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Barebones Audio Post setup DAW Software
Old 12th September 2007
  #1
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Barebones Audio Post setup

Hi all,

my first time in this post forum heh

What is the barebones setup needed to do basic audio post related work? Is it possible to go native, non-PT, non-Mac?

Some friends are trying to start up something cos they got a underutilised room, so they're thinking of starting with recording VOs. But then I think no one would book a studio just to record VOs, cos they expect facilities to provide related services as well.

So without much knowledge in this field, I need advice not just for the choice of gear alone (based on budget), but also with a certain configuration of gear, what can and cannot be done. What can we also do besides VO that won't require expensive equipment?

I have interned in an audiopost facility years ago, over there they had some video harddisk arrays, 96 ch digital console, PT TDM with video option, sync machines, etc big ticket items.

But that was years back. Is it possible to do with much less (and less costly) equipment nowadays? If a native system is possible, how realistic is it to overcome with format compatibility problems in realworld situations (OMF etc)?

I imagine I would need a fast computer to playback video while recording audio, some video card that can output to a TV for the VO artist to sync to, some software that can import and export to the work-in-progress/delivery formats. But what exactly to get?

Thanks for any help
Old 12th September 2007
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade View Post
Hi all,

my first time in this post forum heh

What is the barebones setup needed to do basic audio post related work? Is it possible to go native, non-PT, non-Mac?

Some friends are trying to start up something cos they got a underutilised room, so they're thinking of starting with recording VOs. But then I think no one would book a studio just to record VOs, cos they expect facilities to provide related services as well.

So without much knowledge in this field, I need advice not just for the choice of gear alone (based on budget), but also with a certain configuration of gear, what can and cannot be done. What can we also do besides VO that won't require expensive equipment?

I have interned in an audiopost facility years ago, over there they had some video harddisk arrays, 96 ch digital console, PT TDM with video option, sync machines, etc big ticket items.

But that was years back. Is it possible to do with much less (and less costly) equipment nowadays? If a native system is possible, how realistic is it to overcome with format compatibility problems in realworld situations (OMF etc)?

I imagine I would need a fast computer to playback video while recording audio, some video card that can output to a TV for the VO artist to sync to, some software that can import and export to the work-in-progress/delivery formats. But what exactly to get?

Thanks for any help
Many people start with the entry level PT systems. Academic versions of M-Powered PT
will do some time code functions, maybe enough to get you started. You can record your VO on it too.

Philip Perkins
Old 12th September 2007
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade View Post
What can we also do besides VO that won't require expensive equipment?
When you say 'we', are you planning on hiring someone with actual post audio experience? If not, that will severely limit the services you can offer no matter what kind of rig you put together.
Old 12th September 2007
  #4
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Hi guys

yep we have an audio production trained guy to run it, don't know if he is conversant with the video related aspects though.

We got Cubase LE that came with a portable recorder, would that be useful? We are thinking of investing as little as possible at first and slowly build up the equipment once we have a steady stream of clientele.
Old 12th September 2007
  #5
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade View Post
Hi guys

yep we have an audio production trained guy to run it, don't know if he is conversant with the video related aspects though.
A guy who records bands but has no post experience wwon't be of much help.
I suggest you find someoen local that has some experience to help you out.
Post is not a field where the "build it and they will come" motto works.
Old 13th September 2007
  #6
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hello

Saudade,
may i know what else you exactly have,besides Cubase LE with audio interface?
Old 17th September 2007
  #7
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1. A relatively fast computer
2. Pro Tools LE with DV Toolkit 2
3. Digidesign Interface (MBox2, Digi003, or Digi003R)
4. Good monitors (speakers) Something like Adam A7s to start would be nice, at the very least something pro quality.
5. Set of real world speakers or a TV
6. Good headphones (Sony 7506 will do)
7. Metering (physical VU or at very least good software metering)
8. Tune your room (This should be number 2, but you need to start somewhere)
9. Good ear for sound design, editing, mixing, recording (oh yeah, this should be number 1)
10. A good understanding of video and film terminology, frame rates, sync, etc. (This should be number 3)

Of course, you can use other tools, but Pro Tools is a good place to start since you will probably encounter it somewhere along the line. Nuendo is also nice, but keep in mind it has a much steeper price than it used to. There are other DAWs to look into as well, but the one above will certainly get you started.

Steve
Old 17th September 2007
  #8
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If you are doing VO recording, you will also need to add at least a couple of studio quality mics, and a mic pre (although you can record with the one on your interface if quality doesn't have to be top notch.

Don't underestimate clean power as ell. That can bite you if your are not careful.

Steve
Old 19th September 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxie View Post
hello

Saudade,
may i know what else you exactly have,besides Cubase LE with audio interface?
erm...let's see.....a (not so fast) Dell desktop with only 256MB RAM? A pair of cheapo Philips headphones?

But actually the Cubase LE came with the Zoom H4 portable recorder....which reminds me we can actually use it as a mic cum audio interface.

Thanks smsjr for your list of stuff. Thing is, we'd rather not invest in PT cos it's an abyss.

Let's see, monitors...we should be able to get our hands on a pari of old NS-10s, or a new pair of Avantone MixCubes? Room treament...we're buying some OC703 to do some traps. Old TV, should be able to find one cheap...

Ultimately we're more worried about video syncing stuff with regards to the audio, would Cubase LE have anything to offer on that? Any one else got some bright ideas to work with what we have?

Old 19th September 2007
  #10
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Hmm... Not familiar with Cubase LE, so I can't comment on whether the computer will hold up, but the 256mb RAM seems very low.

The Zoom H4 as an audio interface is not going to work, but you probably meant as a way to record vo. In that regard it can work as a temporary solution. Just make sure whatever mic you are feeding it, all the specs match. For example, does the H4 provide true 48V phantom power, which is key for driving a lot of the studio condenser mics.

When you say Pro Tools is an abyss, do you mean it's more than you want to invest, or do you not like the product itself?

I've used NS10s (fine for getting balance and they make you work hard to find the best overall mix that translates pretty well). I have the avantones and they are pretty good for real world checking. Get a decent amp to drive them though. I have an Alesis 150 and it does the job.

Building traps is a good start, but knowing what to do with them is just as important as building them. Hopefully you have done your research on this. I have spent a decent amount of money on high end traps and I still haven't got the room to where I want it. When you have the budget, I highly recommend having the room tuned by an acoustics professional.

You'll be taxing your system in regards to doing audio for video. Again, I don't know Cubase very well, but for Pro Tools and Nuendo, having a fast computer with at least 1GB of RAM is almost a must for doing native. Remember, not only is the compuyter handling the playback of audio, it's also handling the processing (plugins), OS tasks, and video playback. It's a lot to ask the CPU to do, especially an old one. I suppose you can try out what you have and see what it gets you. I have found that people eventually get frustrated though and realize this is more effort than they imagined it would be. But it's worth giving a shot. If you can get by with the bare minimum and then eventually upgrade after a few projects, then go for it.

Hope this helps.

Steve
Old 20th September 2007
  #11
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Saudade's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smsjr View Post

When you say Pro Tools is an abyss, do you mean it's more than you want to invest, or do you not like the product itself?


Steve
I have no wish of turning this into PT or not PT thread, but PERSONALLY I feel PT is the mother of all dongles. If people wish to be locked into any proprietary hardware + software environment, that is their decision.

I do see why many "software" manufacturers are going that route though, the rampant piracy. So they just make people buy pieces of hardware to run their software on. Brilliant.

In this age where CPUs are all powerful, I don't see the need to go that route at all, hence not even the first step of M-powered or LE, just so to "conform" to the industry standards. There will always be workarounds.

I was hoping to learn some of these workarounds in this thread.

Last edited by Saudade; 20th September 2007 at 11:19 AM.. Reason: omission
Old 20th September 2007
  #12
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You can create sounds with a variety of programs. Audacity is a free program. That might be all you need initially, especially if you are just recording VO and editing it. But, if you are looking to do multitrack audio for video where you will be mixing commercials, tv shows, movies you are going to have to look at one of the professional solutions, there's no way around it. Here are the possibilities.

Pro Tools
Nuendo
Sony Vegas
Adobe Audition (Or whatever it is called now)
Soundtrack Pro
SAW


I'm sure there are others. Cubase might be able to work too, I just have never used it in an audio post scenario. As long as it supports video playback, can import OMF/AAF, and has some of the editing features of something like nuendo, perhaps it can work.

I hear what you are saying about Pro Tools and their hardware. I've been frustrated by this in the past also. But one way to look at it is by using their own hardware they are able to better support the product because if something isn't working right they should have an easier time troubleshooting because their hardware is designed to work with Pro Tools. The problem with this theory is that their lower end hardware seems to be a lot more buggy than their HD hardware. HD systems tend to be pretty stable. And as much as I like the thought of going all native for processing, their is a lot of benefit still with the TDM systems. So, to each his own. If you don't want to buy into the Pro Tools way of doing things, no problem. There are other ways to skin the cat. Just keep in mind that whatever you turn to for a solution has to be able to work in critical situations, i.e. the client is breathing down your throat and you have to meet a deadline.

Steve
Old 23rd September 2007
  #13
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Ello Saudade & Steve,

Im a Cubase(sx3) User , but to be honest a Dell Desktop with 256 MB,*regardless your CPU speed. definately not enough for an audio post project,with cubase Sx3. (not too sure on LE)

it is not due to the audio tracking itself, the problem is the video that you imported to cubase, it goes frames by frames. (can cubase LE import videos?).

im also a DELL computer user,a laptop.intel duo core with 1 GB ram,Not smooth(LAGGY !) doing my audio post pro assignment,and that video i was working on was just a 15 minutes Footage.about synching, with my DAW, i experienced Delay by 1 sec btwn the audio track and Vid(delay!) during playback. ( probably is my latency settings?),*troubleshooting in progress*


I guess saudade is going for more alike home-studio simple setup? since you had

Zoom H4 portable recorder(interface + Mic),
With Cubase LE(software),
a pair of monitors(monitors),
Computer ( DAW ),

good to go for recording Vos!, but a good condenser mic really giv u a richer sound.

The next peripherals/toy u need to invest perhaps is your computer? * just a suggestion!*

did i answer your questions , sry if i did not lol
Old 25th September 2007
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxie View Post

im also a DELL computer user,a laptop.intel duo core with 1 GB ram,Not smooth(LAGGY !) doing my audio post pro assignment,and that video i was working on was just a 15 minutes Footage.about synching, with my DAW, i experienced Delay by 1 sec btwn the audio track and Vid(delay!) during playback. ( probably is my latency settings?),*troubleshooting in progress*

Foxie thanks for the info

whoa looks like the Dell we have is waaaaay far off the mark from being capable of playing video and recording audio at the same time. Though I suspect in your case your problems could be due to the fact that most laptops (particularly cheaper Dell desktops) have less than capable video cards? I know they sometimes have shared ram (the one we have does) or something....don't really know the details but I think the performance pales when compared to a dedicated higher-end PCI-E video card heh

Or it could be some frame rate conversion of the video or something...maybe the experts could chime in...
Old 25th September 2007
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saudade
Though I suspect in your case your problems could be due to the fact that most laptops (particularly cheaper Dell desktops) have less than capable video cards? I know they sometimes have shared ram (the one we have does) or something....don't really know the details but I think the performance pales when compared to a dedicated higher-end PCI-E video card heh
.Heh, Okie!note taken, i ll check it out. mine was some nVidia card, but shared memory if im not mistaken.tq for the info !actually im into audio production not much on vid. lol
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