Final Cut Express Audio Editing?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by gvdv, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. gvdv macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    #1
    Hi,
    I'm about to buy a mac pro for exclusive use as an audio sequencer (Logic Pro eventually, Logic Express first) and a video editor.

    I want to use Final Cut Express for the latter (probably moving up to Final Cut Pro eventually), and have a question about audio editing.

    Does FCE have easy control over 'local' volume control, i.e., can you change (raise and lower) portions of the audio track and treat selectable portions in other ways (compression, treble, bass, midrange).

    Thanks,
    GVDV.
     
  2. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #2
    Yes, you can raise and lower different parts of the up to some crazy number of the audio tracks. You can also apply different filters to those tracks, and although I haven't done it, I'd assume that there are treble, bass, etc. filters to suit your fancy.

    Out of curiosity, have you got a system specc'ed out?
     
  3. gvdv thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    #3
    Hi Mechcozmo,
    Thanks for your prompt reply.

    And in answer to your question, yes I do have a system specc'ed out (You sound English)

    It's the following:
    Mac Pro
    3.00 GHZ CPU
    4 GB RAM
    2 HD's - 'System' probably 120 GB, and 2nd. 500 GB (Both SATA, from what I have read), 7200 rpm.
    Video Card - Have to ask my friend Gabor, who designs the ATI (recently taken over by AMD) cards (does the maths *IN HIS HEAD* which has always freaked me out). I have recently had computers with NVidea cards and have not been impressed but don't know which work better with Macs as I am a PC man and fan mostly.
    Final Cut Express (the latest version) for Video Editing.
    Login Pro Express for audio sequencer
    If all goes well I will add more RAM in the future (was going to write 'As I Can Afford It', but that won't really apply)
    RME FireFace 400 Audio Interace

    I am also planning to have several drinks once I buy this system as I will be in a tonne of debt. :)

    Why do you ask?

    What has your experience been with Final Cut Express and which version.
    GVDV.
     
  4. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #4
    Can I Interest You In An Eight Core Mac Pro Instead Sir?

    For audio production you can never have too many cores. Why not wait a few more weeks for the 8 core and other improvements before you make sure you only want 4 in the old design?
     
  5. Steve Catterall macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    #5
    Hi

    on a similar note. Is it easy to alter the speed of the audio track in isolation from the video speed in FCE.

    I'm also about to plunge into the mac world from the PC. I do quite a bit of audio dubbing of audio onto video where both are from different analog sources. So almost always I have to adjust the speed of the audio to sync it with the video.
     
  6. gvdv thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 18, 2007
    #6
    Hi Multimedia,
    Thanks very much for this, I hadn't realized that the 8 cores were out so soon, and of course the Mac store I was in a few days ago didn't tell me - I would guess because they want to sell their current stock. But maybe that's because I'm cynical.

    I would also like to hear people's answers to Steve Caterall's question about whether FCE allows one to alter the speed of the audio track independently of the video speed.

    Thanks
    GVDV
     
  7. fivetoadsloth macrumors 65816

    fivetoadsloth

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    #7
    ill second waiting for 8 cores, as they are supposivly going to make there way into the mac pros fairly soon.
     
  8. gvdv thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    #8
    Has anyone here actually done any intensive audio editing in terms of sound shaping?

    Specifically, I was wondering what FCE HD provides in terms of equalization (simple Treble Mid Bass, or more sophisticated options like semi-parametric equalizers?), and sound treatment (effects like compression, gates, and limiters, and even modulation effects such as reverb, chorus and delay).

    Perhaps people can also comment on the difference between FCE HD and FCP in these departments.

    Thanks,
    GVDV.
     
  9. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #9
    I haven't done a lot of audio work myself, nor do I claim to understand it that well, but I can tell you that FCS has a lot more audio editing options that FCE has because it come bundled with a program call Soundtrack Pro.

    To be honest I have found the audio filters and editing options inside FCP and FCE to be fairly limiting and having Soundtrack Pro takes away many limitations.

    However, it should be noted that Soundtrack Pro doesn't hold up well to the likes of Logic or Pro Tools.

    P-Worm
     
  10. gvdv thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    #10
    Hi P Worm,
    Thanks very much for your reply.

    Now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense that the reason that Soundtrack Pro comes bundled with FCE is that it provides 'specialized' audio editing options I hadn't thought of that.

    One other option I had considered was editing in Logic Pro Express, which is the sequencer that I plan on buying for audio itself, but I had wanted to keep audio editing and sound treatment 'within' FCE if possible.

    It's interesting that the video editing program that I have seen with the most audio editing options is sony vegas, although I didn't use it much because I found that it had a high learning curve (especially in comparison to other, simpler programs like Pinnacle, that I used at the time). However, sony vegas doesn't cut it as an audio sequencer.

    Once again, thanks for your reply
    GVDV
     
  11. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #11
    When you brought up Vegas, I just remembered a little "gotcha" with Final Cut (studio, Express, or Soundtrack Pro). Currently it does not have support to export audio files as 5.1 surround, just stereo. DVD Studio Pro allows you to make 5.1 surround disks, but you need to drag in the various channels as separate audio file.

    I have no idea if Logic can handle 5.1, but I'm guessing it can.

    All of the audio options in FCE/FCP (pretty much the same) and Soundtrack Pro (which you can only get by purchasing Final Cut Studio) are geared around video work and have left out many other things.

    Like I said, I am no expert on the subject by any means. I recommend you check out Apple's QuickTours on the Final Cut Studio package to see some of the programs like Soundtrack Pro in action.

    P-Worm
     
  12. slu macrumors 68000

    slu

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Buffalo
    #12
    I am working on a project in FCE now where I am editing the audio.

    A couple of things I noticed:

    You can edit the speed of audio without changing the video. You will need to unlink the video and audio tracks (select track, command-L, un-select, then select the audio track and go nuts).

    You can adjust treble, bass, etc by applying the 3 band audio filter. This effects the whole audio clip. There are more sophisticated audio filters available as well, but for what I am doing, this has been enough.

    You cannot vary the volume within an audio clip. You can raise and lower the volume for a whole clip, but not for sections within the clip (i.e. with points). So if you have two people talking and one needs to be louder, you have to create individual audio clips and adjust the volume accordingly for each clip. If you have ever edited audio before (and it seems like you have), you know what I mean. Now I could be wrong on this, but I couldn't figure out how to do it, so if I am wrong, someone please let me know!

    My copy of FCE came with Soundtrack (not Pro), which is more advanced (obviously) and allows you to edit sound in a more efficient manner. You can also export your finished movie and import into GarageBand and use that to edit your sound. This is obviously easier then Soundtrack. I only tried Soundtrack for a couple of minutes before I realized that for my current project it is overkill. I can use just FCE or FCE and GarageBand and get the sound that I am looking for. Even GarageBand gives you more control than FCE.

    Good Luck. And obviously, the more speed the better, but I am doing all this on a iMac G5 with no real issues.
     
  13. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #13
    I don't know about FCE, but the way you do that with Final Cut Pro is by using the pen tool to put points in the audio which you can drag up and down to adjust the levels.

    It looks like this:
    [​IMG]

    P-Worm
     
  14. Poeben macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    #14
    Don't overlook AU plugins

    FCS (I don't know about FCE) supports all AU (AudioUnits) plugins. I don't know if it supports other formats like VST or RTAS; I doubt it. But if you have Logic you should also have access to all of Logics plugins without any additional work or thought.

    And yes, last I checked for 5.1 you need to export from FC as individual mono files then encode them in DVDSP or similar.
     
  15. bloogersnigen macrumors regular

    bloogersnigen

    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Wherever the water flows
    #15
    FCE comes with two seperate apps also, Soundtrack, not Soundtrack Pro and Livetype. Soundtrack can do what Soundtrack Pro can but "only" on like 100 audio tracks instead of 10000. They are very close and both work great.

    Ben
     
  16. slu macrumors 68000

    slu

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Buffalo
    #16
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

    You have no idea how much this was pissing me off. You just saved me a ton of time.
     
  17. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

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    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #17
    Hehe, it wasn't very intuitive on Apple's part was it? It took me a while to learn that as well.

    P-Worm
     
  18. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #18
    Well, Soundtrack Pro added a lot of things to Soundtrack. For instance, I don't think that you can make noise prints to reduce background hum in Soundtrack.

    P-Worm
     
  19. gvdv thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 18, 2007
    #19
    Slu,
    does this mean that you can vary volume within audio tracks of FCE?

    GVDV
     
  20. gvdv thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    #20
    Hi Everybody,
    Thanks very much for the replies here.

    Also, does anyone know the maximum bit rate (depth, usually 16, 24 or 32) and maximum cycles per second (e.g. 96 Khz, 192 Khz) that the audio within either FCE or Soundtrack use?

    Thanks,
    GVDV
     
  21. gvdv thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 18, 2007
    #21
    Thanks for this P-Worm.

    GVDV
     
  22. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #22
    I'm not, but am heavily influenced by those stuffy Brits who live across the pond. :p

    As others have said, hold off until the 8-core Macs come out if you can. If you can't, buy now. But if you can, wait. This will mean either two things: 1) you get the faster Mac or 2) you buy this machine for a fair amount less due to it being the 'slower' one now. But don't let that fool you-- a quad-core Mac is still a beast, especially this brute you've picked out!

    That's a good bit of RAM for starters. RAM is a good way to expand your computer's power easily. You can check to see how much RAM your computer is in need of by doing the following:

    1) Restart
    2) Work normally for 10 minutes
    3) Leaving your applications open, open up the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities) and type "top"
    4) Look at the line that reads "pageouts". The number before the parentheticals is how much information did not fit in RAM and had to be written to the hard disk; basically, your Virtual RAM usage. (Also known as a pagefile or swapfile.) If this number is very big, you need more RAM. The number in the parentheticals is the number of pageouts that are currently occurring-- watch that number climb during a render! :D
    Anyway, those instructions will make more sense to you once you have your Mac in-hand and start playing with it unless you have another Mac handy right now.

    The hard drives... have you considered a RAID array? With four drive bays, you could have your 120GB System drive + 2 500GB drives that are linked together so that data is split between them. Reads are faster and writes are faster. Very good way to increase an audio/video system's performance for very little money.

    Pretty much whatever comes with the Mac will be fine unless you get into Motion... and I don't think you will, at least for a little bit. Don't go overboard here. (It matters more for laptop users)

    Curiosity killed the cat, but then again, cats are evil. ;)

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070224/news_lz1e24letters.htmlWhat has your experience been with Final Cut Express and which version.
    GVDV.[/QUOTE]
    I personally use FCE 2 (soon to be "HD" which is 3 or something) on a PowerBook 12", 1.33 GHz G4, 768MB RAM, 80GB 5400 RPM hard drive. The program is fast, but RT Extreme is useless and renders can take awhile. (RT Extreme is really cool. It does on-the-fly low-quality rendering so you don't have to stop your concentration. Too bad you need a hefty-- and I mean really powerful-- computer to utilize it well)
     
  23. gvdv thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 18, 2007
    #23
    Hi Mechcozmo,
    Many thanks for the very useful information.

    I also came across an article recently in Electronic Musician's 'Computer Music Product Guide 2006 Edition' which gives up to date information on 'Optimizing Windows XP and OS X' (name of the article).

    Over the next week or so I'm going to summarize this article in a post on this forum.

    On the subject of 8 cores, and all things pertaining to upgrading/updating, is it likely that the quad cores will run Leopard (or whatever the upcoming OS is called - I forget) less efficiently or slower than whatever the concurrent processors that are around at the time of its release?

    I could wait forever, and I am very tempted to wait for the 8 cores, but my financial resources are already stretched to the limit. I suspect that the 8 cores are going to be more expensive than the quad cores - how could they not be?

    GVDV
     
  24. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #24
    Because technology gets replaced. Although the 8 core setup might cost more than the Quad core now, I don't think it will be enough more to totally break the bank.

    P-Worm
     
  25. gvdv thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    #25
    I suppose that might be true (depending on what 'breaking the bank' means to one).

    GVDV
     

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