15 Replies Latest reply on Jan 3, 2013 7:40 PM by matt_gh2

    Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming

    matt_gh2

      I'm working on a film project, which will be edited in Premiere Pro.  I am recording most of the audio at 24/96 .wav files.  There will however be some audio files recorded at 16/48 compressed, coming from different sources.  This is unfortunately unavoidable.  SO, upon digging in the Adobe help sections, I found that if I start my project and set the sequence settings for audio to a sample rate of 96 (or 96,000), Prem Pro WILL NOT CONFORM my 24/96 .wav files.  (Pr Pro will not conform uncompressed audio of a supported format if it is brought into a sequnce where the sample rate of the sequence is the same as the clip.) This is great.  My 24/96 files will hold their quality all the way through the process.  It will however conform the other files such as the 16/48 compressed files. 

       

      So here's my question.  (Keep in mind that my final product will be exported to 24/96.) I can take all my 16/48 audio files and convert them to uncompressed 24/96 before bringing into Prem Pro and then Prem Pro won't conform them at all.  So what will yield the best audio quality - a 16/48 audio file that has been conformed by Prem Pro and then during the export done by Prem Pro converted to 24/96, or will the audio quality be higher if I convert that 16/48 audio file first to 24/96 and then bring it into Prem Pro, where it won't be conformed by Prem Pro at all?  In other words, for best audio quality, do I let Prem Pro conform my 16/48 files and then convert them to 24/96 during export, or do I do the 16/48 converstion to 24/96 in another program like Audition?

       

      (((And yes, the higher audio quality matters.)))

       

      Thank you

        • 1. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
          shooternz Level 6

          Guess you have another test to do Matt.

           

          Let us know what you find out but not sure how you will analyse the results.  Put your best ears on.

           

          Maybe a DAW like ProTools  will happily work with audio files that are different in the same session but I think that Audition conforms to the same. 

           

          Ask an audio mixer or in the Audition Forum..

          • 2. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
            matt_gh2 Level 1

            Yeah, that's good advice.  Test will def be done.  I will also post to Audition and maybe hit up some audio specialist forums as well.

             

            I am very happy that my 24/96 .wav files wont be conformed at all as long as I set sequence settings to the matching sample rate of 96.  80-90% of the audio will be 24/96, so now, I'm just trying to tighten my audio workflow to maximize quality on the other 10-20%.

             

            Thanks

            • 3. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
              shooternz Level 6

              If the 10-20% did not involve video..ie just wild audio...why not just up sample it anyway?

              • 4. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
                Jim_Simon Level 8

                I'd wager that no one would be able to tell any difference between work flows in a blind listening test.

                 

                That being the case, conforming actually creates 32 bit files, which is higher resolution than your desired 24, so theoretically at least, you're better off allowing the conform.

                • 5. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
                  shooternz Level 6

                  What audio hardware is being used for recording?  Curious.

                  • 6. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
                    matt_gh2 Level 1

                    @shooternz That 10-20% is exactly that...wild audio.  So my question is really how will I get that 16/48 wild audio into a 24/96 format best?...by converting before I bring into Prem Pro for editing, or allowing the conform process(and export conversion) to bring it up to 24/96?

                     

                    And wild is a good description.  LOL

                     

                    @Jim Simon I would guesss the blind listening test may play out as you suggest.  But to me, it seems like quality comes from doing a whole bunch of things exceptionally...where with any one of them, we could reasonably say "this is good enough".  Make great script phenomenal, get great actors, work to make great visualization/cinematography phenomenal, make solid video techincal quality as strong as can be, and make audio as high quality as possible.  When all these things are maxed out...the difference is noticeable.  Somehow the quality then becomes real noticeable.   ((On 32 bit, is that 32 bit audio depth, or is that the 32 bit flooting for color depth?  Rookie here, so thanks for all help).

                     

                    Thanks

                    • 7. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
                      Jim_Simon Level 8

                      Both, actually.  Video is converted on-the-fly to 32 bit floating-point when appropriate.  Audio conforming creates 32 bit Uncompressed files for use in PP.

                       

                      And while I do understand the theory of keeping quality up as long as possible in the chain, there is such a thing as a point of diminishing returns.  A point where the costs involved (either financially, or in time, or in labor, etc.) do not warrant the benefits of doing so.  This is why our industry often uses YUV instead of RGB, because the substantial increase in bitrate required for RGB doesn't justify the infinitesimal bump in quality over YUV.

                       

                      It's not always an easy line to spot, but I suspect you're very close.

                      • 8. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
                        matt_gh2 Level 1

                        @shooternz It took awhile to find good audio quality equipment given we're on quite a small budget.  After testing, decided that dialogue will be recorded with Audio Technica AT899 lav mics, wired to Roland R-05 Recorders.  Recorder and Lav secured to actor.  No mixer. No wireless, no monitoring.  Tests done at location to optimally set levels.  Almost no errors in final recorded file, and audio quality always as we expect.  Getting absolutely phenomal results indoors and outdoors with tests.  Testing be done with various mic/recorder combos for foley and other needed audio.

                        • 9. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
                          shooternz Level 6

                          I would up sample all the wild audio outside of Premiere and avoid the conform processing. 

                           

                          Premiere will still create PEK files 1st time ingested anyway ( I think).

                           

                          Testing a couple of files will tell you best.

                          • 10. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
                            Jim_Simon Level 8

                            Testing be done with various mic/recorder combos for foley and other needed audio.

                             

                            Honestly, just get a Zoom H4N and record everything at 24/96.

                            • 11. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
                              shooternz Level 6

                              .... no monitoring

                               

                               

                              Yikes! 

                              • 12. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
                                matt_gh2 Level 1

                                @shooterenz I think you're right on upsampling out of Premiere.  Re PEK files, yes, my 24/96 files all get PEK files created.  It happens so quick, you miss it if you blink.  I laid down 10 audio files at the same time onto the timeline, and then only did a briefly see the PEK file note flashed where the conforming file is at the bottom right of the timeline. 

                                 

                                @Jim Simon Yeah, I took a look again at the few scant paragraphs I could find in Adobe help on conforming.  It is a bit vague.  You are right that something "32 bit"-ish is occuring.  They say all audio is "processed" as 32 bit. Then they say, some audio, if needed, is "conformed".  In the end, I'll have to make guesses and test with ears.  On diminishing returns, I 100% agree, and I'm really just getting wild here with the quality thing, so I can "set it and forget it" and know I optimized quality given time/money etc.  On the Zoom H4N, I actually have one of those, and for intimate dialogue, and quiet moments, it's just too noisy.  A lot of people really like the Zoom, so that's cool it works for a lot of folks.  I'm keeping it, as I suspect it does quite well with boom mic.  Will testing my Zoom with Sennheiser boom this week.  I expect it will handle loud noises better than the Roland, but will test both.

                                 

                                Thanks guys

                                • 13. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
                                  matt_gh2 Level 1

                                  I've prob done 30 or so recordings/tests without monitoring, and all perfect.  It just works. But I will still be doing checks of the takes we feel are ones we'll use.

                                  • 14. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
                                    Jim_Simon Level 8

                                    On the Zoom H4N, I actually have one of those, and for intimate dialogue, and quiet moments, it's just too noisy.

                                     

                                    I meant for Foley and wild audio.  That way it's all the same.

                                    • 15. Re: Keeping high audio quality, despite Pr Pro Audio Conforming
                                      matt_gh2 Level 1

                                      @Jim Simon I see what you mean.  Unfortunately I have some insanely creative people who without prompting, produce sounds, songs, and a variety of other things and it comes in at 16/48, 16/44.1.  All great quality stuff totally relevant and perfect for our film...but created with a hodgepodge of different equipment.  If I could, I would outfit them all with top gear and lock the settings at 24/96!  And like you said re diminshing returns...it all sounds great.  Trailer we shot had a variety of audio file types...and it all worked.  Thanks for your help