll play it with the whole track. (motorcycles revving) (drums playing) (Vietnamese dialogue) So that intro seems to be working.

Let's check the middle section. (motorcycles revving) (drums playing) Okay, that works pretty well, and let's check the end to make sure that works. (motorcycles revving) (cymbals playing) Good! We have the hits in all the right places now. So in this case we got pretty lucky. We were able to edit it and it worked. Another approach we could've attempted would have been to time-stretch the audio out so it's a little longer.

When you do any kind of time-stretching to audio files, the sound quality really goes out the window. Another way you might be dealing with music in post-production is with MIDI tracks. A lot of composers write temp scores using score-editing softwares like Sibelius or Finale. Some use Logic or Digital Performer to compose. In all these cases, you could be given MIDI tracks to import into your Pro Tools session. MIDI features work pretty handily along with video in Pro Tools, and they're much easier to edit than audio files in terms of stretching. Here I have two MIDI files.

I am going to mute this music track, and I am going to make the MIDI files active again by right-clicking on them. So these MIDI files also contain a drumbeat, but I just want to show you how easy it is to work with MIDI in Pro Tools. Again, they are kind of out of sync like our original audio track was. (drums playing) So let's watch the end and we can see how it's out of sync. (cymbals playing) Okay, so in this case, instead of editing like we did with the audio, we could actually use the Timestretch Trimmer tool.

That's the Trimmer tool with the little clock in it, and because we're dealing with MIDI notes and not actual audio files, we should be able to time-stretch this out and we won't have any audio artifacting, and it should land somewhat in sync. Let's try it. Hold Shift and pull out both of these tracks a little bit, somewhere around there. Now let's see if that works in time. (drums playing) So there you can see MIDI is very flexible, and you can just seamlessly stretch it or shrink it with the Time Trimmer and you don't lose any audio quality like you would with the audio file.

Another thing you can do with MIDI tracks in Pro Tools 9 is print out a score. So if you really liked how this is working, you could actually open the Score window, which is in our Windows menu, called the Score Editor. So we have a lot of rest, but eventually we get to the music, and here are those MIDI tracks presented as a musical score. Now if you wanted to print this out because you were going to have musicians perform this, it's pretty easy to do that. You can go up to File and go to Print Score, and you can actually have a written score to give to musicians to play this music.

As you can see here, there are some powerful tools for editing music to picture with Pro Tools.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools.


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Q: This course was updated on 4/04/12. Can you tell me what changed?
A: This update was initiated when Avid released Pro Tools 10. It explains that this course can be taken with either Pro Tools 9 or 10 (the exercise files are compatible with both), and we also added movies that explore the enhanced clip-based gain and Audio Suite features in Pro Tools 10, both of which are useful when building a soundtrack.
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