Converting Audio and Video - Intuitively, Effectively, Effortlessly

by Clinton Wilson Sound Forge 11 Workflow

Converting Audio

Sound Forge was the first audio editing program I learned to use back in the 90s when I was tasked with converting and editing audiobooks for a major book publisher in New York City. The software was eventually purchased by Sony, who developed the product and implemented new UI enhancements, large selection of plug-ins, and a much improved recording workflow. Sound Forge has been described as the Swiss Army Knife of audio for its functions and toolset, quality of sound, and stability. It is the go-to professional audio editing tool, the most effortless way to get from raw audio to a finished master. Due to its interface and easy learning curve (and helpful interactive tutorials), it is also a perfect tool for first time audio editors. The award-winning Sound Forge digital audio editing software includes a powerful set of audio processes, tools, and effects for manipulating audio. Sound Forge software allows you to edit, convert, record, encode, and master practically every form of digital audio including WAV, AIFF, and MP3. Sound Forge offers exceptional flexibility. You can customize it to work with you, as you dictate the workflow. The customizable toolbar lets you add as many icons and buttons as you wish, or remove them to keep the workspace free of clutter. Precisely synchronizing audio and video frame by frame, Sound Forge is an audio editing program designed for videographers. The new version supports multiple video formats like AVI, WMV, MPEG-1, and MPEG-2, in addition to several video-specific functions. “Time is money”. The powerful batch processing feature lets you convert multiple audio files to different formats instead of having to convert each one individually. Efficiency is key, and this batch processing can save you a huge amount of time.

Converting Video

Editing video can be a painstaking and laborious endeavor. When faced with tighter deadlines and turnaround times, the editing process can easily turn into a late night, nerve wracking enterprise. The post-production phase of video creation usually takes longer than the actual filming, for there’s a lot work to get a project through its various stages of editing. From camera to post, the process needs to be streamlined, while preserving fidelity with an intuitive, organizational structure. Catalyst Prepare software is the ultimate assistant editor. Available for both Mac and Windows, it’s embraced for the clean and simple the user interface. The intuitive UI makes the software easy to use for editors of all levels of experience. With Catalyst Prepare’s media preparation tools, you are able to import or convert video into different formats and easily organize video clips into libraries. Here you make quick color adjustments, apply effects, set in/out points, create multichannel audio assignments, and prepare a rough edit to begin post production work. Easily and intuitively browsing storage devices, you can create and view sub-clips and make rough cuts (storyboards), edit metadata, transcode to a wide variety of professional formats, and export media onto production drives. Catalyst Prepare supports a myriad of formats including XDCAM SD and HD, XDCAM EX, XAVC-Intra, XAVC Long-GOP, XAVC S, NXCAM, Sony RAW, HDCAM SR (SStP), AVCHD, AVC H.264/MPEG-4, DNxHD, HDV DV, .MOV, AVCHD files from DSLRs and GoPros, and 4K raw from Canon’s C500. Prepare allows you to sequence and pass projects to post production as media with EDL (edit decision list) to the next stage of the NLE. Supported NLEs include Vegas Pro, AVID Media Composer, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve. The Catalyst Prepare software interface comprises four main sections: Import, Organize, Edit, and Export. It’s easy to toggle between the sections by clicking on tabs on the top left of the screen. When you select the source of the video to import, you can open it up and view the files as thumbnails or as a list containing metadata information (Format, Resolution, Frame Rate, and Clip Length). A playback window provides a means for scrubbing through your clips, marking in/out points, and magnification to inspect details such as focus. There are three playback settings: Play in real time (speed), Play in real time (quality), and Play all frames. In the organize mode, you can create project-specific libraries/folders, rename files, and create storyboards. Basically, this is where you begin preparing and selecting the content that you'll deliver to the editor. Preparing rough cuts and creating storyboards saves valuable time for the editor. With Catalyst Prepare, an editor can make first-pass color corrections. Clips can be exported with the color adjustments or you can save the adjustments as ASC-CDL files for the editor or colorist to apply later. Being able to take the S-Log footage from your Sony camera and quickly apply a Rec.709 LUT is incredibly useful when evaluating your footage, or when exporting dailies to share with the client or others on the production team. Catalyst Prepare supports a wide variety of resolutions and frame rates up to 4K (4096 x 2160), making it easy to export full-resolution or proxy files, with presets available for easy delivery to the internet, mobile devices, 4K TVs, and more. Multiple clips and storyboards can be selected at once for batch exporting, with transcoding and copying happening at the same time, to allow you to continue to organize, edit, and make color adjustments while the software works through the files. You can choose to export your clips or sub-clips in their native format, without color adjustments, or transcode them to AVC/AAC (.mp4), DPX, OpenEXR, DNxHD, or XAVC formats with or without color adjustments. By securely uploading to the Sony cloud-based media production workspace, a powerful and time-saving feature, you can facilitate collaboration by enabling remote team members to review and make notations in real time.

Guest Blog post from Clinton Wilson

Clinton WilsonClinton Wilson is an inveterate traveler, enthusiast of anything related to technology, music, food, irony, and cinema, and has written for Just Out Newsmagazine and Black Lamb in Portland, Oregon; PragueOne in the Czech Republic; and for Penguin Group in New York City.

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