first impressions, suggestions

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BabaG
User offline. Last seen 27 weeks 6 days ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-10-25
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just installed ardour and jack on my 8 core mac pro and have some first impressions
to share and get comments on. obviously, as a n00b, i may be missing things and
would appreciate any comments to show how to get around issues i may perceive as
a problem but that have solutions i haven't yet found.

installation was quite painless, both for jack, qjackctl, and ardour. just took a few
minutes to get all of the configs working together. that was very impressive as i've
been trying to get a linux installation working with my system and have had to, pretty
much, abandon it, not because of these, but because of my four monitor, triplehead2go
setup. well done guys. thanks.

once i got to ardour up, i love that i can undock the toolbars and place them where i like.
i wish i could do the same with the region list window. in fact, it would be nice to be able
to undock the entire window, or to pull its tabs off (regions, track/busses, snapshots, etc).

my normal template is for 96 stereo tracks so screen real estate is important to me. i find
myself only able to get about 10 tracks on screen at a time with ardour. is there a way to
scroll vertical screen size to increase the track size for all tracks together? if not, this
would be helpful.

related to this, is it possible to get rid of the 'meter, tempo, loop/punch ranges, cd markers,
location markers' areas above the tracks. working mainly on film/video post, i have no need
for most of these. if i could make some of them go away, i could fit another track on screen.

is 6db the max for gain increase? i have LOTS of ambience tracks in my library that, for
various reasons, regularly need tweaking by much larger amounts than 6db. how would
this be accomplished in ardour, say, an increase of 24db. an additional node in the top
center of the region would be a great way to be able to quickly grab and adjust the overall
region gain.

for film work, an ability to count in frames or feet and frames, 16mm or 35mm, would be
helpful. admittedly, it's becoming less used, but still around.

how do i rearrange tracks? just added a bunch to see how many i could see on screen
and now i have track 1, master, then tracks 2-8. how do i drag the master to the bottom?

from the first impression, this is a great piece of foss. far ahead of anything i've seen in
the linux video world where projects seem to start, look promising, stop, start over, then
lay dormant forever.

the unfortunate thing, for me, is that i doubt i can use ardour because of the lack of
ability to move projects between stations/platforms. we discussed this some in another
thread and i've given it some thought since then. there, ardour seems to model itself
largely on protools. if that is the case, perhaps it would be a good solution to be able to
import/export protools sessions. an app like proconvert from ssl can convert such session
files to a number of different formats, i believe. this would make the adherence to protools
as a model that much more viable, as well. while omf is still, at least here in hollywood, the
standard for exchange between post systems, not having ANY means to do so is a deal
breaker. there's just no reason to put your work into a system you can't get it out of. it is,
of course, possible to bounce individual tracks out to bwf but in a town that works with
omf being able to import editable materials, offering uneditable materials to a producer
will 1) get you laughed out of the room and, 2) lose you a job. maybe protools import/export
would be a way around this?

anyway, my next thing will be trying video sync on the mac to see if i can get that working.

thanks, and well done,
BabaG

BenLoftis
User offline. Last seen 1 week 6 days ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-03-27
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Hi BabaG, Glad to hear the installation went well.

1) is there a way to scroll vertical screen size to increase the track size for all tracks together?

yes, several ways. click cmd-a to get all tracks. grab the little 3-horizontal-line size changer to size them all together. Or go to the Track menu, Select Height->Small or maybe try "Fit Selected Tracks". To grab a range of tracks, click in the empty area of the track view. shift-click to select a range of tracks

2) is it possible to get rid of the 'meter, tempo, loop/punch ranges, cd markers?

right-click in the area to the left of the bars. Or look at the options in the View->Rulers menu.

3) is 6db the max for gain increase?

you can instantiate a "gain" plugin but probably the easiest way to get started is to grab all the regions (cmd-a to select all) , right click on the region, and select "normalize".

4) for film work, an ability to count in frames or feet and frames

probably going to appear in the next year or so, but no sooner

5) how do i rearrange tracks? just added a bunch to see how many i could see on screen
and now i have track 1, master, then tracks 2-8. how do i drag the master to the bottom?

open the right "tracks/buses" pane, drag and drop them to the order you like. Or select a track and look in the Track menu for the key command that moves the selected tracks up and down.

6) file format conversion...

AAF import/export is on the verge of being implemented. Hopefully ProConvert will add Ardour to their supported formats.

Personally I have seen in multiple cases that session exchange among facilities (or even departments in the same facility) end up flattening the sessions to avoid differences in versions, plugins, etc. In the long-long term, we see the ardour file format becoming the successor to OMF or AAF because it is open-source and there is a reference platform (Ardour) which serves as the "test" to make sure other workstations are compliant with the spec.

7) anyway, my next thing will be trying video sync on the mac to see if i can get that working.

one known method is to use "jadeo" for playback. it loads quite a few movie files and plays them back in sync with ardour. beyond that you're going to need MIDI sync or something. Harrison's Xdubber is an Ardour system with 9-pin/video sync if you need to sync with an external motion control system.

As you can see, all the pieces are in place for Ardour to be used for post, but it will probably take several years before there is a noticeable "sea change" from the current working methods. Just as there was a long transition time before PT became the standard.

-Ben Loftis
Harrison Consoles

seablade
User offline. Last seen 1 hour 36 min ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-01-22
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Ben as usual did a great job answering things. The final thing I will mention is that based off your comments/question, you will want to make sure you look at the full screen view mode(Can't remember where it is in the menu right now). I think it is called something like "Maximize Editor Space" or something like that, pretty much it gets rid of the region list, and minimizes the number of visible toolbars, to maximize the amount of space you ahve for the editor.

Sadly there is still a bug in GTK that affects multiscreen performance, youll probably notice it soon enough if you run multiple screens. We are keeping an eye on a patch being developed to address this, but it isn't quite ready yet. I tihnk I mentioned this to you before already, but am not sure.

And yes Jadeo is great for doing sound for video clips for my purposes. I don't do any video editing, usually just doing SFX design for animations that other people have done, so I don't need any video editing for these projects, just accurate locking, which Jadeo does via Jack with Ardour.

is 6db the max for gain increase? i have LOTS of ambience tracks in my library that, for various reasons, regularly need tweaking by much larger amounts than 6db. how would this be accomplished in ardour, say, an increase of 24db. an additional node in the top center of the region would be a great way to be able to quickly grab and adjust the overall
region gain.

As Ben mentioned, you could normalize, but if your SFX libs are anything like mine, most are anyways, and you need additional gain. This is easily accomplished by inserting an Amplifier LADSPA plugin, which IIRC gives something like 20dB of gain or reduction, and you can always insert more than one. This is how I usually do it.

for film work, an ability to count in frames or feet and frames, 16mm or 35mm, would be helpful. admittedly, it's becoming less used, but still around.

I don't do much with Film myself, just digital animations and video. So the closest I think we come to this currently is the ability to do any standard SMPTE timecode, and display time in terms of frames of SMPTE.

Seablade