Posts in Category "Adobe Audition"

Pet Sounds

“Audio is half the picture” is a filmmaking cliché that I have the tendency to overuse, but it’s not a bad mantra considering the fact that the way a viewer perceives the visual quality of a film or video is subconsciously influenced by the audio quality of said film or video. Having well recorded, noise-free, well mixed sound along with a music soundtrack and sound effects that reinforce what’s happening on screen is a key piece of the puzzle. For projects with big budgets & resources, an audio specialist (e.g. Sound Designer, Composer, Engineer) usually takes care of this end of things, but the rest of the time we’ve gotta do it ourselves.

Adobe Audition is the audio tool that we currently ship with Production Studio. Audition was formerly known as Cool Edit Pro — we changed the name when we acquired it and other technology from Syntrillium (along with some great people like Hart Shafer and Jason Levine). It’s widely used by audio engineers (particularly in radio) as it mimics the traditional audio production workflow, which is great if you happen to be an audio engineer. But if your specialty is film, video, or interactive design then you probably have no idea what to do with this:

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Audition 2.0’s realtime Mixing Engine.

What you’re looking at is a digital representation of an analog recording console. Everything is where you’d expect it to be if you’re used to working in the analog audio world, and you have everything you need at your fingers to do some serious aural surgery.

I show this to a group of videographers and their eyes glaze over.

The fact is that for those of us that do film, video, or Flash design, this is way overkill. Visually oriented people like ourselves need to work with audio, but the things we need to do on a day-to-day basis don’t require a tool as deep & complex as Audition. That depth & complexity comes with a learning curve, and if audio isn’t your main thing it probably doesn’t make sense for you to go that deep.

These were some of the things we were thinking about when Adobe Soundbooth was conceived. We decided to put the tools most relevant to visual pros right on the surface and make them easy-to-use, while leveraging the powerful technology behind Audition. Hart & crew logged countless hours visiting customers to see what the audio part of their workflow involved, and showing them early wireframes of Soundbooth to get their feedback.

But the best way for us to make sure Soundbooth will let you be more creative & work faster is to get it in your hands now, when it’s still in development. That’s the idea behind Adobe Labs, of which I’m a huge fan because it gives our customers a huge voice when it comes to how we develop new products. I really want as many of you as possible to go to Adobe Labs right now and download the Soundbooth Public Beta. More importantly, if you do download it, use it. Use it a lot and send us feedback, tell us what you like and don’t like, and give us your ideas on how to make it better.

Being that it’s a beta, not every feature works yet. But much of the meat & potatoes are in there today. Let’s have a look – first, here’s the Editor panel, which is the main panel of the interface (name of said panel and appearance subject to change before release, as is everything else in the beta).

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Soundbooth is designed to work with individual clips, be they audio only or video clips with an audio track. Once you import a clip, it appears in the Editor panel (above) where you have simple, draggable controls and buttons to do many basic tasks such as normalize the clip (which makes the volume consistent throughout).

To the left is the Tasks panel which currently contains 3 options. Clicking “Cleanup Audio” or “Remove a Sound “brings up some simple controls for removing noise, clicks & pops, and rumble from your clip, or for removing an individual sound by selecting it in the Spectral Frequency Display with either the Marquee or Lasso tool (just like selecting & modifying and image in Photoshop).

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The “Create Music” option brings up a wider set of controls which can be used to manipulate royalty-free soundtrack beds which will be a key component of the release version of Soundbooth.

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For now, you can download 3 sample soundtracks from the Soundbooth download page at Adobe Labs.

Those are some of the basics, and you can go deeper with the getting started documents included with the beta download. And no, we’re not discontinuing Audition, we’ll still be developing & marketing it for audio pros just as we have since we got it from Syntrillium.

Cue The Karaoke !

In Japanese, “Kara” = Empty & “Oke” = Orchestra. That’s what you get in certain bars if you happen to be there on the wrong night. That’s what you are occasionally obligated to partake in when socializing with colleagues in Japan. And that’s one way of describing the Looping functionality of Adobe Audition 2.0.

If you’re a video or Flash person, you’re going to want to use Audition’s Looping features to create soundtrack elements & music beds for your productions. We include thousands of uncompressed, royalty-free sound loops with both Audition and Production Studio, and there’s a huge degree of control over things like tempo, key, and the overall sound of whatever it is you want to create. So here are the basic steps for creating a musical piece in Audition and exporting it for use in Premiere Pro, After Effects, Flash, or Encore DVD:

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First, make sure you’re in Multitrack mode by clicking on the Multitrack button at the top of the Audition 2.0 UI (see top of figure above). Then make sure the Main tab is selected. Right-mouse-click on any of the empty space in Track 1 and select Insert > Audio . . .

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The Insert Audio dialog (above) appears. Navigate to Loopology (Audition’s library of loops), which is located at C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Audition 2.0\Content\Loopology — note: this file path assumes Audition is installed on your “C” drive, if it isn’t substitute the correct drive letter for the “C” in the above path.

The loops are sorted by musical genre, and then by instrument. In the Insert Audio dialog, make sure “Auto Play” and “Loop” are checked, so when you click on a loop file, it will preview. When you find the file you’d like to insert (it’s good to start with drums, for example) double-click it and it will be inserted into your audio track in Audition.

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Hit the spacebar on your keyboard to play back your loop. To extend its duration, simply grab the right end of the loop (making sure not to grab one of the little white squares) and drag it to the right (example above). To change the tempo or key of your session, go to the Session Properties tab (above) and enter a new tempo and/or key.

Repeat the steps above to add additional loops to additional tracks (making sure to put each loop on its own track). Once you’re satisfied with your “empty orchestra,” it’s time to mix. Click on the Mixer tab to bring the Mixer panel to the front.

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Hit the Spacebar to play back again — you’ll see the meters in each of the channels of the mixer start moving. Your audio tracks, which were viewed from top-to-bottom in the Main panel are now viewed from left-to-right. To adjust the volume of any of your tracks, simply move the fader of that track up or down (example above). Once you’re happy with the mix, it’s time to mixdown to a file that can be imported into the application of your choice.

Select File > Export > Audio Mix Down. Give your file a name, and accept the default setting (Windows PCM). This gives you an uncompressed stereo WAV file.

So get to it, unsung Leonard Bernsteins of the world . . .

Slip Sliding Away

Okay, some days it’s hard to come up with decent headings, you’ve gotta expect that once in awhile.

My cousin Eric was asking me recently about fading out the audio at the end of a DVD slideshow. Encore DVD 2.0 has an incredibly powerful new Slideshow Editor, but it doesn’t give you the capability to do audio fades. Here’s the workflow for doing it using Audition.

1) Right-mouse-click the audio file in your Encore Project Panel, and select Reveal in Explorer.

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2) An Explorer window opens with the audio file highlighted. Right-mouse-click on the audio file and select Open With > Adobe Audition.

3) In Audition, click-drag on the last *X* seconds of the audio waveform to select it (X being the duration you’d like your fade to be — 2 or 3 seconds is a good place to start).

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4) Click on the Favorites panel (it should be in the upper-left corner of the UI, if not you can go to the Window menu and select Favorites to open it). Double click on the “Fade Out” favorite, and the fade out is applied.

5) Click to the left of the area you selected in the wafeform, and hit the Spacebar on your keyboard to play back the fade.

6) If you want to adjust the length, select Edit > Undo and repeat steps 3-5.

7) Once you’re happy with your fade-out, select File > Save and quit Audition.

Remember that editing an audio file in this fashion is destructive, i.e. the fade-out becomes a permanent part of that audio file, so it’s a good idea to make a backup copy of the original before you open it in Audidion.