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Help get my Pro Tools Stereo mix into 5.1 for a Film Festival..?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Lives for gear
Help get my Pro Tools Stereo mix into 5.1 for a Film Festival..?

Hi,

So I mixed a 45 minute documentary last month, did the stereo mix in Pro Tools, all is well...everyone was happy.

Got a call today that they have been accepted into a film festival that requires a 5.1 mix for a DCP file to be delivered...and sent these guidelines:

Audio:

Discrete channels of 24-bit 48 kHz Linear PCM audio. If delivering as separate files (preferred), please deliver in AIFF, WAV, or BWAV format. We will not accept any muxed or compressed files including AC-3 or AAC files.

Required 5.1 Channel Assignment – SMPTE

L – Left
R – Right
C – Center
LFE – Low Frequency Effects
Ls – Left Surround
Rs – Right Surround


The documentary is mostly just dialogue and music underneath...a few little sound effects here and there, that more sound like music than anything...so my plan as of now:

Since Pro Tools Native doesn't do surround, and they have no budget...I need to find a program that will do 5.1 mixes, preferably that I can demo just to get this done. Logic Pro X would be great...but no demo. Suggestions here?

Once I figure this out, I'll print stems from Pro Tools to import into new program...do my surround balancing...and then print 5.1 mixes as required.

Again...mostly just dialogue and music underneath...so I'm figuring dialogue in the center...music in L/R...with a little of it in the rear...then some things to the sub....??

Sorry all, I realize there is a lot more to this subject...but I mostly do music and broadcast mixes in stereo and don't ever have to worry about surround...however, I need to help these clients out getting a 5.1 mix to put in a DCP file to deliver. Any tips, suggestions and help would be appreciated.

Thanks
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Guru
 

I'm wondering if you can't just set up for surround using regular Pro Tools as long as your panning is static and everything is pretty simple.. After all, you're not delivering interleaved files, just mono. Have you looked around in this section for anyone having done that?

I'd not put anything in the LFE for a doc unless really warranted btw.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Usually the biggest issue someone who has not been working in 5.1 etc has in taking their stereo mix to 5.1 isn't modification of the mix, it's the monitoring environment in which to do it. You can tough out using buses and auxes to make a non-HD project have 6 outputs, but do you have a setup, including the speakers and monitor controller to listen to it with? Part of all this is that in 5.1 calibrating the listening setup becomes much more important, right? The inter-speaker level relationships (at least) are kind of the main work you are doing in upmixing. BTW: upmix plugins can work very well, if you want to go that way. But you still need the 5.1 rig to hear what they are doing.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
First, thank you both for the helpful responses...it's nice when people are just willing to inform and be helpful

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I'm wondering if you can't just set up for surround using regular Pro Tools as long as your panning is static and everything is pretty simple.. After all, you're not delivering interleaved files, just mono. Have you looked around in this section for anyone having done that?

I'd not put anything in the LFE for a doc unless really warranted btw.
Perfect! I have already been watching youtube vids on how to "fake" surround using PT Native. Looks doable...if I have to go that route. I'm guessing after all said and done...I'd just bounce one at a time mono files...? The setup looks a bit daunting...but I could do it if I need to.


Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
Usually the biggest issue someone who has not been working in 5.1 etc has in taking their stereo mix to 5.1 isn't modification of the mix, it's the monitoring environment in which to do it. You can tough out using buses and auxes to make a non-HD project have 6 outputs, but do you have a setup, including the speakers and monitor controller to listen to it with? Part of all this is that in 5.1 calibrating the listening setup becomes much more important, right? The inter-speaker level relationships (at least) are kind of the main work you are doing in upmixing. BTW: upmix plugins can work very well, if you want to go that way. But you still need the 5.1 rig to hear what they are doing.
Great point, I was going to update my post about this but will just do it here. So, I'm not setup for surround mixing. I have enough speakers and the I/O to set it up if I had to...but it would be a lot of work for this one small project.

So...my idea was to use the Waves Abbey Road Studio 3 headphone plugin, which I've been doing all of my stereo mixes (music/broadcast/etc.) in for months...and really love it. It's a great tool, and translates well...and apparently it can do 5.1, but I have never tried and don't know how it would work...especially in Pro Tools Native...? Any thoughts on this would be awesome if anyone has tried it.

Secondly...upmixing plugins? I've heard of them, and started to look into them years ago...but what exactly does this do and which ones would you suggest for Pro Tools? Would I be able to spit out individual mono files for this, as well as interleaved/combined 5.1 files? Interested for sure in checking this out


On the other hand...I contacted the film festival myself...and they have already replied back that stereo files, while not preferred, will work just fine. But, I'd still like to get this figured out in case the client insists on 5.1 files.

Thanks!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

If the festival can take a stereo mix, you might want to go with that. If it is too difficult to do the 5.1 mix in a calibrated environment, then I wouldn’t bother faking it. It might seem like a small project, but I wouldn’t risk a screening with the possibility of a bad mix. If the client insists, then just rent a studio with calibrated 5.1 and they can pay for it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
minister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
Usually the biggest issue someone who has not been working in 5.1 etc has in taking their stereo mix to 5.1 isn't modification of the mix, it's the monitoring environment in which to do it. You can tough out using buses and auxes to make a non-HD project have 6 outputs, but do you have a setup, including the speakers and monitor controller to listen to it with? Part of all this is that in 5.1 calibrating the listening setup becomes much more important, right? The inter-speaker level relationships (at least) are kind of the main work you are doing in upmixing. BTW: upmix plugins can work very well, if you want to go that way. But you still need the 5.1 rig to hear what they are doing.
This.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDB_12 View Post
So...my idea was to use the Waves Abbey Road Studio 3 headphone plugin, which I've been doing all of my stereo mixes (music/broadcast/etc.) in for months...and really love it. It's a great tool, and translates well...and apparently it can do 5.1, but I have never tried and don't know how it would work...especially in Pro Tools Native...? Any thoughts on this would be awesome if anyone has tried it.

Secondly...upmixing plugins? I've heard of them, and started to look into them years ago...but what exactly does this do and which ones would you suggest for Pro Tools? Would I be able to spit out individual mono files for this, as well as interleaved/combined 5.1 files?
Not advisable.


Quote:
Originally Posted by E Baxter Put View Post
If the festival can take a stereo mix, you might want to go with that. If it is too difficult to do the 5.1 mix in a calibrated environment, then I wouldn’t bother faking it. It might seem like a small project, but I wouldn’t risk a screening with the possibility of a bad mix. If the client insists, then just rent a studio with calibrated 5.1 and they can pay for it.
And this!

If you can get to an already setup 5.1 studio, then go and ask to sit so you can learn.

Otherewise, send stereo.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Using a headphone plugin or upmixing plugin in your studio is not only the wrong answer but probably impossible. They both require a 5.1 bus which PT Vanilla won't do. Good advice above.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
do you have a different DAW that DOES have a Surround BUS !!!

and i agree with everything that has been said ... send Stereo for this one !!! i have done tons of upmixes for films and concert DVD's ... it can be done and, trust me, there are things out there that you THINK are discrete Surround that I upmixed !!! TC6000 upmix using Hardware ...some of the software upmixers can work .. not ideal, only in a pinch is when we use(d) it ...

hell, send them Mono !!! 2/3 of the people will not be sitting in the middle anyway !!! ha cheers and best of luck in the Festival !!!!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Here for the gear
 

I personally wouldn't do a surround mix on a headphone monitoring plug-in. HRTF is fun, but I don't think it's at a point yet (if ever) where it can be used as a substitute to a physical 5.1 setup.

If that's your only option, so be it I guess.

In any case, Reaper is your best bet if cost is an issue. (And if it wasn't an issue, Reaper would probably still be one of the better options.)
You can use Reaper in unrestricted trial mode for a period of time.

For a tad more than a reaper license which is 60$, you could also subscribe to Pro Tools ultimate for one month and cancel your subscription right after.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Airon's Avatar
 

Reaper would work fine, and the Abbey Road plugin will work alrightish for verification. A trial of Halo Upmix might be a good one to try for generating the 5.1

The best is still to monitor on a 5.1 system, even if it's a ****ty one. You're looking at overall balance.

In case all fails and last resorts are all you have, try this: You need your original mix session for this. You'll need stem outputs for dialogue without reverbs, dialogue reverbs, music and lastly effects.

Route your dialogue reverbs and effects to L/R, the dialogue to CENTER, music to L/R and a bit in to Ls/Rs.
Now grab a REFERENCE 5.1 mix and subject it to the dumbest downmixing, which is L/R to Left/Right of your stereo field, C-3dB to both Left and Right, Ls/Rs to left and right. That's basically a LoRo.

Compare to your mix and make light adjustments of stem levels until you're happy. Reverify 5.1 with the Abbey Road headphone plugin.

To be honest, I'd rather verify on a $100 gaming 5.1 set than just stereo. I wouldn't mix everything on them, but a 5.1 from balanced stereo stems is definitely in the cards in a pinch.


Now grab
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