How to get a 5.1 master
October 10, 2005 11:38AM

I have a project for which the client has requested 5.1 surround sound. I'm working with an audio engineer to create that, but he generally works with music and not with video. Now, I've seen elsewhere on the forum that FCP doesn't support surround sound. With that in mind, how do I get the 5.1 mix I'll get from the AE onto tape? We'll either be shooting on DVCPRO HD (Varicam), DVCAM (DSR-570), or Digital Betcam. The project is for broadcast, so I need to deliver it on tape in addition to DVD. Thank you.
Re: How to get a 5.1 master
October 10, 2005 11:58AM
Generally, you would need to plan this when shooting. Using a multiple track mixing board and some software that support 5.1, you would record those tracks at shoot time, if possible or add some background later in the Post phase. ProTools, Logic, Nuendo or Digital Performer all do 5.1 Surround Mixes as output.

Who transmits in 5.1??
Re: How to get a 5.1 master
October 10, 2005 12:57PM

I believe that you are well meaning, but somewhat misinformed.

I've directed 8 feature films all of which ended up in various forms of stereo. We NEVER recorded the production sound in stereo. From time to time we would record some room tone or FX in stereo for later use. I also owned an audio post production studio in the UK which did BBC contract work.

Any stereo mixdown is created entirely in post production by adding stereo ambient tracks and by panning and generally separating tracks and assigning them to outputs which correspond to the required final medium - either plain 2 track stereo or 5-1 or whatever. During pre-mixes and final mixdown these tracks are put through a so-called "matrix" like the Dolby matrix which encodes them for later decoding during projection or presentation on TV or whatever.

Our friend here "Supercope" should not worry about stereo AT ALL until he has cut the film and locked it and then, if he knows nothing about sound and wants a fancy 5-1 track he will need advice from some full time audio people. Supercope will have to create Dialog, Music and Effects tracks as separate entities and with their own internal panning. These will then be summed during the final mixdown. It's really no big deal, but it's too complicated to give a complete rundown in an email like this.

For a start I'd suggest that Supercope get in contact with the people at Dolby Labs who are very helpful and will guide him through the process. There is a small license fee for use of the Dolby Matrix and you might get lucky and they might loan you the mixdown equipment -- otherwise there is a rental fee for that. Otherwise you can just take your completed clean tracks to an audio post house and have them do it for you ... which will obviously cost you money.

There are also some folks called "Ultrastereo" who had a Dolby compatible system, but I'm not sure if it had a 5-1 ability.

Very best wishes and sorry for being so long winded.


Harry Bromley-Davenport

Re: How to get a 5.1 master
October 10, 2005 01:09PM

Nice post! But what do you call "a small license fee?" Last I heard-- tue, years ago-- it was around five grand.

- Loren
Today's FCP 5 keytip:
Apply default Video Transition: Command-T.
Apply Default AUDIO Transition: Command-Option-T !

The FCP 5 KeyGuide?: your power placemat.
Now available at KeyGuide Central
Re: How to get a 5.1 master
October 10, 2005 02:35PM
I thought it was less than that - about $2k - but I agree that I was wrong to refer to the fee as "small".

I can't help thinking that there are Dolby compatible encoders available. In fact I just now quickly Googled "Dolby compatible encoders" and got several leads - this one is a Mac program and costs $500 which I think is a bargain. In fact I think I'm going to get it myself.

Here it is for those who can't be bothered to search themselves:

Mac Version of Minnetonka's ProLogic II Encoder Ships

SurCode for Dolby(R) PL II OS X is Minnetonka Audio's First Mac Product.(Click for a close-up) July 30, 2004

Minnetonka Audio Software has announced shipment of its first software application for the Macinstosh OS X platform: Surcode Dolby Pro Logic II. Like the, SurCode PL II for OS X allows broadcasters, game developers, video producers, and audio professionals everywhere to easily encode surround sound into stereo delivery formats for television, games, cable programming, music applications, and many other media.

The simple, straight forward SurCode interface accepts up to six 32,44.1, 48kHz PCM audio files, in WAV or AIFF formats. The files are then loaded as sources and encoded into an Lt/Rt file, compatible with millions of decoders around the world. Comprehensive monitoring facilities allow auditioning of both source and encoded audio. Individual channels may be soloed and muted and start and stop points may be specified.

SurCode Dolby Pro Logic II for OS X is now available directly from Minnetonka Audio at and from authorized SurCode dealers worldwide. Both the Mac and PC SurCode Pro Logic II versions are priced at $495USD.

About Dolby Pro Logic II

Dolby Pro Logic II encoding is a matrix surround technology, multiplexing five channels of audio into a two-channel, stereo-compatible signal. On playback, the Dolby Pro Logic II decoder in your receiver derives five full-range channels, relying on amplitude and phase differences between the channels of the stereo signal.

Not only can Pro Logic II be decoded by virtually every Dolby Digital home theater system sold today, but media encoded in Dolby Pro Logic II is backwards compatible with the millions of Dolby Pro Logic receivers and decoders in use worldwide.

For more information, visit their web site at

Best wishes,


Harry Bromley-Davenport
Greg Kozikowski
Re: How to get a 5.1 master
October 10, 2005 08:01PM
<<<Who transmits in 5.1??>>>

Fox Sports for one. They actually master as "three" and multiplex to get the missing channels. There's only so much audio you can cram into the NASCAR production vans.


Re: How to get a 5.1 master
October 10, 2005 08:21PM
There are ways to get 5.1 w/o licensing Dolby.

The mix eventually needs to be encoded to two tracks on tape. This won't play back anywhere that doesn't have a decoder. But all this needs to be done by pro audio people, AFAIK.

- Justin Barham -
Re: How to get a 5.1 master
October 10, 2005 08:33PM
Thank you all!
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login



Web Hosting by HermosawaveHermosawave Internet

Recycle computers and electronics