Nov 4, 2011 6:13 PMTags: none (add) #5.1 #dolby #surcode
If you have ever been interested in trying Dolby 5.1 in a Premiere Pro project that you can export out to a file or Blu-Ray, it is actually easier than you think. There are some very specific steps you need to take to make it work however and there is one very annoying issue that I have escalated with Adobe, but I have found a workaround that is quite effective. My goal of starting this thread is to help others save time discovering all the trial and error I have gone through and also hope others will chime in with any additional information and help with the elusive problem of getting files to play correctly on the ps3. I may make a video to demonstrate if there is enough interest.
Step 1: Setup Audition and Premiere Pro for ASIO and map speakers
You will need to ensure both Premiere Pro and Audition are setup using ASIO for your audio hardware. ASIO will allow you to directly access your sound cards. Depending on your sound card vendor, you may have to install ASIO drivers. In my case, I have a Creative Labs Titanium and they are installed with the sound card drivers. To select in Audition, go to preferences, click on Audio Hardware and under the device class, select ASIO, and under Device, select your ASIO driver. You may also need to map your channels. Under preferences, select Audio Channel Mapping and select the following:
File Channels Device Channels
1[L] Front L/R
2[R] Front L/R
3[C] Front C/Sub
4[LFE] Front C/Sub
5[Ls] Rear L/R
6[Rs] Rear L/R
While this may look strange at first, it is pretty straight forward. On the left are the channels internal, and the right are the speakers it will send the sound to. Front L/R actually are actually the individual Left and Right Channels, for some reason they label them both as L/R. When you select the pull-out you will see two entries for Front L/R, the first one is your left channel, the second one is the right channel. The same thing applies to the Front C and Rear L/R labels.
For Premiere Pro, under preferences, choose Audio and select the 5.1 Mixdown type of Front+Rear+LFE. For Audio Hardware, again select your ASIO driver. Under Audio Output Mapping, also select your ASIO driver.
Step 2: Setup your Premiere Pro Project correct.
a) This one took a bit of looking into and I am proud to say I figured it out before Adobe tech support. For some reason my 5.1 channel would play correctly in audition, but would always play back in Stereo through Premiere, even though it was on a 5.1 audio track. So, the important thing to remember is your "Master" audio has to be set to 5.1. There are more sophisticated methods using submixes, but I will add those to this thread once I experiment with that. Anyway, you can't change a sequence after the fact, so create a new Sequence and under the "Tracks" tab, make sure the master is 5.1.
b) Now drag your video track onto the new sequence and it will be on a Stereo track...no problem, under the edit menu, select edit->edit in Adobe Audition, and select either the entire sequence or just that clip.
c) Now click the Multitrack button while in Audition and it will prompt you for a session name. Under Master, choose 5.1.
d) In Audition, in the files tab, drag your .wav file up into one of the tracks. Cool part is there is a little symbol next to the track label that looks like a diving helmet, click on that and a Track Panner window will come up. You can drag the bubbles around and it will visually show you where the sound will appear. By default the stereo will show sound going to the front left and right channels. I usually pull back a bit and let the sound go into the center channel as well. You can move the sound bubbles around and put the sound wherever you want. If you want to turn off a speaker specifically, then click the little lines next to the speaker representations. Anyway, it is pretty intuitive, but as I mentioned, if there is enough interest I will make this into a training video.
e) Drag any other sound files or special effects you want onto the other tracks and you can control where that sound goes as well using the same method as decribed in step d. You will need at least two tracks populated so just drag the same .wav file or add a sound effect or something to another track.
f) When you are ready to send it back to Premiere Pro, from the MultiTrack menu, select Export to Adobe Premiere Pro. When prompted select "Mixdown session to:: and select 5.1 file.(You have to have at least two tracks for this to work).
g) Now choose export and when you are back into Premiere, you can select to have it brought into a new track, or an existing one (just make sure it is 5.1 if you go to an existing one).
h) Now turn off the original stereo track and when you play it back, it should play back in surround sound in Premiere. Choose Window->Workspace->Audio and it will bring up the mixer window. When you play it, for your 5.1 tracks you can see all 5 channels and which channels are being played.
i) So far so good, the ultimate goal of course is to somehow get it exported to play. If you want to play it on your computer, you have a few choices. You can use Quicktime, H.264 and there are probably a few others. I had the best luck exporting in H.264(the non blu ray option), make sure to export channels to 5.1 and it plays back nicely in Windows Media Player as well and iTunes and uses .aac as the audio codec. It does not play back correctly in Quicktime however, it will play back in Stereo, although I think there is an update that corrects this now (haven't tested it yet).
j) Ok, that is nice, but my goal was to be able to play it back on my PS3 in my media room, and it didn't recognize any of the 5.1 formats I exported (and I tried several), I couldn't find a combination that it would play at all (video or audio), so it would be great if someone could add to this thread if they know some specific settings that would work (stereo or 5.1). I would really like to be able to serve up the video over the network in 5.1, but I am not hopeful that I will get there...perhaps someone else can figure it out.
k) Ok, so I know the PS3 will play Dolby via Blu-Ray, so I export my project to Encore but I discover that if Encore has to re-encode the audio, it will always convert it to Stereo, and the only format that it will bring in is an .ac3 file that has the dolby embedded in it. If dolby is already embedded in the .ac3 file, it will play it just fine. For Video, it is easy, just select H.264 Video - Blu Ray. Now, when you go down to the Audio tab you will see a choice for the Codec of SurCode for Dolby Digital. This will actually send out a dolby 5.1 audio .ac3 file...isn't that wonderful? The bad news is, this does not come with your product, you have to shell out another $300 for this privilege. You can trial it for 3 times, but it won't show up as having any available unless you right click on Premiere Pro when you launch it and launch it in administrative mode. When you perform the export and select Surcode, it will do it correctly and you can bring it into Encore which will not retranscode and it works great. I dont' know about you, but I purchased the full Master Collection and I think it is crazy that Adobe allows you to create and edit in 5.1, but not export it without paying more money. I have filed a complaint, but have not heard back...Adobe technical support also confirmed this is your only option.
However, there is another option. There is a program called OJOSoft Audio Converter
and it only costs $22. It will convert a .aac 5.1 encoded file and convert it to a .ac3 file..dolby intact! When you lauch it, you just need to remember to click the edit button under the ac3 profile and select "original" under the number of channels. It works great...it doesn't have the same number of options as Surcode, but it does work. I am still mad about the whole Surcode thing, but am hopeful that Adobe will make it right and include it at least in the Master Collection for goodness sakes.
l) So, the trick is when you export the video using H.264 blu ray, uncheck the export audio. Then choose the "Audio Only" format when you export again, and select 5.1 Channles and I increase the Bitrate to 192 for better quality, this will export a .aac file with the 5.1 embedded. Then just run the OJOSoft converter and bring the converted .ac3 file into Encore. Burn away to blu-ray and you are good to go.
In conclusion, I hope this helps others and if you have more tricks or tips, please add to this thread, I am particularly interested in anyone that can figure out a format that will play over the netowork to a PS3 (Heck I will even take Stereo at this point, but the dream is 5.1).