Jump to content
Max Dumesnil

Audio file resolution and standards.

Recommended Posts

Hello, everybody.

I just wanted to get your thoughts on audio file resolution (bits and sample rate) since more recorders are being released with higher specs. 
I’ve been delivering 24/48 files for years.

Do you feel this will change anytime soon ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... yet Avid Protools (and everything else sound) can ... so my guess is, “who knows”?

 

In post I had never even thought of 24bit as a requirement, but an obvious convenience since we’re (or were) editing in 48/24 ... there’s still an awful lot that gets converted (old sfx, hi-def sfx, off the cuff adr, weird gadget recordings and director’s special wishes).

 

Also, 40 bit, 32 float, 64 bit have been around a long time in systems.

 

For production recording, if it happens (before another significant change) it would I guess be as a result of some decent workflow standard cropping up between prod and post. Even then, post these days can juggle stuff it never used to be able to.

 

Jez

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my little world (corporate, docs, and very occasional indies), I see 24/48 sticking around for a while.

 

What do you think Max?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

... yet Avid Protools (and everything else sound) can ... so my guess is, “who knows”?

 

In post I had never even thought of 24bit as a requirement, but an obvious convenience since we’re (or were) editing in 48/24 ... there’s still an awful lot that gets converted (old sfx, hi-def sfx, off the cuff adr, weird gadget recordings and director’s special wishes).

 

Also, 40 bit, 32 float, 64 bit have been around a long time in systems.

 

For production recording, if it happens (before another significant change) it would I guess be as a result of some decent workflow standard cropping up between prod and post. Even then, post these days can juggle stuff it never used to be able to.

 

Jez

 

I didn't mean requirement, but since Avid Media Composer is capable of 24/48 max, and I get my AAFs from AMC, I tell production guys to record

at that rate!!

I do reality, and the Assistant editors ingest the ISOs from the recorders, and the video editors edit using those ISOs!!

Ironically, they still call the recorder a backup, and cameras the main audio. Though no one knows about gain staging to a camera.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, TVPostSound said:

 

I didn't mean requirement, but since Avid Media Composer is capable of 24/48 max, and I get my AAFs from AMC, I tell production guys to record at that rate!!

I do reality, and the Assistant editors ingest the ISOs from the recorders, and the video editors edit using those ISOs!!

 

Hey fair enough - Obviously it is a requirement in the wider sense of what is expected (and asked for), didn’t mean to really challenge the obvious point made. And of course for some time we’ve now got higher resolution unusable tracks from the Avid, not just the 16 bit beautifully eq-ed, beautifully panned, beautifully levelled guide crap OMF of old! (Just a joke! Well, hopefully!)

 

Seriously, whilst higher resolution and higher bit rates etc have been catered for within much of the post environment for quite some time I cannot really guess whether required/expected tracks will suddenly jump to a higher echelon, either through workflow, consumer standardisation (like 18 and 20 bit disappearing into 24) or some yet unexpected fashion.

 

But it all happened before so I wouldn’t be surprised. We’ll just have the choice of “good” 192k64bit and rubbish 192/64 or whatever ... and we’ll still be upconverting from 44/16!

 

8 minutes ago, TVPostSound said:

Ironically, they still call the recorder a backup, and cameras the main audio. Though no one knows about gain staging to a camera.

 

Ha ha - just don’t make the fatal error of using the main audio!

 

-

 

BTW, the UK broadcast industry has happily been bobbling away at 48 along with the rest of Europe for the last few decades but now by “popular authority” it has been decided to change to 52, “come what may- and bugger the workflow”!

So, I suggest anything is possible - and the worst is always probable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Much of my work lately has been Netflix. 

They now demand 24/48 from production through delivery. 

I still get composers trying to pass off MP3 cues. That doesn’t fly when upmixing to 5.1!!

 

Once media composer goes with 32 bit, it will be heaven. But I’ll be retired then. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What sparked my questioning is that I was looking into upgrading my recorder for this "flagship" model and realized it was 24/48 maximum.

I even see many "prosumer" recorders with 32/192.

I know that recorders are much more than just specs but I would hate for this expensive recorder to be "obsolete" if I start getting requests for higher resolution within the next years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Max Dumesnil said:

if I start getting requests for higher resolution within the next years.


I would consider that to be fairly unlikely. What matters most is the final product and I don’t see that moving to 32-bit soon. And to what benefit anyway? Although the actual benefit may not be the driving factor. But it‘ll be years before it became an actual requirement. As was mentioned, post has been able to do 32-bit in a long time, but the deliverable has not changed. Even if that does change and the entire industry (incl. TV, cinemas, streaming services, etc.) moved to 32-bit, that wouldn’t automatically mean that we on the production side would be required to record at 32-bit, especially as the benefit of that is really not that great

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

" As was mentioned, post has been able to do 32-bit in a long time, but the deliverable has not changed. "

 

By Odin's sodden codpiece, I hope movie mastering mixers never use 32-bit for greater dynamic range in finishing! I am already constantly adjusting the volume of my modest home theater system to compensate for scenes with whispering dialog right next to scenes of 50 cal. M2 machine guns blaring away louder than the real thing and SAM ordinances going splody on a terrorist's bunker. I'm going to need an ear trumpet if this keeps up. Besides, the cat makes poos every time I've left the volume up and Netflix plays their too loud "Bum Bum" opening stinger. And you kids there! Get the hell off my grass.

 

I'm done now. Back to my warm milk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know of any 24-bit field recorder that actually achieves 144 dB dynamic range. (Zaxcom, for example, claims 120 dB.) The limitation is the analog and ADC circuits. More bits in the file will just be random junk or zeros.

 

You're also limited by the dynamic range of the mic. And of the set... If an actor is projecting at 85 dBC, it's only that far from the theoretical threshold of hearing.

 

OTOH, more bits are definitely an advantage in post. Padding the depth with actual zeros can give you a lot more room to avoid rounding errors when processing. Then dither down when you've got a final mix. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Jay Rose said:

I don't know of any 24-bit field recorder that actually achieves 144 dB dynamic range. (Zaxcom, for example, claims 120 dB.) The limitation is the analog and ADC circuits.


Zaxcom NeverClip equipped recorders actually claim a dynamic range 137dB - iirc. And the new Sound Devices MixPre range claims 142dB. So not quite 144, but getting there. Still, I do think that 32-bits are nice to have, but aren’t a necessity on location and I don’t expect the standard to change anytime soon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, PMC said:

" As was mentioned, post has been able to do 32-bit in a long time, but the deliverable has not changed. "

 

By Odin's sodden codpiece, I hope movie mastering mixers never use 32-bit for greater dynamic range in finishing! I am already constantly adjusting the volume of my modest home theater system to compensate for scenes with whispering dialog right next to scenes of 50 cal. M2 machine guns blaring away louder than the real thing and SAM ordinances going splody on a terrorist's bunker. I'm going to need an ear trumpet if this keeps up. Besides, the cat makes poos every time I've left the volume up and Netflix plays their too loud "Bum Bum" opening stinger. And you kids there! Get the hell off my grass.

 

I'm done now. Back to my warm milk.

And two Tylenol!

 

mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Jay Rose said:

I don't know of any 24-bit field recorder that actually achieves 144 dB dynamic range. (Zaxcom, for example, claims 120 dB.) The limitation is the analog and ADC circuits. More bits in the file will just be random junk or zeros.

 

You're also limited by the dynamic range of the mic. And of the set... If an actor is projecting at 85 dBC, it's only that far from the theoretical threshold of hearing.

 

OTOH, more bits are definitely an advantage in post. Padding the depth with actual zeros can give you a lot more room to avoid rounding errors when processing. Then dither down when you've got a final mix. 

This made me think: In the era of multitrack location recording 'Post' begins at the (PSM's) fader - which is kind of obvious (and the joke). With the comfort of safely recorded ISOs - the PSM's fader is where this raw material starts to be manipulated for the perception/convenience of the next viewer-listener-editor-mixer in the chain. I'm hoping 32b/FP puts a bit more of the DAW into our recorders. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/1/2019 at 4:55 PM, Max Dumesnil said:

I’ve been delivering 24/48 files for years.

Do you feel this will change anytime soon ?

 

Regarding your deliverables to production, in the context of a production sound mixer I don't believe that baseline requirements from production will change soon from 24/48 PCM WAV iso files (and the occasional mix...). Although I have heard about more than one feature production attempting to do their entire audio signal path, including dialog, at 96 kHz SR and are having difficulty (why...another question entirely).

 

That doesn't mean that you won't be recording in some other format in the foreseeable future. Production sound mixers and sound designers are presently recording material upstream of their deliverable with different formats. There are applications that benefit with different SR's, bit depths, etc.

 

Note this is a totally independent conversation than what is the deliverable to end users. We are in a world where streaming services deliver 5.1 MPEG at 384 kbs.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Netflix upped the stream to 640 for DolbyDigital+ and 768 for Dolby Atmos

They are talking about testing 1.5 (BluRay rates!!!)

 

But if/when Netflix (the 500lb Gorilla) demands 96k audio deliverables, originating at 96k production, we'll jump!!

 

Right now they demand original video shot at 4K, finished at 4K WITHOUT any compression (means using Resolve instead of Media Composer)

And will not accept upconverted footage.

 

Waiting to see!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just started a docu production with 24/96 settings. Mainly to record the MS mic Installed on my camera on a SX-R4+ 

 

I‘m a camera guy and the tests in Resolve, the finder and iTunes I’ve done, read those files without problems... 

 

Pat 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see any change happening simply because for dialog recording, 24/48 can already capture the full range of human hearing with enough resolution that quantization errors when editing (usually done in a 32 bit environment anyway) are inconsequential. Sound effects recording is an entirely different matter though.

 

However, the reasons we settled on 24/48 years ago, namely storage capacity and CPU strain, are non-issues these days. So at some point, we may switch to 32/96 as the standard because we can, but probably not for at least five years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/2/2019 at 5:59 PM, Max Dumesnil said:

What sparked my questioning is that I was looking into upgrading my recorder for this "flagship" model and realized it was 24/48 maximum.

I even see many "prosumer" recorders with 32/192.

I know that recorders are much more than just specs but I would hate for this expensive recorder to be "obsolete" if I start getting requests for higher resolution within the next years.



It is going to be YEAAAARRRRSSSSS until anything greater than 24bit/48KHz is expected.

The fact that no "mid range" professional or better recorders (it is only the low end professional recorders which can do it: MixPre Gen2 and Zoom F6) can do 32bit is further proof of how 32bits is not going to be required any time soon. 

I'm in a similar boat to you, just went from a Zoom F series to a Sound Devices 833. But I've got no worries about if 32bit will or will not be supported by the 833, and heck, I'd rather see the 833 get a firmware upgrade instead to support a bonus 4 channels (for a total of 12 channels) with a "Sound Devices SL4" than get 32bits

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/2/2019 at 5:30 AM, PMC said:

...I am already constantly adjusting the volume of my modest home theater system to compensate for scenes with whispering dialog right next to scenes of 50 cal. M2 machine guns blaring away louder than the real thing...

 

as someone who has been close by and at the front end of an M2 barrel, pretty sure your system wasn't louder than the real thing.  I actually am all for loud guns, sort of annoys me when gunfire levels is just hanging out, sounding cool, letting dialogue go by intelligibly.  Maybe we should have less guns in movies, but when we do, all for them being loud as F.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...