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Adobe Layers


Mark O'Russa
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AFAIK, this hasn't be "productized" by Adobe yet. But it looks to build on the "Sound Remover" feature in the upcoming version of Audition:

 

http://blogs.adobe.com/audition/2013/04/whats-next-for-adobe-audition.html

 

 

(ps- I did some contracting work for Adobe recently, but not directly for the audio team...just a disclosure.)

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Looks very similar (even to the name) to Sony Spectral Layers:

 

http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/spectralayerspro

 

Spectral Editing software is available from quite a few companies; I've only used the function within iZotope RX2. It can be extremely helpful when the offending sound is sharply delineated from the main track -- like a "beep beep" truck backing up -- but it would be nearly impossible to do something like, say, separate the different vocals from a mono mix of several human voices at the same time. Too many complex harmonics, too many artifacts. The further apart the specific items are in the spectrum, the easier it is to extract them.

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Lots of cool spectral editing, etc papers in AES pubs. My experiences with Audition Sound Remover have been mixed, and fall along Marc's comments; for yucks I tried to remove some saxophone from a track...no great success (though there could be some driver error). But in addition to having items having specific items further apart in the spectrum display, it helps if items are tightly defined in the display...like that cell phone beep in the window at top.

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FWIW,  This months (May) issue of Mix has a review of Sony Creative Software SpectraLayers Pro. The author states 'the stand-alone only' app is powerful but unintuitive with a steep leaning curve. (I find other SCS software very intuitive however) The author also didn't mention or isn't aware of SCS's history of slow/no tech support. Two plus months for a response is consistently reported in the SCS forums...if SLP is the same as SF and VP.

SpectraLayers Pro can be demo'd, but files cant' be saved.

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I noticed that they didn't do the guitar/vocal demo in real time, they had prepped it beforehand.  That's somewhat telling.  

 

Agreed. But note that with Sound Remover, you only need to identify a couple instances of the offending sound and Audition finds (with decent accuracy, ime) other instances of the sound. So depending on how much Adobe can refine/expand the modeling/learning features, maybe the selection->separation phase won't be too burdensome. Or maybe Sony/Sonic, iZotope, or someone else will get it just right (and for me "right" means "easy AND useful").

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I attended an AES meeting last night. Dr Gilbert Soulodre, FAES, of Camden Labs was demoing his software that lets you pick individual elements using not only spectrum but also envelope and stereo position. The demo was completely realtime, using pop recordings. 

 

Still a little ragged, but very promising.

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I know a lot of nutty stereo rock & roll collectors who are desperately pining away for a method to take a classic mono rock song and break it out into multiple tracks, then do a clean, natural-sounding stereo remix. This has been the Holy Grail for 30 years that I know of.

 

My joke is, the moment somebody can do this cheap and very effectively, they'll make a million dollars just processing old mono movies so they can strip out the dialogue and leave the music and effects tracks 100% intact. You'd be surprised how many old movies there are where the DME tracks are long gone, forcing the studio to recreate the tracks using very substandard film elements for foreign release.

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Like most new technologies, as it matures, it will become more useful.  RX2, for instance, is not a cure-all, but for certain specialized situations it's almost magic -- and a giant leap forward.  As algorithms improve, the Adobe product, and others like it, will put more new capabilities (i.e. TOOLS) into our hands. 

 

Pretty exciting, but the most exciting aspect is the possibilities, which is what the video is really about.

 

 

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I thought a lot of the problem with old M&E is chasing down the musicians for residuals and derivative rights... not to mention the quality issues of a 5-generation optical track.

 

No, the rights are all sewn up. It's the film elements that have either disappeared, fallen apart, or are just really substandard. I won't name the studio, but there's a major one for whom I've done at least 200 foreign laybacks, and in many cases, all that was left were 16mm negative optical tracks. No mag tracks, no DME, no 35mm. Sounded awful. 

 

I can also think of a major TV franchise (which subsequently yielded several major blockbuster films) where a studio fire burned up all the 3-track mags, and all that survived were the mono comp mags. Extracting the M&E for foreign was a nightmare, and cost a ridiculous amount of money... but they spent it. 

 

Having a magic box or a piece of software that would automatically "make the dialogue go away" and leave everything else intact would be extremely useful. But as we know, it sorta/kinda doesn't work like that.

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