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Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools

Pitch shifting for effect or utility, TC expansion


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Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools

with Scott Hirsch

Video: Pitch shifting for effect or utility, TC expansion

As you're editing dialog, effects, ambiences, and even music cues in Pro Tools, you'll probably find a need for time stretching, where you want to shorten their length in a region without altering its pitch, or actual pitch shifting where you do want to raise or lower the pitch of a sound without stretching the region in time. X-Form is an AudioSuite plug-in for high quality time compression/expansion and formant correct pitch-shifting. It's part of complete production toolkit too. In this movie we'll explore some effective uses of the plug-in. So here in our Timeline we have an ambience track that might be a bit too short.
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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

Pitch shifting for effect or utility, TC expansion

As you're editing dialog, effects, ambiences, and even music cues in Pro Tools, you'll probably find a need for time stretching, where you want to shorten their length in a region without altering its pitch, or actual pitch shifting where you do want to raise or lower the pitch of a sound without stretching the region in time. X-Form is an AudioSuite plug-in for high quality time compression/expansion and formant correct pitch-shifting. It's part of complete production toolkit too. In this movie we'll explore some effective uses of the plug-in. So here in our Timeline we have an ambience track that might be a bit too short.

We have the track soloed and let's hear what it sounds like. (White noise) So it's the background sound of a race, but you can see it doesn't extend far enough into the scene. It ends here. Now normally we would try to take the Trimmer tool, F6, and pull it out, but as you can see that's the end of the region. That's all we have recorded. So we're going to have to use time compression/expansion to lengthen the size of this clip and we don't want to pitch shift it as we do that. So let's go up into the X-Form plug- in. AudioSuite > Pitch Shift > X-Form.

So here's the X-Form plug-in. Audio Type is the type of content you wish to process. There's a couple of settings in here. We have Polyphonic, Monophonic, and Polyphonic with a Faster setting. Polyphonic uses a different algorithm for more harmonically complex sounds. Pro Tools gives the example of a multipart musical section. Monophonic is for-- in Pro Tools words-- it's monophonic sound such as a vocal melody. And Polyphonic (Faster) is a simplified polyphonic algorithm that takes less time and a trade-off of lower quality.

Since the sound we're working on is neither, let's start with Polyphonic and we're just going to have to do a trial- and-error and see if it sounds good this way or with Monophonic. Below this section, we have our Time. So this is the way we can assess how much longer or shorter we're going to affect this particular region. We can change the Unit here to Time Code, which would make sense since we're working in video. And let's make a selection across the track to see how long we need this section to be. So we wanted to go to about here, a little bit over that section so we can crossfade it out.

And if I look up in my main counters here, I can see the length is a little over 13 seconds. So with that information, we need to actually select the region I'm going to affect, so select that region, then go in here, and I'm going to type in 14, and go into the next field and I'll type 00. So here we go. 14 seconds. It'll expand this region from its original length of 10 seconds to a total length of 14 seconds. Let's preview it for audio quality. (White noise) Okay, that sounds pretty good.

Let's actually check out what that would sound like for the Monophonic setting. (White noise) Okay, that sounds worse to my ears, but notice that in the Monophonic setting, we have a Window setting that's active, so we can actually increase this window. Window is a fine-tuning control basically. Smaller window sizes will be good for drums and percussion and larger window sizes will be good for longer sounds like we have here. So let's increase the Window and see if it helps it all. (White noise) It helps a little bit, but I'm going to go back to the Polyphonic setting and listen to how that works.

So when we're in the Polyphonic setting, Transient Sensitivity is active and the Window is grayed out. So in this case, Transient can be adjusted. You want a lower Sensitivity setting when you're working with rhythmic material and maybe a slightly higher setting when you're working with less rhythmic material. I'm going to bring up the Sensitivity a little bit here. Again, it's kind of a trial-and-error thing. I'm going to preview it and see how it sounds. (White noise) Okay, so out of all the settings I'm going to go with that one.

We still have our time set in there, so we'll hit Process and the region will be lengthened. Okay. So as you can see, our region got lengthened and its appropriate length now. Take a listen to it. (White noise) That's it by itself, but let's put it in the context of the session and we can hear what it sounds like. (Vietnamese dialogue) So that sounds pretty good as a background race and we'll probably want to do just a quick crossfade out as we get out of that scene.

So the next thing we're going to do with X-Form is not a time compression/expansion, but rather a pitch shift. So it's kind of the inverse of what we're doing. I'm going to click on just to get back to our default settings, and here in the sequence we have an area where we have two Woosh sounds. Let's listen to them. Soloed out their tracks. (Whoosh whoosh) Okay, so I think it will be cool if the second whoosh was a different pitch. So maybe lower than the first whoosh just to add some variation. So we'll use X-Form to lower the pitch of this second whoosh sound. So select that sound, and down here in the bottom- right we have our Pitch Shift settings.

So here we're able to take this knob and lower it down and then we have Semitone, which is a musical increment, but we also have Percentage. So if I take it down say little over 3 semitones, that means that we are 80% lower in pitch than the original sound. X-Form also does allow for something formant pitch shifting, and this feature is to be used when you're pitching a voice or some other instrument that you want it to sound as natural as possible. Basically, it takes into account the harmonic series, which makes it more natural sounding. But in this case, the whoosh sound isn't as complex as a voice, so we're going to leave Formant off.

I've had some bugs when I hit Preview in the Pitch Shift area, so I'm going to stay away from that for now. We're going to process it and if we don't like it, we can undo it and redo it later. So here we're going to go process and pitch shift it out and let's take a listen. (Whoosh) So I've here the original and the newly pitch shifted one. (Whoosh) As you heard, the first one was a little higher pitched, the second one was a little lower in pitch, and that gives just enough variation, just what I wanted. So one more thing you can do with the X-Form plug-in is you can set it as your default time compression/expansion tool.

So if I go up to Pro Tools > Preferences, here under Processing we have the TC/E Plug-in. Now here we can go in and Digidesign X- Form will show up as the tool we want to use as opposed to just the regular Digidesign Time Compression/Expansion, and since X-Form is a higher-quality plug-in, I would like to set it up as our default TC/E plug-in. And what this means for us is back in Pro Tools, when I take the Trimmer tool in the TC/E mode where it actually allows you to trim out a region and lengthen or shorten it, Pro Tools will be using the algorithm from X-Form to do that processing.

So the X-Form plug-in is a real valuable tool in your bag of tricks. If you use it correctly, it can allow you for some effective and seamless audio stretching or some dramatic pitch shifting, and it'll give you a lot of options and flexibility in your audio for video project.

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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