The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

First time designing sound... help!

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by cvanp, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. cvanp

    cvanp Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hey guys,

    I've got a production position this spring semester designing sound for our dance company.

    My limited sound design experience is with Apple's Soundtrack Pro (it's part of Final Cut Studio), Audacity, and SONY Sound Forge. The workflow at school is Pro-tools based, so that's a little different. Anyone familiar with Protools know if the learning curve will be that big?

    I want to do a lot with surround sound: really playing with the space and creating some really awesome acoustics. We did a demonstration with that in one of my classes, and it was really cool - but it is my understanding that Qlab might not support surround sound audio. Is that the case? If so, other than cueing the show manually, how could I overcome this?

    Also, any words of advice for a first timer? What mistakes should I avoid, what should I be sure to do, etc.

    Thanks
    Chris
     
  2. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    I've yet to download and play around with QLab(Don't have Midi cables and our Strand MX isn't supported) but from what i remember looking at screenshots, can't you run multiple sound files at once? If so, then you can just create your sorround sound, then seperate it out into 2-3 Stereo MP3's and have QLab play them out of different speakers.

    Again, I've yet to downlaod and play around with it but it should in theory let you do that.
     
  3. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

    Messages:
    4,017
    Likes Received:
    562
    Occupation:
    Acoustical, audio and audiovisual consultant
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Unless you have the right room and acoustical environment to start with and then spend big bucks on something like a LARES or Constellation system, you will not be creating acoustics. You may create spatial sound effects, but will likely not be affecting the actual acoustical character of the space.

    Spatial effects can be very effective but also require consideration of the room, system and listener area to be effective. It is not just what you create in the production effort but also how that translates to the audience. It is one thing to place a speaker in a specific location and use it to make a sound appear to come from that location but when you start panning or using multiple channels you add an element of how the result sounds for listeners at different locations in the audience whether all listeners actually end up hearing the desired effect or if some might hear something quite different. This is considering not just level and coverage but also potentially timing. Too often what may sound great in the studio during production simply does not translate well into the actual application, so during production please try to consider how the room and playback system will affect what is actually heard by the listeners.

    And for dance, also consider how you provide monitoring for the dancers and how any spatial effects in the house might affect them. It might be cool to have something sound like it is coming from the back of the house but will that sound right to the audience in the front row and then not negatively impact what is heard on stage.
     
  4. mixmaster

    mixmaster Active Member

    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Iowa
    I'm curious, why surround sound effects for a dance group? It's alway been my preference to put music in a dance show that does as little as possible to distract the audience from what the dancers are doing on stage. Part of designing sound (or lighting, set, costumes, whatever) is to support the performers on stage, not become the performer. It pisses me of to no end when I go to a show and I can't see the guy singing because the LD has a bunch of 10K "audiance abuse" lights flashing with every downbeat. For your audiance, will seeing the action in front of them but hearing sounds from behind cause a similar issue? A large part of surround sound is put the audience "in the middle of the action" so to speak. What "action" are you trying to put the audiance in the middle of? Not trying to sound pessimistic again, just curious.
    Matt
     
  5. tweetersaway

    tweetersaway Member

    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Lighting & Sound Supervisor
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    Like said above, do nothing that will distract from the talent. The only time I would use a noticeable surround effect would be if talent came in the back of the auditorium to draw the attention back there, but that would end as soon as the talent is close enough to the front that the mains can handle it.

    Also, If I remember QLab correctly, you can create cues sent to up to 8 different channels as long as you have the hardware that can output to that many channels. It's pretty versatile as far as that goes.

    Side note: I was actually talking with a sound designer who was using a surround effect for A Midsummer Night's Dream. There was music at the front with ambience sounds from the rear house left and a bell chime from house right. It's a really cool tool to create an atmosphere, but as soon as talent needs the audience's attention, it had better be there.
     
  6. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

    Messages:
    4,017
    Likes Received:
    562
    Occupation:
    Acoustical, audio and audiovisual consultant
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    I have used sound to try to draw the audience's attention towards the action on stage. For one production we had several channels of jungle sounds going to practicals around the house during pre-show to help set the scene being in the middle of a jungle and then moved the source towards being from the stage before the action started, also moving the audience's attention towards the stage.
     
  7. cvanp

    cvanp Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yeah I'm pretty sure the space is tunable but you're right, I meant spatial sound effects, not acoustics. I'm pretty happy with the "default" in the space.

    As for the potential distraction of the spatial effects I think that is a definite possibility. We have been playing a lot with this type of effect in our other department shows this semester and it's worked so far, so I'd love to extend it into dance, almost in a "dancing sound" type of metaphor. One of the dance pieces we did started to utilize this in a basic sense, mixing together various audio voice tracks and rhythms and such in a really cool piece that made heavy use of stereo, but I'm curious of that can be extended further. Maybe it will be too distracting, but fortunately we're educational theatre and we have the freedom to fail.

    These are all definitely really valid points though, and brought up some big concerns that I hadn't thought about. Thanks very much!

    Chris
     
  8. themuzicman

    themuzicman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    871
    Likes Received:
    166
    Occupation:
    Audio Engineer
    Location:
    On Tour
    The learning curve on Protools is similar to that of using Logic or Soundtrack. They each have their own nuances, but once you play with it for a bit you can get things down.

    Using an external soundcard (such as a digidesign rack, same people that make protools), you can have as many as 8 channels on the free version, and 16 or 24 on an upgraded license (I know it's more than 8 =/ )

    In other words, if you plug a line out from your computer, you will only have two channels, a left and a right. With an external card you can run the in's to the board, set everything at unity, and fine tune everything from within QLab

    With these channels you can create "surround sound' effects and such.
    QLab took a little while for me to learn, I still am not the best with it, but it is a very great program.
     
  9. cvanp

    cvanp Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    2
    I'm very familiar with Soundtrack already, would you say it's similar to ProTools? I was looking at some screenshots (of PT8 which was coincidentally released today, and is hawt) and it really doesn't look too different overall - the same multitrack, non-destructive editing that I'm used to in Soundtrack. It is more hardware oriented though than Soundtrack Pro.

    I'm not sure what type of hardware we have in our studio (I've never actually gone in there... I get a full indoctrination this semester, which is why I have this project) but I guess I'll find out.

    I'm pretty familiar with QLab, at least I consider myself smarter than the average bear (which probably means I'm dumber than a box of rocks). We have a few Qlab whizzes on staff though, so that will be helpful.

    Thanks for the help again!
     
  10. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    A note that does not seem to have been emphasised...
    Protools works with Digidesign hardware and only with Digidesign hardware...
     
  11. JoeGriffin

    JoeGriffin Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chicago


    Actually, ProTools HD and LE software only works with Digi hardware. ProTools M-Powered software works with M-Audio hardware.
     
  12. bhallerm

    bhallerm Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    That is true that you need Digi hardware, unless it's an M-Powered version which works with certain M-Audio interfaces.

    Pro Tools 7.4.x has 32 tracks that will sound at the same time or 48 by adding the Production Toolkit. I believe PT 8 is going to 64 standard and 128 with the PTK?? don't quote me on that.

    PT isn't hard to get going. Once you get the basic navigation as stated earlier, you can do most of your basic editing. The trick, like most software, is to gain speed with the software with quick key commands and just knowing where things are. I'm new here, but my formal education is in Music and Audio engineering and i've been using PT for quite a while now. Feel free to ask questions as you start working with it. Also check out Audio Forums I post there and it's pretty helpful for audio tips.

    BJH
     
  13. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    M Audio is a sister company of Digidesign...

    Tools HD will support up to 160ch of IO and 192 tracks...

    Tools 8 LE is 48 tracks standard, 64 with DV or music production kit, 128 with complete production toolkit...
     
  14. cvanp

    cvanp Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    2
    I'm not in control of the hardware, so I'm under the assumption that it's all set anyway. The school has had a workflow for awhile so I think the hardware/software interface works.

    And M Audio and Digidesign are all owned by Avid. yay
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice