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Chapter 4. Capturing and Importing Media > Configuring Your Audio Settings for ...

Configuring Your Audio Settings for Capture or Recording

Before you capture a source clip that contains audio or record an audio voice-over with a microphone, you need to give Xpress Pro answers to the following three general questions:

  • How are you capturing or recording your audio? Xpress Pro needs to know your audio input source (source channel). For instance, you can capture your audio through FireWire, through an input on your sound card, or through a microphone input jack.

  • At what level do you want to capture or record your audio? When capturing analog audio, which you can capture using an analog audio capture card, you can use the Input level slider on the Input tab of the Audio Project Settings dialog box to raise or lower the incoming audio level for capture or recording. With digital audio (such as audio playing through FireWire from a DV camera), you cannot adjust the incoming audio level.

  • What kind of audio file data do you want Xpress Pro to create? You need to tell Xpress Pro what sample rate, audio file format, and bit rate you want to use to record your audio. You make these choices on the Main tab of the Audio Project Settings dialog box.

To choose an audio input source:

  • Do one of the following:

    • On the Settings tab of the Project window, double-click your active (check-marked) Audio Project settings. On the Input tab of the Audio Project Settings dialog box, choose an audio source from the Input Source pop-up menu.

    • Open the Capture tool. Click the Audio Input pop-up menu and choose an audio input (Figure 4.14).

      Figure 4.14. You can choose your audio input source in one of two places: on the Input tab of the Audio Project Settings dialog box or the Audio pop-up menu in the Capture tool.


    When Xpress Pro captures or records audio, it will expect to receive the audio signal through the chosen audio input source channel.

✓ Tips

  • You cannot simultaneously capture video through OHCI (FireWire) while capturing audio through an audio input channel.

  • If you are capturing DV audio through FireWire, choose OHCI as your audio input source.


To set your audio file format, sample rate, and sample size:

1.
On the Settings tab of the Project window, double-click your active (check-marked) Audio Project settings (Figure 4.15).

Figure 4.15. You designate your audio format, sample rate, and sample size (as well as other audio-related settings) on the Main tab of the Audio Project Settings dialog box.


2.
In the Audio Project Settings dialog box that appears, make a choice for each of the following:

  • Sample Rate: Generally, you should choose the sample rate that matches the sample rate at which your audio was recorded. Most cameras record either 32 kHz (12-bit sample rate) or 48 kHz (16-bit sample rate). Audio CDs use 44.1. Whichever sample rate you choose, you should stick with the same sample rate throughout your project (converting files of different sample rates so that they conform to the one uniform rate).

  • Audio File Format: Usually you should choose OMF (AIFF-C)—an Apple Computer format that is popular for both Mac and Windows users—since it is compatible with many third-party applications. Choose OMF (WAVE)—a Microsoft/IBM file format—if all sound work will be done in Windows applications. Choose SDII—a format designed by the makers of ProTools, available only to Macintosh users—if you're working with a sound designer who has an old ProTools system that uses SDII.

  • Audio File Sample Size: Choose the bit rate of your audio here. This setting determines the quality of your audio. The default, and the most commonly used bit rate, is 16 bit; 24-bit audio may produce a slightly higher sound quality but is overkill for most projects.

Remember: The 12-bit audio option on your camera refers to the 32-kHz audio sampling rate, not audio file sample size. The 16-bit audio option on your camera refers to the 48-kHz audio sampling rate, not the audio file sample size.

To set the analog audio input level:

1.
Choose Tools > Audio Tool to open the Audio tool and click one or both orange In/Out buttons so that they display the letter I (for input).

2.
On the Settings tab of the Project window, double-click your active (check-marked) Audio Project settings and click the Input tab.

3.
While you play (or speak) your input signal, adjust the Input Gain slider until you get the desired level reading in the Audio tool (Figure 4.16).

Figure 4.16. For analog audio input, you can raise or lower the input gain to receive a healthy signal when capturing or recording audio.


When you begin capturing or recording, Xpress Pro maintains the configured input gain level. You should make sure that your audio does not peak in the Audio tool's audio meter. If it does, lower the input gain level.

✓ Tips

  • If you need to record voice-over from a microphone, use the Audio Punch-in tool.

  • A good way to set your input level is to play a source tape that contains a reference tone. As the tone plays, adjust the audio Input Gain slider until the green bars in the Audio tool audio meter reach the right reference level.

  • With DV audio or any other kind of digital audio, you don't need to worry about audio input level.


The DV Audio Pattern Setting

One audio project setting that you usually don't have to worry about is DV Audio Pattern because the default choice, Unlocked Audio, is the right choice for the regular DV format. Switch to Locked Audio only for the DVCAM or DVCPro format.


Controlling Your Deck or Camera

If you connect your deck or camera to your workstation via FireWire or a serial device such as RS-422 or RS-232, then you can control the device remotely using the play controls in the Capture tool (Figure 4.17).

Figure 4.17. If you can connect your deck or camera to your computer via FireWire or another control connection, then you can operate your deck remotely, using the deck controls in the Capture tool.


You can also control your deck remotely using selected play controls found on the Play tab of the Command palette. These buttons, which you should map to your keyboard, include Play Forward, Play Reverse, Pause, Stop, Step Backward, and Step Forward.


Understanding Timecode

Timecode is the means by which you and Xpress Pro keep track of every individual frame in your source footage and your edited sequence. Timecode becomes invaluable in the following types of situations:

  • You need to recapture your source media. If you need to upgrade your project resolution from a less than full-quality resolution (an offline resolution) to a full-quality resolution (an online resolution), or if you need to transfer your project to another type of NLE, or if your source media drive was accidentally erased, then you need to recapture your footage. To erase the old media files and replace them with the new ones without destroying all your hard editing work, Xpress Pro uses your source timecode numbers to batch recapture the new media with the same In and Out points as the old footage.

  • You need to re-create your project on a tape-to-tape edit system. If you plan to re-create your edit on a tape-to-tape machine, that machine will require an edit decision list (EDL), which is a list containing all of the timecode numbers and clip names that represent your edited sequence.

Each video second is composed of multiple frames, and timecode notates each frame as HOURS:MINUTES:SECONDS:FRAMES.

NTSC video uses 29.97 frames per second of video. Because of the idiosyncrasies of the NTSC standard, two types of NTSC timecode are available:

  • Drop Frame timecode: This timecode system, used by most consumer video cameras, discards two timecode reference numbers every minute, except for every tenth minute, to keep the timecode numbers in sync with clock time. This system uses semicolons between hours, minutes, seconds, and frames. For example, you write 0 hours, 3 minutes, 2 seconds, and 21 frames as 00;03;02;21.

  • Non Drop Frame timecode: This type of timecode does not drop any timecode numbers. It use colons between hours, minutes, seconds, and frames. For example, you write 0 hours, 3 minutes, 2 seconds, and 21 frames as 00:03:02:21.

To tell Xpress Pro what kind of NTSC timecode your source footage uses, you generally do not have to do anything. Xpress Pro automatically reads the type of timecode that occurs on your source footage when you capture. However, if you log footage without source tapes, then you need to select Drop Frame or Non-Drop Frame in the top pop-up menu in your deck preference settings.

To tell Xpress Pro what kind of NTSC timecode to use in your sequences, open the General settings dialog box and enter a default starting timecode number, using semicolons for Drop Frame and colons for nondrop frame.

Note that PAL video uses one timecode standard, as it runs at a simple 25 frames per second.


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