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Sound Advice

Don’t Let The Software Push You Around! by David Green

There are many well known postulates to Murphy’s Law, but none so thoroughly corroborated as ‘Interchangeable Parts Won’t’ in the wonderful world of digital audio. We are all aware of the attributes of DAW’s (Digital Audio Workstations) and the virtually (an interesting choice of word) exponential growth in their functionality, but what happens when you want to interface with someone or utilize a feature on a different platform? Welcome to the world of file exchange.

This has been a major problem particularly for those of us who regularly collaborate on projects and finally there is a light, actually several lights at the end of the tunnel. The voice that has caught the attention of the manufactures is H-TAC (Hollywood Technical Audio Committee). Their group has come up with a proposal for a universal rendered file format that they call ProWave. In addition, the AES (Audio Engineering Society) has formed a committee to develop a recommended standard that they are calling AES-31, and Microsoft (Microsoft) and Avid (Avid) are working together on a AAF (Advanced Authoring Format).

All of that is down the road apiece as the song goes, but in the short term TimeLine recently introduced TransAudio PipeLine, a Windows or NT-based utility program to provide file backup, export and TapeMode conversion. The initial release will read ProTools, Akai, WaveFrame, OMF/SDII, DEVA and Sonic Solutions. Export formats include WaveFrame, OMF/SDII and ProTools.

All TLA’s aside (Three Letter Acronyms), this is an area that is finally receiving the attention it requires. The ability to exchange file data will become increasingly important as our industry grows. If you’re considering upgrades or changes that involve digital audio, it would be worthwhile to check where each of these initiatives are, and/or ask the manufacturer some pointed questions on the subject.

David Green is Vice-President of Audio at Magnetic North, a Toronto post-production facility.

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