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How many of you mix surround but don't encode?
Old 10th April 2008
  #1
How many of you mix surround but don't encode?

My facility is going surround soon. We're weighing the benefits of buying everything to encode masters (DP571/DP572 for Dolby E, DP569 Dolby Digital, DP563 Pro Logic II, and a DP564) or... do we simply provide stems to another audio facility to encode?

The only thing that makes us even consider encoding, is we have quite a few high end video decks... and it seems like we wouldn't be taking full advantage of them if we had to ship off our HDCams to have encoded surround laid back.

So I'm wondering the ratio of facilities out there who can only mix, verse those who mix and encode?
Old 10th April 2008
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobfarron View Post
My facility is going surround soon. We're weighing the benefits of buying everything to encode masters (DP571/DP572 for Dolby E, DP569 Dolby Digital, DP563 Pro Logic II, and a DP564) or... do we simply provide stems to another audio facility to encode?

The only thing that makes us even consider encoding, is we have quite a few high end video decks... and it seems like we wouldn't be taking full advantage of them if we had to ship off our HDCams to have encoded surround laid back.

So I'm wondering the ratio of facilities out there who can only mix, verse those who mix and encode?
Depends what you want to encode, and why and for whom. We encode in software to PL II and it has worked very well very cheaply. For Dolby E you do have get hardware, but depending on the situation in your town re Dolby E gear you might find yourself with a nice little side biz encoding other people's shows. We do the PL II here because we need it on almost everything we do. Dolby E we only need for a few hours at the end of certain network jobs.

Philip Perkins
Old 11th April 2008
  #3
Thanks for the insight. I didn't know PLII could be software. Can you layback to tape with it? Here in Orlando, FL I haven't found anyone to encode Dolby E. Maybe in miami.
Old 11th April 2008
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobfarron View Post
Thanks for the insight. I didn't know PLII could be software. Can you layback to tape with it? Here in Orlando, FL I haven't found anyone to encode Dolby E. Maybe in miami.
You have to render the LtRt first, and for layback you'd have to pull it back into a project that could be synced. We use Minnetonka Surcode, which is either standalone or a PT plug. There is a Dolby PT plug too for TDM.

Philip Perkins
Old 14th April 2008
  #5
jhg
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Delivery specs

Sorry if this sounds really stupid, but I'm assuming your facility is doing the laybacks, what format(s) are your clients asking for? Who are your delivering the tapes to?
Old 15th April 2008
  #6
1) Yes we do the video and stereo audio laybacks. 2) Various networks, including Discovery. We layback to HDcam usually, or DigiBeta or DVCPro sometimes. I'm just trying to convince the 'higher ups' thats it's worth an extra 9k to encode Dolby E, instead of ship our tapes out to another facility, provide them with the stems, and let them encode.
Old 16th April 2008
  #7
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We mostly do laybacks and sweetening at The Post Group.
Old 16th April 2008
  #8
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Quote:
I'm just trying to convince the 'higher ups' thats it's worth an extra 9k to encode Dolby E, instead of ship our tapes out to another facility, provide them with the stems, and let them encode.
I think it is worth the cost especially if you are doing the laybacks yourselves. Since you are doing these laybacks already, will you not recoup the cost over time? We certainly did. Another argument may be to gain some time on the back end of your deliveries. We have some tight deadlines and have found it more convenient to output and encode at our convenience instead of taking the files elsewhere, paying for a rush and scheduling/coordinating the dub to someone elses convenience. Not sure whether this would apply to you but it was a large consideration for us.

Roberto
Old 16th April 2008
  #9
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If another studio is getting paid to do laybacks so that you can deliver in the correct format, yeah, get the encoder and decoders! Arguments for the higherups: You can make back the cost of the gear by not paying other studios, and you can ensure that the laybacks are done the way you want them to be.
Old 16th April 2008
  #10
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are the networks asking for encoding into hdcams? do u know why?
we work w fox and almost never we get to encode anything. hdcams srs and d5 can hold up many audio tracks for delivery purposes. but i wanna know other reasons why would u encode.
Old 16th April 2008
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsilbers View Post
but i wanna know other reasons why would u encode.
How about being able to monitor your mix through the decoder.
Old 16th April 2008
  #12
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Quote:
are the networks asking for encoding into hdcams? do u know why?
All networks that I can think of in Canada require Dolby E encoded as a deliverable, even one network that accepts HD SR deliveries but expects the DOlby E encoded as well. The reasoning depends on their workflow/routing in the tape department/master control and from there to transmission. Easier if we do the work for them! They can decode and edit the metadata if they wish anyways. And I know they have in some instances...

Nathan mentioned another good reason above that I agree with totally.

Roberto
Old 16th April 2008
  #13
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minister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsilbers View Post
are the networks asking for encoding into hdcams? do u know why?
we work w fox and almost never we get to encode anything. hdcams srs and d5 can hold up many audio tracks for delivery purposes. but i wanna know other reasons why would u encode.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathand View Post
How about being able to monitor your mix through the decoder.
Well, it is a bit (yuck yuck) more than that.

Dolby E allows multi-channel distribution over an AES pair. AC3 (for DVD) is a single file that streams off of the DVD. In 35MM the AC3 is in packets between the sprocket holes. Dolby E is designed to withstand 10 or so generations of encode/decode because it has a more sophisticated algorithm and a higher bit rate. Using Dolby E, 20-bit audio words support up to eight audio channels, while 16-bit words support up to six audio channels. So on your tape you can have the Dolby E program and an LtRt.

E is an enhancement and extension of AC3. E-AC3 allows more channels......E-AC-3 operates at data rates from 32 kbps to 6.144 Mbps and at three sampling rates: 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, and 48 kHz. There are new coding tools : a longer filter bank, vector quantization, and spectral extension, and allows greater data efficiency in order to operate at lower data rates than AC-3. Also there is an expanded bit stream syntax and new frame constraints permit operation at higher data rates than AC-3.

The Dolby E stream is used by the post-production facility and then at the broadcast facility is decoded and encoded as an AC3 for broadcast.

HOWEVER, E-AC3 is still an MDCT encoding method...and may not sound better than reg. AC3.
Old 17th April 2008
  #14
Our reasoning for the HDCam is because thats what the networks we work with usually want, also... we only have a HDW500, not the SR.

Thanks for the input guys, I do believe it would be beneficial for us to do the encoding. Hopefully I can talk them into it.
Old 17th April 2008
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minister View Post
Well, it is a bit (yuck yuck) more than that.
Hey minister, why are you picking on me today? I'm still stinging from your "cognescenti" comment on the mastering forum.

BTW-jacobfarron is debating whether or not to encode himself not looking for a definition of Dolby E. I think the reason I gave to own the 569/564 is probably the most compelling there is. For me confirming that what I put in the center channel stays in the center channel is far more important than knowing what data rate the E-AC-3 operates at. Sorry if that keeps me out of the illuminerdi.
Old 17th April 2008
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathand View Post
Hey minister, why are you picking on me today? I'm still stinging from your "cognescenti" comment on the mastering forum.

BTW-jacobfarron is debating whether or not to encode himself not looking for a definition of Dolby E. I think the reason I gave to own the 569/564 is probably the most compelling there is. For me confirming that what I put in the center channel stays in the center channel is far more important than knowing what data rate the E-AC-3 operates at. Sorry if that keeps me out of the illumierdi.
I am not picking on you.

gsilbers asked the question, "what other reasons to encode?". your answer was "how about being able to monitor through the decoder.". it is true that you will know that your mix decoded properly, and you should always montor through the decode. and your point was, i take it, don't leave it to someone else because there may be a result that you did not intend. that is a good reason.

your answer, while good, was predicated on an encode. he asked why do that at all. my explanation was to explain a bit about how Dolby E works and why you would not be spreading your LPCM tracks onto an HD SRS or D5 as he was suggesting, but rather using Dolby E. the "extra" information was not there to contravene your point, but to further the understanding of the reasons for using Dolby E in the first place.
Old 17th April 2008
  #17
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Gee, I wonder how I could have taken...

Quote:
Originally Posted by minister View Post
Well, it is a bit (yuck yuck) more than that.
...as a condescending comment.
Old 18th April 2008
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathand View Post
Gee, I wonder how I could have taken...



...as a condescending comment.
Honestly, don't know. But I take it you are being sarcastic because you think i am being condescending to you. Or do i have you wrong here?

You made a statement. I thought it was only a partial answer. Bad pun aside, I was giving more information to give a more complete answer. I was not merely giving a definition, I was explaining function and why Broadcasters are using it and why you would encode even at all.

As to "stinging" from my reply to your post, again, I don't know that you should be. In the Mastering forum you were confused about Dolby's statements about measuring individual speakers or the sum of them. I replied in order to set you straight -- as others did as well -- and caution you to differentiate between a film calibration and a music calibration. the surrounds are at different levels. You also made the comment in the thread about there not being a "right" way, only how-too's. I disagree with that; I do not think it is true. There are right ways to do it. So, in my inveterately ironic manner, I turned it around and said there are more wrong ways than right, and added that everyone I know who knows what they are doing do it consistently -- there is not a lot of deviation in how they do it. If i called them 'cognoscenti' it is because it is a silly, posh latinate word that makes me laugh -- though it is accurate that they people who do it right are people "in the know". It does not imply that you are stupid. But I did disagree with your statement and responded with humor.

If you look at what I said not as the schoolyard bully picking on you, but someone providing you with some education, you might see it differently. There have been times when I said things on forums that were either wrong or not complete. I was actually grateful for the education. The first thing that pops in to my mind was when I making some inaccurate and incomplete (in my understanding) about bass management and Eric Lalicata and Pascal Sijen set me straight on a few things. I appreciated the insight and corrections. I can also think of TvPostSound correcting me on a few things with his brash manner and I found it funny, refreshingly direct and enlightening. Dr. Sound too. I am sure Geo has educated me on more than a few things, but she is too nice to ever suspect anything but benevolence. My only disappointment was that they didn't use latin!

If you really want to get back at me, you should say :

Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure!!


(I can't hear you. I have a banana in my ear.)
Old 18th April 2008
  #19
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You know minister I had this long (I thought smart) confrontational response ready to send and I just erased it. Take two...

I respect your knowledge.

Thank you for educating me.

Although I never made it clear I am interested in calibrating a 5.1 mix room for broadcast television. If you have any additional insight regarding this particular set-up I would appreciate hearing about it.

N8

PS - I just took it as a given that jacob would be interested in purchasing both the encoder and decoder. Nobody would be stupid enough to encode something and send it to their client without listening to it decoded...right?

I stand by my comment that the most compelling reason to encode yourself is so that you can hear the decode and confirm that your mix translates correctly. There is nothing incomplete about this statement.
Old 18th April 2008
  #20
We are definitely encoding. Now that SurCode has a Dolby E plugin we might go all software. I finished the designs to upgrade our mix room to 5.1, and since there's not a trememdous amount of space for clients... they said, "why don't we just build a theater in that extra room"? The space in question is 20ft by 40ft with 30 ft ceilings. Hahaha... this could be nice.
Old 19th April 2008
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathand View Post
You know minister I had this long (I thought smart) confrontational response ready to send and I just erased it.
Drat!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nathand View Post
Although I never made it clear I am interested in calibrating a 5.1 mix room for broadcast television. If you have any additional insight regarding this particular set-up I would appreciate hearing about it.
Best thing to do is read through the entire Room Cal thread on the DUC, download all the docs, roll up your sleeves and get to work figuring it out.

DUC: UPDATED Room Calibration for Film and TV Post

It all seems daunting at first, but the pieces will slowly come together and then it will make sense.

There aren't too many ways to do it that deviate from these basic prinicples:

As I said in the Mastering Section thread, put a 1 kHz sine generator at -20 dBFS on a MONO track going out a MONO output on your audio interface (IOW, not a mono track going out A1-2, but A1...because of Pan Laws). get a multimeter of sufficient resolution to read 1.228V and turn those output trims on your Interface until 1k @-20dBFS=1.228V. This will also equal 0 VU and +4dBU.

Get a good copy of pink noise -- if you use Pro Tools DO NOT use the Signal Genrator Pink, it will give you bad readings. Get a good SPL meter. Run the Pink out the monitors one at a time. (I am going to assume you laid out your monitors correctly.) Take your SPL, set it to C weighted SLOW, hold it at about chest height and angle it up towards the monitor. adjust the Volume controls -- other than the output trims -- in your studio until the SPL reads 79 (you said TV and I am also assuming that you are in a smaller room, not a Dub Stage sized Room. the Larger rooms are 85 for film, 79 for TV) If you mix a film, I would suggest trying 82 and see how that translates. Mark your spot on your volume control (or Room EQ, or Amp depending) and move on to the next speaker.

For TV, the monitors are equal, for film, the surrounds are 3dB down (their sum adds up to one film channel).

Best to use an RTA for the sub, but, you can use an SPL.

Sub is 3 dB in-band (20Hz to 120Hz) above the center channel for DVD, DVD-A and HD-TV.

Sub is +10 dB in-band (20 Hz to 120 Hz) for FEATURE FILMS above the baseline center channel. (89**** on your SPL for a dBC 85 LCR cal.)

Have a Syncheck Box? SYNCHECK.COM not only can you cal your video-->audio sync, but the II version has an SPL meter and the FTP site has Pink files.
Old 20th April 2008
  #22
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Thanks. I'll try this out in the morning.

I have a syncheck but I'm not sure if it's version II.

About this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by minister View Post
Sub is 3 dB in-band (20Hz to 120Hz) above the center channel for DVD, DVD-A and HD-TV.

Sub is +10 dB in-band (20 Hz to 120 Hz) for FEATURE FILMS above the baseline center channel. (89**** on your SPL for a dBC 85 LCR cal.)
Wow/Oops...I've had +10 in band on the sub for everything I've ever done in 5.1.
Old 20th April 2008
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minister View Post
Best thing to do is read through the entire Room Cal thread on the DUC, download all the docs, roll up your sleeves and get to work figuring it out.
tom, the explanation you gave here is better/clearer/simpler/more precise than anything in the DUC sticky or the linked docs. maybe you could copy it back there?
Old 21st April 2008
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minister View Post
Get a good copy of pink noise -- if you use Pro Tools DO NOT use the Signal Genrator Pink, it will give you bad readings.
At Widget Post where I work we use the pink noise from the Dolby DMU box for calibration purposes. Since, in the feature world, the Dolby rep is going to use the DMU pink to calibrate the room for the printmaster, it makes sense to always use it for calibration. We have found that there can be as much as a 1 to 1.5 dB difference in the way that various pinks translate to the loudness of program material. Also, we constantly make sure the SPL meters are accurate and have good batteries. We use Radioshack's SPL meter like just about everyone else in Hollywood, but we have a high end meter that we check them against occasionally. I know mixers who have their own personal Radioshack SPL meter that the use to double check room calibration.
Old 21st April 2008
  #25
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Would you turn with the SPL meter towards the rear speakers to measure them or would you face it in-front of the center channel?

Thanks,

Shil
Old 21st April 2008
  #26
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Good to see you here Gary!
Old 21st April 2008
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
At Widget Post where I work we use the pink noise from the Dolby DMU box for calibration purposes.
Hi Greg,
Thanks for your input here.

Dolby also brings it with them when they tune the room. Coach was out here in December and they tuned my (smallish) Dub Stage. Obviously we used the SMAART system, but we calibrated our SPL meters to that and mine to his. The Dolby Engineers use the Radio Shack SPL meters.
Old 21st April 2008
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.sound View Post
Good to see you here Gary!

Here is the "Room Calibration Thread I wrote on the DUC:
DUC: UPDATED Room Calibration for Film and TV Post

If you click in the "Dub Stage Link" you will get the Dolby Pink to calibrate to.
If one reads the calibration link you will have all your answers on how to calibrate.
READ and LEARN!
Thanks for the welcome.

Actually, I have never calibrated a dub stage myself even though I have been mixing for decades. I doubt I ever will, either. I think our engineers would consider it an insult if I tried. As soon as I hear pink, I just plug my ears and leave the room. I'm very familiar with the process, though.

Last edited by ggegan; 21st April 2008 at 04:22 AM.. Reason: clarification
Old 21st April 2008
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
Thanks for the welcome.

Actually, I have never calibrated a dub stage myself even though I have been mixing for decades. I doubt I ever will, either. I think our engineers would consider it an insult if I tried. As soon as I hear pink, I just plug my ears and leave the room. I'm very familiar with the process, though.
Gary,
I meant that for the others who wrote above, not you!
Old 21st April 2008
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
tom, the explanation you gave here is better/clearer/simpler/more precise than anything in the DUC sticky or the linked docs. maybe you could copy it back there?

Here is the "Room Calibration Thread I wrote on the DUC:
DUC: UPDATED Room Calibration for Film and TV Post

If you click in the "Dub Stage Link" you will get the Dolby Pink to calibrate to.
If one reads the calibration link you will have all your answers on how to calibrate.
READ and LEARN!
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