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Review: Sound Editing & Mastering in Soundtrack Pro

August, 2008



Sound Editing & Mastering in Soundtrack Pro
DVD Edition $119.00 - iTunes Edition $99.00

Review by Steve Douglas

For many years I served as one of the founders and organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Festival, which continues to provide a showcase for underwater filmmakers from around the world. Through the years I observed that while the content and editing skills continued to improve, the audio was often poorly utilized or unbalanced. Far too frequently audio levels were too high, too low or mixed improperly. Yet, it is the audio of almost all films, which sets the tone and mood of its subject.

When Apple introduced Soundtrack Pro numerous editors saw it as a fun way to make their own musical scores without the worry of paying fees or the expense of buying royalty free music libraries. Yet, Soundtrack Pro has the ability to go far beyond that basic creationistic application which is where Steve Martin's latest product from his Ripple Training series comes in. I am frequently asked in emails, which tutorial DVDs are the best to purchase. I usually answer that most all of them have both pluses and minuses, however, for a real consistency in high quality tutorials, get thee to Ripple Training. Sound Editing & Mastering in Soundtrack Pro is no exception to that advice.

Providing comprehensive tutorials in Soundtrack Pro, the user is lead through a complete sequence of learning and becoming familiar with the tools and abilities, which lay buried within. This begins with getting a complete grasp on how Soundtrack Pro affects audio and how best to sweeten your tracks making them both acceptable to you and to broadcasters. Soundtrack Editing & Mastering pays attention to your individual workflow and demonstrates how you can make your audio editing more efficient whether repairing tracks, doing voice over, creating original music or Foley effects. What's more, you have about 5 hours of individual lessons to work from. Typical of all Ripple Training discs I have covered, a ' Whole Enchilada' movie is supplied which enables you to literally go through the entire disc from beginning to end. However, there is a lot to do and cover; thinking of this tutorial as a one shot sit down would be a mistake. Yes, you can skip different lessons and just attend to the ones which interest you, however, if you are fairly new to Soundtrack Pro or haven't kept abreast of its improvements, you might be better off just taking one lesson at a time.

The Whole Enchilada provides all the lessons in one movie enabling you to skip around.
However, starting with lesson one and working through each of the 12 individual lessons will provide a firmer foundation for your learning.

All media project files are supplied on the disc as well as the lessons themselves. It is strongly advised to copy these over to your own hard drive as opposed to watching off the DVD itself. The lessons are easy to work with and maneuver around. On the lower right of the screen, which can be resized to fit your monitor, is the list of subjects addressed in any and all of the lessons. To repeat a lesson from the beginning or to go on to the next, simple click on the subject and the QuickTime movie of your choice will come up.

For those who prefer getting tutorials on line rather than by purchasing the disc, Ripple Training has made available an iTunes Edition. The files and lessons are exactly the same with the movies being encoded at an HD resolution of 1280x720 and playable on Macs, PCs and Apple TV. These downloaded files can then be backed up to disc for archiving and safekeeping. One advantage to downloading the disc information is that you can save yourself the expense of shipping costs as well as having to wait for delivery. Once you purchase, an email is sent to you with the download link of the iTunes feed. It's as simple as that. As a test, I did it and all went smoothly. You are able to monitor your downloads, and, if somehow the sky falls down in the distant future and you lose your files, once your purchase is confirmed, a new link will be sent to you and you can redo the download. In the iTunes section, a PDF is included in the download providing a link to the hands-on project files.

Once purchased in iTunes, downloading couldn't be simpler.

With Soundtrack Pro, Sound Editing and Mastering, once again Ripple Training leads the way in producing just what the editing community needs in the way of opening new doors, creating a better understanding and providing tutorials that are as comprehensive and finely produced as we could expect to get. And this one more time I have to tip my hat and say ' Job well done'.

Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 6 and underwater videographer. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, the History channel's MegaDisaster show and is a feature writer for Asian Diver Magazine. His first National Geographic special will air in late 2008. Steve is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition and leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to Kenya in Aug.09, the Red Sea for Nov.2009, and Truk Lagoon in Micronesia for July,2010. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.


copyright © Steve Douglas 2008

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