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AC-3.... buy software encoder or hire out?
Old 21st October 2007
  #1
AC-3.... buy software encoder or hire out?

I'm going to need to have AC-3 encoding done for a current project. I also think I'll be doing other work that will require this.

How good are the software encoders (SurCode, Steinberg Dolby, ?) and should I invest in one or just hire others to do the work?

Thanks again....
Old 21st October 2007
  #2
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kk@jamsync.com's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joenovice View Post
I'm going to need to have AC-3 encoding done for a current project. I also think I'll be doing other work that will require this.

How good are the software encoders (SurCode, Steinberg Dolby, ?) and should I invest in one or just hire others to do the work?

Thanks again....
They all work...the question is: how much time to you want to take to learn how to encode for different situations vs. how much money you want to spend. If your time is worth a lot, hire it out to someone who has done it for awhile for different kinds of project. It's not a turnkey operation.
Old 21st October 2007
  #3
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starcrash13's Avatar
Why not invest in Final Cut Studio? In addition to AC3 encoding, there are a lot of other benefits.
Old 21st October 2007
  #4
Currently Windows platform with Nuendo 4 (soon). Final Cut investment would require a bit more than I'm looking to deal with.
Old 21st October 2007
  #5
Gear Nut
 

I like very much the Neyrinck "soundcode" plugin for Protools. I never had the chance to try Surcode but what I like about soundcode is when encoding your 5.1 file to AC3 in protool, you can decode the previous encoded version and A/B compare with the original 5.1 stem in real time & lock to the picture. Also, be careful when encoding something you didn't mix. If the "dialog norm" metadata is not setup properly you can hear serious artifacts in home decoders beside sounding to low or too loud. If you use surcode or any other ac3 encoder, I would suggest you run it thru a decoder and A\B compare it to your 5.1 stem and let your hears be the judge.

Old 23rd October 2007
  #6
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soundboy's Avatar
So do you need a LM100 to get the dialnorm, to set the dialnorm setting correctly?
Old 23rd October 2007
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundboy View Post
So do you need a LM100 to get the dialnorm, to set the dialnorm setting correctly?
LM100 would be helpful if the mix was done by someone else. Do you think I would need this since it is my mix?

I've never created metadata for AC3 before but am sure I could get it right with a bit of experiementation.
Old 23rd October 2007
  #8
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soundboy's Avatar
Even if you do the mix yourself, how will you know what the dialnorm is?
Old 23rd October 2007
  #9
The LM100 will tell you what the current dialnorm is, but it is only a meter...it will not adjust anything for you.
Old 23rd October 2007
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundboy View Post
Even if you do the mix yourself, how will you know what the dialnorm is?
On the few projects I've done I use the Inspector XL meter to get my dialog levels to a consistant level of loudness.

I don't know much about this (reason for the post). It seems that dialnorm is the average level of dialog in the mix. Correct?
Old 23rd October 2007
  #11
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macgee's Avatar
logic studio includes AC3 encoder too
Old 24th October 2007
  #12
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soundboy's Avatar
I think my question was not clear. I know the LM100 does not set dialnorm. It is used for the measurement of that spec. (i've mixed a bunch of shows for Discovery, believe me I know what it does.) My question relates to what the investment in doing your own AC3 encoding entails as Joenovice asked. Do you need nore than just the encoding software/hardware? If you need to set the dialnorm for the AC3 encode, do you need to do that manually, or will the software/hardware measure it and come up with that number? Or do you need a seperate peice of software/hardware (ie. LM100) to measure the dialnorm of your mix so you can set that setting in the AC3 encoder?
Old 24th October 2007
  #13
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minister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by macleodgrant View Post
logic studio includes AC3 encoder too
It does?

at the Apple website it says :

Quote:
Burn uncompressed surround stems directly to DVD-A or transfer bounced files to Compressor for industry-standard Dolby Digital AC-3 encoding and preview.
That tells me that you need Compressor. Does Compressor come FREE with Logic Studio?

It looks like AC3 encoding is not included in Logic.
Old 24th October 2007
  #14
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starcrash13's Avatar
Since the OP is not using a Mac, this is more general info but according to the Soundtrack Pro specs, you can "Export mixes as AIFF, WAV, NeXT, SDII, MP3, AAC/Podcast, Dolby Digital Professional (AC-3), or using Compressor." I don't have STP installed on the machine I'm on at the moment so I can't say for sure how it works, but it does come bundled with Logic Studio. I don't think Compressor does, though.

Can someone else verify this? I wonder if these specs are outdated and based on the fact that previously STP came bundled with Final Cut Studio which also comes bundled with Compressor. I wonder if you need Compressor to do the AC-3 export from STP?
Old 24th October 2007
  #15
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Geert van den Berg's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by minister View Post
It does?

at the Apple website it says :

That tells me that you need Compressor. Does Compressor come FREE with Logic Studio?

It looks like AC3 encoding is not included in Logic.
Yes Compressor is included in Logic Studio, which is a package with a couple of apps, Logic Pro, Waveburner, Soundtrack Pro, Compressor and Mainstage.
Old 24th October 2007
  #16
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starcrash13's Avatar
Ahh. Thanks Geert! I found it in the "Utilities" section of what's included in the bundle.
Old 25th October 2007
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
If you need to set the dialnorm for the AC3 encode, do you need to do that manually, or will the software/hardware measure it and come up with that number? Or do you need a seperate peice of software/hardware (ie. LM100) to measure the dialnorm of your mix so you can set that setting in the AC3 encoder?
Charles,

The dialnorm metadata has to be entered manually in your AC3 encoder. I am doing reference DVDs for myself and don't have an LM100 and it sounds good. I am not sure if it's a must since the final product doesn't have to fit within broadcast specs. But if I would start a business encoding DVD for others I would get an LM100.

heh
Old 1st November 2007
  #18
soulstudios
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by joenovice View Post
I'm going to need to have AC-3 encoding done for a current project. I also think I'll be doing other work that will require this.

How good are the software encoders (SurCode, Steinberg Dolby, ?) and should I invest in one or just hire others to do the work?

Thanks again....

Hi-
if you're using a PC, download EncWAVtoAC3 - it's freeware. And very, very good. Better than the paid AC3 encoders - that I've personally tried...
Thanks,
[email protected]
Old 1st November 2007
  #19
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TVPostSound's Avatar
Quote:
The dialnorm metadata has to be entered manually in your AC3 encoder.
Yes, you use the LM100 to measure dialnorm, then enter that measurement in the AC3 encoder


Quote:
I am doing reference DVDs for myself and don't have an LM100 and it sounds good. I am not sure if it's a must since the final product doesn't have to fit within broadcast specs
If you ship an AC3 file with an arbitrary dialnorm figure, then gets QCd through an LM100, you will have to do it the right way when they reject it.
Old 1st November 2007
  #20
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Gretschman's Avatar
 

I use Surcode

I use Surcode

I bought mine about 5 years ago .

It is easy to use .

It works .

You are the best judge on your work .

If you know it's only gonna be a one time thing , hire it out .

If you want to do more in the future , buy it .

Also Sony's Vegas 8 comes with an AC3 encoder and has a Butt load of Kool tools in it .
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